The Great European Food Tour

If you are travelling to Europe anytime soon (or just dreaming) then check out this interactive guide to the foods and festivals of the countries of Europe, compiled by Travelex. Pick a country and it will display the national dish, types of street food available, cheapest meals, and luxury restaurants.

The Great European Food Tour

In addition to that it also lists upcoming food related festivals, just incase it has made you hungry to visit.

Check out The Great European Food Tour.

The Ultimate Food Tour of Vietnam

People seeking fulfilling and interesting Vietnam holidays should consider a food tour. They will be rewarded with an exciting and unique Southeast Asian cuisine that is delicious, healthy and colourful. An expansive food tour also offers a good reason to see the entire nation while eating your way across one of the most fascinating cultures in the world.

A common greeting in Vietnam is this: Have you eaten? It’s a polite greeting designed as an invitation to try Vietnam’s wide-ranging cuisine. The Vietnamese are rightfully proud of their food culture and want to share it with everyone. Eating food inserts itself into every corner and crevice of Vietnamese life. The people offer a wide range of Vietnamese delicacies on the streets, on corner stalls and in a vast number of tiny restaurants. 

Vietnamese local

Ho Chi Minh City

In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), you can enjoy a bottle of beer surrounded in ice to maintain its chill and a spicy noodle dish in a street shop. The food here is influenced by the city’s cosmopolitan nature and its greater contact with the outside world. Seafood is a favourite here and the soft-shelled crab is amazing. 

Try the crab spring rolls fried to a delectable crisp. Crab meat fried up with Japanese noodles, Thai peppers and mushrooms is a dish that shouldn’t be missed. Saigon’s sidewalk cafes, with fruit dishes, pork plates and fresh smoothies, will keep you hopping from one scrumptious taste treat to another as you mentally plan your next Vietnam holidays for a stop in Hoi An.

Hoi An

This fishing village is a mecca for tourists who enjoy their catch fresh from the sea. Grilled squid or clams with mint, ginger and lemongrass are impressive. Barbecue restaurants have set up picnic tables on Cua Dai beach. Street vendors and bakers here sell the ubiquitous Vietnamese sandwich called bahn mi. It’s a baguette stuffed with barbecued pork, pickled carrots, cucumber and chillies and then topped with a measure of mayo. This treat will get you fuelled up for Vietnam holidays to Hanoi.

Boats/Market

Hanoi

At Hanoi, you must eat the traditional dish called pho bo. Mainly a breakfast food, pho bo is a beef broth soup spiced with anise, ginger and cloves and then filled with cooked beef. If you desire a particular dish, you search among the thousands of street vendors to find it. The city is one vast buffet of flavours. You’ll find grilled pork, tangy fish, spring rolls and rice and vermicelli. This is the city where the Vietnamese while away hours at sidewalk cafes, sipping black and strong coffee.

A food lover’s guide to Pisa

After I’ve booked a holiday, I instantly start researching the local cuisine and start checking out restaurant reviews. I love sampling different dishes when I’m away and make it my mission to try something new every evening.

The Italian city of Pisa sounds like a foodie heaven. Enjoying fresh pasta, homemade pizzas and sumptuous desserts is a treat, so the thought of eating this type of food every night is amazing! The Pisa region as a whole offers mouth-watering dishes, so it can be worth picking up car hire from Pisa Airport if you fancy going on a culinary adventure.

Here is a guide to the food and drink I think you should definitely try when in Pisa.

Truffles
Truffles (not the chocolate variety!) are definitely a delicacy and a food I’ve always wanted to try. Used by the best chefs across the globe, the province of Pisa boasts plentiful growth, particularly in the San Miniato hills, where the white truffle is found. This means you’ll spot truffle-infused dishes on many restaurant menus and I’d recommend you give it a go. Pisa isn’t just home to the white truffle, but also the black, scorzone and themarzuolo varieties. Hop in your car and head to the hamlets in the truffle-producing areas – you can check out market shows dedicated to the food.

Extra virgin olive oil
You’ll certainly taste the difference when your food is cooked in the extra virgin olive oil produced in Pisa. But before you try the oil as a base for other ingredients, make sure you order a tasty selection of breads and dip them straight into the oil – you will really be able to pick out its flavours. There are four production areas in the Pisa province, each producing a slightly different olive oil. For example, produce made in the Monti Pisani district is yellow with hints of green, with a little bit of spice in an overall fruity aroma.

Wine
Of course, a hearty Italian meal isn’t complete with a glass or two of local wine to wash it all down with. I love trying the wines of different regions and Pisa doesn’t disappoint. Whether your tipple of choice is red, white or rose, you’ll have fun trying to find your favourite one! Perhaps the most renowned wine in the Pisa province is Nettare di Bacco, so make sure you sample a glass or two. If you have a car, it’s the perfect excuse to visit some of the region’s vineyards, where a guide will go into detail as to the history and production process of the wine. The Cecina Valley is a good place to head to, where you’ll not only participate in tasting sessions, but also soak up beautiful scenery and architecture.

