There’s something unbelievably unifying about food. For starters, we Brits just can’t get enough of moreish delights, but also, there’s just nothing better than enjoying a meal around a big table, surrounded by loved ones. It’s a simple pleasure, but a good’un.
These foodie experiences are even better enjoyed on holiday, under the warm sun and with a few glasses of wine.
So, with that in mind, we wanted to share our top emerging foodie destinations, so you can keep creating delicious memories for years to come.
Italy’s sun bleached heel is more than its pretty coastlines and rustic charm. In fact, Puglia bags the number one spot for foodie tourism. The regions cucina povera is relatively undiscovered, so get ready to arm your taste buds for a flavoursome punch. Rich, earthy meats; creamy burrata and a lot of vino. Doesn’t sound too shabby, does it?
Oh, and we can’t forget to mention that Puglia produces the wheat for the country’s pasta. And once you give it a try, it'll be as though you've just tried pasta again for the first time. The favourite variety with locals is orecchiette, known as ‘little ears’ for their shape. You'll find this dish everywhere and it's paired with all sorts of proteins.
Haggis, flaky shortbread, scotch pies and more seafood than your stomach can handle, Scotland is the epitome of comfort food. Long gone are the days of deep-fried Mars Bars, because this small nation is quickly emerging as a reputable foodie destination and it can hold its own amongst its European competitors.
Fine dining holds a place in this country, but visitors will soon realise that the Scots have a no-fuss approach to food. If it tastes good, then you’re winning. But with so much on offer, it will be a tough choice to pick off the menus. From salty Aberdeen beef to Scottish salmon and everything in between, we can guarantee it will taste lovely. Of course, no meal is truly finished without a glass of single malt whisky. Even if you’re not normally a fan, we recommend giving it a go – it may just surprise you.
In a nutshell, Crete’s cuisine will nourish both your body and mind. You’ll love sinking your teeth into the home-grown meat and vibrant vegetables on offer. After all, good food doesn’t need to be boring.
The taverns will be a big hit with Brits. They’re uber cosy, but you’ll quickly notice that the locals enjoy long lunches and love sharing plates everyone can tuck into. So, feel free to do the same! Crete is also one of Greece’s biggest wine producers and the hills are studded with vineyards and wineries. Our favourite of the red grape is Agiorgitiko, which stands out in colour and aroma.
You won’t have to travel far and wide to get to this foodie destination. Scoring big points for its offering, Cornwall has some of the best seafood around. You’ll have to sample a mix of fish to get the full experience, but personally, we adore the scallops – not a second overdone, the flavour in those tiny morsels are out of this world.
And we can’t talk about Cornwall without mentioning the Cornish pasty. This classic is typically filled with beef, veggies and just the right amount of seasoning.
It’s no secret that France is one of Europe’s gastronomical heavyweights, but Normandy’s regional goodies can’t be ignored. Firstly, if you’re a cheese lover then you’ll have to brace yourselves for a few nightmares because the cheese board will be too good to resist. Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l'Évêque, all yours.
And then there’s the high-quality seafood which includes oysters. Granted, they're not for everyone but these aphrodisiacs are divine. You might already be imagining the wine to pair your oysters with, but Normandy produces little wine. Don't worry though, it makes up for it in cider. The apple brandy calvados will hit all the right spots!
Delicious food is a given in the Algarve, and you can breathe a sigh of relief because you’ll be totally spoilt for choice. Choose from sandy beach cafes, market-side gems or cosy eateries. However, the one common thread is seafood. Dominating menus across the region, you’ll be able to pick from squid, sardines and lobster. We love arroz de lingueirão. It’s a creamy razor clam risotto that the locals and visitors alike go crazy for.
Algarve has the perfect setting to grow grapes and although you may not hear too much of the wines, you’ll find some tangy reds in the region.
There aren’t enough hyperboles to summarise the flavours of Provence. This foodie oasis is renowned for its truffles, garlic and silky olive oil. The region’s most famous dish is bouillabaisse, a fish stew originally made with rockfish. But you’ll find hundreds of variations, with each chef putting their stamp on the dish. The stew is also served with bread (naturally) and butter.
Besides the tantalising food, wine is also a big staple in this region. Powerful Bandol reds, crisp whites and fruity roses are at every turn. Oh, and did you know that the most famous vineyard owners in Provence are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Pretty cool right?
8) Canary Islands
Expect simple, zesty dishes with a sprinkling of spice when you next travel to the Canary Islands. One of the most loved dishes on the island is papas arrugadas. Essentially, they’re wrinkly potatoes but they’ve been boiled in salty water. The dish is served with mojo, which is a spicy sauce perfect for dunking.
Among other offerings are churros. Classical in Spanish cuisine, these deep-fried doughnuts are scrumptious. Dipped in thick hot chocolate, you can enjoy this desert during breakfast or night. And if you're in need of a tipple, rum is an institution on the island. Among the most popular are the dark varieties and those spiked with honey.
Good food means nothing if it hasn’t been made with love. But in Ireland, the local cuisine is rich with heritage and passion. Visitors will not only feel warmly welcomed but the Irish are notoriously known as feeders, so you’ll fit right in. The green pastures provide a base for hearty dishes such as the legendary Irish stew, made with a combination of slow stewed (typically Mutton) meat and veg.
Breakfast in Ireland is arguably the most exciting meal of the day. Their fry-up certainly has the edge over ours. The portions on one plate could easily feed two but noticeable differences between theirs, is they use black and white pudding and freshly baked soda bread.
Though, technically not an emerging foodie destination. Lyon needs a generous shout out. In the 1930s food critic Curnonsky dubbed Lyon the ‘world capital of gastronomy’. If that doesn't speak volumes, I don't know what will! So, if you ever find yourself in these parts you’ll have to put Curnonsky's statement to the test. And with more than 1,500 eateries the choice is entirely yours.
Our favourite dish from the region is quenelle, a small mix of creamed fish combined with breadcrumbs. It's then formed into an egg shape and poached to perfection. It's a must for inquisitive foodies.
That's a wrap on the best foodie destinations for Brits to enjoy. But there's still so much to explore. Your first stop is this nifty Food and Wine Pairing Guide that will take you on a journey of the culinary senses.