We often get inquiries about destinations that people hear about a lot… places like Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast in Italy, and Provence in France. While we adore those regions very much, there are some other places that hold special places in our hearts, ones that are too often overlooked. Many of these are off the beaten path, but that only makes them more unique.
Whether you’ve traveled a lot, or are headed on your first overseas trip, here are some cooking vacation destinations that shouldn’t be missed.
As one of the biggest agriculture regions in Italy, the food offerings in the “heel of Italy” are immense. In fact, in addition to the abundance of fruits and vegetables, the region produces more of Italy’s olive oil, bread, and wine than any other region. From the Baroque cities to the coastline and plains, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s an Italian paradise fit for Madonna (seriously; she visited in 2016 for a wedding!) Our Tour Coordinator Adrian also got married in this lovely part of Italy too — but no, Madonna wasn’t his wedding guest. Explore this foodie destination with either our Culinary Adventure in Puglia or Discovering Puglia culinary vacation.
Yes it is Tuscany, one of the most popular regions in all of Italy… but it’s western Tuscany, a place not visited nearly as much as its eastern counterparts. With the coastline and nature, it’s more rugged here, and as such, the wines? Simply incredible. The area is, in fact, best known for it’s Super Tuscan wines, and that’s one thing you’ll get to experience firsthand during a cooking vacation. You’ll also experience the fresh coastal cuisine on a beachside restaurant during our Tuscany’s Left Bank tour.
Some may consider delving into the cuisine of Southeast Asia an intimidating experience, but it’s also unlike anything else in the world. With a guide by your side, travelers get a taste of the street food of Saigon (from deep-fried water beetles to deep-fried bananas), explore ancient and mythical ruins, and see everything from the big cities — such as Saigon — to the farms in the countryside. Our current offerings include a tour of Vietnam and Cambodia, a cruise on the Mekong River, and a taste of Thailand.
The Countryside of Portugal
Often overshadowed by its neighbor Spain, Portugal’s offerings are immense, even out in the countryside. In the sunny Alentejo region, for example, there are a number of ancient Roman sites, the museum city of Evora, and beautiful fields of wildflowers and vineyards. Another reason we love Evora: the hostess of our cooking vacation, Sofia. The hands-on cooking classes in a 19th-century family house feature produce from her own garden; pair that with her welcoming presence and knowledge of the area, and you have the makings of a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Coast of Croatia
Croatia is becoming more and more popular year by year for American travelers (Europeans have long considered it a vacation destination). While many go for the stunning landscapes and the dramatic coastline, there’s another reason to visit: the gastronomy. Anthony Bourdain has dubbed it “the next big thing,” with it’s plethora of seafood dishes, as well as its truffles, cheeses, and olive oils. During our Culinary Adventure on the Croatian Coast, visitors get to experience this unique gastronomy through an oyster harvesting excursion, a visit to the “island of olives,” as well as winery visits and hands-on cooking classes with a variety of chefs.
Into Peru’s Cloud Forest
When people consider visiting Peru, it’s often Machu Picchu that comes to mind. While that is of course worth a visit, don’t overlook other parts of Peru, like the cloud forest in the north of the country. Considered the Amazonas (not to be confused with the Amazon jungle), travelers will be immersed into the life of the subtropical cloud forest, which was once home to the lost civilization of the Chachapoya. Your guides for this trip are long-time collaborators with The International Kitchen, a husband and wife team, who love to show their guests an inside peek into this magical part of the country where some spots are even only accessible via foot or horseback! Discover more about this incredible region with a Culinary Journey into the Amazon.
What are some other often overlooked culinary destinations that you think are worth a visit? Share below!
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