Continental food refers to the kind of food eaten in European countries. Though foods from America, England, Australia and New Zeeland have their own distinctive features, as a whole, the food from all these countries is famous as continental food. It is also known as international cuisine.
Classification of Continental Cuisine
- British – British food is associated with the food culture of United Kingdom. British continental food is mainly distinguished with ‘full breakfast'. Ham, cheese, salami, breads, pastries, pies, hamburger, tea, coffee, butter and jam are some of the main food items served in English breakfast.
- American – American cuisine is classified into various regions: Latin American cuisine, South-American cuisine and North-American cuisine. Americans has a very diverse and rich style of cooking.
- Italian - Italian cuisine is famous for its varied kind of dishes suitable for every occasion. The most distinguished feature of Italian cuisine is that it varies from region to region. It is one of the richest cuisines of the world.
- New Zealand Food– New Zealand cuisine is also known as Oceanian cuisine and it is mainly famous for seafood.
- Armenian cuisine,Hungarian cuisine, Russian cuisine and cuisines from many other European countries come under the category of Continental cuisines.
Ingredients Commonly Used in Continental Cuisine
- Continental dishes contain less chilies and very minimal amount of spices.
- Fresh herbs are widely used in continental recipes.
- Dairy products form an important part of continental dishes.
Ham, cold meats, pies, pastries, jam and bread are some of the commonly served breakfast items in Continental cuisine.
Cooking Methods Adopted by Continental Cuisine
- Baking – This cooking method is mainly used to make cakes, pastries, pies, etc. In this process food is baked in oven with the help of dry heat.
- Grilling – Food items like chicken, fish, beef, lamb and vegetables are mostly made by this method in continental cuisine.
- Stewing – This is a process of boiling meats and vegetables with other ingredients in a slow cooker. It’s a long process but most of the continental dishes are made by stewing method.
Roasting – Roasting is a process of making roasted continental dishes. In this method meat and vegetables are roasted in an oven or grill.
Continental Recipes Popular in Foreign Culture
- Welsh cake – It is a special British cake. Welsh cake is popular in international cuisine.
- Yorkshire pudding – It is a kind of pudding mainly served in British Sunday food.
- Tiramisu – It is one of the most popular Italian desserts well-liked as continental food in global cuisine.
- Sunday Roast – A roasted meat dish served as a main dish in continental cuisines.
- Kidney Pie – It is also one of the popular vegetarian continental dishes made with kidney beans.
Egg noodles – Noodles made with egg which have a special place in Continental cuisine.
Gourmet Continental Recipes
Continental cuisine is also famous for some of the gourmet dishes that are well-liked in almost all cuisines. Some of them are:
- Black bean pizza – It is a kind of pizza made with black bean and other flavored ingredients.
- Lobster continental – Lobster is one of the main seafood items in Continental food. It is basically eaten with rice.
- Chocolate pudding with tropical fruits – It is a sweet delight offered by continental cuisine. Fresh tropical fruits add the richness to the dish.
- Virginia Roast Pork – Pork as one of the main food item in continental cuisine forms the base of many non-vegetarian continental dishes.
Baked sole fillets – Sole fillets cooked with baking method is a very popular gourmet continental dish.
Fusion Continental Food
Fusion food is gaining popularity in almost all cuisines and it is due to the diversity of culture and religions in a country. Some of the examples of fusion continental food are:
- Tex-Mex cuisine – This continental cuisine is a combination of Mexican food and food from Texas. It is also known as South-eastern cuisine. Tostadas, Fajitas and Guacamole are some of the popular Tex-Mex dishes.
Italian-American cuisine – This fusion continental cuisine is introduced by Italian migrated to America. Though the dishes are Italian, the ingredients and taste are based on American cuisine. Tiramisu, spaghetti with meatballs and eggplant parmesan are some of the well-liked continental dishes
A Complete Continental Diet Routine
- Breakfast – This is the first meal in almost all continental cuisines. Breakfast is the heaviest meal and British breakfast is the best example for this. Bread, cold meats, cheese, jam, pastries, butter, hot or cold beverage and eggs are the main continental dishes served in British breakfast.
- Lunch – Lunch is mainly served between 1 pm- 3 pm. Continental food served at lunch time in European countries are usually lighter than the breakfast. Some commonly served continental dishes in lunch are mini-sandwiches, turkey rolls, sautéed veggies, assorted herbed cheese cubes and Caribbean chicken. Salads and breads are also served as side dishes. Continental dishes served in dessert are fresh fruit skewers, creamy pie with fruits or cheesecake.
- Evening snacks – Some people in European countries have a habit of taking evening snacks along with any hot or cold beverage. Cheese rolls, cupcakes, corn toast and cookies are some of the main continental food items that can make a good evening snack.
Dinner or supper – Supper is a kind of light meal taken in continental cuisine. It consists of soup, bread, boiled or grilled meat or any kind of light sandwich. As dinner is the lightest meal of the day, supper is the best substitute for dinner. Though dinner comprises very light continental food, this is the last meal of the day and taken around 8 pm in the night.
Eating Habits and Etiquettes in Continental Cuisine
- Continental food is mainly eaten with the help of fork and knife and the proper use of it is learned with practice.
- The silverware used in continental style of dining has to be kept in a proper manner on the table.
- Continental cuisine and dining style make extensive use of accessories like napkins, separate cups of coffee and tea, different sizes of spoons and plates.
It is considered bad etiquette in continental cuisine if proper instructions and table manners are not followed.
Health Benefits of Continental Food
Continental dishes that are made by stewing, grilling and roasting method are low in calories, as they make very less use of fats. Continental food mainly consists of high protein items like eggs and meats. Seafood is high in Omega-3 fatty acids and it is also one of the main food items in continental dishes.
- The popular continental dish ‘Cobb salad’ was first introduced in 1926 by Bob Cobb, a restaurant owner in Los Angeles. He wanted to use the leftovers, so mixed some hard boiled eggs, chicken, bacon, watercress, chives, tomato, celery and cheese and ‘Cobb salad’ is made.
- Fried chicken is one of the widely served continental dishes in almost all American restaurants.