When visiting a new destination, one of the most exciting ways to be immersed into its local culture is to sample the local cuisine. With fewer crowds during spring, May is a great time for a culinary adventure.
Quieter restaurants and markets, milder temperatures and cost-friendly experiences all make for a delicious shoulder-season break. Here is a mouth-watering collection of gastronomy experiences offering the ultimate taste of local life – from budget-friendly tapas tasting to sampling the vibrant street food in Thailand.
Tuck into Menorca, European capital of gastronomy 2022
The Balearic island celebrates its designation as European Region of Gastronomy 2022 with an extensive programme of events drawing upon fresh, local ingredients and traditional methods of cooking. The island’s diverse cuisine, which encompasses sobrasada sausage, ensaimada pastries and caldereta lobster stew, has led to its declaration as European Region of Gastronomy 2022.
An extensive programme of activities highlighting local produce make this year the perfect time to visit this charming Balearic island. From fairs dedicated to Mahón cheese and tapas food trucks to Menorcan wine tasting days, there are events and tours to suit all tastes. Travellers visiting Menorca in June can enjoy special menus in 50 local restaurants as part of the ‘Menorca on the plate’ event. Full programme here.
Jet2holidays offers a five-night stay at Palladium Hotel Menorca priced from £576 per person on an all-inclusive basis in a Deluxe Room and includes return flights from London Stansted to Menorca and coach transfers. (Based on 5 nights from Sunday June 5) www.menorca.es
Michelin guide visits Estonia
Estonian cuisine is known as a celebration of their landscape, with many restaurants utilising locally grown produce, either from small-scale producers or in some cases, foraging for this themselves. A new generation of Estonian chefs are pioneering a rapidly emerging fine-dining scene, transforming foraged produce into innovative, modern cuisine.
The chefs use techniques that are centuries old as well as contemporary European methods to create a fusion style of cooking. A particular stand out is NOA, which makes dishes with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Combined with their signature cocktail list and views of both the sea and the Tallinn skyline, this is one of Estonia’s dining highlights.
For more information, please visit: https://www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/introduction-to-estonian-cuisine
Budget tapas tasting in Spain
From tapas trawling experiences to late dinners, visitors can enjoy great food whilst on a budget. The region of Murcia is famous for its tasty yet affordable food and wine. The region has a deep-rooted gastronomical heritage thanks to the outstanding produce it has on offer such as its high-quality fruit and vegetables from the fertile grounds of La Huerta de Murcia, fresh seafood from the Mar Menor and beautiful cuts of meat from inland farms. Murcia is renowned for its incredible tapas made from its fresh produce and inspired by La Huerta such as Pimientos Asados, Mar y Tierra and Albóndigas de Bacalao.
Murcia’s iconic wine bus service has returned this Spring. Departing from Cartagena or Murcia City, travellers will visit the best of Murcia’s vineyards, soak up views of the surrounding scenery aboard the wine bus and try the delicious wines that Murcia’s stunning vineyards have to offer.
The tour costs £50 per person and includes transport, insurance, guided tours, food and wine tastings. murciaturistica.es
Expedia has a three-night stay at the four-star Hotel Atrio del Mar in the coastal town of Los Alcázares, with a remarkable pool and a golf course nearby. The all-inclusive holiday is priced from £173 per person based on two adults sharing, including return flights from Gatwick with British Airways departing on May 19.
Traditions of Sicily with local chefs of Trapani
Spring is a great time of year to explore Sicily as temperatures are mild and the island is less crowded. Various civilisations have not only left an unparalleled cultural heritage, but also a culinary history that sets Sicily apart from mainland Italy.
Exodus Travels’ eight-day trip Sicily Food Adventure is priced from £1,799 per person and includes flights, all accommodation, all breakfasts, two wine tastings, one cookery class, five food tastings/ lunches, all transport, specialist tour leaders and airport transfers. Multiple departures in 2022 (Exodus.co.uk, 0203 1312 785)
An introduction to Puglia
The sun-soaked heel of Italy has long been considered one of the country’s most enchanting regions. The port-city capital, Bari, is noted for its medieval architecture, beautiful beaches, and gastronomic delights. Firm favourites are the ear-shaped eggless pasta, orecchiette, and riso, patate e cozze, layers of rice, potatoes, and mussels baked in terracotta pots.
Set in spectacular farmyards in the Pugliano countryside, Masseria Montenapoleone is the ideal location to enjoy the charm of southern Italy. The on-site organic kitchen offers cooking classes, introducing visitors to the art of Apulian cooking. Lessons cover how to prepare the region’s specialty, orecchiette, from scratch, whilst hearing anecdotes from the chef on the culinary tradition and local history. Massiera Montenapoleone prides itself on its organic farmhouse which produces delicious, fruits, vegetables, and extra virgin oil, all to be used in the cooking.
Thai street markets to savour in Bangrak
Thai cuisine is a melting pot of cultures and Bangrak pays homage to all the classics. The area prides itself in the panache and pleasure of family-run restaurants where locals indulge in their comfort meals with families or friends. On this tour, locals like Peach, the foodie expert, will introduce visitors to the local cuisine, with grand feasts of multiple dishes, all fragranced with ingredients from different cultures.
Toursbylocals offers the Bangrak street food tour priced from £251 for a group of five people (prices vary depending on group size) which includes the guided service, public transportation tickets, Tuk Tuk ride, four dishes of delicious Thai food (or more) and two deserts plus drink/water in the restaurant and one alcoholic drink at Sala Rattanakosin rooftop bar. (Toursbylocals.com)
Experience Tuscany’s top flavours
The Italian region is well known for its wonderful world-class cuisine. The gorgeous city of Lucca has numerous cafés, trattorias, and restaurants where one can enjoy the best of Tuscan cuisine. Locals recommend All’Olivo, an elegant restaurant where travellers can have a taste of Tuscan specialities from sea and land.
Meanwhile, in the beautiful historic centre visitors will find the Buca di Sant’Antonio, one of the city’s oldest restaurants. The city also has a selection of Michelin star restaurants such as Giglio Restaurant, a long-established restaurant in a beautiful 18th century palazzo, while Butterfly, was inspired by one of Puccini’s greatest operas.
Visitors can’t leave Lucca without popping into the recently opened Sommità Martin Orsyn Champagne Rooftop bar at the Grand Universe Lucca as it is is the first of its kind to open in Tuscany.
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Book the ‘Summer In Lucca’ package directly through Marriott for a four-night stay for two at the Grand Universe Lucca. The package includes accommodation for two in a king-sized room on a bed and breakfast basis and a wine tasting experience for two from £1,542. Based on June travel dates. Fly to Pisa. (Marriott.co.uk)
Stay at an eco-farm in La Gomera
A small and quiet island off Tenerife, La Gomera is ideal for those looking for a more tranquil break. Hotel Jardin Tecina is a great base to explore the island, with a great range of activities to try and 11 bars and restaurants to enjoy. The hotel’s eco-garden can be visited by guests on a guided tour to learn more about their unique approach to farming.
The tour demonstrates how Jardin Tecina takes care of plants and gives the opportunity to see the many farm animals that inhabit the land. A visit is best ended with a visit to the El Laurel restaurant, which provides an 100 per set organic set menu made from the produce harvested from the garden.
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