A Sweet Journey Around Europe


Who doesn’t like a sweet treat, right?

Well, we certainly do! And we’ve travelled around the continent to bring you the TOP 10 sweet spots!

Trifle, England

The traditional English dessert, trifle. (Photo © Lilechka75)

One of the oldest British desserts dating back to the 1500s, the trifle consists of a layer of sponge cake soaked in sherry, fruit, and custard. While not a regular menu item in pubs and restaurants, it is a much-loved traditional dessert mostly made and enjoyed at home. However, you can easily sample trifles sold at major supermarkets around the nation.

Exploring around England is best with a BritRail Pass.

Macaron, France

Assorted macarons

While macarons have been produced in Venetian monasteries since the 8th century, it was only in the 1830s that they gained popularity around France when the traditional macaron cookies were served with jam, spices and liqueurs. Widely available throughout the country, several French cities hold long storied histories with the macaron. There is even a macaron museum in Montmorillon!

The most efficient way to get from London to Paris is via a 2h20m high-speed train ride on the Eurostar.

Pastel de Nata, Portugal

Pasteis de nata are traditional Portuguese cuisine egg tarts with a creamy filling.
(Photo ©  minemero)

Widely known as the Portuguese Tart and one of the country’s oldest and most famous desserts, these eggy delights were originally created by Catholic monks at the Jerónimos Monastery before the 18th century. In 1834, when the monastery closed, the recipe was sold to a sugar refinery, whose owners went on to open the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. Still standing today, the bakery’s famous Pastéis de Belém is made from the original pastel de nata secret recipe of the monks.

Travelling from France to Portugal can be done easily with a Eurail Global Pass.

Turrón, Spain

Turron (Photo ©  Juanmonimo)

There is no doubt churros is well-known and well-loved all over the world, but one of Spain’s equally popular sweet treats is the turrón, which dates back to the 15th century. Made with the same ingredients used by the Moors in Jijona, which are typically honey, egg whites, sugar and nuts, Jijona remains the turrón capital of the world, followed by Alicante. Turrones produced in these two cities receive the “origin-of-quality” seal.

Exploring Spain is convenient with a Spain Pass, or if you’re coming in from France, hop on the France-Spain High Speed service.

Tiramisu, Italy

A classic Tiramisu (Photo © the Italian Tourist Board)

A popular dessert item on many menus around the world, the tiramisu cake is claimed to have been created in the 1960s in the region of Veneto, by confectioner and restaurateur Roberto Linguanotto. While the traditional version of the tiramisu is made with finger biscuits, egg yolks, sugar, coffee, mascarpone cheese and cocoa powder, modern variations include the use of egg whites, liquor and fruit.

Foodies can embark on a culinary tour around Italy with an Italy Pass.

Aargauer Rüeblitorte, Switzerland

Switzerland’s carrot cake, the Aargauer Rüeblitorte (Photo © anouchka)

Switzerland may be known for their chocolate and cheeses, and not at all for their vegetables, but the Aargauer Rüeblitorte is one vegetable-based cake that is highly popular among the Swiss, especially for birthdays. While there are disputes on the origins of the carrot cake, this Swiss version can be traced back to the 19th century, where the recipe was shared in the housekeeping school of Kaiseraugst in the Canton of Aargau.

A culinary trip around Switzerland is best done with the Swiss Travel Pass, where holders have unlimited access to the country’s public trains, boat and buses.

Sacher Torte, Austria

The Sacher Torte at Cafe Sacher (Photo © Hotel Sacher)

There is chocolate cake, and then there is the sacher torte, created by a 16yo Franz Sacher in 1932 for Prince Wenzel von Metternich. One of the most famous Viennese culinary specialities today with its own national day (5 December), the original sacher torte consists of two layers of apricot jam between the outer layer of chocolate icing and the sponge base.

Heading from Switzerland over to Austria is easy with a Eurail Global Pass.

Ovocné Knedlíky, Czech Republic

Sweet Dumplings (Photo © Czech Tourism)

Dumplings are very much a part of the Czech diet and they come in both savoury and sweet, so there is no getting away from these bite sized treats. The popular sweet fruit dumplings (or ovocné knedlíky) are usually filled with jam or fruits and served with warm chocolate or sweet cottage cheese or both.

Head over to the Czech Republic from Austria with the Eurail Global Pass.

Black Forest Cake, Germany

A slice of the classic Black Forest Cake (Photo © German National Tourist Board)

Created by Josef Keller in 1915, this crowd pleaser consists of layers of chocolate sponge cake, cherries and whipped cream. Not named after the Black Forest region of Germany, but rather from the specialty liquor of that region (Schwarzwälder kirsch distilled from tart cherries), which gives the cake its flavour, the cake became world famous in 1949 after it came in 13th place as one of the best known German cakes.

Reach the Black Forest region from anywhere in Germany using a German Rail Pass.

Belgian Waffles, Belgium

Belgian waffles with fresh berries

While chocolate takes first place as Belgium’s top sweet export, their waffles are the pièce de résistance of their sweet offerings. Popular varieties include the Liege waffle and the Brussels waffle. While the Liege waffle is denser, chewier and sweeter, the Brussels waffle is lighter, crispier and comes in a triangular shape. Both types are widely sold at street stands, cafes and restaurants around the country.

Use your Benelux Pass to travel around Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.

So now, where will you start your sweet European journey?

For more inspiration, head to www.raileurope-world.com

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Avatar Sandra Turnbull says:

    Really enjoyed this post with all the beautiful desserts. I was, however, hoping you were going to show me a 10 destination rail trip through Europe. I know I can do just that, but was hoping someone had already put one together! Great inspiration here, though….

    1. Lyn Tan Lyn Tan says:

      Hi Sandra, we are happy to hear you enjoyed this read. And great idea, we’ve added your suggestion to our list of topics. Happy travels 🙂

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