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Top Culinary Destinations to Escape the Winter Season

by Cris Puscas

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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As soon as the warm summer nights are gone and the first golden leaves fall to the ground, we can’t help but already think of golden beaches and blue oceans.

 

If the cold winter weather doesn’t quite appeal to you, then a warm-weather culinary holiday would be just perfect. Who doesn’t enjoy soaking up the sun, lounging on the beach with a tropical cocktail in hand, and tasting exotic dishes?

Should you be looking for something other than the run-of-the-mill beach holiday and craving to find new ways to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand, we’re here to help!

In this article, we’re sharing a great list of the top culinary destinations to escape the winter season that will undoubtedly leave you wanting more!

Note: BookCulinaryVacations offers a flexible cancellation policy. Should you not be able to travel as scheduled, we’d be happy to help you alter your booking with the same organizer or a different organizer.

 

Costa Rica

culinary holiday in costa rica

Photo credit: Harmony Yoga School

Classified as a tropical country because of how close it is located to the equator, Costa Rica sees no true winter season.

The highest temperatures are from February to April, whereas from September to November, the temperatures drop. On average, the annual temperature is between 12°-27° C (70°- 81° F).

 

So, what is there to do in this balmy tropical heaven? You could consider a surf camp in Costa Rica or join a plant-based cuisine and yoga holiday.

During a vegan holiday in Costa Rica, you’ll be treated to both daily culinary and yoga classes. You’ll get a lot of knowledge and experience in preparing raw deserts. And if you want to explore the area, your hosts will be delighted to take you on guided hikes and even a waterfall tour.

 

Crete, Greece

Greek cheese

Photo credit: Greeking me

Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, sits between two climatic zones: the Mediterranean and the North African. It’s one of the healthiest climates for humans which, in part, explains why locals tend to live a long and healthy life.

Should you be looking for a European destination to escape the frosty winter, this Greek island is a great choice. The balmy Mediterranean climate and its location offer an enjoyable 10-15ºC (50-60°F) average even during the coldest month of January.

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make traditional Greek cheese, then you should join a cheese making tour in Crete. You’d be tasting a lot of local cheeses, enjoy an olive oil tasting session, wine tasting, take cooking lessons using traditional ingredients, and even learn how to make bread!

»Read more: Why You Should Go on a Culinary Vacation in Greece.

 

Mexico

guacamole and sweet potato fries in mexico

Photo credit: Life Synergy Retreat

Mexico’s terrain is extremely varied and so is the weather. On the coast, the weather is generally balmy year-round, averaging 20-24C/68-74F. With October being the wettest month, once “winter” sets in you won’t need to worry about carrying an umbrella around.

Whether you head to the coast or inland, cooking is definitely one of the best ways to discover the true culture and the tradition of Mexico.

During a culture and culinary vacation in Mexico, you will not only taste and learn to cook staple dishes, but you’ll also attend folkloric shows, visit arts and crafts markets, as well as museums and archeological sites.

Bring back some of the tips and lessons learned in Mexico, and you will definitely impress your friends and families back home with your newfound cooking skills!

 

Tuscany, Italy

fresh pasta in italy

Photo credit: Italy Luxury Travel

Tuscany is well-known for its remarkable landscape, history, and influence in culture.

The climate in the Tuscany region is mild, with regional differences. Winters aren’t very cold, but you should make sure to pack a warm jacket. The 7C -13C (44F – 55F) temperatures during December are just warm enough to allow for some lovely sightseeing.

Just like any other region in Italy, this iconic province is home to some incredible dishes. If you’ve wanted to learn how to properly make pasta, join a pasta making vacation in Tuscany.

The traditional pasta dish in this area is tagliatelle al tartufo, pasta covered in a truffle sauce. You will also get to learn how to make pappardelle alla lepre, which features egg-noodles in a sauce made from hare or wild boar meat. To make it even more special, don’t skip tasting the local wines and visit at least one of the olive farms.

»Read more: Why You Should Go on a Culinary Vacation in Italy

 

California, USA

vineyard in california

Photo credit: Tango Tours

The Golden State is a preferred destination for many looking to escape the cold winter. Much of the state of California is blessed with Mediterranean weather. Winter, the rain season, lasts from January to March and features mild weather. Head into the mountains, however, and the weather is frigid in winter.

January is the coldest month with average temperatures between 12 C (54F) and 21C (70F), which is gorgeous weather to hit the beaches!

But aside from sun, sand, and surf, California is also home to some excellent wine regions. Should you be looking to indulge in good food and great wine, while you get some gorgeous tan and maybe strike an asana or two, join a culinary vacation in California. Visit Napa and Sonoma wine regions and taste your way through their signature wines.

