You guys know the drill by now. Embassies of nations in the European Union will open their doors this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for their yearly Shortcut to Europe day -- a.k.a. a moveable feast of (mostly) free beer, chocolate, wine and other international food. Ambitious embassy-hoppers know that the secret to eating your way through the foreign snacks is to start early, before the lines get long. Here are the embassies worth waiting for:
Austria: "Wine tasting seminars introduce you to exclusive Austrian wines. Watch a chef skillfully preparing the typical Apple Strudel." Strong start, Austria. I, too, like to eat dessert first.
Belgium: This one is always, always worth it. "Enjoy some of the best beers and chocolates in the world, and taste delicious waffles." Also, a warning: "Watch out for a Smurf or two."
Bulgaria: You'll get samples of traditional food and drinks here.
Croatia: "Savor the wine from the sunny Dalmatian slopes, a place from where Zinfandel traces its roots."
Cyprus: If Croatia was your wine, here's your cheese. "Taste the traditional 'Cypriot Halloumi' cheese and 'Koupepia,' our delicious stuffed vine leaves."
Czech Republic: The embassy promises food and drink, and I'd put money on it being pilsner -- Pilsen was named the Culture Capital of Europe for 2015.
Denmark: "In our café you can buy Danish pastry (baked by Embassy Chef Lars Beese and embassy colleagues) and water (cash only). All profits from our café will benefit Blue Star Families new program 'Blue Star Neighbors.' Next to the café you can sample the quintessential Danish treat - ‘Flødeboller’ and when you go on the Residence Tour, you can sample some of our best cheese from Arla Cheese."
Finland: The advertised Finnish specialties may or may not be the black licorice that was handed out here last year, along with some cookies and other small snacks.
France and Germany: These two embassies always team up and offer more substantial dishes such as bratwurst, but you'd better bring cash -- usually, they'll charge a few dollars for food and beer. Of particular interest: "Ritter Sport and Haribo will be sponsoring the event, so make sure to grab some tasty German treats!"
Greece: You'll be "savoring delicious small dishes" here. One year, it was dolma and feta.
Hungary: Via Facebook, "We will be serving Hungarian Goulash made by the Embassy Chef. You can also try our Hungarian sausages served in a bun with sauerkraut."
Ireland: "Enjoy a taste of the Emerald Isle," whatever that might be. Soda bread?
Italy: Via a press release, "To tease the palate, samples and tastings of authentic Italian beverages and food will be offered, sponsored by Bauli, Ferrero, Lavazza, and Domori, while a pasta workshop will guide participants through the artisanal making of pasta." You can eat your pasta in the presence of fancy Italian cars, which will be on display. Also: did you know the 2014 world champion of karate is Italian? She'll be doing her thing.
Malta: Dessert of "homemade sweets."
Netherlands: "Taste many Dutch goodies, such as poffertjes, stroopwafels, kaas and drop." Delicious foods, amusing words.
Poland: "Enjoy delicious Polish cuisine prepared by our very own Executive Chef. Zapraszamy!" Poland is being really modest here, probably because they are always swarmed by visitors who who know that they are the greatest food embassy of the day. Think hearty plates of pierogi, kielbasa, and beer. THE BEST.
Romania: "Discover Romania’s traditions and culture through tasting local food and drinks."
Slovakia: "Taste typical Slovak drinks and culinary delicacies."
Slovenia: "Exquisite wine, and culinary delights." EXQUISITE.
Spain: "Join us for a flavor of Spanish culture, tapas, and wine." Plus Spanish guitar and this intriguing exhibition: "Moving Forward, Looking Back ... explores the Spanish legacy found along the Old Spanish Trail combining photography, video and sound."
United Kingdom: British food! A few years ago, I remember being handed a cup of gin here.
European Union Delegation: Three words -- Chocolate Euro coins.