6 awesome autumn culinary adventures

Europe’s farmers’ markets and vineyards are at their most colourful and seductive during harvest season—and its restaurant scenes are at their most exciting as talented chefs vie to make the best use of all that luscious local seasonal produce. Let yourself be inspired by our roundup of the most exciting destinations for enjoying the best food and wine this most fruitful of seasons has to offer.

  • Discover autumn in Abergavenny

    Dubbed the “Cannes of food festivals”, this two-day celebration of the best of Welsh, British, and international food and drink producers takes over the pretty Brecon Beacons market town each September. Expect a packed program of celebrity chefs, cookery demonstrations and masterclasses, and tutored tastings, together with entertainment galore for all the family. Make sure to come armed with plentiful bags and baskets—170+ stalls will be tempting you to buy their wares.

    Photos by Abergavenny Food Festival

  • Explore the bounty of the Bordeaux wine region

    So central to French wine production that it’s just opened Cité du Vin, a state-of-the-art multimedia museum devoted to the topic, the UNESCO-listed city of Bordeaux is a drinking and dining hotspot in its own right. As well as being the hub of its own wine region, Bordeaux sits at the threshold of five other great wine-producing regions—Saint-Emilion, Médoc, Graves et Sauternes, Entre-deux-Mers, and Blaye-Bourg—making it the ideal base for touring some of the hundreds of atmospheric wine estates offering tours and tastings.

    Photos by Saint-Emilion Tourisme

  • Dine divine in the Douro Valley

    Vineyards, olive groves, almond trees, and farms producing exceptional meats and artisanal cheeses make this northern Portugal region a foodie destination second to none. Life flows at a leisurely pace amidst the blissful landscapes sculpted by River Douro—all the better to enjoy unforgettable wine and cuisine. In the Alto Douro Wine Region, a centre of production for more than 2,000 years, watch the harvesting done by hand as tradition decrees and grapes being crushed by feet. Wine brought the nobility here—follow their traces at their palaces, manors, and wine estates. Two wine routes group some of the best restaurant and wine-cellar stop-offs.

    Photos by Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • Kick back and relax over La Rioja’s famous wines

    Famed worldwide for its red wine, this region of northern Spain comes into its own during the grape harvest, with autumn colours providing the spectacular backdrop for a wine-tasting break in wine capital Haro with its Bodega (wine-shop) Quarter or else farther afield. Between guided visits of some of the hundreds of wineries dotting these rolling landscapes, take in awesome sights, including birds of prey swooping over castles, and the charming medieval villages of Rioja Alavesa—among them Laguardia with its small wine museum. For more oenological history, head for the Vivanco Museum of Wine Culture. Refuel as you go, on everything from traditional Riojan cuisine and tapas to creative contemporary cuisine.

  • Keep your nose to the ground in Alba

    Host to the vast White Truffle Fair each October and November, this picture-postcard town in the Piedmont region of northern Italy attracts everyone from globally renowned chefs to everyday gourmets ready to grab a prime opportunity to taste outstanding food and wine. Despite the high price of entire tartufo bianco, visitors can taste the earthy delicacy in affordable incarnations in traditional local dishes accompanied by wine tastings. Beyond the fair itself, local restaurants feature truffle-centric menus, and there’s even a donkey race (palio) contested by the town’s different neighbourhoods.

    Photos by Stefania Spadoni

  • Go beer mad in Munich

    The Bavarian capital’s Oktoberfest is the world's biggest beer festival, attracting over seven million visitors a year and selling 6,900,000 litres of beer. But between tasting local and international brews in oversize tents amidst locals dressed in traditional Lederhosen and Dirndl dresses, you’ll find there’s plenty of other fun to be had. Dance to traditional or modern live music or sample the rides at the vast amusement fair set up for the occasion, keeping your energy levels up with hearty German fare, including giant pretzels, sausages, roast meats, and potato pancakes.

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