Disclosure: We partnered with Grand European Travel on this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
I’m a total foodie. The best part of any vacation, as far as I’m concerned, is the food: I love trying authentic dishes and ingredients from across the world.
After all, local cuisine is more than just delicious food – it’s a portal to the culture, the rich history and the people of every destination.
I love experiencing the new tastes, recipes and ingredients that come with my trips. It’s the most exciting part of my schedule, especially when I find hidden gems and new culinary experiences.
So when I took the quiz to find out what kind of traveler I am, the results were no surprise. It told me exactly who I am: a Culinary Adventurer.
With that inspiration in mind, I wanted to share the top food-and-wine havens for any culinary adventurer to enjoy.
Whether it’s enjoying an authentic Champagne in the streets of Paris or a sweet Cava in Barcelona, check out this handy infographic to order wine like a pro. Not everyone speaks English, and you’ll need to know how to order the best food-and-wine combo in the local language.
Without further ado, check out the best food-and-wine destinations of the year!
Delicious wonders of Italy
Where do foodie travelers even start in Italy? The number of choices is overwhelming – after all, it’s a country known for its exquisite cuisine.
There is good reason why Italian food is famous across the world and is served by millions of restaurants but the truth is, there is nothing like an authentic Italian dish.
Tasting a dish created by an Italian cook using freshly-sourced Italian ingredients is an experience like no other. Italy offers such an array of top-quality restaurants and cuisine, that there’s barely a wrong choice.
From pasta to sea food to gelatto, Italy has something to offer all foodies, but most especially, it has some of the best cheeses and wines across the world.
As a matter of fact, Italy’s wines are so popular, that wine tours across local vineyards abound. Visitors can experience the process of wine-making and enjoy the fruits of labor with a delicious meal and wine tasting overlooking the Italian landscape.
The number of delicious and authentic dishes, oils, ingredients and wines are what make Italy one of our top choices for any gastronomic vacation.
Rich food culture of Spain
My first culinary visit to Spain was in 2004. My family and I ate the most delicious paella we’ve ever had the good fortune of tasting. If you haven’t tried paella before, it’s by far and wide the most popular dish in Spain, made of savory yellow rice, veggies and seafood.
It was so authentic to Spanish cuisine and a wonderful welcoming experience on our short trip to Madrid.
Interestingly, Spanish cuisine is influenced by its geography, climate and especially the rich history that shaped the culture and society of the nation. From the Muslim conquest to the subsequent conquest by Spain of the new world, this all had a major impact on the formation of Spain’s gastronomy.
So when in Spain, eat like the Spanish: enjoy a delicious tortilla española, turron (almong nougat), pisto (Spanish ratatouille) and of course, the worldwide-famous gazpacho (tomato soup).
In fact, Ave sends me Spanish turron for Christmas – this sweet dessert makes the holiday that much better. 🙂
It may come as a surprise, but Spain is also host to some of the highest-quality, delicious wines in the world. We learned this on our trip, and enjoyed a wine tasting composed of a variety of wines from famous wineries, or as the Spanish call them, bodegas.
What’s interesting about Spanish wine is how the tastes vary so much from region to region. Because Spain is a peninsula, the wine is influenced by the different temperature and weather across the land.
We loved the Cava of Catalonia and the rich texture of the Txakoli of Basque country. If you enjoy red wine, Rioja of north-central Spain is a must.
Authentic tastes 0f France
France is synonymous with gastronomy. The country is known for its exquisite tastes and of course, its stunning cheeses, of which there are over 1000 different types.
The best chefs are usually trained in France, where they learn not only to appreciate and use ingredients, but also to make food look beautiful and tempting to the eye.
They say that French food is so good, that you can walk into any cafe or restaurant in the street and you will not be disappointed. Our experience was faithful to that saying.
On our trip to Paris and Versailles, we had some of the most stunning soups, entrees and desserts. From macaroons to crepes and meat tartar, the entire experience was a culinary adventure to us.
Interestingly, French cuisine remains very faithful to its core indigenous style, pushing back on foreign influences by promoting the importance of remaining French in style and taste.
Cheese and wine happen to be a major part of this movement and French cuisine.
Of course, France’s wine and wineries are well renown globally, particularly Champagne, or sparkling wine that comes from the Champagne region of France. Other famous French wines include: Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Rose, Pinot Noir and Chardonanay.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, there is no better travel destination than France.
Have you visited any of these countries? Share with us below!