What better way to spend your free time than indulging in the finer things in life? Make the most of your holiday overseas with our guide to the top 5 food and wine holidays . We’ll help you experience the best the world has to offer.
In Florence, Sienna or Lucca, enjoy superb restaurants and delicatessens among stunning historic architecture. Or venture into the beautiful vineyards of Chianti and Montalcino to sample outstanding Sangiovese-based reds. It’s best to travel with a guide who can arrange tastings for you.
For many, Paris is the gastronomic capital of the world, offering an overwhelming choice of bistros, brasseries and fine restaurants. Try Bofinger for traditional fare in belle-époque surroundings, or for the modern approach, head for the top of the Centre Pompidou. There are also some amazing food shops. Fauchon and Hediard are both spectacular, and for chocoholics, la Maison du Chocolat has several ’boutiques’ across the city.
3. Napa Valley, California
In the heart of California’s wine country, Napa Valley contains more than 250 wineries. Many are visitor-friendly, so you can just turn up and enjoy a tasting – for example, Robert Mondavi Winery offers guided tours all year round in its Mission-style estate complete with sculptures and paintings. Yountville is an excellent base: the US arm of Moet et Chandon is there, as well as the renowned restaurant, The French Laundry.
If you want to make your Thai cooking as authentic as possible, there’s no substitute for some hands-on tuition in the country itself. A number of holiday packages enable you to combine a culinary course with cultural experience – based in Bangkok or historic rural areas. You’ll find more information at http://www.essentialtravelthailand.com/
5. Oxfordshire, England
If you’re planning a trip to the UK, and want to do a cookery course, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, in Great Milton, is the place to do it. Michelin-star chef Raymond Blanc oversees a range of courses, from dinner party menus to children’s cookery – all in the luxurious surroundings of this beautifully restored manor house. Find out more at http://www.manoir.com