Capital: Paris, Currency: Euro, OfficialLanguage: French, National Dish: Pot-au-Feu
The French take their bread very seriously. The official law states that baguettes must be made on the premises where they are sold and can only contain four ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast.
France’s national dish, pot-au-feu, means “pot on the fire.” It is a hearty stew with slow cooked beef, vegetables, and spices.
Capital: Athens, Currency: Euro, Official Language: Greek, National Dish: Moussaka
In Greek mythology, ambrosia is known as the food of the gods, often accompanied by a drink of nectar. Mere mortals can enjoy sweet honey, found in Greek desserts like baklava and loukoumades (Greek donuts drenched in honey).
Long revered for its health benefits, the Mediterranean diet is known for containing an abundance of vegetables, olive oil, fish, and whole grains. The island of Crete is known for benefiting from the epitome of the Mediterranean diet, where residents enjoy a longer life span and emphasize relaxed and social mealtimes.
Capital: New Delhi, Currency: Rupee , Official Language: Hindi, English, National Dish: Tandoori Chicken
Holi is a Hindu religious festival of color that marks the beginning of spring. Holi participants throw colored powder at one another to symbolize joy and togetherness. A traditional Holi treat is thandai, a sweet milk drink with cardamom, fennel, rose petals, and poppy seeds.
Tandoori refers to a style of cooking in a tandoor oven. Tandoors are made of clay and cook food at extremely high temperatures.
Capital: Rome, Currency: Euro, Official Language: Italian, National Dish: Pasta
Italy is famous for two things: food and wine. Finding the perfect wine pairing can take a meal to the next level. For bold tomato based sauces, try a Chianti. Creamy sauces like carbonara pair well with Pinot Grigio, and spicy dishes pair beautifully with a Sangiovese.
According to legend, the traditional Marghareta pizza was named after Queen Marghareta of Savoy on a visit to Naples. The tomato sauce, mozerella, and basil represent the red, white, and green of the Italian flag.
Capital: Tokyo, Currency: Yen, Official Language: Japanese, National Dish: Sushi
Sushi has become common fare for Americans, with California and salmon rolls being the most popular. However, salmon was not considered an acceptable fish for sushi until the 1980s when the Norwegian fish industry had an excess and persuaded Japanese sushi chefs to try it. Until then, salmon was considered too bland to be eaten raw.
Sado is a Japanese tea ceremony in which the host prepares matcha, a powdered green tea, and food for guests. Special attention is given to honoring the seasons with seasonal food and décor.
Capital: Seol, Currency: Won, Official Language: Korean, National Dish: Kimchi
Kimchi is a fermented mixture of cabbage, chili paste, garlic, and fish sauce. This versatile topping adds crunchy texture and tangy flavor to rice and noodle dishes.
Similar to Japanese miso, doenjang is a staple Korean ingredient that provides delicious umami flavor. This fermented soybean paste is used in doenjang jjigae, a clear soup with tofu, potatoes, and vegetables.
Gochujang is a fermented sweet and spicy condiment added to favorite dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi. This sauce is made from chili paste, sticky rice, soybeans, and salt.
Capital: Madrid, Currency: Euro, Official Language: Spanish, National Dish: Paella
Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, with the Andalucia region ranking at the top of the world’s best olive oils. When purchasing olive oil, look for the extra virgin variety to ensure the highest quality, and a dark bottle to prevent exposure to light.
Buñol, Spain is host to the world’s largest food fight, La Tomatina. For three days each summer, participants throw overripe tomatoes at each other, all in good (and messy) fun.
Capital: Washington DC, Currency: Dollar, National Dish: Apple Pie and Hamburger
California is the #1 food and agriculture producer in the US. One important crop, garlic, is celebrated every year at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Attendees can have their fill of garlic bread, garlic popcorn, and even garlic ice cream.
The US is a melting pot of different cultures, inspiring delicious fusion cuisines. Recent trends include Southeast Asian dishes, extra spicy foods, and smoky flavors.
Capital: Lima, Currency: Nuevo sol, Official Language: Spanish, National Dish: Ceviche
Potatoes originated in Peru, and the country currently boasts over 3,500 different varieties. Wild potatoes are naturally bitter, but years of domestication have produced the tasty tubers we enjoy today.
Lúcuma, a nutritious subtropical fruit with a maple-like taste, is a popular flavor for juices, ice cream, and shakes throughout Peru.
Capital: Buenos Aires, Currency: Peso, Official Language: Spanish, National Dish: Asado, empanada
In Argentina, annual consumption of beef is around 100 pounds per capita. Beef is served in many different ways, including bife a caballo (steak topped with an egg) and milanesa (deep-fried breaded beef).
Because over half of Argentina's population can claim at least partial Italian ancestry, the food in Argentina is heavily influenced by Italy's cuisine. Milanesa Napolitana, for example, is beef covered with ham, tomato sauce, and mozzarella. Pizza, pasta, and gelato are other popular Italian-influenced elements of Argentina's cuisine.
Capital: Hanoi, Currency: Dong, Official Language: Vietnamese, National Dish: Pho, goi cuon, banh mi
Traditional Vietnamese cuisine is governed by the balance of five elements. Ideal dishes include five fundamental tastes (spicy, sour, bitter, salty, and sweet) and five colors (white, green, yellow, red, and black) and appeal to all five senses.
With minimal dairy and oils and tons of fresh vegetables and herbs, Vietnam's cuisine is one of the healthiest in the world. For example, goi cuon is a popular dish that consists of shrimp, vegetables, rice noodles, and herbs rolled in rice paper.
Capital: Brasília, Currency: Real, Official Language: Portuguese, National Dish: Feijoada
Feijoada, Brazil's hearty national dish, consists of pork or beef, rice, beans, and vegetables. A celebratory dish that's meant to be shared and enjoyed throughout the afternoon, feijoada is commonly served during weekend family gatherings.
Pizza is surprisingly popular in Brazil. In addition to the traditional Italian toppings, Brazilians add ingredients like guava cheese, banana, cinnamon, and even chocolate to their pizzas.
Capital: Lisbon, Currency: Euro, Official Language: Portuguese, National Dish: Bacalhau, frencesinha
As a result of its coastal location, Portugal's diet is heavily seafood-based. The most popular fish is bacalhau (cod), which has been a Portuguese export since the 15th century. According to the Portuguese people, there are more than 350 different ways to prepare it.
Many traditional desserts in Portugal consist primarily of egg yolks. Legend has it that nuns used egg whites to stiffen their habits, which produced an excess of yolks that then found their way into the kitchen. Names of desserts often have Catholic origins, such as barriga de freira (nun's belly) and toucinho do céu (bacon from heaven).
Capital: Berlin, Currency: Euro, Official Language: German, National Dish: Currywurst, sauerbraten, bratwurst, eisbein with sauerkraut
Bread is a huge part of daily German life, so much so that references to bread are peppered throughout the German language. The word for supper, abendbrot, translates to "evening bread" and brotzeit, a snack, translates to "bread time."
Beer in Germany is governed by the Reinheitsgebot ("German Beer Purity Law"), which dates back to 1516. The only ingredients that can be used to produce German beers are water, barley, and hops.