“I can resist anything except temptation” wrote Oscar Wilde and for many this applies most when it comes to food. Travelling is a fantastic way to try new dishes and sample new flavours. In this post we invite you to live vicariously as we chart some of our favourite destinations for food lovers.
Scottish cuisine is undergoing a revival. There’s far more to Caledonia than Irn-Bru and stovies, with Scottish whisky, seafood and beef in high-demand across the world. The food and drink sector is now worth more than £13 billion, with Scottish salmon sales totalling over £500 million alone. Visitors are well advised to sample the range of fresh and saltwater fish Scotland has to offer. From the richness of Arbroath smokies – haddock smoked over hardwood chips – to delicate crab, Scotland boasts a variety of flavours to suit all palettes.
Complementing the boom in Scottish exports has been the opening of a number of world-class, and often innovative, restaurants across the country. Edinburgh’s ‘The Kitchin’ is a fantastic example of this. With an emphasis on seafood, game and seasonal fare, The Kitchin has won plaudits from across the board and has been rewarded with a coveted Michelin Star.
Tuscan cuisine is based on the idea of cucina poversa, or ‘poverty cooking’ a concept that originally meant inexpensive, simple meals, but now speaks to a culture based on fresh, high-quality and seasonal produce. With Tuscany’s rolling hills home to a range of ingredients, food doesn’t travel far here and localism is a source of genuine pride.
Meals tend to begin with an antipasto selection of cured meats and pates, followed by a soup – papa al pomodoro being a particularly popular choice. This being Italy, visitors can expect pasta dishes to feature heavily, albeit ones infused with decadent sprinklings of local black and white truffles. Secondo is usually given over to meat, with an emphasis on steak and game accompanied with Chianti. Complementing the food are the Tuscans themselves. Known to be gracious hosts they are sure to provide an unforgettable atmosphere.
Louisiana, United States
Louisiana is home to Cajun cuisine – a style of cooking named for the French-speaking Arcadian people, that relies on a fusion of steamed rice, speciality sausages, seafood, local vegetables and the ‘holy trinity and pope’ of onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic.
In Louisiana food is an event and all visitors are encouraged to take the plunge and attend a crawfish boil. Here Cajuns boil mountains of crawfish in a mixture of bay leaves, mustard seeds and spices, before eating en masse. These are celebratory affairs, with live music and entertainment and a tangible sense of community.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is South Africa’s most culturally diverse city. Its citizens come from across the globe, helping to shape a Global-Afro fusion culture that gives the city’s cuisine a cosmopolitan flavour that is hard to find elsewhere.
Shisa Nyama is a true South African experience, transcending the mere act of eating. The name is Zulu for “to burn meat” and sees slabs of meat cooked and eaten communally using large food and coal pits. Influenced by the cities massive Indian and Malaysian influences, Bunny Chow is also a must-try. A hallowed out half or quarter load of bread is filled with curry: creating a meal that is as hearty as it is hands on. Although you may choose lamb or chicken, mutton seems to be the local favourite. Finally, a trip to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a coffee in one of the city’s many fine cafes. What better to accompany it than koekisters, sweet donuts served with a sweet syrup?
La Pampa, Argentina
Food in La Pampa means three things: steak, red wine and dulce de leche. This is certainly not a place to visit if you’re intent on dieting…
Those who can indulge will find some of the world’s finest food. Argentine steaks are internationally renowned for unique cuts, such as the boneless Lomo, rich flavours, the result of grass feeding cattle, and distinctive Asado slow-cooking process. What better to pair with a steak then a bold red wine? The Argentinians are rightly proud of their unique wine culture, the result of immigration from France, Italy and Spain and diverse planting sites. Finally, dulce de leche, a national obsession, this rich confection is ubiquitous. Spread on bread at breakfast, served in cakes in the afternoon and sculpted into desserts in the evening, dulce de leche is a temptation that few can resist.