Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you – it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you… Hopefully, you leave something good behindAnthony Bourdain
Bodybuilding bikini competition prep makes you very hungry. I’m channeling my hunger this week into delicious meals and desserts for you to enjoy. I’ll be drooling over the pictures and counting down the days until I can eat all of these things.
I haven’t been able to do much travel because of work, the pandemic still being a bit all over the place, and time BUT nothing says we can’t bring the travel to us when we need to. Food is one of the best ways to do that. I hope you love these recipes and have the best travel-inspired meals because of them!
These recipes will take your taste buds all over Europe in a delicious tour of culinary yumminess.
England: Fish & Chips and Rhubarb Crumble
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Great British Bake Off you’ll know the British love rhubarb. I’ve actually never tried it despite living there for over a year… oops. I can say that the fish & chips there is unparalleled and is basically a rite of passage for anyone who visits.
Don’t have a conventional fryer? I don’t either. However, if you don’t have an air fryer… you’re missing out. Plus frying fish (and chips!) in an air fryer will be MUCH healthier and crisped to perfection. Here’s a great recipe for fish and chips that I’ve been wanting to try.
Dessert is the best part of a meal. If you’ve never tried this vegetable (*GASP* a vegetable in a dessert!?), especially in something as delicious as a crumble, well if it’s good enough for Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, it has to be good. Check out this rhubarb crumble recipe!
France: Ratatouille and Pain au Chocolat
French food varies massively depending on the region you find yourself in, but I had to choose two of my favorite dishes, ratatouille and of course chocolate croissants. Neither of these dishes are quite the same outside of France, but they are both so much fun to make and eat no matter where you are in the world.
Ratatouille is originally from Nice which is my favorite French city. It’s a vegetable stew dish that is both hearty and healthy at the same time and explodes with flavor. It’s also super simple to make at home since you just need veggies and herbs to make it. I’ve only tried this once, but I loved this recipe.
Pain au chocolat is not easy to make. Get the butter and folds wrong and it won’t have that phenomenal buttery, flaky texture that the French have mastered beyond perfection. Only in France have I ever had a perfect chocolate croissant. This recipe was super fun to try though and I love that the blogger used chocolate batons that make them so special and gave an alternative since they are so hard to find.
Germany: Bratwurst and Black Forest Cake
Germany is on my list to visit and one of the reasons is the food. Not going to lie I hate sauerkraut so that wasn’t going to make it onto my list. However, bratwurst and Black Forest cake are both delicious, so hopefully you can forgive my sauerkraut hating ways.
Did you know Germany has over 42 recognized varieties of bratwurst? If you’re missing Germany, get yourself the ingredients in this recipe and cook up a delicious meal. I even found you a recipe that cooks them in beer because what could be more German and German food AND beer in one recipe?
The largest Black Forest Cake ever made was over 6,500 pounds. Now that is my kind of cake. Layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherry liquor, whipped cream filling and fresh fruit on top? Cue the drooling and tummy rumbling. I’ve been eyeballing this recipe for a while now and can’t wait to try it when my competition is over!
Spain: Paella and Flan
I absolutely adored everything about the food in Spain. Barcelona is the only city I’ve had a chance to visit so far, but we ate our way around the city and my tastebuds cried when we left. Spain makes it easy to try so many different foods as you can get a ton of tapas and try a little bit of everything each meal.
Paella originated in Valencia, and because it tastes so damn good it has become one of the most popular dishes in the country. If you want to eat a truly authentic paella it can only have 10 ingredients and they are: short grain rice, chicken, rabbit, water, tomatoes, wide green beans, garrofó beans, saffron, olive oil, and salt. Any substitutions and it’s not a paella valenciana. Since you’re cooking at home, add whatever you want to the recipe to personalize it!
The idea of flan actually came from the Romans, but Spain is the epicenter for flan nowadays. Flan is one of those recipes where you almost always have the ingredients (there’s only 3-4), it’s super simple to make, and you can personalize it with lots of fun ingredients like caramel or cinnamon. Check out this recipe for a step by step guide to making your own.
Denmark: Smørrebrød and Kanelsnegle
I have a genuine addiction to sandwiches. I could eat them all day every day if I could. While I fully plan on heading back to explore more of Scandinavia, the only place I went was Denmark. Yes, I got a sandwich.
Smørrebrød is a Danish open-faced sandwich with endless possibilities for toppings. it originated in the 19th century as an inexpensive and portable lunch option for workers. They would often pile leftovers on top of bread and enjoy them on their breaks. The bread remains the same but the toppings and which ones pair best together and how they are layered makes this sandwich different from others. I’ll let you decide whether you want to make a traditional one with lots of rules or freestyle it with this recipe or your own creation!
Danish cinnamon buns to the rescue! Seriously, if a cinnamon bun can rescue something we need more disasters like that. These are not your average cinnamon bun; they’re better. Instead of an explosion of just sweet in your mouth, the Danish like to balance it with spice so it’s a much more elevated and even yummier experience. Try this recipe out to revolutionize how you make cinnamon buns!
Hungary: Goulash and Dobos Torta
When we were in Budapest we stumbled across a restaurant while talking about what we wanted to dinner. They had a special going for a full course meal featuring goulash. After having walked 10 miles that day it sounded like the perfect meal. To this day (almost 7 years later) we still talk about that goulash.
Goulash gained popularity in the 17th century in Hungary, but may have originated well before that. The name comes from the word ‘gulyas’ which means herdsmen. The dish started out as a hearty stew made by shepherds and then turned into a country-wide and global phenomenon as more and more people tasted it. It’s a simple dish to whip up and there are so many ways you can customize it to your liking. We had a pasta variety, but there are no wrong ways to enjoy this dish
Layer cakes are amazing. Thin layers of cake and lots of buttercream or filling. It’s heaven and so is a dobos torta. Typically there are 6 layers of sponge cake with a layer of chocolate buttercream between each and surrounding the entire cake. A layer of caramel sits on top and crushed hazelnuts adorn the sides. It might look simple from the outside, but when you cut the cake to reveal a slice with perfectly proportioned layers, it is magical.
Italy: Ravioli and Tiramisu
Is there any other cuisine more beloved around the world than Italian food? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a crowd pleaser. It’s filling. There’s so many variations. IT’S FREAKING SCRUMPTIOUS. Without further ado, Italian food is served.
Ravioli dates back to at least the 14th century. If something as simple as two square pieces of pasta squished together and filled with basically whatever food you can imagine has been enjoyed for over 600 years, you know it’s worth making. It’s also really fun and relatively easy to make. Choose your favorite fillings and make it a feast!
If you need a pick-me-up dessert, Italy’s Tiramisu dessert will immediately transport you to Italy with taste alone. It’s indulgent and can be made in cake form or even in a pudding-like concoction in a bowl. The dessert features ladyfinger cookies, espresso, marscapone, wine, and a few other ingredients that add to the bold flavors and richness of the dessert. Whip this up when you need to be caffeinated and need dessert fit for a queen.