Top Ten Foodie Destinations
|SPICE OF LIFE: A market full of grains and spices in the Fes Medina, Morocco (Martin Child/Digital Vision/Getty)|
Whether you're sampling clay-pot fish at a market in Saigon, tasting your way through an epicurean wine feast in Sonoma, or rolling out your own homemade pappardelle in Tuscany, there's no doubt that culinary-focused travel is increasing in popularity, and it's not just for foodies anymore.
Yet while certain destinations are obvious epicurean standouts (think Paris or San Francisco), there are other locales, from big cities to off-the-beaten track retreats, that cater to the hungry traveler in all of us, and, for true food lovers, should not be missed.
10. Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, British West Indies
When you think of great foodie stops, the British West Indies may not be first on the list. However, many hidden islands throughout this part of the Caribbean not only boast enticing climates, but incredible food.
Tucked away in the Turks and Caicos, the island of Providenciales (or Provo) is one such place. Best known for its incredible beaches, this petite island also serves up some serious West Indian cuisine. One of its staple items, fried conch fritters, can be found anywhere, from roadside stands to five-star hotels. These deep-fried nuggets made from conch meat, flour, and spices are best when served fresh from the fryer with an ice-cold beer. And, as you might imagine, they even taste better when enjoyed beachfront with no shoes and a sunset to die for.
Don't miss: Caicos Conch Farm is the world's only conch farm, where Caribbean Queen conchs are raised from veliger (free swimming larvae) to adults. While you're there, purchase a pound or two of fresh conch to whip up a batch of your own fritters.
Providenciales Travel Guide
9. Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Seafood lovers have been flocking to this picturesque peninsula for many years to satiate their cravings for the freshest lobster, clams, and codfish on the East Coast. While local clam shacks along the coastline offer up a bevy of fried goodies, heading north to the charming town of Wellfleet, located some 75 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean, will yield an even more delicious prizethe Wellfleet oyster.
Slightly sweet, briny, and all around delicious, the cold-water Wellfleet tastes best when served raw. Walk the sandy beaches of Cape Cod Bay during low tide and you'll find clusters of these delicacies clinging to rocks and decaying piers, and if you're lucky, you might be able to coax a local fisherman into selling you a couple dozen straight from the water.
Don't miss: Ride your beach cruiser to Wellfleet Harbor for afternoon snacks at The Bookstore & Restaurant overlooking Mayo Beach. Sit outside or pony up to the cozy front bar for a dozen Wellfleets on the half shell (pulled from the bay waters directly across the street) while enjoying a glass of Sancerre from the chalkboard list of notable wines.
Cape Cod Travel Guide
8. South West London, U.K.
While London has no shortage of fine dining options, fans of exotic food and nightlife can take the tube to Brixton in South West London, a well-known haven for musicians, artists, activists, and anarchists. Along with an array of eccentric marketplaces, organic eateries, and late-night bars, you can sample your way through a variety of international cuisines including African, Caribbean, Indonesian, and Portuguese, all of which offer a sound cultural alternative to traditional London pub food and high-end dining.
West Indian food is a particular standout, so make sure to visit Bamboula Caribbean Restaurant and Takeaway for an authentic taste of Jamaica. Start with the codfish fritters with love apple in tomato sauce or sample the slow-simmered curried goat. Wrap up your meal with a rum bread pudding and you just might forget that you're in rainy England.
Don't miss: Brixton Market, located in the center of Brixton, is chock full of vendors offering a variety of alluring delicacies. From African grains and spices to cassava and Guyanese curries, you can taste your way through the regions of Africa and the Caribbean. For a sit-down meal, try Bamboula.
London Travel Guide
7. Walla Walla, Washington
As Washington Valley wines continue to make their mark on the viticultural map with their award winning Bordeaux-style blends, the nearby town of Walla Walla continues to grow. Its downtown area is dotted with wine-tasting rooms, outdoor cafés, and acclaimed restaurants, making it seem more like a Napa or Sonoma than a former dusty post driven by the gold rush of the late 1860s.
Begin your afternoon in Walla Walla by tasting a few syrahs and merlots at Waterbrook Winery's downtown tasting room, then head down the street and hit gourmet grocery Salumiere Cesario to taste your way through an incredible selection of artisanal salumi, or hit the olive oil bar and sample an array of imported single varietal and blended oils. For a special treat, climb inside the specially refrigerated cheese room to nibble on cave-aged gruyere and Point Reyes blue.
Don't miss: Dine at Luscious by Nature, a delightful, family-owned restaurant featuring local, seasonal, and organic produce and meats. For breakfast, savor a homemade ham and gruyere croissant and a chocolate lavender macaroon from Colville Street Patisserie, located across the street.
Walla Walla Travel Guide
6. Fes, Morocco
Mysterious, medieval, ancient. These are but a few adjectives that describe the fourth largest city in Morocco. Mosques and palaces rise stately over a labyrinth of narrow, winding streets where artisan workshops, souks (outdoor markets), and gardens stretch across a medina that dates back to the year 789.
Morocco's cuisine is as historic as its landscape. Slow-roasted tagines of lamb sweetened with dates and laced with ginger come from the Berbers of North Africa, while the Spanish Moors introduced pastille, a savory pastry filled with chicken and dusted with cinnamon.
Not to be missed is a visit to one of the local souks where fresh fruits, vegetables, butchered meats, and colorful vats of spices stand next to fabric, brass art, and rug merchants. Be prepared to haggle, as negotiation is the name of the game here.
Don't miss: Hands-on cooking classes in and around Fez Medina with Chef Lahcen Beqqi take place in a traditional Moroccan home. Single-day class menus vary by season but often include cous cous with seven vegetables, eggplant and tomato salad, as well as a variety of traditional tagines.
Fes Travel Guide
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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