Discover BBC Good Food's top 10 destinations for food lovers to visit in 2019. Tick these fabulous foodie countries off your travel bucket list.
Planning the ultimate foodie getaway for 2019? We've made a list of our top 10 foodie destinations that should be on your list. Try a pick-and-mix Ethiopian mezze, fresh Peruvian ceviche or octopus fished straight from the Mediterranean. Take your tastebuds on a tour of the finest food the world has to offer.
Discover even more delicious destinations and local travel guides in our travel hub.
1. Matera, Italy
Italy’s cave-studded mountaintop city is a hot ticket for 2019, not just because it’s a European Capital of Culture with all the adherent arts events, but also because Matera has uniquely-preserved Cucina Povera cuisine. Today, within easy reach of Puglia’s popular hilltop towns and beautiful beaches, Matera’s historically remote location means distinct food: soups with local pulses such as black chickpeas, local Senise peppers, and fennel-flavoured Lucanian sausage, plus roast lamb and game dishes flavoured with floral mountain herbs – all available in restaurants set in the atmospheric former cave dwellings that make this entire city an UNESCO landmark.
2. Amsterdam, Netherlands
With Eurostar’s new direct service, the Dutch capital is just 3 hrs 40 minutes from London – tempting in itself, but Amsterdam’s food scene is increasingly irresistible. This is where vegan and vegetarian food, for one, gets inventive. Try the plant-based posterchild dish, Dutch Weedburger (made with seaweed, not marijuana), plus masterpiece menus at such vanguard venues as the Meatless District, and the adventurous De Culinaire Werkplaats. It’s also one of Europe’s greenest cities, for both sustainability and leafy park space. So you can eat guilt-free, then bike or walk it off.
Check out 5 foodie things to do in Amsterdam.
3. Ljubljana, Slovenia
Small but perfectly formed, the so-called 'Europe in miniature' is so much more than that. Slovenia’s food culture is little bit Eastern European, a little bit Alpine, a little bit Med, but very much its own thing, too. The tiny capital, Ljubljana, has hipster coffee spots and killer burger joints but also cosy old country restaurants where rustic cuisine reigns supreme. Think: pršut (air-dried ham), zlikrofi (a ravioli-like pasta filled with herby pork), and indulgent gibanica cake (a blend of shortbread and fruity strudel) – dishes that are plentiful in beautiful lake and mountain towns like Bohinj and Bled. Chefs like Ana Roš are leading the charge for inventive Michelin-starred Slovenian cuisine, and there’s a little stretch of coast, too, where simple shellfish and fish carpaccio dishes are a fresh counterpoint to hearty inland eats.
4. South Aegean, Greece
Andros, Milos, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini: for many of us, this roll call of Greece’s idyllic Cyclades and Dodecanese islands reads like a travel wishlist, not least since this year, the 50+ islands of these sun-bathed archipelagos are a designated European Region Of Gastronomy. This is where Hellenic cuisine shines, from just-landed octopus and sesame-crusted sardines to herb-fragrant lamb, salty sheep’s cheese and all manner of sunny vegetables and locally-grown pulses, plus Aegean wine, which is increasingly putting Greece on the viticultural map.
Find out our top 10 foods to try in Greece for your next trip to the Mediterranean.
5. Yorkshire, UK
The west of the UK’s moors and dales county is having a moment. The first Yorkshire Sculpture International (June-Sept 2019) will place the region firmly on the arts map, with The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Arts Gallery, and Yorkshire Sculpture Park teaming up to deliver a headline-grabbing summer exhibition. But delve further west into the backcountry, towards the little-visited Howgill Fells and you’ll find new and newly revamped foodie hotels like Brownber Hall, and The Black Bull Inn, with kitchens both led by fabulously creative female chefs, plus a blossoming indie food scene in Hebden Bridge and the Calder Valley.
Make sure you try our top 10 foods to eat in Yorkshire.
6. Corsica, France
With its unique mix of earthy French and Italian food cultures, the mountainous island of Corsica has long been a destination for active, foodie travellers who enjoy kicking back in affordable hilltop and seafront restaurants after a day’s hike. And with new direct flights from Air Corsica (launched last year), and British Airways (launching summer 2019), it’s now easier to access. Meaty dishes to look out for include civet de sanglier (wild boar stew), figatelli sausages, lamb roasted with whole garlic cloves, plus delicate river trout, and oysters from the island’s less-visited east coast.
7. Pittsburgh, USA
Need an alternative East Coast city break? In April this year (2019), British Airways starts direct flights from Heathrow to Pittsburgh, making this less familiar Pennsylvanian city easier to visit. Andy Warhol is Steel Town’s best-known local boy, and its post-industrial landscape is littered with vibrant street art. And an arty vibe defines its burgeoning food scene, where cheap rents (by American city standards) have seen young chefs pursuing ambitious, creative cuisine catering to the Pittsburgh’s demographic of young upwardly mobile urban migrants.
With hotels and dining more affordable than they’ve been in decades, that trip of a lifetime to Japan could be within reach. Host of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the 2020 Summer Olympics cities like Tokyo and Osaka will get huge international attention, but for foodie travellers, the country has so much more to offer. Specialist operators are increasingly making headway into rural areas such as the beautiful Yamaguchi and Shimane Prefectures, and the islands of the Inland Sea, combining cookery classes, market visits and the chance to try plenty of natural onsen (hot springs), this is much more than a Kobe beef and sushi sightseeing tour.
The trend for Andean cuisine continues apace with Peruvian chefs making a name in the UK, bolstered by a booming native fine dining culture. Previously a backwater even for backpackers en route to bucket-list Peruvian destination Machu Picchu, capital Lima is now a thriving foodie hub. Chefs such as Virgilio Martinez and Cesar Bellido are making the most of the country’s incredible biodiversity, and including unique ingredients like sundried indigenous root vegetables, edible tropical flowering plants, and more types of corn and ceviche than there are English names for. And direct flights have put this once remote South American destination around 12 hrs from London. Find out more about travelling to Peru.
Check out our expert picks of the top 10 foods to try in Peru.
Still associated with its long (long) passed famine, Ethiopia is arguably home to Africa’s most unique traditional food culture. Injera, a sour, spongy flatbread is the staple, a vehicle for a rainbow mezze of crunchy cruciferous salads, stews, and mild dahl-like curries, while 'wats' (stews) and 'tibs' (stir-fries), see chicken and lamb richly spiced with local herbs like berbere, and niter kibbeh. For veggies, Shiro be Kibbe is served everywhere, which is a wonderful casserole of pulses including ground split peas and chickpeas cooked in seasoned clarified butter. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, with a vibrant culture centred around the drink, known locally as bunna. Regarded as a sign of respect and friendship, coffee ceremony, the daily ritual of making and drinking coffee, is a cultural rite passed down the generations. You'll find the fantastic coffee served in the most remote corners of this vast mountainous country. Ethiopia is also easily accessed via a direct flight from the UK on Ethiopian Airlines’ swish new planes.
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