Pisa’s dishes
When dining in the city, you’ll notice the same dishes crop up at different restaurants as they’re popular with locals and tourists alike. With the sea nearby, seafood is a good choice, with marinated eels, clam risotto and salted cod with olives a great introduction. A personal favourite is chicken liver crostini, as well as the succulent Volterra ham.

Larded pheasant from San Rossore and veal cutlets will be high up the dining agenda for meat lovers, while vegetarians will no doubt enjoy the endless fresh pasta options, complete with those local truffles and the olive oil I mentioned.
To round off the perfect meal, try chestnut cake and Calcinaia nozza, which is a type of wafer.

I’m certainly hungry now – if you’ve been to Pisa, do you have any restaurant recommendations?

Where to find a good veggie meal in Oxford, Mississippi

Hi my name is Anna, a guest blogger posting on the best veggie spots in Oxford, MS.

We love eating meat here in Oxford Mississippi.  While most restaurant menus will prove that vegetarian options are limited, that doesn’t mean that herbivores shouldn’t bother to slow down and stop through for a meal. Here’s a rundown, albeit brief, of the tastiest meatless options Oxford eateries have to offer:

Newk’s Express Cafe
Newk’s has long been a favorite place to grab a good sandwich, pizza, or warm bowl of soup, and they have several sandwiches that are bursting with flavor. However, many of these are southern favorites such as the Shrimp Po’boy or the Pimiento Cheese. But just because meat dominates the menu doesn’t mean vegetarians should look elsewhere for another meal. The Vegetarian Club with grilled portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, and goat cheese is divine.

Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen
If you are looking for a vegetarian dish with a little extra bite, be sure to check out Spice & Rice Thai Kitchen. The restaurant can have nearly any dish become a vegetarian option with a few favorites including the red coconut curry and green curry. These dishes are creamy with big chunks of veggies and tofu mixed in, and have a great amount of heat.  Be forewarned, however, in addition to knowing how to make a dish flavorful, they know how to make it spicy as well!

Maharaja Indian Cuisine
Maharaja is another restaurant for those vegetarians looking to be a bit more daring. The food is spicy, but not in a heat way, just flavorful. Dishes like the vegetable khorma, which is a dish of vegetables cooked in a cashew gravy, or the channa masala, are always great, and they are a solid way of getting in adequate proteins. After eating at Maharaja, you can’t help but feel like you’ve had a great homecooked meal.  Prices can be a little high, however, so be careful when ordering.

A few other restaurants around the area also offer vegetarian dishes, but it is definitely harder to discover. If one of the aforementioned options don’t seem like something you are interested, peruse around YellowPages.com to see if you can find other great vegetarian fare – then let us know about it!  

Anna is not a strict vegetarian, but likes to keep it meatless as much as possible. Her favorite topics to write about online are food, family, and Eco-friendly topics. I hope you enjoy my article and stumble upon at least one of these restaurants the next time you are in Oxford!

The Best Restaurants in Meribel

Meribel
[Meribel by Leo-setä]

By many accounts, the French Alps ski resort of Meribel is the most popular place in Europe for Brits on a skiing holiday. As one of the world’s largest ski resort areas, Meribel and its surrounding villages of the Three Valleys are home to a wide range of dining options. From quick and cheap pizza to gourmet French cuisine, visitors have plenty to choose from among the 80 or so eateries in and around the village.

Many of the best restaurants in Meribel are found in the resort’s top hotels. With their luxurious atmosphere and stunning alpine views, places like the Allodis, the Grand Coeur and the Escale are hard to beat. You’ll pay dearly for the experience, but Meribel attracts some very skilled chefs in its finer restaurants. Chez Kiki is the resort’s most famous restaurant, especially for steaks, but similarly excellent menus can be found at Bistro du Praz and Le Plantain.

The quintessential Three Valleys meal centres around the traditional Savoyard cuisine of this region. There are several restaurants serving this rustic and delicious style of mountain fare, most notably Le Refuge, Cro Magnon, Galette and Oree du Bois. Cheese is another important commodity of the region, best enjoyed in its myriad incarnations such as fondue at the Fromagerie, situated right in the heart of the resort village.

Much of the dining in Meribel is on the expensive end of the scale, so budget accordingly if you plan to eat more than pasta and pub fare. The intimate and rustic interior of Kouisena is well worth a visit, especially for its quality cuts of meat cooked over open fires. Evolution is another newcomer to the resort, dishing out an international menu in its stylish, contemporary café. In Altiport, the popular Blanchot and the newly opened Zinc Brasserie are both great choices for lunch on the slopes.

