Whilst there are many reasons why people travel, for me personally, many of my travel experiences have been centred around food.
Whether it be fond memories of developing a slight obsession with ‘Gateau Basque’ or ‘Basque cake’, a hybrid between a flaky shortbread and a custard tart, filled with almond flavored filling, whilst on holiday in the French Basque country growing up or, of more recent trips involving lengthy expeditions down cobbled streets across Europe in search of the best gelato in each new city; having new culinary experiences can be one of the best things about travelling.
Debates about whether or not all of these food experiences are entirely ‘authentic’ and actually represent the regional cuisine of each country aside, being able to sit outside on a warm summer’s evening at a street cafe enhances the all-round experience of trying new food even more.
In cities like Barcelona, the multitude of tapas restaurants offering snack-sized portions of delicious dishes like patatas bravas to share with friends late into the night, provide a unique experience of eating out that simply cannot be replicated in the colder climate back in the UK.
Even familiar foods like pizza can be better abroad. In Italy, the thinly stretched pizza cooked to perfection in a pizza oven and topped with fresh ingredients, are of course a far cry from your average takeaway pizza back home. Italy is for sure the place to add to your list of countries to visit if you want to experience Italian food – it’s best in its original home!
As much as it may be tempting when travelling to somewhere new to head straight to the typical tourist restaurants and hotspots serving more familiar food in order to avoid any language barriers or mishaps, being adventurous enough to venture out to restaurants away from the main tourist areas can really pay off, as it can allow you to try something totally different to the kind of food you are used to.
It is also likely to more closely reflect the eating habits of those local to the area. Plus, even if it doesn’t work out entirely as planned and you end up accidentally ordering a live squid to your table, (as someone in my family once managed to do), at least you will have some good stories to tell when you return home!