8 Top Delectable Destinations for Culinary Experiences
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Gone are the days when travelers were looking only to tick off sights from a travel guide. Now it’s all about experiences, and in particular, culinary experiences.
In a survey by BookCulinaryVacations.com, where more than 300 travelers were asked about their travel habits in the summer of 2016 and 15% of respondents said their next vacation would most likely be a culinary-focused experience!
From green papaya salad in Thailand to Vietnam’s pho, passing by the escargots in France and truffle-infused olive oil in Italy, you will discover a variety of mouth-watering culinary destinations, all which should definitely rank high on every foodie's bucket list!
1. Experience flavor tastes overload in Thailand
From bustling markets, fascinating culture and history to mouth-watering dishes in an exotic setting. This is what Thailand brings to the table. Discover fascinating Bangkok during a walking street food tour in the Bangrak district, cross rivers on long tail boats and explore its interesting temples. Spicy is what Thailand knows well, so prepare your taste buds for the kick. Enjoy tom yum goong (spicy shrimp soup), try tom kha kai (chicken in coconut soup) or yam nua (spicy beef salad) and don’t forget about the khao pad (fried rice). Don’t feel like sampling the ill-famed durian? Then stick to the less adventurous banana leaf sticky rice or roti (yes, it comes from India).
If you want to experience the country and its exotic tastes, a culinary vacation in Thailand is a great way to get you started.
2. Live “La Dolce Vita” in Italy
For almost every traveler, Italy means pasta and pizza. If you want a real feel of the Italian food, put your walking shoes on and head into the heart of Apulia (Italian:Puglia), in the mountains looking over Vieste. A lot of tratorias await you and they know good food, made with local ingredients and olive oil from the olive trees they grow. Antipasti (cured meats and local cheeses such as burrata and provolone), followed by a variety of pasta dishes and local fishes give you a lesson about Italian food. After a lunch which spans well into the night, you’ll only want to sleep. Feeling less adventurous? Head to Naples, the birthplace of pizza. In Italy, simple pizza is good pizza so order a napoletana (made only with tomatoes and mozzarella). Now you are well fed and ready to tackle visiting the majestic site of Pompeii. And there’s nothing more authentic than experiencing La Dolce Vita during a culinary vacation in Italy.
3. Savor exotic and invigorating dishes in Vietnam
Even luxury experiences in Vietnam won’t break the budget. Discover the amazing street food in Hanoi during a walking tour, learn to cook traditional Vietnamese dishes, visit old temples, travel by bamboo boat and even practice Tai Chi. Pho and spring rolls are quite classic by now, but bun cha (marinated pork, grilled, served with noodles) is what the locals prefer for lunch. Finish the meal with a che (sweet pudding with a variety of toppings). Feel like trying something exotic? Hot Vit Lon (fertilized duck eggs, boiled, mmm) is what you are looking for. Taste these dishes and learn to make them during an exotic culinary vacation in Vietnam.
4. Fish for seafood in Portugal
Mussels, clams, crabs, fish, octopus...delicious and healthy, seafood is at its best in Portugal. Bacalhau (salted cod fish), caldeirada (fish stew), and arroz de temboril (monkfish and rice) are only three incredibly flavorful dishes you should try here. Add in the wine, which goes very well with the seafood, and the mild climate, since the Algarve is happy to report 300 days of sunshine per year, and you will come back home well rested. And very well fed. The experience of learning how to cook traditional seafood during a culinary holiday in Portugal is a great bonus, too.
5. Be delighted by the “bonne cuisine” in France
Looking to improve your French? Mix it up with a cooking lesson during a culinary vacation in France and you will be an expert in no time. While you are at it, learn the art of wine pairing (and tasting), visit local food markets and enjoy the French dishes we all love. In Paris, start your breakfast with a chocolate croissant, have coq au vin for lunch or even try escargots. Head to Bordeaux for the famous wines and while you are at it, try the amazing lamb and pork dishes. Tame your sweet tooth with the famous cakes and tarts, which are made in Grenoble, using local walnuts. And of course, finish up with champagne in Reims, one of the major cities of Champagne region.
6. Go beyond polenta in Transylvania, Romania
Photo credit: Cris Puscas
For travelers, Transylvania typically means Dracula, Bran Castle, Brasov and maybe the Transfagarasan highway. With a cuisine which combines the best of Hungarian, German, and Romanian dishes, you are in for a culinary delight and tastes overload during a culinary holiday in Romania. Show up before Christmas and see how the pork is sacrificed and prepared. Enjoy sarmale (meat filled cabbage rolls) with mămăligă (polenta) and sour cream, taste pomana porcului (pork feast), and don’t forget about kürtőskalács (chimney cake). Wash down the fat with ţuică (plum brandy) and end the meal with a signature white wine the area is known for. Or ask your host for a taste of their wine as many households still engage in the art of winemaking.
7. Eat healthy food in Greece
Crete is home to the healthiest cuisine in Europe: delicious, flavorful, and served with a side of amazing scenery. From olive oil to Horiatiki salata (traditional Greek salad), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) and fava (beans paste) do as the locals do and share these mezedes with your friends and learn how to cook traditional Greek food during a culinary vacation in Greece. Enjoy the bustle of the local market and spend your free time exploring the narrow streets of the villages. For a different Greece, check out the capital of Athens and its Plaka district, with the tavernas which line up the streets climbing to the Acropolis. Stop for some grilled cheese or try tzatziki (yogurt dip). Wash them down with a traditional beer.
8. Get a caffeine kick in Colombia
Ask any coffee lover and they tell you that Colombia is home to the best coffee in the world. Hike the rolling hills where the coffee is cultivated, witness the coffee production process, dive to see the white coral reefs and when you get hungry, try some arepas or empanadas. Looking for something more exotic? Bandeja paisa is a hearty dish made with beef, pork, fried plantains, rice, and avocado, among other ingredients. Get a first-hand experience of all these (and much more) during a culinary vacation in Colombia!
Want to enjoy these amazing culinary experiences? On BookCulinaryVacations.com we offer a variety of culinary holidays from all over the world for you to choose from!