Every now and then, new food terminologies crop up from no where, for instance, continental cuisine.
What does this even mean? And what foods can be categorized as one?
In this article, we’ll break down this complicated term for you and explore some of the most popular cuisines out there that fall under its umbrella.
First, let’s learn the relationship between pizza and continental cuisine.
Here’s why pizza is a continental food
Continental cuisines are cuisines with origins from mainland Europe. Pizza is a continental cuisine because it originated from Italy which is a country geographically situated in mainland Europe. Some other examples of continental dishes include cheese fondue, haggis and sausages.
What is a continental food?
A continental food or cuisine by definition is any food that originates from the western part of continental Europe.
So we’re talking about foods that are native to the 9 countries that make up western mainland Europe which are:
The definition above isn’t entirely strict however, as it’s a view held by a certain population of people.
A good population as well, consider continental cuisine to be any cuisine of European origins.
Such a definition would easily incorporate dishes that made their way into other countries through European colonists and settlers, and a typical example would be the ever famous pizza and hot dog of the United States.
Why pizza may or may not be a continental cuisine
Going by the first definition, It’s pretty clear why pizza may not be a continental cuisine. It’s because the home of Pizza which is Naples, Italy, is not a member of Western Europe.
If we are going by the second definition which defines continental cuisine as any cuisine that originates from Europe, then clearly and easily, a pizza would be a continental cuisine.
So depending on what position you take pizza may or may not be a continental cuisine.
What are examples of continental food?
We have established that continental cuisines are cuisines that originated from a sub niche in Europe or from mainland Europe itself.
So what are the characteristics of foods of this origin? What are the characteristics of European cuisines?
Continental cuisines are clearly marked by abundance of meat cuts, flour baked goods, sauces and soups to accompany dishes, dairy products and starches like potatoes.
One interesting thing about European cuisine too is that food is served in multiple dishes at once or sequentially: from cold to hot and then savoury and sweet dishes.
The latter is called “service in the French style” in which a variety of dishes are presented on the table and the diners are required to serve themselves from whatever has been presented on the table.
The opposite to this serving technique is the sequential serving, which basically means “service in the Russian style”, where meals or dishes are brought onto the table sequentially and are served individually.
Below are the most popular European cuisines out there.
So pizza being the main topic of this discussion has to make it to this wonderful list.
Pizza is of Italian origin, or is expected to be of Italian origin and is basically a wheat dough slapped with ingredients such a sliced veggies, cheese, onions, garlic, sausage, meat etc., and then baked in the oven at a very high temperature (500°F).
There are different varieties and styles for making pizza (i.e pizza capricciosa, Clam pie Hawaiian pizza etc.), and one interesting thing you should know is the way Italians, who are the originators of pizza, eat this wonderful cuisine in restaurants.
So in Italy, pizza is served uncut and the customers are expected to use a fork and knife to eat the pizza.
Waffles are another invention of European origins, specifically, France and Belgium, even though there is no conclusive evidence to suggest they originated from there.
Waffles are basically baked commodities that are sandwiched between griddle irons that imprint a characteristic detailing on the good after it bakes.
There are various recipes for making waffles and these have exploded into the national realm to some extent, as you can now find the American waffle, the Belgian waffle, the Hong Kong waffle, and even the French waffle. Waffles can also be distinguished based on the type of waffle iron used.
The cheese fondue originated from Switzerland and it is a cuisine made by melting cheese and mixing it with seasoning and beef. It is served hot and accompanied with bread.
Haggis is purely an animal meal. It is made entirely from animal parts which is why it is said so.
Haggis has a “stomach” casing (from sheep or other animals) holding the minced pluck such as heart, lungs, liver, etc. mixed with stock, seasoning and oatmeal and then cooked.
It is a dish that is claimed to have originated from Scotland and it is considered to be a pudding.
The pierogi is a dish that harmonises the boiling and frying technique of cooking. So you have dough filled with fillings such as sweet or savoury mixes, and then boiled and pan fried before serving.
Pierogi is historically considered to be of Asian origins, but the modern version that we cook today, is speculated to have originated from Europe, particularly the central, eastern and south eastern Europe.
Cepavi is a minced meat dish. It is of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina origins and can be made from a variety of meat from lamb, beef to even veal.
The minced meat is basically mixed with seasoning and formed into shape and then grilled over medium to high heat. It is served with vegetables like tomatoes, cream and pastry.
Pastel de Nata
Pastel de Nata is a portugal dessert made using egg yolks, flour, custard tart and egg tart. It could also have other ingredients depending on the variety in question.
The dish is typically soft, fresh from the oven with a soft sprinkle of cinnamon and strong espresso coffee.
Goulash is a meal from Central Europe, particularly Hungary. It is a soup that consists of meat, vegetables, potato (or pasta or noodles or kidney beans) that is well seasoned and spiced.
Goulash is considered one of the national dishes of Hungary.
Paella is from the Spanish cuisine and is expected to have originated from Valencia.
It is a short grain rice dish stuffed with veggies like beans and meat like chicken and made yellow with the aid of saffron or turmeric.