by Xanthe Clay from The Telegraph, November 20, 2017
Here are 10 of the best adventures for foodies who can stand the heat and the kitchen.
1. Icons of southern French cooking
Scenic Culinaire will feature tailored cooking classes (local recipes) for up to 10 passengers on board Scenic Diamond, Emerald and Sapphire ships on its Bordeaux, Rhone and Saone river cruises in France. Other gourmet activities include shopping in the market with a chef, truffle hunting, chocolate tasting, and an opportunity to cook at the exclusive culinary school of legendary chef Paul Bocuse, as well as eat in the restaurant.
Scenic Culinaire’s South of France Tour departs in October 2018 and costs £3,845 per person for 13 days, including all accommodation, meals and travel (0808 252 5486; scenic.co.uk).
2. An authentic taste of Pakistan
If you want to know about the rich Pakistani culinary tradition, there is no better guide than Sumayya Usmani, author of Summers Under the Tamarind Tree. Imbibe her knowledge and wisdom on this holiday with Wild Frontiers Travel, packed with food highlights including a trip to the Hunza Valley (home to the best dried apricots in the world), farm visits, a cookery demonstration and a chance to wander through the bazaars. There’s a night in a converted palace, too – and plenty of good eating, of course.
A 14-day Pakistan: Baltistan Food Tour with Sumayya Usmani costs £3,275 per person, including all accommodation and meals but not flights. Departs September 10 2018 (020 3797 8181; wildfrontierstravel.com).
3. Produce and pasta in Sicily
What’s not to love about an island where eating ice cream for breakfast is considered entirely acceptable? Sicily was once the bread basket of the Roman Empire, and it is still the home of some of the most remarkable produce in Italy. This trip with Peter Sommer Travels takes in a grove of centuries-old olive trees as well as the chance to see ricotta being made and almonds pressed for their milk, plus a hands-on pasta and bread making class.
An eight day Gastronomic Tour Of Sicily costs £3,525 including accommodation, some meals but not flights. Departs September 22 2018 (01600 888 220; petersommer.com).
4. Sugar and spice in southern India
If the children have ever wondered where spices come from, or how tea gets from bush to bag, this is the chance to show them. On this 12-day tour you’ll visit a tea plantation and factory, watch coconut sap (the ingredient of coconut sugar) being tapped, learn about spice plants such as cardamom, and have a cookery class and dinner with a local family. Beach time and a houseboat cruise are included too.
The 12-day Southern Spice – Family Holiday in Kerala by KE Adventure Travel costs from £1,045 per person, including accommodation, all meals but not flights. Seven departures from January to December 2018 (01768 773966; keadventure.com).
5. Parmesan, pasta and prosciutto in Bologna
See in the New Year in Bologna, aka “La Grassa” – Italy’s greediest city. Accompanied by an Italian food specialist, this seasonal holiday with Andante Travels includes truffle-hunting, pasta making and a trip to a Parmesan cheese maker, as well as a traditional ice-cream maker. In between meals, there’s an ancient history slant, including several museum, church and castle visits, with an archaeologist on hand.
A six or seven-night Bologna Festive Food trip costs from £2,595 including accommodation, flights and all meals with wine. Departs December 28 2017 for the seven-night trip, and December 28 2018 for the six-night option (01722 713800; andantetravels.co.uk).
6. The culinary wonders of Peru
Peruvian food is a hot trend, and no wonder – theirs is the most sophisticated cuisine in South America. This Intrepid Travel trip takes in the varied climates and topography of this diverse country, with a coastal ceviche-making demonstration and an Andean cookery class as well as a visit to a cacao plantation to learn about chocolate. There’s a non food-focused Amazonian jungle trip, too – and don’t worry, you’ll get to go to Machu Picchu as well.
A 14-day Peruvian Real Food Adventure costs from £2,455 including accommodation, travel, some meals but not international flights (0808 274 5111; intrepidtravel.com).
7. Crete food culture
Crete is Greece’s gastronomic hot spot, famous on the mainland for dishes such as dakos, a crunchy bread and tomato salad, and gamopilafo, a rice pilaf served at weddings. This tour takes in in the seasonal, local food culture from ancient andto modern, with visits to home cooks, wine producers, bakers and olive farmers, street markets and kafenio (traditional cafées), as well as a demonstration of kalitsounia (cheese pie) making.
A nine-day Gastronomic Crete tour costs from £3,2490 including flights, accommodation and some meals. Departs September 30 2018 (020 8742 3355; martinrandall.co.uk).
8. Sri Lankan soul food
Sri Lankan cooking is a fabulous melting pot of Indian and south-east Asian influences – and this family trip with Explore includes home food as well as more upscale dishes, starting with a visit to eat lunch with a village family, followed by a cookery demonstration. There’s also a stroll around a food market during the three-day river cruise, followed by an on-boardon board fish cookery lesson. Want more? An excursion to a tea plantation and factory, and a cookery class in an eco-mud hut hotel are scheduled too.
A 14-day Sri Lankan Adventure Tour costs from £2,565 including flights, accommodation and some meals. Departures March to December 2018 (01252 883 621; explore.co.uk).
9. Tapas tour and tasting in Spain
Visit the ancient city of Cádiz, one of Rick Stein’s favourite food destinations, as well as the medieval whitewashed town of Vejler de la Frontera with cookery teacher and sherry expert Annie B. Annie will teach guests how to cook some iconic local dishes in her kitchen, and there will be sherry tastings, tapas tours, market visits and the opportunity to cook with chef Pancho Jiminez Yanes, who appeared with Stein on the BBC’s Long Weekends series.
The seven-night Ultimate Gourmet Tour of Cadiz costs from €1,7950 (£1,605) per person, including accommodation, five lunches, five dinners, visits and transfers, but not flights. Departs March 15 2018 and September 9 2018 (0034 620 560 649; anniebspain.com).
10. The flavours of Thailand
The food of Thailand is far more diverse than the menu at your local takeaway would suggest – and this trip with Responsible Travel takes you from Chiang Mai in the north to Krabi in the south, via Bangkok, to get the full gamut of flavours. There are four cookery lessons along the way, including one over an open fire, and market visits too, so you’ll come back knowing your kapi from your kaffefir lime.
A 15-day Small Group Cooking Holiday in Thailand costs from £2,225 including flights, accommodation and some meals, with no single supplement. Departures in February and October 2018 (01273 823 700; responsibletravel.com ).