A Guide to Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth on a High School Summer Trip

When traveling in Europe, most people get excited by the culture, history, and architecture.  And then there are those of us who get excited for the food – especially the desserts!  Europe is known for it’s specialty sweets, from Swiss chocolate to profiteroles to Haribo gummies.  As you explore with Atlas Workshops, you may get to visit all of these regions – and enjoy the delicious perks of traveling in Europe.  In this blog, we’re going to break it down by region, and give some of our favorite picks for satisfying that pesky sweet tooth.

The U.K. – Simple and Sweet

Unlike the rest of Europe, the United Kingdom isn’t necessarily known for their cuisine.  However, they should not be overlooked in the candy department.  For starters, purple candy in the U.K. is black currant-flavored, not grape flavored.  I’m not sure what black currants taste like, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say they’re probably better than artificial grape.  Another British favorite, the Crunchie bar, is a chocolate bar with a honeycomb filling, that is said to be one of the best chocolate bars you can buy in the U.K.  Aero bars are also chocolate bars, but these are carbonated with little bubbles in them.  Speaking of chocolate, we can hardly have this discussion without mentioning England’s Cadbury chocolate company.  The Cadbury’s factory village was the inspiration for Milton Hershey when he started his own little chocolate company in Pennsylvania.  We’ll end on a non-chocolate related note, because who doesn’t love wine gums? Despite the name, they are not alcoholic, but they are made with a special kind of starch that allows them to retain more flavor than an American gummy. Neat!

Belgium – The Chocolate Purists

Belgians are so good at making chocolate, they don’t even consider normal chocolate to be chocolate! Instead, they call it ‘confectionary.’  This is alluding to the fact that other countries’ chocolate bars don’t meet Belgians standards, which means they have to include 30% cocoa – but most Belgian chocolate contains closer to 80%! This results in mind-blowing chocolatey goodness that can send endorphins racing to your brain.  Belgium’s world-famous chocolate brands, such as Godiva, Neuhaus, and Leonidas, have fierce competition from Belgium’s own craft chocolate-makers, who aspire to use only the purest ingredients and consider chocolate-making a veritable art form.

France – Bon Apetit

France is most famous for its pastries and desserts, so we’ll take a quick break from the chocolate mania.  We want to talk about Stohrers Bakery, because we figure if a bakery has been around since the 1700s, it’s probably doing something right.  They sell some of the most delectable eclairs in the country.  France has introduced the world to so many sugary recipes that it’s hard to list them all, so we’ll just try to name some of them: Creme brulee, savarin, tarte tatin, meringue, crepes, lemon souffles, profiteroles, and of course, the famous French gateau (AKA cake).  You really can’t go wrong in France.

Germany – Just Desserts

Germany has an abundance of donuts, pretzels, and pastries to choose from at bakeries around the country.  If you’re visiting Berlin, you should definitely try a pfannkuchen, a jelly-filled doughnut that is known as the city’s signature sweet.  Another must is the decadent German cheesecake, Quarkkuchen, which seriously hits the spot.  Apple strudel (or Apfelstrudel) is my personal pick, and a seasonal favorite as well.  Of course, we have to give credit to Haribo, the world’s most famous gummy company, located right in Germany. Special mention to Lebkuchen, the Oktoberfest delicacy that you’re technically not supposed to eat.  These gingerbread hearts are meant to be worn as necklaces, and come with romantic German phrases, such as “Ich liebe dich.

Italy – La Dulce Vita

Ah, La Dulce Vita.  Life in Italy is so sweet, there’s a whole movie about it!   Specifically, let’s talk candidly about gelato.  Italian gelato is one of my top three favorite foods, right after ice cream and right before frozen yoghurt.  What makes Italian gelato so good, you ask?  Well, if you want to get scientific about it, gelato has a more dense texture that’s less creamy than normal ice cream.  This is because gelato has less air churned into it during the freezing process.  It’s also stored at a warmer temperature than it’s American cousin.  Gelato might lack the buttery fullness of ice cream, but some say this makes the flavor even more intense – intensely delicious!

Denmark – A Pastry Lover’s Paradise

Danish pastries are some of the best pastries in the world.  They are defined as being ‘multi-layered, laminated, sweet pastries’ that are creating by rolling lots of butter between the layers of dough.  The result is delicate, flaky paradise.  Some Danish pastries are topped with chocolate, icing, nuts, jams or fruits. No matter how you take your pastry, it’s sure to impress! Karamelrand is another great Danish dessert – a cream an egg custard served with rich caramel sauce. Yum!

Switzerland – #1 Chocolate Fan

Of course, we saved the best for last.  Switzerland is known as the chocolate capital of Europe, and with good reason.  Swiss chocolate is one of Switzerland’s main exports, after swiss watches and swiss cheese, of course!  One of our absolute favorite Swiss chocolates is Nestle’s Cailler chocolate, which only recently began to be imported to the U.S.  Cailler chocolate has strong Swiss heritage, and is the oldest chocolate brand in existence.  Swiss confectioner Robert Lindt is another name to know in the chocolate world, his Lindt bars are easily some of the world’s best.  Make sure to grab a few if you find yourself in Switzerland!

Hopefully, this guide has been educational as you ponder where to spend your time on your big European adventure!  Check out the trips we’re offering in Europe this summer right here!

UncategorizedAdam White