Three foodie hotspots to indulge in this summer

Posted 15 Jun 2015

Everyone has heard of Paris' famous bistros, but there are some other, lesser-known European destinations looking to rival the French capital's gourmet credentials. Take a tour through sun-baked vineyards, tranquil orchards and historic medieval towns, sampling fish fresh from the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, rich Alsatian meats in France and creamy dairy delights in Gruyères.

Pearls of Istria in Croatia

Poreč, Croatia

You might not think Croatia would be high on a list of ultimate food lover's dream destinations, but recent years have seen resurgence in local, seasonal ingredients and traditional methods of preparation. Istria is a particular hotspot, pioneering its own 'slow food' movement, where restaurant goers are invited to savour fish that's been caught that same day by local fishermen, or vegetables picked in the restaurant's garden.

As part of our Pearls of Istria in Croatia tour, stop at Poreč, a laid-back Roman harbour town, and indulge in plump scallops, fresh mussels and generous fish platters at welcoming, family-run restaurant Tri Bačve. Alternatively, sample beautifully slow-cooked food at Žardin, whereby you will find dishes consisting of Istrian stews and creamy goat’s cheese. Truffles are also a highly prized regional speciality – you may even decide to hunt for your own during your visit.

Route du Vin in the Alsace

Colmar, France

This bustling town, lined with half-timbered houses and picturesque canals is full of history and superb restaurants. Sample a cassolette d'escargot, creamy snail casserole or duck margret, breast of a duck raised for foie gras – at local favourite La Table du Brocanteur, a welcoming venue decorated with milk pails and clogs.

Sometimes referred to as 'the most Alsatian town in Alsace,' there's an abundance of traditional cuisine in Colmar, fusing the region's mixed French and German heritage. Colmar is also famous for its wine, which you can sample for yourself as part of our Route du Vin in the Alsace tour. Match a dry Riesling with classic appetiser bibeleskas, cream cheese mixed with bacon, potatoes, chives, parsley and garlic, typically served with bread – or a glass of rich, aromatic Gewürztraminer with kassler; smoked pork. Alsatian wines are distinctive as they don't use oak aging to create depth of flavour, instead they get all of their floral, peachy notes by carefully balancing the ripeness of the grape and the amount of alcohol created in the distillation process.

Gruyères & Lake Geneva

Gruyères, Switzerland

No list of foodie hotspots would be complete without Gruyères, famous home to the nutty, creamy cheese. There's such a demand for this mouthwatering speciality that each year approximately 5.7 million litres of milk are transformed into gruyère. Choose between varieties of cheese in melting raclettes and fondues, served with crisp baguettes at Le Chalet de Gruyères, a charming half-timbered restaurant decorated with cowbells, possibly in a nod to the number of dairy products on the menu.

If you have a sweet tooth, the town is also known for its rich double cream. Sample it on the terrace of La Maison des Traditions, overlooking cloud-wrapped mountains and alpine forests – diners can also see gruyère cheese being made onsite. With its spectacular alpine setting and 13th century castle, the medieval village of Gruyères itself is a welcome break on our Gruyères & Lake Geneva tour, complete with fairytale turrets and spires.

Click here to find out more on where you can indulge in delicious European cuisine

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