Thankfully, Meribel has loads of mid-range restaurants with lively atmospheres and affordable menus. La Taverne, right in the centre of the village, is one of the most popular and busiest places. A dinner here will keep you close to the ensuing nightlife of the resort. Lodge de Village is also nearby and features a comprehensive menu catering to all walks of life. It is popular with families who want a quick walk home after dinner. La Tsaretta, however, is a true locals’ café; it is situated down the mountain, in the traditional village of Les Allues. Dine here to mingle with Meribel’s permanent residents.

Cheap meals are most easily found at places such as Pizza Express or the massive cafeteria-style restaurants on the slopes. The cafeterias are particularly popular since they are essentially ski-in, ski-out, so expect packed and chaotic conditions between noon and 13:00. The best advice is to have your lunch early or late to avoid the crowds.
Rhododendron is one such slopes-side cafeteria, with three separate restaurant areas serving a very diverse menu. Almost everything is available here, from a cheap sandwich or beverage to a three-course lunch. Trois Marches is another busy and affordable spot at the top of the Plattieres 3 gondola. Don’t expect much in the way of table service or staff attention in the cafeterias as it’s every person for them self.

The first thing to do when you arrive in Meribel is stop by the tourist office in the village centre and pick up a free copy of Le Guide des Restaurants. It covers the whole gambit, from the best restaurants in Meribel to the casual creperies and pizzerias. Another option for those lodging in a chalet with some kind of kitchen is to dine in. Meribel has 10 supermarkets, mini-marts, bakeries and butchers providing supplies for the local population and self-catering types.

John is a guest blogger from Alpine Action Meribel Chalets.

Visit Portimao – Home to some of the best Algarve Restaurants

No matter how hard you try, you will be powerless to resist the calls of the fisherman at Portimao who spend the afternoon’s barbequing their mornings catch and trying their best to out shout and outsell their neighbour. The freshly caught fish, most notably the sardines, is what keeps thousands of tourists and locals flocking to the town all planning to feast on fresh fish at some of the best Algarve restaurants.

The quay at Portimao is lined with atleast half a dozen restaurants all serving up the same food at roughly the same prices. It’s a favourite spot amongst tourists who are lured here from their Algarve hotels either by the smell of the barbequing food or on the recommendation of a friend who has experienced it for themselves and who has assured them that it is a spot not to be missed.

You know that you are on to something good when you find yourself seated next to a local family who are all tucking in to the same as you. This guarantees that your meal will be the tastiest on offer in the area and that it will be great value too.

Meals by the waterside in Portimao consist of freshly caught fish, perfectly buttered new potatoes and crisp salad. The only thing that you will have to choose is what type of fish you want and how you want it cooked. Our top tip: Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. You’ll notice the locals getting stuck in with their hands, you should do the same!

Portimao is a beautiful mixture of late 19th and early 20th century architecture and with a great waterfront location, the bustling beachside resort of Praia de Rocha and some of the best value accommodation in the Algarve, it is little wonder that summertime is a fun affair in this charming Portuguese tourist destination.

By Amy Baker

Get a Taste of the Mediterranean Lifestyle

The Mediterranean lifestyle is one of healthy food, plentiful sunshine and beautiful surroundings; the perfect relaxing life. Why not experience it for yourself on your 2011 holidays? After sampling this sublime way of living, don’t be surprised if you find yourself never wanting to leave again!

Here is a simple guide to experiencing the best of all things Mediterranean, whatever your price range:

Food: The Mediterranean diet is rich in oils, fish and vegetables and favours local ingredients, farmed and tended to by those who, through the generations, have learned the skills of their region. Inhabitants of the Med’s surrounding nations are renowned for their healthy diets and long lives, with many locals working past standard retirement age. Diet, along with an active lifestyle, is a key element of this good health.

Why not get an easyJet to Barcelona, one of Spain’s top cities with its excellent markets, and outstanding cuisine and culture. There are many restaurants that cater for all budgets, offering authentic, locally sourced Spanish cuisine in this metropolitan mecca.

Wine: The Mediterranean boasts an extensive history of wine production that is believed to date back as far as 6,000 BC. Whether it is a glass or Rioja over dinner or exploring one of the coastal vineyards, you can indulge with a whole host of different tastes and aromas.

When dining out, don’t be shy in asking staff for recommendations or for a sample of the locally-produced wine. Through these locally-sourced wines, you can experience a genuine taste of the Mediterranean, whilst supporting local vineyards; allowing this historical produce to live on.

The climate on the coastal areas of the Med, where most of the produce comes from, consists of dry, warm summers and mild, wet winters; providing the perfect climate for grape production. You can visit vineyards in a variety of ways including vineyard trekking and bicycle tours; many with the guidance of a local wine expert.

