Europe is gifted when it reaches the autumn months. Beyond pumpkin spice lattes and treacle toffee is the emergence of freshly harvested figs, sensual wines and olives piled high. Arguably, fall is a time when Europe reaches its real gastro peak. Gone are the salads and in are the hearty stews that, as the locals say, “stick to the sides”. Many of these warming dishes have been passed down through generations; made with love, joy and a passion for cooking. As the summer crowds disperse and the greens turn golden, it’s time to dive into autumnal fare of these beautiful destinations. We pick the best places to eat in Europe in autumn, from Florence to Oslo.
Deer and game meat are at their most succulent in Oslo at autumn, making up rich dishes that pack a powerful punch. 17th-century restaurant Vaertshuset Baerums Verk is the perfect place to dine during høst, meaning harvest in Norwegian. As the country’s oldest inn, autumnal foodie traditions are rife: expect flatbrød baked fresh on the premises, herbs from the inn’s own garden and game galore. If the powerful flavours don’t warm you up, the roaring fire, ultra-soft blankets and candelabra-adorned dining tables will have you feeling snug in no time.
St Davids, Wales
Image source: Twr y Felin
The Welsh gastro scene explodes into life in autumn as seasonal delights fill stalls, kitchens and happy bellies. Rare apples from medieval periods can be plucked from trees, tasty shellfish fills fishermans’ buckets and homemade hedgerow jams are bursting with juicy flavours. This is also the best time to taste the local crab – females are full of roe which makes for beautifully rich red meat. Try the country’s finest wild produce at Twr y Felin – Wales’ first contemporary art hotel that comes with a two-Rosette restaurant. The sumptuous 19th-century rooms are as lovely as the restaurant’s freshly foraged delicacies. Order the Welsh lamb rack – a slow-roasted breast, served with rosemary and garlic pomme puree.
Image source: Villa Campestri
You’ll find temperatures remain nice and mild well into the last months of the year in Florence. Pace the arty exhibitions at Palazzo Strozzi before tucking into Tuscan truffle cream sandwiches at centuries-old Procacci 1885 – these creamy, earthy funghi are at their best in autumn. Another fall-favourite is pumpkin or squash tortellini – pasta parcels stuffed with the autumnal vegetables, seasoned with nutmeg and drenched in melted butter and Parmesan cheese. Stay at the first olive oil hotel in Italy during your Florence holiday. Villa Campestri is more than a room for the night: it’s an astonishing gastronomic experience in the serene Fiorentine hills, serving up authentic Tuscan dishes with the freshest local, seasonal ingredients. Your host, Paolo Pasquali, is renowned in the olive oil world, championing truly excellent olive oil and its ability to radically transform the taste and quality of a meal. This is the place to try it for yourself – either with classic dishes of meat, fish or vegetables with organic grains or unexpected pairings such as olive oil with beer or chocolate.
Don’t be sad to see summer go in Switzerland – it just means the foodie scene has been switched up a gear. From Swiss plum tarts to roast chestnuts, your taste buds are in for a treat as the landscapes turn to gold. The talented team at the award-winning Hotel Waldhaus Sils have shared a recipe for the ultimate regional comfort food – a tantalising chestnut cake that’ll have you craving fall all year round:
Swiss chestnut cake:
140g butter, liquid, left to cool
200g icing sugar
270g ground hazelnuts
10g baking powder mix
270g chestnut puree, defrosted
1/5 pulp of a vanilla pod
- Slowly melt/mix ingredients together and place in a springform tin of approx. 26 cm of diameter.
- Bake for approximately 30 minutes in the lower half of an oven preheated to 180°C. Enjoy!