It’s finally that special time of the year again; the familiar Christmas tunes and holiday jingles playing on your favorite radio stations, and for the much of western hemisphere, gone are the warmth of the sun as the chilly breeze starts to kick in. With the increasingly dreary and cold weather, it becomes harder to resist the temptation of staying at home - only to come out of “hiding” when the season ends.
Before you decide to spend this winter the exact same way you’ve done in the past, the team at BookCulinaryVacations.com would like to share with you a selection of exciting places where you make the most of this jolly season! Whether you prefer to embrace the cold of the winter or opt to escape to a warmer destination, we’ve got it all covered.
Without further ado, 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!
Image Credit: Podere le Olle
Seeing that it’s located in Europe, there is no denying Italy can get pretty cold in the winter. Despite it, this charming country still reigns as one of the most popular destinations during the holiday season!
Since no one can argue that the best reasons to visit Italy is to enjoy plenty of its finest delicacies, why not take your gastronomic adventure a notch and learn to whip up your own authentic homemade Italian dishes like pasta, pizza, and gnocchi with the use of their self-produced 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!
Image Credit: Explorient
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 pack-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!
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 simply 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!
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 basis of this mouth-watering cuisine are cream, cheese, potatoes and meat (especially pork). A great variety of traditional foods found in Slovenia that you can enjoy during the cold season are: their 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!
Image credit: Hungaria Koncert
Looking for out of the box Christmas experience this year? How about spending it on a luxurious cruise accompanied with beautiful winter sights and live music in Hungary? Get up close and personal with the beautiful city of Budapest on a beautiful cruise trip. While strolling along the Danube River, enjoy yourself with impeccable traditional Hungarian cuisine and sipping on its prestigious wines.
The Hungarians are passionate about their meats, seasonal vegetables, dairy products and cheeses, so you’ll be sure to enjoy every mouthful! While you’re there, have yourself a hearty bowl of Goulash (a rich and spicy soup containing Hungarian Grey cattle meat), which is usually served as a starter course. Other popular local dishes are paprikás (a paprika stew with meat), halászlé (a hot Hungarian 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.
Image Credit: Culinary Vietnam Travel
Vietnam is a land blessed with panoramic beauty and year round sunshine. It is a cultural land rich in their beliefs, traditions and amazing food! Vietnamese cuisine has its own distinctive and balance of salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavors with the selective use of spices, herbs and vegetables. A standard Vietnamese meal will include the basis ingredients of 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 with beef), 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?
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 romance, history and of course, excellent food and wine. Though winter in France can be frosty, we happen to think that a trip down to South, especially to Provence will be well worth it.
In the Provence region, the French cuisine has been highly influenced by the Mediterranean style of cooking. With just humble ingredients of their own own produced of vegetables, fresh herbs, olive oil and seafood, you’ll be surprised that the blending of these ingredients can produce such bold and intense flavors! Be sure to not 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!
Image credit: Wild China
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 the winter time is considered “off-peak’ season, you won’t have to deal with the slew of tourists that pack its major cities like Beijing during its peak holiday times!
Home to some of the world’s most popular dishes, be sure to have yourself 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.
Image credit: Transylvania Culinary Academy
Discover a special winter charm and get the full experience of winter holiday festivities in Transylvania, Romania. The Transylvanians that are very much devoted in celebrating Christmas in a big way and you too can have a first-hand taste of their traditions.
That said, you will also likely to come across delicacies such as Polenta (a classic Romanian side serving), Sarmale (Stuffed cabbage), Mititei (sausages) and a variety of traditional meat dishes. Cook together with the Transylvanians and enjoy their authentic dishes that reflect their unique Christmas traditions!
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, one must never pass up on sampling and the chance to whip up your very own authentic Carribean 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 simply must sample its abundant scrumptious, fresh seafood-based dishes! While you’re at it, you can also try one of the famous Caribbean signature delicacies named 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!
Thanks for taking the time to check out this post. To read more great content on food, wine and travel, please visit On & Beyond Culinary Delights. While you’re at it, take a peek at the wide variety of culinary holidays on offer!