Looking for the ultimate food holiday ? Cook, eat and drink your way around these amazing locations...
1. Gothenburg, Sweden
If you’ve ticked the likes of Stockholm and Malmo off your culinary bucket list, then Gothenburg (or Göteborg, if you’re a local) in the West of the country should be your next stop.
Swedes drink a huge amount of coffee and make the best cinnamon buns ever, so by day head to Haga, built in the mid-17th century, it’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. It’s also one of the best places to see the attractive architecture of stone-based houses with timber storeys above. Café Husaran sells the best and biggest cinnamon buns in town.
For lunch or dinner, grab the best catch of the day at the Feskekörka (which translates as ‘fish church’) fish market, housed in a distinctive building on the quayside. There’s salmon of every variety whether you want different sorts of cured, graved to hot or cold-smoked, marinated and fresh as well as oysters, mussels, crab, mackerel, shrimp, crayfish and more. There’s also the upmarket, on-site fish restaurant Gabriel to enjoy for those who don’t want to cook.
2. Bristol, UK
The bustling city of Bristol is home to fabulous food and drink – with traditional and exotic eats vying for attention – was previously ranked a ‘foodie hotspot’ by The Good Food Guide.
Koocha is a mesmerising vegan mezze bar located on the trendy Stokes Croft road and offers a fabulous selection of Persian-inspired dishes using local produce.
For a perfect pit stop for lunch on the go explore St Nicholas Market, Bristol’s oldest market, where you’ll find a variety of independent shops and food stalls, including the Blue Fire Smoke and Grill serving up Caribbean Mutton Creole/Cajun Cuisine.
The 1766 Bar & Kitchen, in the foyer of the Bristol Old Vic, the oldest continuously working theatre in the country, is great spot for both nibbles and tipples. Try the curiously named Psychopomp Wōden, a local craft-distilled gin served with a wedge of grapefruit, or one of their wide selection of local craft beers.
3. Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a classic stopover point when travelling further afield. But there’s much more to it than can be covered in a few hours, not least its diverse food opportunities, and it makes an unforgettable holiday destination in its own right.
The atmospheric streets of SoHo, in the Central area of Hong Kong Island, are crammed with hip bars and restaurants. Happy Paradise, created by chef May Chow, delivers neo-Cantonese dining – small plates include tea-smoked pigeon (complete with head and feet!) and xinjiang spice roasted eggplant, zucchini and black garlic – alongside innovative cocktails in neon-lighted ambience.
For more traditional fare, take the Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour. Guides will point out some plenty of Hong Kong’s lesser known foodie spots such as a basement that conceals a family-run restaurant serving up around 700 bowls of noodles a day.
Back on Hong Kong Island, overlooking Repulse Bay (one of Hong Kong’s most popular beaches), Michelin-starred Ocean by Olivier Bellin creates innovative French fine dining. Imaginative dishes include Japanese sea urchin, oatmeal foam and toasted buckwheat, and a chaud-froid of cauliflower and Parmesan ice cream.
4. Cadiz, Spain
Located in the stunning hilltop town Vejer de la Frontera, Cadiz, Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen is the perfect place to master Spain’s many delicacies via her popular week-long Andalucia foodie Adventure. Brought up in Scotland, Annie’s foodie connections in her new Spanish home, Vejer de la frontera, are second to none: you’ll sample the exquisite Jamon Iberica, meet Annie’s favourite butcher and see how he makes chorizo, visit Barbate market to select fresh fish to cook for lunch and visit two sherry bodegas – and taste the produce.
The classes themselves are held in Annie’s house, Casa Alegre, in the heart of Vejer’s old town. It’s here you will learn how to make albondigas (meatballs in a spicy beef broth) as well as sensational paella (main picture). By the end of your stay you’ll leave with new-found culinary skills, as well as a collection of authentic recipes.
5. Emilia Romagna, Italy
Think of havens for Italian food and Rome, Tuscany and Sicily may be just some of the locations that spring to mind. But Emilia Romagna – a pretty region in the North of Italy – should actually be on your foodie radar as actually the region with the with the greatest number of protected destination of origins and protected geographical indications in Italy.
For parma ham bursting with aged flavour try the Antica Salumeria Giorgio Pancaldi, where they have been serving only the best this meaty delicacy of the region for more than 70 years. Snap up a tot of vino to pair it with, by taking a visit to the Cleto Chiarli vineyard in Castelvetro, set up in 1860, where you’ll see the entire process of making their signature Lambrusco right the way from grape through to bottle.
You’ll also find some of the best Parmigiano-Reggiano and traditional balsamic vinegar you’ll ever sample in Emilia Romagna’s many food outlets.
Tempted? Read our guide to food holidays in Emilia Romagna here
6. Grenoble, France
Just south of Lyon but with a distinctive cuisine of its own, the city of Grenoble lies in scenic spot at the foot of the Alps in south-eastern France. This is a top destination for walnut-lovers and these flavoursome nuts form the basis of many local recipes.
Blue, cow’s milk cheeses including the mild Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage and creamy Saint-Marcellin cheeses have been traditionally produced in the area for centuries, and ravioles du Dauphiné with cheese and herb filling is a popular pasta dish. Local Carthusian monks have distilled the distinctively green-coloured and herb-based Chartreuse liqueur since 1737.