There are approximately 50 countries in the relatively small continent which is Europe. This means that the variety of travel options and the opportunities to enjoy diverse cultural experiences is endless. None more so than when it comes to food and wine. From Scottish haggis to Spanish paella and pretty much everything in between, Europe is a culinary gold mine. If you’re thinking of a food and wine trip on the continent, here are a few ideas.
- Rome: Well who doesn’t love Italian food? And where better to have an authentic Italian food experience than Rome itself? A brief stroll around this most historic and beautiful of cities will reveal outstanding pizza and gelato on seemingly every corner. For real, fresh ingredients though, visit the lively Campo de Fiori market. An organised tour will usually include your very own pizza-making class.
- Burgundy: France must be near the top of any European cuisine list. You can begin your gastronomic French adventure by taking the bus from London to Lille close to the Normandy coast. Often overlooked as a food destination, Lille includes some of the most picturesque French cafes, including Charles de Gaulle’s favourite. If you are travelling in early November, you should be able to catch the 4-day Envies Culinaires expo. From Lille, you can head to the historic Burgundy wine country. A stunningly beautiful region, there are plenty of organised tours. One of the best allows you to float through the countryside by boat visiting local markets and chateaux.
- Provence: Situated further south, Paris itself is a good launching pad to explore Provence. In the French capital, you can get a real insight into some of the country’s top patisseries and chocolatiers. Several tours will also take you around some of Julia Child’s old haunts. It’s a perfect prelude to exploring Provencal cuisine. There are plenty of private tastings to enjoy, where you can sample local delights such as saddle of wild rabbit. If you want a better understanding of the cuisine itself, then visit a local olive oil mill or bee and honey specialist before relaxing at the outstanding Domaines Bunan winery.
- Munich: For a change of pace, why not visit Germany’s Bavarian capital, Munich. Famous of course for its brewing heritage, there is plenty to experience even if your visit doesn’t coincide with Oktoberfest. Explore the history and heritage of beer brewing in Munich, which dates back to 1516. There are of course beer halls and beer gardens galore in Munich, but it is also well worth visiting breweries such as the Hofbrauhaus. Hand in hand with beer comes classic German cuisine and there is nowhere better than Munich to sample bratwurst and similar smoked meat delights.
- Barcelona: Catalonia is proud of its unique identity and heritage and it is no surprise that this is reflected in its food. Visit Barcelona and you can enjoy local specialities such as cocas de recapte, often referred to as ‘Catalan pizza.’ Superb cured meats and cheeses is another characteristic of Catalan cuisine and of course it is recommended to top this all off with cava, local beers and wines. Even if you are in Barcelona for the sun, shopping or football, it isn’t hard to find a tour to explore the bodegas where local Catalans dine.