Rather than soaking up rays on the beach during your next vacation, how about picking up some international cooking skills? From food tours to cooking classes, culinary vacations allow you to explore new locales with your palate while expanding your gastronomic expertise. Below are 10 mouth-watering destinations for cooking vacations that are well worth a visit.
Bangkok, Thailand is a colorful city that consists of a diverse mix of megamalls, Buddhist temples, and street food carts. The food in Bangkok is spicy, sweet, salty, sour, and everything in between. Dishes that you could learn how to cook while in Bangkok include green curry, red curry, pad thai, green mango salad, pineapple fried rice, and mango sticky rice.
Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain. From the gorgeous beaches in Costa Brava to the unique buildings in Barcelona, there are many exciting sights to see in Catalonia. Catalonia’s eclectic cuisine combines Moorish, Roman, and New World influences and offers reminders of the region’s unique history. Local chefs rely heavily on ingredients available on the Mediterranean coast including olives, wine, legumes, tomatoes, eggplants, and cheese. Some dishes you may learn how to prepare include botifarra (pork sausage) and picada, which is a sauce made of nuts, bread, garlic, saffron, parsley, and other ingredients.
Marrakesh is a major city in the northwest African nation of Morocco. Marrakesh is a vibrant metropolis full of labyrinthine alleys and bustling markets. The cuisine in Marrakesh has Andalusian, Berber, French, and Middle Eastern influences. You can stay in a traditional home, or riad, while in Morocco. Dishes that you may sample include shrimp, chicken, and lemon-filled briouats, and tanjia marrakshia, which is prepared with beef and spices.
Despite its relatively small size, Montreal, Canada has one of the most exciting food scenes in North America. With a heavy French influence, Montreal feels like Old Europe with a contemporary flair. The city brims with a diversity of culinary treats, including classic French breads and pastries, silky gelato, smoked meat sandwiches, shish taouk, and its famed poutine, which consists of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. Montreal also embraces the farm-to-table movement and houses a number of sizable farmer’s markets, most notably the Jean-Talon Market located in Little Italy.
5. New York
With its dazzling skyscrapers and bustling night-life, no other city in the world is quite like New York. Widely considered to be the culinary capital of the US, there is an endless variety of ethnic food and cutting-edge contemporary cuisine available in the Big Apple. Iconic foods from New York City that you can not miss on your culinary getaway include New York cheesecake, bagels, black and white cookies, pizza, hot dogs, and pastrami and corned beef sandwiches.
A city rich in history and culture, Paris, France has attracted artists, entertainers, and culinary professionals from around the world. From family-run food shops to off-the-beaten-path bakeries and cafés to chic wine bistros, Paris abounds with delicious foods and artisanal products that are waiting to be discovered. On a Paris cooking getaway, you could learn how to make traditional dishes like cassoulet, coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, and confit de canard. France is also home to some of the world’s best wines and cheeses.
7. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is a marvelous city surrounded by gorgeous mountains, sparkling beaches, and verdant rainforests. Rio is a spectacular setting to enjoy exotic cuisine while listening to the seductive sounds of samba. The food is a blend of indigenous, Portuguese, and African influences that is characterized by spices and intense flavors. Dishes that you can learn how to make on a foodie vacation in Rio include feijoada, which is a bean stew, and churrasco, which is roasted meat.
Sydney, Australia is a stunning seaside city that boasts colorful fresh-food markets and inner suburbs offering a wide range of cuisines. Sydney’s world-renowned food and café culture is especially famous for its delectable seafood. Some traditional foods you can’t miss out on while in Sydney include meat pies, lamingtons, and damper. Sydney’s restaurants serve cuisine from across the globe, so you can eat your way around the world in one day.
Tokyo is the canter of Japan’s economy. Boasting breath-taking views, art museums, and world-class technology, Tokyo combes tradition with modernity. Tokyo’s bars, restaurants, and street food stalls serve amazing cuisines drawing from local and international influences. Some local favorites include yakitori, taiyaki, sushi, okonomiyaki, yakiniku, and ramen. Go beyond teriyaki on a Tokyo foodie vacation!
Enjoy authentic Italian cooking on a foodie vacation in Tuscany. Tuscany’s cuisine is famed for its fresh, simple ingredients and bold flavors. The most prominent ingredients used in Tuscany are wine and olive oil. Dishes that foodies can learn how to cook include antipasto misto, which is a classic Tuscan appetizer, and pappardelle alla lepre, which are wide egg noodles in a sauce of wild hare. In addition to the food, you can explore the beautiful countryside, historic churches, and famed artwork of such masters as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
From visiting local food markets to dining at off-the-beaten-path eateries that few tourists know about, taking a cooking vacation is an exciting way to experience the food and culture of a new city or country. Immerse yourself in the local cuisine and way of life on your next trip by taking an unforgettable culinary vacation. Cooking vacations allow you to discover new destinations while creating memories and learning useful skills that will remain with you for a lifetime.