Markets: The Mediterranean market provides a further insight into the region’s culinary delights and the variety and quality of local produce used in restaurants, cafés and by residents. As you would expect, all the food is fresh and produced locally, so not only will you be experiencing a taste of authentic Spanish living but also supporting local farmers and producers.

Some of the top markets across the Mediterranean include the Vucciria of Palmero; the mecca of Sicilian cooking offering a lively and colourful atmosphere scattered across narrow streets. Fresh fish, mountains of olives and freshly-cooked bread will leave you salivating as you worm you way through the stalls.

One great tip is to arrive early for the best choice of food from the stalls, and don’t be afraid to haggle for a good price. Don’t be wary of trying something new and be sure to ask the market trader the best way of preparing and cooking these foods. They are not only traders but culinary experts, and most will be happy to offer friendly advice. You could even follow the locals and grab some market goodies before escaping off the tourist trail and enjoying your feast in a splendid residential square.

Culture: It is sometimes difficult to pull yourself away from the famous sights that many city breaks have to offer, but for a true look at the heart of any place it is wise to stray a little from the beaten track. Keep your eye on local information boards and any posters advertising entertainment for locals. Trips and tours are good value, especially when run by local companies, as not only are you supporting the community but it offers a real insight into local life.

Local festivals and celebrations are always a great way to absorb the culture. You can watch as locals take part in traditional and historical rituals. From the Tomatina tomato festival in Spain to the Tuscan Sun Festival in Italy; there is always something spectacular happening in each town, city and village, you need only look.

Sydney Food and Drink

The vibrant city of Sydney, located on the south-east coast of Australia is very rich in tourist attractions. It is the largest and most highly populated city in Australia and is home to a greatly diverse population. Warm summers and mild winters make it a very pleasant place to live and many of the people living here have moved in from overseas.

With regards to food and drink here, there are some great options. There are a lot of fantastic wines available and the Hunter Valley, a two hour drive from the city, is famously Australia’s oldest wine growing region. Fusion cooking is very popular. Cuisine from all around the world is mixed together to make the 21st century an exciting time for food in this city. Among others you can find Chinese, Italian, Thai, Mexican, Greek and French food. Eating out is a popular pastime here and there are plenty of restaurants, fast-food chains and cafes.

If you love food, why not make your visit coincide with the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. This year it will take place from October 1st to 31st and there is plenty to do. The whole month features hundreds of food related activities, with something for everyone. It starts off with the World Chef Showcase, featuring a great line up of contemporary chefs in the area from the 1st to the 2nd. The website cravesydney.com has more information about this exciting festival which you will not want to miss if you are a food fanatic.

It is also really fun to do it yourself with a good old traditional barbecue. Sausages and steaks will sizzle in the sunshine and you will come to see why so many people love it here. If you want to be a bit more adventurous, there is always crocodile meat available at crocodile farms, usually in the form of a steak or burger. Even Emu is eaten here, so there are definitely options available for the adventurous diner.

If you are planning a visit to Sydney, visit Mydestination.com/Sydney and have a tasty stay!

By Rosalea Collinge

Food, Drink and Accommodation in Tanzania

In Eastern Africa, one great place to go is Tanzania. It shares its borders with countries such as Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, as well as having its eastern border lie along the Indian Ocean. The state of the United Republic of Tanzania consists of 26 different regions. It has many things to offer the traveller, including Mount Kilimanjaro, the exotic islands of Zanzibar and the Serengeti National Park.

Food and drink in Tanzania is exciting and varied. There are numerous restaurants especially in the major cities and towns, serving many differing styles of food. Typical Tanzanian cuisine consists of things like grilled meat, sometimes with spicy curry sauces as well as rice and chips. ‘Ugali’, a mush of cornmeal or cassava, is a common accompaniment to a dish and is a good plate filler. Due to the large amounts of meat found in local cuisine, the Indian minority of Tanzania have created their own vegetarian options. There are a lot of Indian restaurants especially in Dar, Moshi, Nairobi and Arusha which are great if you are on a budget.

In this country, you will find many of the common, world-brand soft drinks and a lot of juices. Juice stalls are common, although you may want to be careful, as some can be unhygienic. If you want to sample something new, coconuts are very popular, especially along the coast, and their nectar is delicious. In Tanzania, a lot of local beers are brewed, including ‘mbege’ which is made from bananas.

As far as Tanzania accommodation goes, there are a lot of options. If you specifically want to go on a safari, there are a lot of safari lodges, especially around Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar and the Serengati. If you want something a bit more relaxing, try a beach hotel, such as the Ras Michamvi Beach Resort, found in Zanzibar.

In Tanzania, there is a lot to see and do. From tasting great new food, to sampling local beers, your taste buds are in for a treat. Your eyes will also not be disappointed, as the scenery is great, and a safari is sure to amaze. If you are planning a trip here, visit MyDestination.com/Tanzania and enjoy your stay!

By Rosalea Collinge