Food and drink

Explore European cultural heritage through food and drink.

Edible Plants from the Americas

Europe’s eating habits would be very different had explorer Christopher Columbus not set out to find a faster route from Spain to south-east Asia. This exhibition explores how the newly discovered edible plants had a major impact on global culture, economics and politics.

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Familiar food from far-off places

Where would we be without Italian tomatoes, Irish potatoes and Belgian chocolate? The reality is that these and many other plants familiar to us today are not indigenous to Europe.

Exhibition
The papaya – fruit of the angels

Early adopter Christopher Columbus apparently translated the papaya’s Carib name ‘ababi’ as ‘fruit of the angels’.

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Ice cream, biodiesel and the custard apple

Annonas, custard apples and soursops are small tropical trees or shrubs from the Annonaceae family. The genus Annona includes approximately 200 recognised species.

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Not poisonous after all – the tomato

The greatest diversity of tomato species is concentrated in South America, especially in the Andes.

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The spice of life – chili and pepper

Capsicum (pepper) is a neotropical genus belonging to the Solanaceae family which includes around 32 species of shrubs and subshrubs.

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Learning to love the potato

The potato originated in the Andes, where the indigenous population domesticated a variety of native wild species.

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Cassava, cake and cyanide

The cassava is a shrub that grows up to 3 meters in height with tuberous roots, rich in starch and reaching up to a metre in length.

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God’s food - cocoa

The cacao is a small tree, reaching up to eight meters in height. The fruit contains 30-40 seeds surrounded by a white pulp – these are the cacao beans.

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Peanuts from Peru

The peanut or groundnut is a herbaceous plant, between 30-50 cm tall.

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The essential cereal - corn

Corn is an annual grass of the genus Zea which includes seven species native to Mexico and Central America.

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Spiky but sweet – the prickly pear

Among the Cactaceae, Opuntia is the most widely distributed and the most diverse genus, with approximately 75 American species.

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Ice-cream in Sweden

Explore the history of ice-cream in Sweden

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Scrumptious sites

Take a culinary tour to discover seven foods named after European places

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The Wachau landscape in Austria

Extending 36 kilometres along the Danube, the Wachau is a landscape of stunning scenery

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Are you being served?

A short history of working as a waiter in restaurants

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From coffee, tea and tobacco to UNESCO: Rotterdam’s Van Nelle Factory

Like many large companies, the story of Van Nelle business started with a small shop.

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Pizza: a slice of migration history

Behind pizza's simplicity lies a much more complex history – this is the tale of the Margherita’s migration.

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Jacob’s Biscuit Factory in Dublin: the historic home of the cream cracker

This blog, illustrated with newly digitised material from Dublin City Library and Archive, tells the history of the Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, home of the cream cracker.

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Vintage chocolate advertising

Here's a sweet treat: this gallery presents chocolate advertising from across Europe.

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Maggi: a Swiss seasoning that found a home in various cultures

As a child growing up in Senegal, Maggi cubes and Maggi sauce were a big and important ingredient in many Senegalese dishes, if not all of them.

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Traditional beer brewing

With today’s craft beer movement, the origins of beer culture come more and more to the fore.

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Tea reading

Have you ever wanted to know more about this wonderful hot drink, about where it’s from, how you grow it, and how the plant is prepared?

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What is the real palaeo diet, and who invented bread?

Archaeology can give great insight into what processes have made us the humans we are today.

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Tea time

How do you take your tea? Served in an elegant parlour, from a flask or during a Japanese ceremony?

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Cooking tools through time

From the earliest archaeological finds to more recent technology, how we prepare our food.

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Celebrity chefs of the past

Meet the women who taught Europe to cook.

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Vintage food advertising: a culinary tour through European newspapers

Highlighting vintage food and drink advertisements in Europeana.

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Kapsalon: Barbers and deep-fried snacks

What you may not know about Rotterdam is its contribution to the world’s fast-food heritage: ‘kapsalon’.

Gallery
Ice cream

Ice cream, eis, gelato... eating and enjoying ice-cream is a quintessential summertime activity. This gallery presents vintage photography and artefact showing our love of ice-cream all across Europe.

Discover migration stories on Food and Drink

Learning scenarios about food

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Healthy Choices

English, STEAM - Primary school

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Food Tests

STEAM - Lower and Upper Secondary

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Restaurant Etiquette

English and Philosophy - Upper secondary

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International Tea Party

English and History - Primary school

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The Instant Life of Aprons and Pockets

Language subjects, STEAM - Vocational educational training and Lower secondary

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Oil in Ancient Egypt

History - Primary school

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World Cafe Stories

Art, English - Upper secondary

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What’s Cooking?

English, Language subjects, STEAM - Lower secondary, Upper secondary