Have you ever been to a country just for mouthwatering food or desserts? I enjoy eating as much as travelling, so I research and look for the best restaurants, cafes and bakeries wherever I go.
You can do this by just googling “best restaurants in X”, but it’s even better when you know someone from the country you want to visit. Locals will always give you their advice on what to eat and where to go to try authentic local food.
In this guide, I’ve compiled some of the tastiest European desserts you should try in your trips around Europe. There are many more than these, but these desserts are a must!
Brussels – Waffles
It seems yesterday when I was in Brussels walking through the city centre eating a delicious waffle topped with strawberries with my partner.
I’m passionate about waffles, it’s one of the best and simple desserts, but the best thing about them is that you can add any topping you want.
Waffles in Brussels are delicious and you can find many waffle shops anywhere in the city centre area. Having said that, if you want a nice waffle, take your time to choose a nice store that prepares the waffle in front of you.
Some shops have already made waffles with the most popular toppings and, yes, there were some people touching these waffles!
Cyprus – Baklava
I hadn’t tried this delicious dessert until I visited Paphos. I wasn’t sure of its appearance when I saw it, but then I couldn’t stop eating them. They’re just unique and yummy.
Baklava is made in Greece as well as in the Middle East, and since Paphos has cultural ties with Greece, you can find them there too.
If you’ve never had baklava, it consists of filo pastry filled with nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey.
France – Macarons
These elegant and small sandwiches made with almond flour, meringue and buttercream filling are a must when you visit France.
There has always been a big discussion about the macarons’ origins.
It’s said that Catherine de’ Medici brought the macarons (maccherone in Italian) to France in the 16th century. However, the first recipe appeared in France and it’s been evolving since then.
There are plenty of pâtisseries where you can find macarons in many flavours and colours. I remember looking to eat a macaron at 7 pm in Paris. I found a cute little cafe that was about to close and bought a couple of macaroons.
I can still remember how tasty they were!
Germany – Schnecken
A delicious sweet bun a bit similar to cinnamon rolls. You can find these all over Germany and in other countries such as Austria and Switzerland.
Schnecken means snails and it’s called that because of the shape of this bun. It’s normally a bit sticky, it’s topped with pecan nuts and filled with cinnamon and dried fruits such as raisins.
I tried this in Berlin because one of my partner’s friends recommended going to Zeit Für Brot, a well-known chain bakery located in different parts of Berlin and in other German cities too.
It was so yummy that I wished I had taken another one for later.
Italy – Gelato
I’d say gelato is the most popular dessert in the world, but you can’t say any ice cream is good. Italians know how to make the best artisanal ice cream and that’s pretty clear.
From traditional flavours such as pistachio, vanilla and chocolate to modern flavours like Kinder Bueno.
Having a delicious and refreshing gelato while you walk around Rome in the summer is just amazing!
TIP: If you want to try an even more traditional ice cream, you need to get cassata flavour. A delicious Neapolitan ice cream that consists of mainly chopped candied fruits.
Portugal – Pasteis de Nata
You can’t leave Portugal without trying a pastel de nata. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a pastry filled with a rich egg custard and dusted with cinnamon or powdered sugar.
These European pastries are delicious and you can find them in any bakery or cafe. The first time I tried them was in a cafe in Porto and I’ve fallen in love with them since then.
My advice is that you put some cinnamon on top! Believe me, you won’t regret it. It was actually one of the waitresses that gave me a jar of cinnamon and advised me to dust the pasteis de nata with it.
My favourite place to eat them in Porto is Fábrica da Nata! You can see how they’re made and they taste incredibly good.
Romania – Plăcintă cu mere
I found that Romania cuisine has a different taste from what I normally eat. Lots of sour flavours like sauerkraut, lemon and borș and vinegar. It’s a peculiar cuisine with many influences.
Talking about desserts, plăcintă is one of the best Romanian desserts.
There are different types of plăcintă and some of the most popular ones are the sweet plăcintă cu mere (with apple) and the savoury plăcintă cu brânză (with cheese).
The dessert consists of layers of very thin pastry filled with cheese/apple or other fillings like pumpkin. It’s just delicious!
Other popular desserts that you must try and you can easily find in any bakery are covrigi, baked bread rolls that are similar to pretzels and bagels, and papanaşi, a small deep-fried dough filled with cheese, jam and smântână (a Romanian type of sour cream).
I loved buying some covrigi as a snack before going to the beach in Mamaia.
Spain – Crema Catalana
Spain has so many delicious desserts and sweets, from the traditional chocolate con churros to arroz con leche (rice pudding).
But, considering that Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Spain, you should definitely try their traditional crema catalana.
You can’t mistake crema catalana with the French dessert crème brûlée. They seem very similar to each other, but they’re slightly prepared in different ways and have different ingredients.
Crema catalana is made from milk and thickened with cornstarch and eggs whereas crème brûlée is made with thick cream.
I had tried crema catalana many times, but the best one I’ve ever had was in Barcelona for sure!
The Netherlands – Stroopwafel
I’m sure you’ve seen stroopwafel before on Instagram pictures or other social media. They’re very popular and delicious too.
A stroopwafel is a wafer biscuit made with two thin layers of baked dough and caramel filling inside. It’s a chewy dessert that you can easily have with a cup of coffee or tea. They’re much better warm!
You can find these Dutch treats in bakeries, cafes and stores across the Netherlands.
The UK – Apple Crumble
One of the most delicious desserts that I’ll never get tired of is the crumble. There are many different versions and the most popular is the apple crumble which is a different version of the traditional apple pie.
A crumble often contains stewed fruits and it’s topped with a crumble made with butter, flour and sugar.
Interestingly, this dessert originated in World War II as a substitute for the pies because of the shortage of pastry ingredients. Crumbles have simple and easy ingredients, but these don’t comprise the delicious flavour.
Another common crumble is the rhubarb crumble in Yorkshire, North England. Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford are known as the Rhubarb Triangle because there are many crops around this area.
I’ve found that the best crumbles are those made at home, but you can still find some good ones in independent restaurants or pubs.
Apple crumble is traditionally served with whipped cream, but custard is a popular option too.
If you’re looking for other British desserts, you should definitely try scones!
For this, I highly recommend having an afternoon tea at Betty’s where you can find delicious scones with sweet cream and jam, as well as other treats like rich chocolate cake or sponge cake.
I couldn’t choose only one dessert from these European countries, they’re all amazing. But let me know what is the best dessert you have ever tried during your holiday.
Also, if you prefer savoury food, check this blog post to find five international recipes you can make at home.
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