Which Country Has The Best Food?

France, Norway, Bavaria/Austria, Italy or Peru: See the Rankings

Author: The Traveling Professor/Tuesday, February 2, 2016/Categories: General Travel

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Here are The Traveling Professor's rankings for Peru, Norway, France, Italy and Germany/Austria.

#5: Norway:  The best of Norway food lies in the stews and smörgåsbords.   On our small group tours to Norway we stay two nights at the base of the Sogneford.  There we have a traditional  smörgåsbord that has all types of food including pickled herring, whole grain breads, super-fresh salmon, salads and vegetables.  Breakfasts have rich dairy products including skyr, a mild yogurt-type product.  I love Norwegian food!  People often disregard street food in Scandinavia but Norwegians (and Icelanders) love their pølse (hot dogs).  They are quite delicious.   By the way, cocktails are enjoyed here especially good quality whiskey and scotch.

#4: Italy:  By far, Italy is the simplest in terms of food.  Pasta and pizza are great crowd-pleasers.  Seafoods, as well as meats,are simply prepared.  Beef, florentine style comes to mind.   For some people, dishes like tripe can be a little difficult to handle but all in all, Italian menus are the most consistent on any of The Traveling Professor's small group tours.   We love eating at fattorias (family run restaurants producing their own foods) like La Tagliata on the Amalfi Coast.   I particularly love the simple and inexpensive food in my favorite Italian city, Padua, because of its authenticity.

#3: France (Paris):  Of course, Paris is known as the food capital of the world.   It is so diversified and different than what we find in North America.  We find that Americans can take some time to get used to the different herbs and creams used on French food.  Dishes like steak tartare (served uncooked, of course), tête de veau (calf's head), escargot (snails) can be a little hard to get used to.  Preparation can be challenging for visitors too.  For instance, it is very, very difficult to get a French chef to prepare a steak that comes close to what we call "medium".   I always encourage travelers to try unfamiliar but delicious desserts like isle flotant (merengue in custard).

#2: Peru:  This South American destination probably has the most under-rated food in the world.  We find travelers on our small group tours to Peru expect to find something like Mexican food, but it is nothing like that.  Peru is the epicenter of creative cuisine.   Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado (steak frites, Peruvian style), ceviche (fish "cooked" in citrus with a vegetables like onions and corn), aji de gallina (creamy chicken) are full of flavor and diversity.   Some might find it hard to deal with cuy (guinea pig) or beef hearts.   However, the multitude of flaky fresh fish, especially those from the Amazon are new and welcome to travelers.  Peruvian restaurants and presentation is as sophisticated as those found in any restaurant in the world.  Plus, the price is right.

#1:  Germany/Austria:  This is The Traveling Professor's favorite from top to bottom.   By that, I mean the appetizers, main courses, and desserts PLUS street foods all rate high.  On just about any street corner in large cities like Vienna, Salzburg, Nuremberg or Munich, grab a sausage for a quick bite.   In restaurants there is a wide variety.  I like to get my sausage fix right away with wursts (sausages) and sauerkraut.  From there I will move on to sauerbraten (a pickled roast with braised cabbage and dumplings) or maybe a schnitzel (usually veal of pork, breaded and served with lemon).  Finishing any meal off with apple strudel is a joy.    Let's not forget to mention the beers and bretzels (pretzels).   There are lots of options for vegetarians too.  On a recent trip we found rich and satisfying salads, noodle dishes, veggies and more.

Tip:   Menus written in foreign languages can be difficult to translate.  I highly recommend purchasing any of the "Eating and Drinking" series of books from my friend, Andy Herbach.   Not only are there good restaurant recommendations in each book, there is a "menu reader" that is a great help in deciphering what is on the menu.  Get the Paris (and any other version) here:  Eating & Drinking in Paris: French Menu Translator & Restaurant Guide (Eating & Drinking on the Open Road!)

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