As a general rule, traditional breakfasts are less substantial and less elaborate in the warmer, more southern countries bordering the Mediterranean, while breakfasts are traditionally larger, with a greater variety of dishes and greater prevalence of hot dishes in the cooler northern and central European countries.
Specific items will vary from country to country, depending on local breakfast tastes and habits. In Switzerland, for example, cold cuts (luncheon meats), cheese, yogurt, prepared fruit, butter, croissants, breads, and rolls are served. Sometimes foods belonging to the British breakfast (eggs, sausages, tomatoes (fresh, grilled or canned), bacon) can occasionally be found as part of the buffet. For example, French breakfast is usually a light meal composed of just white bread, butter and jam. Much to the contrary, German breakfast is a full meal with dark bread, various kinds of cheese and meat, and often fried or boiled eggs, thus tending towards the English breakfast. Continental breakfast is an institutional meal plan based on lighter Mediterranean breakfast traditions. It is a light meal meant to satisfy one until lunch.
A typical Continental breakfast consists of coffee and milk (often mixed as Cappuccino or latte) or hot chocolate with a variety of sweet cakes such as brioche and pastries such as croissant, often with a sweet jam, cream, or chocolate filling. It is often served with juice. The continental breakfast may also include sliced cold meats, such as salami or ham, and yogurt or cereal. Some countries of Europe, such as The Netherlands and those in Scandinavia, add a bit of fruit and cheese to the bread menu, occasionally even a boiled egg or a little salami.
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