My Favorite European Pork Dishes
Let’s not sugar-coat this one. We’ve all been there. That moment of pure unadulterated lust, where you find yourself wanting it, needing it… you become hot, sweaty and completely consumed in the thought of it. And then it happens; a giant, plump, juicy wiener is in front of your mouth and you annihilate that sucker.
Yes, I’m talking about pork, baby!
In my opinion, there is nothin’ better in the world of food than a good piece of tasty pork. Scratch that; there IS something better, and that’s a tasty piece of pork in an international country, preferably served on the side of a street or food market. I’ve had my share of European pork, and here are just a few that I feasted on during a recent trip to Germany, the Czech Republic and Spain that I find drool worthy enough to share.
The highlight of my stay in Berlin was the pork knuckles. At first, I had asked the girl behind the reception counter at the Citystay hostel where I could find a good pork knuckle. Her response was “What? Pork? What is that?” Astonished and offended that pork isn’t a universal word (as it should be), I picked up my jaw from the floor, and set off on the quest to satisfy my needs. Luckily, I found this restaurant steps away from my accommodation, and happiness overcame me at the thought of not having to overexert myself in order to nourish my never-ending appetite. I’m all about excellent food within walking distance. Who needs to break a sweat finding good eats? Not me. The knuckle was seasoned to perfection and served with flawlessly pickled sauerkraut and of course… some good ol’ German beers.
Pork Neck Stew
Quite possibly one of my favorite pork dishes to date, this heaven-sent ditty was found in Prague. I had mixed expectations on all things food in Prague; everything I had read said good food was either a hit or a miss, and that no crazy culinary explosions had hit the city. Well, I have absolutely no idea what the hell these writers are talking about! The people in the Czech Republic know what’s up, and they don’t mess around. Leeks, pork, potatoes, pork, heavy cream and more pork… so good I just want to roll around naked in the giant cast iron pot it’s served in… If I’m ever on death row, I will ask for this stew as my final meal.
Another amazing find from the porktastic restaurants in Prague: bacon dumplings served with sauerkraut and chunks of perfectly salty, fatty bacon. I asked how they are made, and the waiter told me “We take little pieces of heaven, sprinkle in some rainbows and load those babies up with pork.” Ok, that’s not really what happened. I Googled it, and that’s the answer that popped up. Well, not really. I lied about that too…but I assume that would be the answer I would have gotten if I had indeed asked.
Pork Loin with Bread Dumplings
Yep. Another Prague pork dish. I need to find myself a sexy Czech dude that can cook and take up residency in this glorious country. This was my first encounter with the spongy, dense bread dumplings. This was the moment I fell in love with Prague. This was also the moment I fell into a food coma, desperately yearning to give birth to the ever-growing food baby inside of me. All bowel commentary aside, this skillfully superb plate of utopia haunts my dreams in the most delectable way imaginable.
Potatoes with Bacon and Onions
Okay, Okay… my last Prague post. In the Old Town Square ” Staroměstské náměstí,” there’s a whole bunch of super yummy food vendors who set-up shop right there on the street. If I could live illegally in one place without being arrested, I would grab a sleeping bag and stay in this square. Running water and amenities are not necessary when stuff like this is within reach. These potatoes are cooked in a ginormous skillet, and I mean GINORMOUS (it makes for the perfect photo-op!), and the best part, aside from the bacon, is eating it on the side-walk with a black beer while people watching. The backdrop looks like something out of a movie and the food is simply paradisiacal….
La Boqueria: Barcelona’s Famous Food Market
Holy moly!! This place is EuroPork Headquarters! I was tempted to bring one of these babies on my flight home as my carry-on as a souvenir for myself (no, I will not share!). Aside from not knowing if British Airways would appreciate such a gesture, it is also sadly illegal to bring back into America. I once tried bringing some Spanish sausages back and had them confiscated in customs. Take my arm, my eyes, my unborn children, but do not take my sausages. I spent two hours here the first day in Barcelona, and then after a few hours had passed, I went back for a second feast. This became a daily occurence during my visit, which was extremely convenient as I was staying at the Sound Hostel a few blocks away.
Iberico Chorizo on a Stick!
I almost died and went to heaven when I came across these in La Boqueria. I mean, meat on a frickin’ stick is right up my alley. I like to be able to walk around, take in my surroundings and not have to worry about food dripping on myself… enter these beauties. Iberico products are native to Spain, and the costs are generally higher than other pork due to the small batches made. Talk about a bargain buy at 2€!!! Fly to Barcelona, go to La Boqueria, scour the endless rows of food vendors and eat
one two three as many as you can.
I once thought the best thing about Madrid was Cristiano Ronaldo. Now I know the best thing about Madrid would be Ronaldo covered in sliced chorizo. The Museo del Jamón, or the Ham Museum, should take the title from Disneyland as the “happiest place on earth.” There’s a few of them throughout the city, and in the three days I was there, I ate here five times. The restaurant is comprised out of a tapas bar that is off the hook, popping at all hours with locals and tourists, and a sit-down restaurant. The place is literally packed and the smell is phenomenal. I had originally ordered this dish as an appetizer to share with my friend, but ended up eating most of it myself.
Prosciutto and Melon
By now, you probably see a theme. I find a city/restaurant with great food, and I stuff my face with it. So it’s no surprise that this is also from the Museo del Jamón. Usually prosciutto and melon is served around little melon balls on toothpicks, but Madrid natives aren’t having that. Nope, they give you TWO giant wedges of perfectly ripe, sweet honeydew and smother it with thinly sliced prosciutto. I had this for breakfast, twice. It’s everything I would’ve asked for and more.
After I devoured my melon in the picture above, I ate these…. the amount of bacon immensely outweighs the portion of ‘shrooms. Bacon fat drips from the bottom and dribbles down your face when you bite into one. You can literally feel your arteries clogging when you swallow each bite. Very rarely does bacon win, but in this case, I couldn’t finish the plate. The white flag was waved and the bacon prevailed as I waddled my defeated buns out of the restaurant.
The staggering amount of luscious pork related dishes served in Europe are a must to partake in. Now that you’ve dipped your toes in the pork pool, jump in and try it yourself! And during your search, if at any time you can’t find the perfect pork dish, remember: there’s always bacon flavored chips in Europe!
What are your favorite pork dishes? Something I need to seek out and try?… Let me know!
I was hoping you were talking about bacon. And, yep, sure enough, you were. Those bacon-stuffed mushrooms intrigue me the most of the above dishes… I’ll have to try and recreate them at home.
I’ve long wanted to visit Praha… and it sounds absolutely delicious:)
The mushrooms were amazing! They were completely soaked in bacon fat, and not a single space was left inside the giant caps to even fit another morsel of bacon! When you make it to Praha, send me a pic of pork 🙂