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Top 10 Exciting Winter Culinary Destinations

by Chung Jia Chyi

The go-to resource for choosing your dream culinary vacation. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and ways to elevate your cooking skills & knowledge.
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Ah, winter! Gone are the hot days of summer and even the cozy fall seems so far away.

As the cold weather sets in, it becomes harder to resist the temptation of staying home and vowing not to come out of “hiding” until the season ends.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! This year, it’s time to break the routine and plan a culinary vacation to a new, exciting place!

Whether you prefer to embrace the cold of the winter or opt to escape to a warmer destination, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top 10 culinary destinations (in no particular order) that will undoubtedly make this winter one to remember for many years to come!

Italy

Image credit: Podere le Olle

Italy may be located in Europe but, thanks to its climate, there are some regions which are blessed with warm weather even during the winter. Head to Puglia or Sicily if you want to enjoy balmy holidays or stick to Northern Italy if you don’t mind the cold and snow. This charming country reigns as one of the most popular destinations during the holiday season! 

One of the best reasons to visit Italy is, without a doubt, to enjoy plenty of its finest delicacies, so why not take your gastronomic adventure up a notch and learn to whip up your own authentic homemade Italian dishes such as pasta, pizza, and gnocchi using the local olive oil? To stay extra cozy, pair your meals with a fine glass (or more) of their delicious local wine. This decadent experience is sure to make this winter your best one yet!

Thailand

thai food

Image credit: Pink Chili Cooking Class Bangkok

If you’ve been craving for a fun adventure under the sun, you need to make your way to Thailand. Famous for its gorgeous beaches and flavorful cuisine, you’ll have plenty of chances to soak up both the sun and the delicious food in this tropical South East Asian destination. While you’re there, you should not miss out on the Thai aromatic delicacies, as they are filled with flavors with a little punch of heat in your mouth.

Savor your way through authentic Thai green curry, Pad Thai, Som Tam (green papaya salad), and sticky rice desserts! If you need to cool down after all the spicy food, why not sample their traditional coconut ice cream sprinkled with the toppings of your choice such as peanuts, aloe vera, sweet corn or grass jelly? It’ll sure to be a worthy treat!

 

India

Image credit: India Food Tour

A fan of all things spicy and exotic? We think that it’s about time for you to pack your bags and explore the amazing land of spices, India! With its vibrant culture, especially when it comes to its food, indulging in the hearty local cuisine is a must!

The Indians know much about their spices (and use a lot of it), so you will be sure that the food you enjoy here will tantalize and sometimes challenge your taste buds (in a good way)! Indulge yourself with delicacies such as samosa (a baked pastry filled with savory fillings such as spiced potatoes, onions, and peas), lassi (a popular yogurt drink with a tint of spice in it), buttered chicken, kulfi (Indian ice cream), kebabs, and many more. All in all, be prepared for a culinary journey that is like no other!

 

Slovenia

Image credit: CookEatSlovenia

Been dreaming of a white Christmas? Then Slovenia is the perfect place for you to be! This enchanting winter wonderland looks as if it came out right off the pages of the magical fairy tales. Chances are you won’t believe your eyes that this undiscovered gem even existed! What is even more impressive is the taste of the simple yet flavorsome Slovenian cuisine.

The main ingredients of this mouth-watering cuisine are sour cream, cheese, potatoes, and meat (especially pork). During the cold season, make sure to indulge in the local, traditional foods such as the unique mushroom soup, goveja (beef soup), buckwheat porridge, chicken paprika, Struklji (meat pockets filled with meat and vegetables or sweet fillings), Kremnita (traditional Bled custard cream cake), and Walnut Potica (traditional Slovenian dessert). In short, a Slovenian food-focused holiday will definitely not disappoint!

 

Hungary

Image credit: Hungaria Koncert

Want to enjoy a spectacular Christmas this year? Make your way to Hungary, then! Get up close and personal with the beautiful city of Budapest, try its delish cuisine, excellent wines, and enjoy the music  Don’t forget to stop by the Christmas market, too!

The Hungarians are passionate about their meats, seasonal vegetables, and dairy, so you’ll be sure to enjoy every mouthful! There is literally no dish served without sour-cream in Hungary. While enjoying the country, dig into a hearty bowl of Goulash (a rich and spicy stew made either with meat or fish), which is usually served in a bowl made of bread.

