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VBT’s Top 5 European Comfort Foods

Comfort food isn’t often associated with spring time. And although your calendar says that spring is here, the chill in the air and the lingering snow on the ground seems to indicate that we have a few more weeks remaining of winter. While you wait for longer days and rising temperatures, warm up with some of our favorite European comfort foods.



Italian Food, Comfort Food

We’ll start in the comfort food capital of the world, Italy. However, we’re steering away from pasta as Riboletta is chockfull of fresh veggies, legumes and, of course, just a bit of olive oil. Bring them to a boil and warm up from the inside out with this hearty Tuscan soup.


Comfort Food

There are many variations on the classic Cassoulet. It can be prepared with goose, duck, pork, pancetta or any combination of the four. Slow-roasted and utterly magnifique, this dish is certainly not as veggie-friendly as Riboletta. But if you enjoy roasts, then kick back by a fire and savor this robust stew from the south of France.

Seafood PaellaSpain

If stew’s not your style, then lighten things up, just a bit, with this delightful medley from Spain. Sure, paella can be enjoyed year-round. However, if you’re after a true taste of Audalusia, add a little cayenne pepper to spice up your seafood and fend off the bite of winter’s last few weeks.

Shepherd’s Pie—Ireland

Not always noted for its cuisine, the UK shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to purveying rich comfort foods. Shepherd’s pie is now a classic winter dish here in America, but for lending us the recipe, we owe a bit of gratitude to Ireland—a land of rolling, green hills where potatoes were plentiful enough to make this dish ubiquitous, even back in the 19th century.


They say that March comes “in like a lion and out like a lamb”. Well, we’ve sort of reversed that order with our list of comfort foods, beginning with a Tuscan specialty and ending with a Slovenian dish that comes to us from the snowy Julian Alps. Suggested by VBT’s very own, Damjan, Pecenica is a delicious pork sausage, served with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and beans together. For a nice full meal, start with a traditional Slovenian mushroom soup.

This March, don’t shiver your way through the last few weeks of winter, track down a few recipes and keep warm with our favorite European comfort foods or Travel to Europe with VBT to sample some authentic cuisine straight from the source!

Join VBT at the New York Wine Expo and Enter to Win a Tuscany Vacation

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations will be exhibiting at this year’s New York Wine Expo and we’ll be giving away a free Tuscany Vacation to one lucky winner. March 1-3, the annual wine, food and culture celebration will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Midtown Manhattan.

New York Wine Expo

Stop by booth 560 to say hello to our friendly staff. While you’re there, you can hear a bit about our active vacations and take a minute to enter to win a trip to Tuscany*—a world-renowned wine destination! Simply visit our booth and fill out an entry form to enter our drawing.

As a 42 year old active vacation company, we know how important food and wine are to cultural encounters. That’s why on every one of our 46 biking, walking and cross- country skiing vacations in Europe, North and South America, Asia and New Zealand, we make sure our travelers have the opportunity to sample regional specialties in order to experience local culinary heritage. And with local, bilingual Trip Leaders, home-hosted meals, olive oil and wine tastings and even cooking lessons, you’re sure to get a true taste of local life when you travel with VBT.

We’re very excited to be a part of the New York Wine Expo. VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations will be among the exhibitors in the Grand Tasting Room. If you’d like to join us, buy your tickets now and enter the discount code “VBT” to receive $15 in savings off of the cost of a regular Friday or Saturday Grand Tasting ticket.

New York Wine Expo

Don’t forget to stop by booth 560 to enter to win a Tuscany vacation with VBT. We hope to see you there. Cheers! Salute! Santé!

*Contest entrants must be 21 year of age or older and entrants must be attending the New York Wine Expo. No VBT purchase is necessary. All required fields on the entry form must be filled in for the entry to be considered valid for the VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations drawing. The winner will be announced on the VBT website by March 8. The prize, a VBT vacation to Tuscany for one with roundtrip airfare from New York, is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash. All applicable taxes are the responsibility of the winner. Limited to one entry per person. To obtain the name of the winner, send your name and address to: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Attn: Sweepstakes Manager, 614 Monkton Road, Bristol, VT 05443