»Read more: Top Wine Tour Destinations in the World

 

Morocco

food in morocco

Photo credit: Riad Anata

While many believe that the weather is scorching hot in Morocco year-round, in reality, the country experiences four seasons.

On the Atlantic coast, the weather is similar to the Mediterranean one, only a bit milder. November to March can get some short, heavy rains. The temperatures sit at a comfortable 18-21C/64-70F during the winter.

On the Mediterranean coast, the weather is mild and moderately rainy in winter. The averages are lower, hovering around 12C/53F.

During a culinary vacation in Morocco, you can experience its mystical and exotic charm. What better way to do so than to find that inner adventurous side in you and hit some amazing waves in Morocco? Along with all that excitement, you can also wind down over an unforgettable culinary experience by learning to prepare scrumptious traditional Moroccan dishes yourself!

And if surfing is not high on your bucket list, then you can enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of both Marrakesh and Essaouira, watch how argan oil is produced, and visit a spice market.

 

Portugal

food in portugal

Photo credit: Iberian Escapes

Portugal’s weather is highly influenced by the sea. The sunniest and warmest of the European nations, it has sublime climatic conditions. It’s never too hot nor too cold, always just right.

Even during the colder months of winter (December to March), you can get away with a light jacket as the temperature averages between 11⁰ C (52⁰ F) and 15⁰ C (59⁰ F).

So, if you happen to be looking for a great holiday to go on with your loved one, we recommend taking the leap and immerse yourself in a culinary holiday for couples in Portugal!

Between wine tasting, guided wine cellar visits, local market visits, cooking classes, and food tours you surely won’t be bored.

And if you feel you want a bit more adventure, join a coastal bike tour which starts in Porto, Portugal, and ends in Santiago de Compostela in neighboring Spain.

 

 

Thailand

thai food

Photo credit: Pink Chili Cooking Class Bangkok

Winter in Thailand is when the country cools off and you’d be able to enjoy it at a more manageable 50% – 60% humidity. The temperatures average 30-35C/86-95F. Therefore, the months from November to February offer the most pleasant weather to explore the country.

And 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.

Make sure to indulge in 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 the 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

food in india

Photo credit: Yo Tours

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!

The weather across India varies dramatically, spread across seven climate regions. Generally speaking, the best time to visit the country is during winter. The monsoon is gone by November leaving clear sunny skies behind. For most of the country, this is when the tourist season starts, too. The temperatures are pleasant during the day but it can get cold at night.

Head to Southern India and enjoy the beaches in Kerala. The temperatures stay at a pleasant 29-33C/84-91F year-round.

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 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!

»Read more: Indian Spices You Need to Add to Your Spice Rack

 

Vietnam

street food in vietnam

Photo credit: Vietnam Real Tour

Vietnam is a land blessed with astonishing natural beauty, rich culture, stunning traditions, and amazing food!

While the weather is typically warm and wet, it varies greatly across the length of the country. South Vietnam, however, enjoys almost constant temperatures (25-35C/77-95F) year-round. The dry season lasts from November to late April, with February being slightly wetter.

Vietnamese cuisine has its own distinctive flavor 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?

»Read more: The Vietnamese Cuisine at a Glance

 

Provence, France

cheese in france

Photo credit: French Moods LLC

Home to the most romantic city on the planet, beautiful castles, rich history, splendid coastline, and mouth-watering food, France is one of the most visited countries in the world.

And while it can snow even in Paris and you can certainly hit the slopes in the Alpine region, you can also visit the country to escape the frosty European weather.

Head to Provence, in Southern France, which enjoys a balmy Mediterranean climate.

Winters are relatively mild & sunny and the closer to the coast you go, the more pleasant it will be. Do expect a strong wind sometimes as Mistral is a common occurrence in the area.

It might not be sunbathing weather, but at 12-15C/53-60F, you can explore the charming towns, take long walks on the beach, and, of course, indulge in the local cuisine, which 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!

» Read more: A List of Foods You Must Try During Your Trip to France

 

The Caribbean

food in the caribbean

Photo credit: Helmi Smeulders - Caribbean Chef

We simply can’t think of a better way to beat the winter blues than to escape to the Caribbean!

Think of the Caribbean winter as a perpetual May. The temperatures average high-20C/mid-80F. Humidity could be an issue, though, year-round.

Winter also means high season here as the weather is at its “driest”. The hurricanes have ended leaving the skies clear and sunny from December all the way to March.  

However 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 throughout your holiday!


Itching to discover new cuisines and learn to cook flavorful dishes but you can’t travel right now? Join an online cooking course from the comfort & warmth of your own home and discover tasty fare from across the world.  

 

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