Spanish food is incredibly varied. With its very different regions - the long coastline, rugged mountains, baking plains and rich farming land, there are a vast range of dishes but they all have one thing in common - they're all simple, unpretentious and use beautifully fresh seasonal ingredients.
Since the days of the powerful Ottoman empire, Turkey has also been at the centre of trade, especially in spice, and the Ottoman chefs borrowed, adapted and perfected dishes from many other cuisines.
Croatia's central location in Europe means its cuisine offers the best of many different regions. From the pristine Dalmatian coast, the food is Mediterranean, with many distinctly Italian influences. Further inland, what's known as continental Croatia is full of rich Austro Hungarian style dishes.
Fire and passion are the hallmarks of Portuguese cuisine. It's all about cooking over hot coals and branding food with white hot irons. It is an earthy peasant style of quite simple food using few ingredients but with strong flavours as see in the now famous Portuguese charcoal chicken.
The rocky island of Malta is home to some beautiful rustic recipes that sing of Mediterranean flavour and freshness. Maltese cuisine is truly peasant cuisine, using vegetables in season, home-made cheeses and some of the cheaper cuts of meat.
Biblically described as flowing with milk and honey, Israel’s food has its roots in both Jewish and Arab cuisine. However, there is much more to this cuisine than where it began. The impact of Jewish immigration is paramount, and is a reflection of the many different countries where the Jews have lived and the recipes they have developed during their wandering.
Hungarian cuisine is a combination of simple peasant food which originated many centuries ago when nomadic tribes rode the great plains of Hungary, some new ingredients which arrived with the Italians and Turks in the 15th and 16th centuries and the elegant, highly developed cuisine which came from the days of the Austro Hungarian Empire.
In Greek culture, food is so much more than sustenance; it's everything; culture, comfort, family, life.' If you grow up Greece, you grow up with your mother chasing you around the house with a spoon!' jokes Greek/Australian chef Peter Conistis. From one of the ancient civilisations on earth comes simply prepared food that uses the best of what's in season and adds a little magic to help it sing off the plate.
The Germans love to eat and drink. Over hundreds of years they have developed a warm, rich and delicious cuisine, where servings are always generous, making Germany ‘comfort food’ central. From Brandenburg to Bavaria, cooking and eating are entwined with the social fabric and history of each region.
The French have elevated food into an art form... nowhere else on earth is so much attention paid to what people are going to eat and how they eat it. The reason is steeped in history - the fostering of the royal court, the subsequent revolution, the discipline of the apprentice system, the quality of ingredients and creativity of the chefs, and simply, the love of good food.
English cuisine is the result of centuries of agriculture, trade, wars, hard times and a delight in using regional produce in season. The English like to boast that in cheese-making alone, they give the French a run for their money when it comes to variety. Many small towns and regions boast their own sausages – the beloved ‘banger’, named from the sausages made during the ration period after World War I, when the content of sausages included so much fat that when heated the sausage skin burst.