If we asked you to name the greatest cities for foodies, you may well be tempted to reel off the classics: Naples for pizza, Bavaria for beer, Paris for just about anything else. But in an age of cheap flights, good transport connections and affordable hotels, there’s a whole world of foodie fun just waiting to be uncovered.
Need a little inspiration? Here are some of our favourite unusual foodie escapes to explore with just a few days to spare.
Just a three-and-a-half-hour flight from London, Marrakesh offers a food selection that you won’t find in anywhere Europe and such a vast array of options that you won’t ever have to eat the same meal twice. One evening, wander down to the street food markets that set up in Jemaa el-Fnaa square after dark. The next, choose a restaurant with a balcony and watch the world go by below while you tuck into a fresh tagine. When morning comes around again, enjoy a plentiful breakfast which are often served in the sunshine on the roof of the riads dotted across the city. Without the drinking culture of London or Berlin, it’s an ideal no-peer-pressure option for those looking for a healthy-foodie trip.
Move over France; if you’re a cheese lover, it’s Austria that you should be heading to in search of the best cheeses and most unusual samples. The state of Vorarlberg is a highlight, home as it is to the Bregenzerwald region and its famous Cheese Road, a network of over 160 cheese experts – including 17 dairies and 90 Alpine Farmsteads – all of whom are dedicated to maintaining the tradition of Austrian cheeses. If you’re more of a coffee and cake lover, head to Vienna.
While wine may now be associated with the vineyards of France, Spain or Argentina, Georgia is actually one of the world’s oldest wine regions and home to more species of indigenous grape than anywhere else on earth. If we had to characterise Georgian cuisine in a few words, it would have to be that it puts a unique spin on everything. The wine is amber rather than red and the food heavily influenced by a unique blend of Russian, Turkish and Middle Eastern cultures. Admittedly it’s not the healthiest fayre on the planet, but a few days off the kale smoothies won’t hurt. Top tip: try the khinkali, Georgian meat dumplings.
Despite being often overlooked in favour of Denmark, its hygge vibes and promise of freshly baked pastries, Sweden has more than enough to keep the healthy foodie happy for a few days. Öland, an island just off of the country’s south-eastern coast, is not only a picture-perfect, castle-backdropped idyll, but also a haven for those in search of locally grown produce and fresher-than-fresh seafood. Featuring a mix of family-owned restaurants and hotels, and home to a Michelin star restaurant you can splurge and save in the same trip.Try local specialioty kroppkakor
, a type of potato dumpling filled with onions and pork or bacon and often served with cream and lingonberries.
The capital of France’s wine producing region, Bordeaux is also home to beautiful architecture, traditional brassieres and chic bistros. Start an evening with a visit to Bar a Vin, a stylish wine bar set in an 18th century flatiron building complete with huge stained glass windows, where a 15cl glass will set you back between €2-6, and plates of bread, cheese and ham aren’t much more. Finish the evening with a coffee and a canelé, a small pastry flavoured with rum and vanilla, with a custardy centre.