Eating Our Way Through Europe

We love wandering around Europe, particularly the regions less visited. So the past few years we’ve focused on traveling throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, and the Balkans.

We take delight in the wine, goats, bunkers, lavender, fortresses, lace, folk dance, and … the food!

From Chicken Kiev in Ukraine to ostrich eggs in Estonia, Oscypek and Bigos in Poland, Bryndzové Halušky and Kotlíkový Guláš in Slovakia, and Cevapcici in Bosnia – we’ve enjoyed them all!

Now we’re ready to sample some new Balkan dishes. Next we’ll tell you what delicacies we’re longing to taste.

What about you? Do you have some favorite European dishes?

Terri & James



We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

77 thoughts

    1. I’m with you, Alison. Anything with cherry in it has my name all over it! When we tried it in Kyiv it took me back to my childhood memories of cherry trees and my Mom’s cherry pie. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Us too, Kelsey. We’re really looking forward to the Balkan cuisine. Last time we were there we had some wonderful fall apples. So glad you stopped by. 🙂 All the best, Terri

  1. Oh drool!! I have massive sweet tooth and a soft spot for macaroons! It was way too much indulgence when I was in Paris. Ostrich eggs sound exotic and I’d love to try! I’ve had Ostrich steak and it’s super juicy and tender.

    1. Jeff, we learned that the Chicken Kiev is truly delicious – you just have to be prepared for the squirt of melted butter that shoots out when you cut into it. Great way to ruin a good shirt. And thanks to you we have embraced your concept of the “Bell Bar” so that beer fits right in! 🙂 ~Terri

    1. I love your menu, Amit. We should have lots of opportunities to sample many versions of borscht. You had my mouth watering at the mention of millefeuille, so I checked to see what the Balkan version is. Evidently they call it “Kremšnita” and it sounds wonderful.

      And it appears that Belgrade, Serbia is a great place to sample wienerschnitzel. Now it’s on our list. Thanks for the inspiration. ~Terri

    1. Oh yes, Andrew! Give me a gyro and Greek salad any day. Since Balkan food is heavily influenced by Mediterranean cooking, we should be able to get our fix – particularly in Macedonia I’m betting. Did you run into Greek food in Montenegro? ~Terri

    1. Too funny about the muffin top, Yvonne … and so true! 🙂 I had to look up holopchi (cabbage rolls) and I’m definitely looking forward to giving them a try. Thanks so much for the suggestion. ~Terri

  2. I have not yet visited Eastern Europe, but looking at these yummy delights I think I am going to love it there. Enjoying the local food is a big part of why I love travelling. Thanks for these visual feast!

  3. I love borscht, but unfortunately Steve doesn’t. I used to make it once or twice a year, but it isn’t really something you can make for just one and eating it for several days in a row is too much. Funny, I almost never think to photograph meals when I travel.

    1. Laura, I love borscht, too, but James – not so much. He says he’s willing to give it another try. I’ve never made borsht – do you have a favorite recipe? And as for the photographing food – we almost always forget because we’re too busy digging in! 🙂 ~Terri

  4. Even after living there for 4 years, Balkan food is not my favorite – but I recall one beautiful meal in Macedonia – long stuffed peppers, beautiful spices. Pohanji Sir or something like that. Look forward to your travels – and always, always, pics and tales of FOOD! Bon voyage!

    1. That’s right, Tricia, you were living in Former Yugoslavia during trying times – to say the least. I can understand that Balkan food may not be at the top of your list. The meal you described in Macedonia sounds wonderful. I did some research on the stuffed peppers you described, and the closest match I could find was this enticing article in Saveur. Do these look like what you remember? ~Terri

      1. Oh yes! You are brilliant! I’ve tried to recreate them before (you know how disappointing that can be since our memories are about more than just the taste) but this recipe looks promising! Thanks!

    1. Angharad, we also fell in love with Borek when we were in Sarajevo – it became our go-to comfort food. And from my research, there are many versions of it across the Balkans. Good news! I’m curious about the squid – how was it prepared? So glad you stopped by. ~Terri

      1. I really enjoy reading your blog, it always sparks reminders of my own past travels. In terms of the squid, whole adult or baby squid were really simply prepared – I think they were marinated in oil and garlic before being grilled. It was just so amazingly fresh and never at all ‘rubbery’. I think there are as many versions of borek as there are bakers – it was always different and always delicious. I could never decide if I preferred the meat or cheese variety…

      2. Thanks so much for your kind words. That squid sounds delicious and it just went on my “must try” list. Thanks. I just read that they also make a fruit version of borek – what’s not to like! ~Terri

    1. Thanks very much, Roberto. I see that you were in Wroclaw. Did you discover Bar Bazylia, that great cafeteria by the Law College? It was such a great way to sample many dishes. ~Terri

      1. Yes, I have been there in winter. It’s a beautiful city, but I was not aware of that cafeteria. I tried some restaurants around the Rynek and most of them were very good.

  5. I think I shall need breakfast immediately after this delectable food review.
    I will admit I am no foodie and eat very little meat. The food of Turkey was incredible. All of it. I’m also fond of Jeff’s suggestion of beer. 🙂 Oh and fried tomato balls in Santorini.

