FRANCE. Marie Antoinette got it all wrong: who would eat cake when they could munch a macaron? Hailed as the ‘Picasso of pastry’, Pierre Hermé is the man behind what must be the prettiest macarons in Paris. His signature macaron is Isaphan, a heavenly confection of rose, raspberry and lychee. No wonder Hermé was made a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by a grateful nation.
FIND IT: Pierre Hermé, 72 rue Bonaparte, 75006, Paris, pierreherme.com
SPAIN. Make like a madrileño and enjoy sweet delicacy churros con chocolate. Piped strips of airy batter, deep fried and dipped into thick, delicious hot chocolate – what’s not to like? Churros are delicious at any time of day, whether for a decadent breakfast or after-hours pick-me-up. San Ginés has been a go-to cafe since 1894 and opens every day of the year.
FIND IT: Chocolateria San Ginés, San Ginés Passageway 5, Madrid, chocolateriasangines.com
ITALY. A UNESCO ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’, Parma is home to so many delicious foods you’ll never want to leave. Famed for eponymous products such as Parma ham and Parmesan cheese, the region is also the place to sample tortelli, a filled pasta whose three traditional fillings are each as good as each other: spinach and ricotta (erbetta), pumpkin (zucca) and potato and prosciutto (patate e prosciutto).
FIND IT: Trattoria Corrieri, Str.Conservatorio 1, 43121 Parma, trattoriacorrieri.it
GERMANY. Hearty meat dishes are typical of German cuisine – in Frankfurt look out for Frankfurter Schnitzel, made from pork or veal, served with Grüne Sosse, a herby green sauce. In Munich Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) is the go-to delicacy, slow roasted and served with potato dumplings and sauerkraut. Find a traditional tavern in which to enjoy them, washed down with beer or, in Frankfurt, Apfelwein, the local apple wine.
FIND IT: Apfelwein Wagner, Schweizer Str. 71, Frankfurt, apfelwein-wagner.com
BELGIUM. From moules frites and pommes frites to artisan beer, waffles and chocolate, you’re never far from a good meal in Brussels, the country’s culinary capital. Croquettes are the local dish to try once you’ve run through the obvious options. Toothsome parcels of pureed potato, flavoured with cheese or shrimp coated in crispy breadcrumbs, these make a delicious starter or a takeaway snack.
FIND IT: La Mer du Nord Brussels, Sainte-Catherine 45, 1000 Brussels, noordzeemerdunord.be
ENGLAND. The traditional raised pastry pie is one of England’s original street foods but becomes a work of art in the hands of Chef Calum Franklin at Holborn Dining Room. His beautiful – almost sculptural – creations can be enjoyed as a takeaway or in the brasserie’s splendid dining room. Classic flavour combinations include traditional pork, chicken, girolle and tarragon, or vegetarian variations.
FIND IT: Holborn Dining Room, 252 High Holborn EC1V 7EN, holborndiningroom.com
IRELAND. Dublin is a haven for seafood, in particular its eponymous Dublin Bay prawn – not every crustacean get its own festival but this one does, every March. The fishing village of Howth, just outside Dublin, is seafood central and home to a flotilla of seafood restaurants, such as Octopussy’s, which specialises in seafood tapas.
FIND IT: Octopussy’s, West Pier, Howth, Co. Dublin, octopussys.ie
CHINA. What could be more appealing than a dumpling? Shanghai is famous for them and its Xiaolongbao are stuffed with traditional pork, combinations of meat or crab roe and steamed in a small bamboo basket. These moreish mouthfuls are available throughout the city but Din Tai Fung is one of the most famous purveyors and their dumplings are made in front of you in the restaurant’s open kitchen.
FIND IT: Din Tai Fung, 1376 Nanjing West Road, NanJing XiLu, Jingan Qu Shanghai Shi, 200085, dintaifung.com.cn