Food lovers guide to the perfect European destination - United Hub

Food lovers guide to the perfect European destination

By Nick Harper, October 16, 2017

If it's true that to truly understand a culture you must first taste it, your next vacation needs to be somewhere they serve great food. With that simple rule in mind, we've scoured the whole of Europe to find seven cities that combine world-class culture with a signature dish you have to taste at least once in your life. Each dish is a window into that nation's history and culture – and a source of local pride. Once tasted, you'll understand why.

Hungarian goulash

Go to Budapest for… Goulash

From cassoulet and tagine to gumbo and beef bourguignon, hearty soupy stews are a staple all over Europe. One of Europe's most storied stews, however, is Hungarian goulash. Taking its name from 'gulyás', the Magyar for 'herdsman', goulash became a national dish in the late 1800s when Hungarians sought a way of further distinguishing themselves from their neighbors in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

A hearty blend of beef, vegetables and spices–most notably the fiery kick of paprika–regional variations exist but the most authentic version is cooked in a kettle, as the gulyás did several centuries ago.

Eat it here: For the best taste of this dish in the capital city, head for Budapest Bisztró, a slick modern restaurant whose goulash is reassuringly old school.

Wiener schnitzel in Vienna

Go to Vienna for… Wiener schnitzel

While the precise origins of the wiener schnitzel remain hotly contested-Italians claim Costoletta Milanese is the original take–the dish has long been one of the culinary icons of Austria's capital city.

A distant cousin of the American chicken-fried steak, and further proof that frying in breadcrumbs improves any cut of meat, the wiener schnitzel is essentially a thin veal cutlet– Michelin-starred Austrian chef Kurt Gutenbrunner suggests a very precise 3mm. Breaded, pan-fried in butter and garnished with lemon and parsley, it is served with a potato salad.

Eat it here: For arguably the most elegant experience of the dish, head to Cafe Dommayer. You'll dine beneath the chandeliers and beside the locals.

Currywurst in Germany

Go to Berlin for… Currywurst

One part large German sausage, the other part a thick covering of curry sauce–while a dietician would no doubt disagree, there's much to admire in Germany's modern classic. Since its introduction in either 1947 or 1949, depending on which story you believe, the currywurst has grown in popularity to the point that around 800,000,000 servings are happily devoured annually. The wise traveler would combine currywurst with Munich's annual Oktoberfest, an annual celebration of vast steins of beer and gigantic sausage, where every face carries a smile.

Eat it here: While available on almost every street in the land, Berlin is a particular currywurst hotspot. Of the many options, Curry 36 is worthy of special praise and a late-night visit.

Neapolitan pizza in Naples

Go to Naples for… Pizza

Sure, it's not the national dish. And sure, you can get world-class wood-fired pizza in Brooklyn, in Texas, Wisconsin and Flagstaff, Arizona. But for the original and best version of the world's favorite food, head back to where it all began.

A chaotic but charming city that enriches all six senses, pizza in Napoli is unlike anywhere else on earth, with pizzaiolo on every street and every corner. And the beauty of Neapolitan pizza is that the puffy, cloud-like dough is far easier to digest than most other styles, so it won't leave you feeling too full. Take advantage by taking a tour of as many pizzerias as your stomach allows.

Eat it here: For the most historic, head to L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele, opened in 1870 and unchanged ever since. For the most celebrated, you need Pizzeria Dal Presidente, its name changed after a visit from a hungry President Clinton. And for the best of the new generation, seek out Sorbillo or 50 Kalò, or preferably both.

Raclette cheese melted on hot potatoes, charcuterie and vegetables

Go to Geneva for… Hot, gooey cheese

Few if any nations on earth have been melting cheese for as long or with such obvious love as the Swiss. Fondue–the art of dipping bread and meat into a cauldron of melted cheese–became an international classic in the 1970s and '80s and is still a staple of any visit.

Likewise raclette, a dish served in Switzerland's mountainous regions since the 13th century and derived from the French verb meaning “to scrape". As with fondue, the cheese is the star, but this time a huge wheel of cow's milk cheese is heated over a flame and ceremoniously scraped off, melted and molten, onto hot potatoes, charcuterie and vegetables. Raclette is less celebrated perhaps, but every bit as essential.

Eat it here: While available almost everywhere, Auberge de Saviese has perfected the art of fondue and raclette and benefits from being just moments from beautiful Lake Geneva.

Fish & Chips in London

Go to London for… Fish & chips

Throughout the decades, the world has been blessed with a number of memorable double acts. Laurel and Hardy. Abbott and Costello. Aykroyd and Belushi. Impressive as they all were, none can claim to have had the enduring popularity of Britain's greatest twosome: the fried fish and chipped potato. Its origins remain unclear; the fried fish element was brought to England by Western Sephardic Jews in the 17th century, but Britain has made fish and chips its own.

A working class staple, the modern “chippy" has evolved but remained true to its origins, with the fish and the chips forever and always the stars of the piece. They are, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill remarked, “The good companions", and no visit to England is complete without them.



Eat it here: King Fisher Fish and Chips in Devon was named chip shop of the year for 2017–it's a long drive but worth every mile. Within London's confines, and amid very hot competition, Kerbisher and Malt in three locations put a contemporary spin on the classic dish. And no less a connoisseur than Idris Elba stated recently that: “The Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden does proper fish and chips."

Sm\u00f8rrebr\u00f8d or open faced sandwiches in Copenhagen

Go to Copenhagen for… Smørrebrød

Head to the Danish capital and you could attempt to secure a seat at one of the city's many Michelin-starred establishments–Copenhagen is a gastronomic hotspot right now. But you might be better off just grabbing a sandwich. For the most authentic Danish dining experience, seek out a smørrebrød, the nation's signature, open-faced sandwich.

As the name translates, it's nothing more complicated than butter on bread–thick, dark rye onto which you pile cheese, vegetables, roast pork, pickled herrings, smoked salmon or whatever combination you desire. To the Danes, 'hygge' is the pursuit of happiness. Smørrebrød will take you there.

Eat it here: Head to Restuarant Schonnemann for history and herring–the venerable establishment has been perfecting its smørrebrød since 1877 and is always reassuringly busy.

If you go

United Airlines offers nonstop flights from many cities to these destinations or airports nearby. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your next European adventure.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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