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.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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Spotlighting our own during Hispanic Heritage Month

By The Hub team, October 13, 2020

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 th through October 15th and take the time to recognize the important contributions of our colleagues of Hispanic descent in the United family.

This year, we hosted virtual events organized by our multicultural business resource group UNITE to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, covering topics ranging from immigration reform to Hispanic leadership. We're also taking a moment to highlight Latinx employees nominated by their peers for their contributions both at and outside of work.

These nominees have demonstrated leadership in their position and through their character. Take a moment to read their own words about how their background and heritage plays a role in the way they interact with customers, in how they support their colleagues and why it brings valuable perspective to their work.

Vania Wit – VP & Deputy Counsel

Photo of Vania Wit, VP & Deputy Counsel for United Airlines

"I am the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in the legal department. I am an attorney and have worked in the legal department for over 21 years and am currently responsible for a number of different legal areas – such as litigation, international, commercial and government contracts, labor, employment and benefits, antitrust. I have the privilege of working with a tremendous team of attorneys who are directly leading and managing these areas. One of the things I like most about my job is simply getting to know the backgrounds and personal stories that everyone has about their paths to United or their passion for the industry. Being the daughter of immigrants from South America and growing up in a family who relies heavily on air travel to connect us to our close family and friends is an integral part of my story and what drew me to this industry and this company."

Kayra Martinez – International Flight Attendant, FRA

Photo of Kayra Martinez on board an aircraft

"I love that my work as a flight attendant brings me all over the world and allows me to connect with diverse people across the globe. Because of my Spanish heritage, I've been able to use my language as a way to connect with passengers, crew members and people from every nationality. In addition, my heritage gives me a very close connection to family, creating community and using inclusion as a way to bring people together. After transferring to Europe, I was able to study German, more Spanish, Italian and Arabic. Outside of work, I'm the director and founder of a nonprofit organization that empowers refugees through art. Hundreds of children and adults fleeing war-torn countries have found healing through my art workshops. These refugees are currently displaced in Greece. Their stunning paintings are then sold in art galleries and communities around the world, raising awareness and putting income directly into the hands of refugee artists."

Adriana Carmona – Program Manager, AO Regulatory Compliance

Photo of Adriana standing in front of a plane engine

"I've been incredibly lucky to have amazing leaders during my time at United who have challenged me from day one to think outside the box, step out of my comfort zone and trusted me to own and deliver on the tasks assigned. I think this sense of ownership is largely shaped by my Latino background, which values responsibility, respect and accountability and taking full charge of what's in your control to be able to deliver accordingly."

Harry Cabrera – Assistant Manager, AO Customer Service, IAH

Photo of Harry Cabrera

"My desire to help people is what drove me to start my career in Customer Service over two decades ago. Currently I provide support to our coworkers and customers at IAH , the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. As a Colombian native celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, I'm proud to see the strength that my fellow Latinos forge every day at United Airlines. Family values are a cornerstone of the Latin community; I consider my coworkers to be part of my extended family. Mentor support throughout the years gave me the opportunity to grow professionally. The desire to do better and help others succeed is part of that heritage. I collaborate with our Latin American operations and create ways to improve performance. No matter what language you speak, the passion for what you do and being approachable makes the difference in any interaction."

Juciaria Meadows – Assistant Regional Manager, Cargo Sales

Photo of Juciaria Meadows in a Cargo hold

"During my 28-year career, I've worked across the system in various frontline and leadership roles in Reservations, Customer Service and Passenger Sales in Brazil. I moved to the U.S. in 2012 to work as an Account Executive for Cargo. It did not take too long for me to learn that boxes and containers have as much a voice as a passenger sitting in our aircraft. My job is to foster relationships with shippers, freight forwarders, cosignees, etc. and build strong partnerships in fair, trustworthy and caring ways where United Cargo will be their carrier of choice. That's where my background growing up in a Latino family plays an important role in my day-to-day interactions. I've done many wonderful sales trainings provided by United and my academic background , but none of them taught me more than watching my parents running their wholesale food warehouse. Developing exceptional relationships with their customers, they always treated them with trust and respect. They were successful business people with a big heart, creative, always adding a personal touch to their business relationships and I find myself doing the same. It's a lesson that is deep in my heart."

Shanell Arevalo – Customer Service Representative, DEN

Photo of Shanell Arevalo at work

"I am Belizean and Salvadoran. At a young age my family moved to California from Belize. Although I grew up in the United States , one thing my parents taught me was to never forget the culture, values and principles I was raised on. This includes showing love, compassion, and respect to all people. We learned to put our best foot forward for any situation and always put our heart and mind into everything we do. In my position as a customer service agent, it's the difference of showing the love, compassion and respect to our passengers to show that this is not just a job but rather a passion of genuinely caring for our people. Being Latina, we are raised to always take care of our family, and the way I take care of passengers is the way I would take care of my family. If there's one way I know I can make a difference with our Spanish speaking passengers, it's being able to speak the language. The glow that comes over a passenger's face when they realize there's someone who can speak Spanish is absolutely an indescribable feeling. With that glow comes comfort and joy. The small comfort they get from knowing someone can connect with them makes all the difference in their experience."

Around the web

United Cargo responds to COVID-19 challenges, prepares for what's next

By The Hub team, September 30, 2020

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, United Cargo has supported a variety of customers within the healthcare industry for over 10 years. Three key solutions – TempControl, LifeGuard and QuickPak – protect the integrity of vital shipments such as precision medicine, pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical equipment and vaccines. By utilizing processes like temperature monitoring, thermodynamic management, and priority boarding and handling, United Cargo gives customers the peace of mind that their shipments will be protected throughout their journey.

With the global demand for tailored pharmaceutical solutions at an all-time high, we've made investments to help ensure we provide the most reliable air cargo options for cold chain shipping. In April this year, we became the first U.S. carrier to lease temperature-controlled shipping containers manufactured by DoKaSch Temperature Solutions. We continue to partner with state-of-the-art container providers to ensure we have options that meet our customers' ever-changing needs.

"Providing safe air cargo transport for essential shipments has been a top priority since the pandemic began. While the entire air cargo industry has had its challenges, I'm proud of how United Cargo has adapted and thrived despite a significant reduction in network capacity and supply," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "We remain committed to helping our customers make it through the pandemic, as well as to doing everything we can to be prepared for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution when the time comes."

Our entire team continues to prioritize moving critical shipments as part of our commitment to supporting the global supply chain. We've assembled a COVID readiness task team to ensure we have the right people in place and are preparing our airports as we get ready for the industry-wide effort that comes next.

In cooperation with our partners all over the world, United Cargo has helped transport nearly 145 million pounds of medical supplies to aid in the fight against COVID-19, using a combination of cargo-only flights and passenger flig­hts. To date, United Cargo has operated more than 6,300 cargo-only flights and has transported more than 213 million pounds of cargo worldwide.

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