During the long and cold winter, many of us like to try to keep warm around the fire and chase away the doldrums with a little comfort food. What is comfort food? Simply put, it is a dish that warms the heart and brings good feelings. Sometimes it’s associated with childhood or home cooking – food that “Mom used to make” often features high on most people’s comfort food lists. It is also usually high in sugar or carbohydrates to provide that extra boost to your mood whenever you’re feeling a little low. And while everyone’s favorite comfort dish may be highly personal, it can also provide a window into culture – specifically, by exploring and trying the dishes that people in other countries consider comforting. Winter in Europe can be tough depending on the location, but Europeans chase away the winter doldrums with some of the best comfort dishes in the world.
French Onion Soup
Soups and stews make for excellent winter comfort food options, and France has one of the best out there in its French Onion Soup. You can find this tasty treat at just about every hut in the Alps when out on a skiing excursion, but this dish has also crossed over to the mainstream in a big way and you can find it at restaurants around the world. The key to this dish is the onions, which need to be caramelized thoroughly, and the crusty layer of cheese on top.
Potatoes also feature prominently in European comfort dishes and this one, from the Lombardy region in northern Italy, is quite unique. Gnocchi is made by combining flour with mashed potatoes – and sometimes other special ingredients, too. Italian grandmothers have been passing their gnocchi recipes down for generations – in fact, gnocchi has been a regular dish in northern Italy since Roman times. Usually served with melted butter and sage, but it can also be served with various other sauces including a regular tomato sauce.
Sauerkraut is already well-known in America as a winter food owing to its association with New Year’s celebrations in German communities. In the motherland, Germans will often take sauerkraut and make a warming soup out of it! The soup usually also has smoked sausage to add a little meat to the mix. Served with whole grain rye bread, it is a quintessential German winter meal that will warm your spirits when the temperatures outside chill your bones.
Explore the World with AESU!
Are you ready to plan an adventure of a lifetime? AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
Experience an exhilarating adventure in 2022 on the Cosmopolitan, Great Escape, Greek Island Hopper tour, and more! 2022 tour dates are now available! If you have any questions or want help booking your next adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website. Follow AESU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.