Western European food refers to the dishes prepared and eaten in the countries of Western Europe although the term can loosely encompass the entire European cuisine including those of America and Oceania. However, strict nomenclature restricts the Western European food to the countries of France, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands and Austria with Parisian cuisine being acclaimed all over the world.
The Asians refer to the cuisine as Western European food which deviates sharply from the dishes eaten in Asia and Africa. Although the food varies from country to country, it has certain common factors namely the use of meat and dairy products in almost all the dishes. The serving portions are substantially more than that of the other regions in the world.
History and Cultural Influences on Western European Cuisine
The use of herbs was popularized in Medieval Europe with thyme, peony seeds and garlic being used in almost all dishes. The West Europeans preferred to eat their food in their natural state without cooking it extensively.
Sugar, citrus fruits like the lemon and corn were brought back to Western Europe by the Crusaders and the Mid Eastern influences began to spread with the advent of the Jews. Eating of fish became a common Western European food in the coastal areas.
Types of Western European Cuisine
· French - It is regarded as the base for all culinary school education and Western cookery boards.
· Swiss - Famous for its confectionary section and use of cheese.
· German –Well known for its meat based dishes.
· Nouvelle Cuisine- A newer approach to the French style of cooking, it includes lighter dishes with elaborate presentations.
· Cuisine classique- The primary culinary practice across Europe in the early part of the 20th century.
Western European food: Trivia
Nuremburg in Germany is known for its Gingerbread, a traditional festive Western European food