No, you don’t need to hop on a plane to experience some of Europe’s most delicious destinations.
And we understand you might not want to travel right now, anyway. But as long as you have access to a kitchen and some basic pantry staples, you can make some of our favorite recipes from Europe come to life no matter where you are in the world. (Seriously, you’d be surprised at how simple most of these are!)
Recipes from Madrid
1. Cocido madrileño
Spring is around the corner, but it’s still pretty chilly in many parts of the world. Enter cocido madrileño: Madrid’s ultimate comfort food-slash-multi course meal marathon. With a soul-warming broth, flavorful chickpeas and a hearty meat and veg course to round it all out, this one isn’t for the faint of appetite.
2. Gambas al ajillo
You’ll find gambas al ajillo—sizzling garlic shrimp—on tapas bar menus throughout Spain, but it has its roots right here in Madrid. It all comes together with fresh shrimp and a simple, decadent garlic-butter sauce. One bite and you’ll see why La Casa del Abuelo (the bar that started it all) is a fan favorite on our Madrid tours!
3. Huevos rotos
Huevos rotos, or “broken eggs,” is another classic Madrid dish that seems like there’s no way it could be anything special with such limited ingredients. It’s nothing more than eggs broken over potatoes and fried—and if you’re using top-quality ingredients, it’s good enough even like that, but we’ll never say no to adding a little ham or chorizo.
Recipes from Lisbon
4. Caldo verde
Soup is a staple of the Portuguese diet, but it doesn’t get more classic than caldo verde. Literally translating to “green broth,” this cozy crowd-pleaser brings together chouriço, kale and a host of other veggies into a delicious harmony of flavor.
5. Pastéis de nata
If you ask us, custard tarts might be Portugal’s single greatest contribution to the culinary world. With a flaky crust and a creamy, sweet filling, we’ll take these simple treats over a fancier pastry any day.
A thin slice of marinated pork sandwiched between chunks of crusty bread might not sound too special. But once you try the humble bifana for yourself, you’ll see why this simple sandwich has won the hearts (and stomachs) of generations of Lisboetas.
The name of these tasty treats literally means “dreams,” and we couldn’t agree more. Sonhos are a staple on any Portuguese Christmas table, but we’re not opposed to devouring them at any time of year.
Recipes from Barcelona
8. Pan con tomate
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Catalan bar or restaurant that doesn’t serve pan con tomate—or to be even more accurate, pa amb tomàquet. This tomato toast is perfect at any time of day, from breakfast (or second breakfast!) to evening tapas.
When you think of Spanish food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? If you said “paella,” you’re not alone. But while you can find great paella in Barcelona, it’s also worth trying fideuà, a similar seafood-based dish that swaps out the rice for noodles.
Barcelona residents traditionally snack on panellets on All Saints’ Day, but you don’t need to wait for early November to roll around to try these sweet and nutty treats for yourself.
11. Crema catalana
Step aside, crème brûlée—in Barcelona, it’s all about the crema catalana. History is divided on whether the French or the Catalan version of this classic custard dessert came first—but we like to think it was our idea!
12. Romesco sauce
Few things pair quite as divinely as grilled vegetables and romesco sauce. Especially if said grilled vegetables are calçots, Catalonia’s delicious local onions that we can’t get enough of come wintertime. Whatever you’re dipping into it, peppery, nutty romesco is always a crowd-pleaser.
Recipes from Paris
13. Boeuf bourguignon
It sounds fancy and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. This French classic is deceptively simple and can be quite cheap to make, but when done right, one bite will transport you right to an elegant Parisian restaurant.
Devour Paris operations manager Jess shared her undying love for chouquettes earlier this year in our most popular video to date, and her excitement is understandable. In our book, these little balls of choux pastry are a must for anyone with a sweet tooth visiting Paris—and they’re not too tricky to make at home, either.
15. French onion soup
French onion soup combines so many of our favorite things (bread! cheese! caramelized onions!) into one little ramekin of happiness. As a bonus, it’s ridiculously easy to make at home, so you can feel like Julia Child without even trying.