    1. I agree Sue -the food in Turkey is wonderful. We fell in love with simit – those tasty sesame bread rings. I think we went through withdrawal when we left. I too am pretty light on the meat – living in Sudan where animals are slaughtered regularly on just about any street corner had an impact. That’s why I’m so excited about all the great salads. What were some of your faves in Turkey? ~Terri

  6. I started thinking about foods in Eastern Europe (because all of Europe would have created wayyyy too long a list!), but I came to the conclusion that what I most loved in that part of the world was the beer! Sarajevska, Książęce, Ožujsko, Laško – those were my sustenance in a part of the world where meat ruled the menu (I’m a vegetarian)!

    1. Ahhh, a fellow beer lover. Thanks for the suggestions on some to try. Of your list I’ve only had Laško. I’m looking forward to Tursu/Torshi, the pickled vegetables of many Balkan countries. And I’ve also read about Shopska, a salad made from tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, peppers, and cheese. Have you had either of those? ~Terri

      1. I’ve had the pickled vegetables (good!), but not the salad by that name, at least to my knowledge (I could very well have eaten it!). It sounds somewhat like the typical Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta, though, so I’m sure it will be yummy. Enjoy!

  7. Kudos to you for the great shots but also remembering the names of the food you were eating! I’ve tried remembering, but that doesn’t work. Now resorting to using the Notes feature on my phone (Should have done that long ago!). Looking forward to more great culinary delights no matter where you’re traveling. You see, I can’t resist sampling the goods; your pics just help me cut the calories!

    1. Many thanks, Rusha! Some of the food names are so complicated I’ve resorted to taking a photo of them on the menu or chalkboard out front. Love the idea of using the Notes feature on your phone. I would guess that the food you sampled in Russia would also be present in parts of the Balkans. Any suggestions? ~Terri

      1. You’re right. There are probably many similarities. I’d have to look at old pics. We had a huge buffet of all Russian foods on the cruise we took, and some of the dishes were labeled. Otherwise, I would never know.

      1. Not quite back–just thought I’d put a toe into the blogging waters to check the temperature. Will pop in and out for a week or so and then “I have a ticket for an airplane…” 😉

    1. Jeannee, we were totally enthralled with the Oscypek – on first glance thinking that it was bread – only to discover that it was marvelous smoked cheese. James perfected a delicious Oscypek and salami panini. And I just saw your recipe for your Grandfather’s Belarusian Borscht – I love the addition of the pork. I’m definitely going to try his recipe when we get home. Do you have any other suggestions on foods we should try? ~Terri

  8. I was raised on borscht and varenyky (which we called perogy but it is the same thing and sooooo good) Now I am hungry and don´t know where I can find varenky here in Spain. Have fun finding new and interesting things to eat on this trip to tempt us with.

    1. Darlene, I can totally sympathize with missing foods from your childhood. I know when we moved to Sudan I went into withdrawal from many everyday US foods. When I searched for varenyky and borscht in Spain, the top suggestions were for Russian restaurants in Madrid. How far are you from there? ~Terri

      1. Thanks. I am 3 hours by train away from Madrid. Should I get there, I will check out the Russian restaurants. You never know, I may find some around Orihuela Costa as well.

  9. Fun post! Did you ever try the ‘green’ borscht? Not my favorite, but an interesting change. I agree with the other comments, Ukrainian borscht is wonderful. I celebrate winter every year by cooking up a big pot in my kitchen.

      1. The ‘zeleny borscht’ is a chervil/sorrel/spinach variation. Your post inspired me, and I am going to make some today (or perhaps the more traditional red borshch). I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    1. You totally nailed it, Anita – mixing street food with fine dining is the perfect mix. (Although I must admit we probably enjoy the street food the most! 🙂 ) You must be having some wonderful food there in Portugal – I have very fond memories of a little restaurant in Lisbon called Xele Bananas for its dishes that combined unique ingredients. Have you made any new food discoveries? ~Terri

  10. Favourite European dishes might well be the cheeses. As a lover of cheese I’m thinking at the moment of a Greek salad with Feta. Salads, too…and mushrooms. Tuna fish In a taverna in Tavira, Portugal. Duck breast in a bistro in Bordeaux. Yeah! I just like real food, well cooked, with a glass of wine to accompany it.
    Enjoy the Balkans. Long time since I was last there – in the former Jugoslavia.

    1. Hi Dorothy, it sounds like we have the same palate because everything you mentioned sounds delicious! So you were there when it was Jugoslavia – how fascinating. Tricia (commenter above) was also there at that time and remembered some long, stuffed peppers that were to-die-for. Did you have anything like that? ~Terri

    1. Naomi, it’s Sunday here in Novi Sad, Serbia, and we’re on a search for a great local beer and cevapi. It’s a wonderful local version of gyro (sort of), and makes tasty, fast food. ~James

    1. Thank you so much! Part of the food fun is researching it online to see the cuisine of each country, then going there and trying it in person! 🙂 So glad that you stopped by. All the best, Terri

    1. Hearty stews are a favorite of mine as well Marie. We discovered a couple of wonderful cabbage and sausage stews in Poland that were outstanding. I understand that they cook long, slow, and low, which makes them so tasty. ~ James

  11. Oh, there are some goodies aren’t there!

    In Hungary we can’t get enough of Langos, Szegedi Halászlé (Szeged Fish Soup) and many other dishes.

    We love the sweet Slovenian pastry that is Kremna rezina (a specialty near Bled)…

    What other delights did you guys discover?

    1. Chris, we loved the langos, but never had the fish soup. We are totally hooked on ajvar (a red pepper spread) and are questing our favorite brand – so far it’s “Mama’s” in Skopje. ~Terri

      1. Thanks for that link. Wow, looks delicious. That sounds exactly like something I would love. And cheap, too! Really interesting.

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