European cuisine

"Western cuisine" redirects here. For the American West, see cuisine of the Western United States.
French bread
Italian pasta

European cuisine, or alternatively Western cuisine, is a generalised term collectively referring to the cuisines of Europe[1] and other Western countries,[2] including (depending on the definition) that of Russia,[2] as well as non-indigenous cuisines of Australasia, the Americas, Southern Africa, and Oceania, which derive substantial influence from European settlers in those regions. The term is used by East Asians to contrast with Asian styles of cooking.[3] (This is analogous to Westerners' referring collectively to the cuisines of East Asian countries as Asian cuisine.) When used by Westerners, the term may sometimes refer more specifically to cuisine in Europe; in this context, a synonym is Continental cuisine, especially in British English.

Grilled steak

The cuisines of Western countries are diverse by themselves, although there are common characteristics that distinguish Western cooking from cuisines of Asian countries[4] and others. Compared with traditional cooking of Asian countries, for example, meat is more prominent and substantial in serving-size.[5] Steak and cutlet in particular are common dishes across the West. Western cuisines also put substantial emphasis on grape wine and on sauces as condiments, seasonings, or accompaniments (in part due to the difficulty of seasonings penetrating the often larger pieces of meat used in Western cooking). Many dairy products are utilised in the cooking process, except in nouvelle cuisine.[6] Cheeses are produced in hundreds of different varieties, and fermented milk products are also available in a wide selection. Wheat-flour bread has long been the most common source of starch in this cuisine, along with pasta, dumplings and pastries, although the potato has become a major starch plant in the diet of Europeans and their diaspora since the European colonisation of the Americas. Maize is much less common in most European diets than it is in the Americas; however corn meal (polenta or mămăligă), is a major part of the cuisine of Italy and the Balkans. Although flatbreads (especially with toppings such as pizza or tarte flambée), and rice are eaten in Europe, they do not constitute an ever-present staple. Salads (cold dishes with uncooked or cooked vegetables with sauce) are an integral part of European cuisine.

Formal European dinners are served in distinct courses. European presentation evolved from service à la française, or bringing multiple dishes to the table at once, into service à la russe, where dishes are presented sequentially. Usually, cold, hot and savoury, and sweet dishes are served strictly separately in this order, as hors d'oeuvre (appetizer) or soup, as entrée and main course, and as dessert. Dishes that are both sweet and savoury were common earlier in ancient Roman cuisine, but are today uncommon, with sweet dishes being served only as dessert. A service where the guests are free to take food by themselves is termed a buffet, and is usually restricted to parties or holidays. Nevertheless, guests are expected to follow the same pattern.

Historically, European cuisine has been developed in the European royal and noble courts. European nobility was usually arms-bearing and lived in separate manors in the countryside. The knife was the primary eating implement (cutlery), and eating steaks and other foods that require cutting followed. In contrast in the Sinosphere, the ruling class were the court officials, who had their food cut ready to eat in the kitchen, to be eaten with chopsticks. The knife was supplanted by the spoon for soups, while the fork was introduced later in the early modern period, ca. 16th century. Today, eating dinner by hand (without cutlery) is no longer considered acceptable.

Central European cuisines


All of these countries have their specialities. Austria is famous for their Wiener Schnitzel - a breaded veal cutlet served with gravy, the Czech Republic for their world renowned beers. Germany for their world famous wursts, Hungary for their goulash. Slovakia is famous for their gnocchi-like Halusky pasta. Slovenia for their German and Italian influenced cuisine, Poland for their world famous Pierogis which are a cross between a Ravioli and an Empanada. Liechtenstein and German speaking Switzerland are famous for their Rösti and French speaking Switzerland for their Raclettes.

Austrian Wiener Schnitzel 
Slovenian žganci 
Swiss fondue 
Czech Vepřo-knedlo-zelo 
German Sauerbraten with potato dumplings 
Hungarian gulyás 
Polish pierogi 
Slovakian Skalický trdelník 

Eastern European cuisines

Armenian khorovats (shashlik) 
Azerbaijani plov 
Belarusian potato babka 
Crimean Tatar chiburekki 
Georgian chanakhi 
Russian pirozhki 
Russian Olivier salad 
Tatar azu (veal stew) 
Ukrainian borscht 

Northern European cuisines

Danish Stegt flæsk med persillesovs 
English Sunday roast 
Estonian kama dessert 
Norwegian fårikål 
Scottish haggis, neeps, and tatties 
Lithuanian cepelinai 

Southern European cuisines

Main article: Mediterranean cuisine
Bulgarian Banitza 
Bosnian ćevapi 
Maltese octopus stew 
Serbian Đuveč 
Portuguese amêijoas à bulhão pato 
Italian polenta with rabbit 
Bulgarian Yogurt (Kiselo mlyako) 
Romanian and Moldovan sărmăluţe cu mămăligă 
Portuguese cozido 
Valencian paella 
Spanish tapas 
Neapolitan pizza 
Turkish baklava 

Western European cuisines

Belgian moules frites 
French magret 
French fondue savoyarde 
French quiche lorraine 
Luxembourgian Quetschentaart 

See also


  1. Culinary Cultures of Europe: Identity, Diversity and Dialogue. Council of Europe.
  2. 1 2 "European Cuisine." Accessed July 2011.
  3. Leung Man-tao (12 February 2007), "Eating and Cultural Stereotypes", Eat and Travel Weekly, no. 312, p. 76. Hong Kong|publisher=Next Media Limited
  4. Kwan Shuk-yan (1988). Selected Occidental Cookeries and Delicacies, p. 23. Hong Kong: Food Paradise Pub. Co.
  5. Lin Ch'ing (1977). First Steps to European Cooking, p. 5. Hong Kong: Wan Li Pub. Co.
  6. Kwan Shuk-yan, pg 26

Further reading

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