16. Croque monsieur
It’s easy to think of the croque monsieur as being somewhat of a French take on the grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but that would be doing it a disservice—it’s so, so much better.
Recipes from Seville
17. Tinto de verano
If you know us, you’ll know by now that sangria really isn’t a thing in Spain—at least not to the extent that most visitors think it is. Instead, you’ll find us cooling off in sunny Seville with a much simpler and more authentic alternative: the humble tinto de verano.
18. Gazpacho and salmorejo
Most people are familiar with gazpacho, but have you heard of its thicker, richer cousin, salmorejo? They’re both chilled, tomato-based soups from the south of Spain, but while gazpacho is easily drinkable, salmorejo’s thicker texture makes it a more filling meal. It just boils down to how hungry you are!
19. Berenjenas con miel
Fried eggplant and honey might not sound like the most appealing combination, but trust us on this one. This unexpected sweet-and-savory combo creates an explosion of flavors and textures that’s unlike anything else you’ve ever tried.
We can sum up this classic Holy Week treat in three words: Spanish. French. Toast. Are you convinced yet?
21. Espinacas con garbanzos
We see your “Spain doesn’t have many options for vegans” and raise you this delicious spinach and chickpea stew. It’s so delicious even the most diehard carnivore is sure to be a fan.
Recipes from Rome
22. Carciofi alla giudia
You can’t visit Rome in winter without trying local artichokes. One of the best and most popular ways to eat them is alla giudia, or “Jewish-style,” a recipe that developed in Rome’s Jewish ghetto centuries ago.
23. Cacio e pepe
Pasta dishes outside Italy tend to be quite elaborate, adding everything from meatballs to heavy cream. But the real deal is much simpler—and better, in our book. Exhibit A: cacio e pepe, for which you can count the ingredients on one hand. This recipe will whisk you away to a classic Roman trattoria without leaving your kitchen.
24. Coda alla vaccinara
Offal is a pretty big deal in Rome, but can be off-putting to some visitors. Coda alla vaccinara, or oxtail stew, is a great way to dip your toes into the unfamiliar waters of this traditional way of eating. It’s hearty and unbelievably tender, practically falling off the fork when done right.
The name of this popular dessert translates to “pick me up,” and that’s exactly what it is—the perfect midday or post-meal pick-me-up. And it couldn’t be easier to make. Whip up a batch, pour out some of the leftover espresso to go with, and find a sunny spot to sit and indulge in la dolce vita.
26. Aperol spritz
You don’t have to be on some picturesque Italian terrace to enjoy this iconic cocktail. In fact, the one we try on our Rome food tour comes from one of the most no-frills bars imaginable (and that’s exactly why we love the place!).
Recipes from San Sebastian
27. Basque cheesecake
If you’ve taken our Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour, then you know: La Viña in San Sebastian has the best cheesecake in the world. It seemingly defies everything a cheesecake should be—no crust! burnt on top!—and it does it oh, so well.
If you have olives, anchovies and guindilla peppers, you can make gildas. If not, go get some. This impossibly simple skewer of deliciousness was the first-ever pintxo, and a sure way to wow your friends. (Or you can do as we do and eat them all yourself.)
29. Talos con chistorra
Grilled corn tortillas (in this case, more like the Mexican kind than the Spanish omelet of the same name!) stuffed with spicy sausage are a favorite snack in northern Spain. Once you try them, you’ll see why.
Recipes from London
30. Scotch eggs
Soft-boiled eggs wrapped in sausage and coated in a golden breadcrumb crust: what’s not to love? It’s hard not to fall for this British classic that fits in everywhere from the pub to a picnic.
No, these aren’t just any pancakes. If you’re not from the UK, you’ll be delighted to know that Pancake Day is very much a thing—celebrated on the same day as Mardi Gras—and said pancakes are beyond your wildest dreams. They’re almost crepe-like in their thinness and go perfectly with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dusting of sugar.
32. Scones and clotted cream
No afternoon tea would be complete without scones, and no scone would be complete without clotted cream. As elegant as this classic English combo sounds, both of the above are incredibly easy to make at home.