Insight /

Italy, Spain, Sweden, Turkey

Four Foodie Finds Gourmet City Go-To’s

Part of the fun of a European getaway is exploring a city by its markets, bars and restaurants. By tasting regional delicacies and doing as the locals do, we get a true sense of place.

Epicurean Escapes

These four destinations aren’t particularly known as culinary centres but we know you’ll find a lively gastronomic scene in each. Prepare to impress your taste buds.

    Caceres, Spain

    Caceres, in rural Extremadura, is one of those lost-in-time Medieval towns that seems to have escaped the tourist hordes. Sure, there might be a few day-trippers but by dusk, visitors melt away and you’ll be left with an authentic, Spanish town to explore. Start in the Old Town, where its intricate alleyways and Moorish architecture take you back in time. Do as the locals do and stop for drinks which come with a free tapa – maybe a sliver of Montanchez Iberico ham or a gooey morsel of Torta del Casar cheese. More hearty dishes include Caldereta de Cordero – a rich lamb stew and Migas, fried breadcrumbs with pancetta, garlic and red pepper.

    However, what has really put Caceres on the foodie map is refined establishment Atrio – a two-Michelin starred restaurant. Experience a nine-course tasting menu featuring beautifully presented dishes of truffles, razor clams, mushrooms and oysters, and you can even spend the night here. Caceres is ideal for a short foodie exploration, but we’d recommend it as part of a wider self-drive trip through Spain.  See our itinerary here for more details here.

    Alta Badia & San Cassiano, Dolomites

    Come winter or summer, life on the mountains always gives a good dose of crisp, fresh air and activity – which in turn helps to cultivate healthy appetites. Small mountain village San Cassiano has developed a nuanced cuisine influenced by hearty Austrian fare paired with high-quality Italian ingredients. The result is a rarefied gastronomic enclave and the gourmet destination of the Alps. In the summer, foodie festivals pop up and in town, relaxed and informal St Hubert’s has earned three Michelin stars for its dedication to seasonal mountain produce. Up in the mountains, even the most unassuming-looking huts will serve up epicurean treats.

    We recommend hiking or snowshoeing (depending on the season) up to Rifugio Fuciade, which has a wonderful, sunny terrace that overlooks the Pale di San Martino. Despite its remote location expect fine wines chosen from the wine cellar dug into the rock and a tasting menu featuring the best of mountain-to-table cuisine. For alpine adventures high on the gastronomic scale San Cassiano is your calling card.

    Gothenburg and the Bohuslän Coast, Sweden

    On the feathered coastline of Gothenburg, West Sweden where mirror-like waters meet rocky islets, life is good. If you’re looking for a wholesome holiday, away from Brits abroad, where seafood is the staple and pausing to enjoy good food is a way of life, then Gothenburg should be top of your list for a foodie foray. Just an 80-minute flight from London brings you to this dreamy coastal commune, which is a magnet for epicurean entrepreneurs – here you’ll find micro-breweries, street food trucks, artisan cafes and Scandi-cool bars.

    Spend your days drifting from one foodie adventure to the next, recommended is a seafood safari where you head out on the calm waters to pluck fresh oysters, mussels and crayfish straight from the salty waters. Stop by the fish market to see the array on offer then have lunch at Gabriel’s, located on the second floor. A meal of oysters, fish soup and shrimps washed down with local craft beer is hard to beat. Don’t forget to partake in the cultural intuition of fika, where friends break the day with coffee and cake together – this could be the moment you decide to relocate to join the carefree cool cats of Gothenburg.

    Istanbul, Turkey

    At the meeting point of Europe and Asia, Istanbul has an exotic foodie scene which spans a huge diversity. If you’re looking for a foodie adventure with a cultural twist, then the sights and smells of Istanbul are likely to tease your taste buds. From the cosmopolitan roof top bars with views over to the swirling Bosporus and rooftops of the historical peninsula, to the street side cafés where you can try the distinctly thick and bitter Turkish coffee, Istanbul will wow you with its diversity.

    A visit to the Grand Bazaar is a must and we recommend taking a tour with one of our trusted guides. The sprawling marketplace sells everything from traditional yarn to Turkish scent and with your guide you will meet craftsmen in their workshops, sample little-known treats such as liver, find the perfect kebab and discover Ottoman-era trader’s inns. End your day with a meal at a gourmet waterfront restaurant where from your al fresco table, you can admire the twinkling yachts and Istanbul’s beautiful people.

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