Other popular local dishes are paprikás (a paprika stew with meat), halászlé (a hot Hungarian fish soup also known as Fisherman’s Soup), and the kürtőskalács (a traditional chimney cake that is a personal local favorite especially during the Christmas season). The Hungarian cuisine is sure to offer much excitement for culinary curious travelers.

 

Vietnam

Image credit: Culinary Vietnam Travel

Vietnam is a land blessed with astonishing beauty and year-round sunshine. It is a cultural land rich in traditions and amazing food!

Vietnamese cuisine has its own distinctive and balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavors using local spices, herbs, and vegetables. A standard Vietnamese meal will include these ingredients: rice (in many forms such as rice noodles, sticky rice, etc.), meat or seafood, tropical fruits, fish sauce (usually for dipping), and herbs (mint, basil, lemongrass, cilantro).  

An all-time favorite Vietnamese food is a warm, delicious bowl of Pho (noodle soup with various topping), that both the locals and foreign visitors enjoy! You can also indulge in their renowned Banh Can (a thick kind of pancake with quail eggs), Cao Lau (noodles with pork and local vegetables) and to top it all off: Che (a pudding made with sticky rice and beans). So why not book yourself a holiday to Vietnam and give them all a try? 

 

France

 Image credit: La Vie Du Château

Dubbed by many as the most romantic destination in the world, France is a magical country that is brimming with magical places, history and, of course, excellent food and wine. Though winter in France can be frosty, head to the southern part of the country, especially to Provence and enjoy the balmy Mediterranean climate

In the Provence region, the French cuisine has been highly influenced by the Mediterranean style of cooking. Using local vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil, and seafood, you’ll be surprised by the bold and intense flavors of the traditional fare!

Don’t leave Provence without trying some of the regions’ renowned dishes such as Ratatouille (a vegetable casserole), Aioli (a traditional garlic sauce), and Daube Provençale (a classic French stew), which are all perfect to be enjoyed during the winter!

 

China

Chinese food

 

As the largest and most populated country in the world, it’s no secret that China has much to offer and the winter time may just be one of the best times to visit this grand country! Since it’s “off-peak’ season, you won’t have to deal with the slew of tourists that pack its major cities during its peak holiday times!

Home to some of the world’s most popular dishes, make sure to enjoy a hearty serving of local delicacies such as Kung Pao chicken, steam pot chicken, Peking duck, spring rolls, Chinese noodles with stir-fried pork, dumplings, mushroom hot pot, and Dim Sum!

The list of delicious delicacies that can be found in China are endless as the cuisine varies from region to region.

 

Transylvania, Romania

Image credit: Transylvania Culinary Academy

Head to Transylvania, Romania and discover the local traditions and a place that feels as if the time stood still and the nature is still unspoilt. The Transylvanians are very much devoted in celebrating Christmas in a big way and you too can have a first-hand taste of their traditions. From sacrificing the hog and making the delish sausages and cured hams, to caroling and baking the traditional sweets, this magical land will make you want to stay forever. Don’t forget to taste the wines and the local tuica (plum brandy).

You are likely to come across delicacies such as Polenta (a maize porridge that is eaten instead of bread), Sarmale (meat-filled cabbage rolls ), Mititei (sausages, without the outer layer), and a variety of traditional meat dishes, as well as local sweets

Cook together with the Transylvanians and enjoy their authentic dishes that reflect their unique Christmas traditions!

 

The Caribbean

Image credit: Ladera

We simply can’t think of a better way to beat the winter blues than to escape to the Caribbean! However way you choose to spend your vacation in this region, you must sample and learn to cook the local, authentic Caribbean dishes!

With their sun-drenched island life, it is no doubt that the Caribbean is famous for its fresh seafood. From grilled fish to shrimp, you must taste its abundant and scrumptious fresh seafood-based dishes! While you’re at it, you can also try one of the famous Caribbean signature delicacies: the ‘jerk’ dishes. This dish consists of skewered (chicken or any other meats) rubbed with a spicy dry marinade then smoked and grilled to perfection. Simply put, the various decadent delicacies that the Caribbean has to offer will make it seem like you have a lively party in your mouth all throughout your holiday!

 


Longing to go on a culinary vacation during winter? Then why not book one of the pastry & baking vacations to learn new skills and have a lot of fun!

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