Gastronomic Guides - Gastro Travel Guides

Ronnie McCluskey

Ronnie McCluskey
HomeAway travel expert

Food/drinkGastronomy is no longer exclusively a pursuit of the elite. You only have to look at the increasing popularity of cooking shows on television - MasterChef, Junior MasterChef and The Great British Bake Off, to name a few - to realise that the general public is more conscious than ever of the delights of good food. Gastronomic tourism is booming as a result, with more and more people visiting local markets, farms and vineyards to gain insight into the origins of their favourite dish, whilst allowing the chance to fully indulge in the finest produce and wines on the market, directly from the source.

Culinary tourism provides visitors with both an authentic culinary education and a far greater understanding, appreciation and connection to a destination. If you are a huge fan of a particular culinary delight, from champagne to Parma ham, exploring the region of origin is the finest way to attain magnificent recipes and a fascinating insight into the history, production and ideal preparation of the dish. Wherever your tastebuds take you, be sure to check out HomeAway’s selection of rental properties in the area: but first take a look at our favourite destinations to get your palate tingling.



Top five destinations for gastronomic holidays


Tuscany Gastro holidays in Tuscany

The Italian province is widely renowned for its alluring architecture and contribution to the Renaissance movement, but for gourmet lovers these aspects play second fiddle to the food. Tuscans have stuck religiously to a tried and tested, uncomplicated means of cooking, drawing on local fruit and game as their key ingredients. The traditional Florentine steak is the region’s most notable dish, naturally complemented by a glass of gorgeous Chianti. Pasta fans must try the pappardelle, a thicker variant of spaghetti ideally seasoned with porcini mushrooms and wild boar sauce. To finish your meal, indulge in a cantucci, a light almond biscuit dipped in Vinsanto. Time your visit accordingly and you can visit Florence’s famed “Taste Firenze” festival in March.

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France Gastro holidays in France

It would be frankly impossible - and unfair - to break down the culinary treasures of France to just one region, so rich is the range of unique and sublime dishes throughout the country. The dining culture here is one of class and sophistication, so it goes without saying that the food itself meets the same standards. Coastal areas such as Normandy and Brittany are renowned for their locally caught lobster, crab and mussel cuisines; whereas, in Lyonaisse, you will find dishes borne of the fresh fruit and vegetables that bless the region. And, of course, no meal in Francais would be complete without a glass or two of champagne. The prices will make your eyes water, but for a one-off taste of the greatest gourmet France has to offer, treat yourself to an evening in Restaurant Le Meurice, Paris.

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Portugal Gastro holidays in Portugal

Anyone who counts seafood amongst their favourite types of cuisine will cherish a trip to Portugal. The charm lies in the fusion of Mediterranean sensibilities with an Atlantic coastline, making for an incredibly unique dining experience. One of the favoured dishes is arroz de polvo malandrinho, octopus served with rice and local beans from the Algarve region. Another is bacalhau, utilising the wealth of codfish caught just off the surrounding shores. The Portuguese also have an acclaimed sweet tooth, assuring that dessert is invariably a course to look forward to. The country displays a particular penchant for pastry, with leite-crème, arroz doce and pudim fla just some of the traditional favourites. The northern region of Minho boasts arguably the finest selection of traditional restaurants, not least Solar do Arco in the city of Guimares.

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Belgium Gastro holidays in Belgium

Much like their French neighbours, the Belgians are rightly proud of their country’s gastronomic heritage. Moules-frites is largely considered to be the main national dish - succulent mussels steamed with onion and served with Bintje fries. Waterzooi is a popular stew, comprising either fish or chicken boiled with a selection of local vegetables and accompanied with a side of French bread. Belgian waffles, or gouffres as they are known, are of course the best option for afters. They are positively delicious topped with some of the chocolate the country so famously produces, but equally so with lashings of sliced fruit and cream.  Visit Liege in May and you can experience Epicuriales, the country’s largest outdoor gastronomic event.

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India Gastro holidays in India

Indian food is not usually regarded as the pinnacle of fine dining on these shores. Not so in the country of origin, where chefs tend to take more pride in their output. Anyone who has scoured a menu from their local takeaway will be aware of the regions and their corresponding dishes; Punjabi biryanis, Kashmiri Rogan Josh and the like. The taste and preparation, however, could scarcely differ more. Everything is lovingly tended to with a rich blend of local herbs and spices, with nothing less than perfection considered acceptable. Whereas many curries here are slathered with thick sauce, Indian cooks prefer to adopt a more subtle (and healthy) approach with a selection of vegetables.

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More great homes for gastronomic breaks

Perfect Quiet Location, Within Easy Reach Of The Beach, Bars, Restaurants, The Strip And Transport

Finished to the highest standards this bright sunny apartment has an open plan kitchen and living area, a large master bedroom both of which lead out to the balcony. It has breathtaking views of the ocean and open countryside. On the top floor thi...

Away From The Crowds But Just A Couple Of Minutes Walk To The Beach, Bars And Restaurants

Villa Fontana apartments are licensed and regulated by The Croatian National Tourist Board and we have been awarded First Class Category. Villa Fontana is situated just 4km from Dubrovnik airport and only 15km from the beautiful city of Dubrovnik ...

Peaceful Location, Perfect For Those Who Want To Relax Yet Be Close To Attractions Of San Antonio

This villa is perfect for groups and families who are looking for a peaceful and relaxing place to stay yet be close enough to the attractions and amenities of San Antonio and the Bay. The villa has 7 bedrooms (sleeping 14/15) / 3 Bathrooms. A pri...

Peaceful Location, 4 km from Agia Efimia and Myrtos Beach

License Number: MHTE 0458K91000417401 Luxury Villa Regina with amazing sea and lush mountain views. It is located at the peaceful village of Loukata, the centre of the island, 3km from Myrtos beach and 4km from Agia Efimia, is an ideal base to e...

Luxury Apartment In 5* Vila Sol Golf Complex (Palmyra) Set In A Beautiful Quiet Location Free Wifi

Luxury furnished and spacious 1st floor apartment with large roof terrace overlooking pool and landscaped gardens which is situated within the small beautiful complex known as Palmyra which is adjacent to the championship Vila Sol Golf Course and ...

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