Scrumptious sites: 7 foods named after European places

A culinary tour across Europe to discover the meanings behind the names of some popular food

Adrian Murphy (opens in new window) (Europeana Foundation)

Foods enjoyed all around the world have their origins in Europe, with some displaying this through their names.

Let's take a culinary tour across Europe and discover the meanings behind the names of some popular food.


Currants are dried grapes, often used in cakes and desserts. Currants, along with raisins and sultanas, are used in particular in British cuisine in fruit cakes such as Christmas cakes.

Their name comes from Greece. They were first sold in England as raysons of coraunce, a name with stemmed from the French raisins de Corinthe - named for their origin in Corinth, Greece.

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These small, oily fish are eaten all around the world. Their name is believed to originate from Sardinia, as in the waters around the island, sardines were plentiful.


Even though there is a county in Ireland called Mayo, the name for Mayonnaise does not originate from there but it is said to come from the Balearic island of Menorca.

The island's capital city Mahón is said to have given mahonnaise or salsa mahonesa its name. However, some food scholars dispute this theory.


The origin of Gouda cheese is much more clear-cut: it comes from the Dutch town of Gouda in South Holland. This cheese has been made in the Gouda region since the 12th century.

Edam is another Dutch town to give its names to world famous cheeses - while the Swiss town Gruyères and valley Emmental also have cheeses named after them.

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Macedonia (or macédoine) is a salad of small pieces of fruit or vegetables mixed together, part of cuisines in Greece, Romania, Spain, France, Italy and Argentina.

Though not fully proven, its name is said to derive from the empire of Alexander the Great's Macedonia which was an ethnically diverse mix of peoples.

Pilsner beer

Pilsner is a type of pale lager which originates from the Czech city Plzeň, known in English as Pilsen.

It was first produced in the 1840s by Bavarian brewer Josef Groll. Within decades, it grew in popularity as improving transport links meant it became available in Prague, Vienna and Paris. Soon, the brewing method for pilsner was being imitated across Europe.

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Linzertort is a traditional Austrian pastry dessert, with a fruit filling under a pastry lattice. Its name comes from the Austrian city Linz, with recipes for the dish dating back to the 17th century.

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