European pasta, bread, rice and other cereal-based products have been a staple of the European diet for centuries. Thanks to production methods and techniques that have been refined over hundreds of years, these staples form an authentic part of Europe’s food culture. The high-quality and versatility of these products makes them a popular choice for busy consumers eager to maintain a healthy diet.
Pasta – quick, easy, delicious!
Say the word ‘pasta’ to any European and they immediately think of Italy. So, it is no surprise to learn that Italy is Europe’s main pasta producer. The choice is staggering. From the more widely-known spaghetti, penne, linguine, farfalle, fusilli, pappardelle, and fettuccine to the less-known but equally delicious trofie, strozzapreti, caserecce, gemelli, and rotini - pasta is a versatile ingredient that can easily be incorporated into many recipes. For a healthy addition at dinnertime, why not try Pizzoccheri della Valtellina (PGI) - a hearty, flat, buckwheat noodle from Italy’s Lombardy region. Or you could journey further around the Mediterranean to try some Kritharáki pasta from Greece, delicious with some Feta (PDO; also see Cheese and Dairy).
Although Italy is Europe’s main pasta region, it is not the only producer – no European pasta party would be complete without trying Spätzle noodles from Germany, Croatian Fusi or Krpice noodles, or Nokedli from Hungary. Tasty, convenient and quick to prepare, Europe’s wide range of pastas and noodles are an essential ingredient in any kitchen cupboard.
Stuffed pasta, such as ravioli or tortellini, is also a quick and easy way to prepare a healthy meal, when combined with a tasty sauce. Why not try some delicious Ravioles de Romans from France, Idrijski žlikrofi from Slovenia, or hearty Polish pierogi, for a healthy lunch or dinner with an authentic taste of Europe.
White or brown, soft or crisp - bread can’t be beaten!
Wholesome, traditional, tasty and nutritious, bread is enjoyed in Europe and around the world at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bread plays a key role in Europe’s culinary heritage and is part of the identity of every European nation.
From a crispy baguette or ciabatta, to aromatic pumpernickel, Irish soda bread or Estonian black bread, European bread has something for all tastes. Why not give a burrito or taco a European flair by using Piadina Romagnola (PGI) flatbread, for example.
Rice, grains and other cereals
High quality cereals are produced across the EU, with France, Romania, Poland and Germany being the main producers. An excellent source of minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates, oils and proteins, cereals form an essential part of any healthy diet. Wheat is the main crop, but Europe also produces maize, barley, rye, oats, spelt, rice and others.
Easy to incorporate into your daily regime – try some European oats with your morning fruit and yoghurt (see Cheese and Dairy), or why not bring a flavour of Europe to the dinner table with European rice. Spain, Portugal, France and Hungary are among the main EU rice producers - you can try one of their rice varieties when cooking Arroz Rojo, for example. Or why not try Riso del Delta del Po (PGI) when cooking Morisqueta or Arroz con Pollo.
Baking enthusiasts can incorporate EU flour into their recipes, such as rye flour from Sweden, for example. Europe’s top-quality grains and flours are available as products in their own right, and are also used as ingredients in some of the delicious confectionery and baked goods that the EU has to offer (see Confectionery).
Nutritious, safe and healthy
Like other foodstuffs produced in the EU, pasta, bread and cereals are subject to the EU’s strict labelling requirements. Cereals and grains and their production benefit from EU safety standards on pesticide and herbicide use, as well as controls on food-borne diseases. This means that consumers can enjoy these healthy and nutritious foodstuffs from Europe, confident that they meet the EU’s strict safety and quality standards.