As far as I’m concerned, you just cannot beat a good stew. Not only can it taste insanely good, if done right, but it’s filling and comforting. All in all, it’s basically the perfect meal. Thankfully, many countries seem to agree with that conclusion so when I’m out and about in a new place, looking for traditional eats, I can always justify a stew.
1. England – Steak and Ale Pie
I’m starting with a home favourite of mine- steak and ale stew- which tastes at its best when it’s in a pie, because then you get pastry too. It’s rich and delicious and should preferably be served with some fat chunky chips, for you to dunk in, or some creamy mash to mix up into the sauce. Yum.
2. Ireland – Steak and Guinness Stew
Everyone knows that Dublin means Guinness – so much so that it’s not just a drink, it’s in the food too. If you don’t like the stuff then fear not, I dislike it too but I still love a good beef and Guinness stew. I have to admit, the one I actually had in Dublin wasn’t the best one I’ve had. It did have a nice flavour and lots of chunky, nicely cooked meat but the one I had at home was far richer and more gravy ridden. Having said that, I’m sure if I had the chance to sample more around the city, I would have been able to hit the jackpot.
3. Czech Republic – Beef Goulash and Dumplings
Whenever I’m in a new place, trying the local cuisine is one of the highest things on my to do list. To my delight, in Prague, one of those delicacies was beef goulash with bread dumplings. Admittedly, I wasn’t a massive fan of the dumplings on their own but my meal was so lovely and soupy that they were actually the perfect accompaniment so that I could mop up every drop of that sauce.
4. Germany – Beef Goulash
The Czech Republic isn’t the only place where you can find a good beef goulash. On my last trip to Berlin, I stopped by a Bavarian restaurant. Apart from wurst, I would have struggled to tell you what German food consisted of so I was very, very happy to see goulash was on the menu. And boy was it good. In this case, it was made with beer and served with Swabian egg noodles – no, I don’t know what they are either. Even now that I’ve had them. They weren’t nearly as good as mash potato or chips but the goulash itself more than made up for that.
5. Belgium – Carbonades Flamandes
Like I just said, trying the local cuisine was a must. I had no idea what that consisted of in Belgium (apart from chocolate) until I sat down at a restaurant in Brussels and looked at the menu. It could really have been anything but thankfully I spotted Carbonades Flamandes – Flemish beef and beer stew – and I eagerly ordered. It did not disappoint at all. It was rich and very saucy and came with a side of chips. If you need a reason to visit Brussels, that should probably be it.
6. Norway – Viltgryte
In Norway, local cuisine once again meant stew. On this occasion, however, it was not beef. After a bit of a restaurant search online, I soon realised that a local delicacy in Oslo is reindeer (sorry Rudolph). The Flatmate and I found a place that served it and the most price efficient way of sampling reindeer was in a stew – alongside some moose. I have no idea which meat was which. One fell apart in my mouth, whilst the other was tougher with a stronger flavour. Some chunks of meat fell in between those two descriptions and some tasted exactly like venison- probably the reindeer I would imagine. My came alongside some very creamy mash (the stew was so saucy I really needed more) and lingonberries- a great combination.