Traveling by train is not just about getting from point A to point B. It’s about the journey, the landscapes that pass by your window, and the people you meet along the way. But another aspect of train travel that often goes unnoticed is the dining experience. Imagine enjoying a gourmet meal while the countryside rolls by, each dish reflecting the regions you’re passing through. This article will take you on a culinary journey across Europe, exploring the continent’s best train dining experiences. Each train offers a unique gastronomic adventure, from the elegance of the Orient Express to the vibrant flavors of Spain’s Transcantábrico Gran Lujo. So sit back, relax, and let your taste buds lead the way.
The Orient Express
Our journey begins with the legendary Orient Express. Launched in 1883, this train connects Paris to Istanbul and offers passengers a taste of luxury travel. With its polished wood and gleaming silverware, the dining car served French cuisine that would rival any Parisian restaurant. The chefs, trained in the finest culinary schools, prepared dishes using fresh ingredients sourced from local markets along the route. The Orient Express set the standard for train dining and still sets the highest standards to this very day.
The Transcantábrico Gran Lujo
From the grandeur of the Orient Express, we move to the flavors of Spain aboard the Transcantábrico Gran Lujo. This train takes you across Spain’s northern coast, offering passengers a journey through Spanish cuisine. The ever-changing menu reflects the regions the train passes through, from the seafood of Galicia to the pintxos of the Basque Country. Each meal reflects a local culture, prepared by skilled chefs and served with Spanish wines.
The Bernina Express
Next, we journey through the Swiss Alps on the Bernina Express. This train is famous for stunning panoramic views, but the dining experience is equally impressive. The emphasis here is on local produce, with menus featuring Swiss and Italian specialties. The chefs source ingredients from local farmers, ensuring that each dish is fresh and flavorful. The result is a fantastic dining experience with stunning alpine scenery, making each meal a memorable part of the journey.
The Glacier Express, Switzerland
Our journey wouldn’t be complete without a ride on the Glacier Express in Switzerland. Known as the slowest express train in the world, it offers an eight-hour journey through the heart of the Swiss Alps. The dining experience on the Glacier Express is as spectacular as the views. The train’s panoramic dining car serves a variety of Swiss specialties prepared using fresh, local ingredients. From traditional Swiss cheese fondue to hearty Alpine stews paired with a selection of Swiss wines, the dining experience on the Glacier Express could be perfect for you.
The Golden Eagle Danube Express
Our journey continues eastwards on the Golden Eagle Danube Express. This train serves dishes from each country it passes through. From Hungarian goulash to Iranian kebabs, the dining car will give your tastebuds a wide variety of cultures to try. The chefs work closely with local suppliers to source authentic ingredients, meaning each dish reflects the locals’ food.
The Royal Scotsman
Finally, we arrive in the Scottish Highlands aboard the Royal Scotsman. The dining experience celebrates Scottish produce, from Aberdeen Angus beef to Atlantic salmon. The chefs work with local fishermen and farmers, ensuring the freshest ingredients for each dish. Paired with a selection of fine Scotch whiskies, it’s the perfect end to our journey through Europe’s train dining experiences.
The Bottom Line
Each of these trains offers a unique dining experience, reflecting the rich culinary heritage of their respective routes. From the Orient Express’s elegance to the Royal Scotsman’s hearty fare, train dining in Europe is a journey in itself. Bon appétit!
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Tony Marturano.