Half the joy of travelling is sampling the local cuisine. It’s a crucial part of experiencing and understanding new cultures, and food memories last just as long as that snap you snuck inside the Vatican, or the heart-stopping view from the Eiffel Tower.
Whether it’s an Italian food-pilgrimage of white truffles, pillowy-crust pizzas and antipasto galore, or a wine tour of western France, food and drink is often the deciding factor in locating our next adventure.
But how do you take the taste of travel home with you? We’ve rounded up some of our favourite summer dishes to sample around Europe, and recipes to recreate the magic in your own kitchen.
From sipping a café crème in a leafy courtyard to the scent of freshly-baked Kouign-amanns drifting from patisseries, France packs plenty of culinary clout. The French stick to what’s seasonal with cooking – in the summer that includes beetroot, okra, potatoes, figs, peaches and limes.
Eat it there: If there’s a better view of Brittany to be had, then it’s from Moulins du Duc’s 37-acre estate. The 16th-century hotel serves up exquisite French fare in its restaurant: start off with lobster cappuccino before biting into rabbit with candied pear and mustard, finishing off on a special lemon-meringue-pie-high.
Take it home: Brittany is crêpe-central. Relive your sweetest holiday moments with this traditional recipe from Sarah Sharratt – it’s no more than butter, eggs, milk and flour, but it’s simply magic.
Åmot Country Villa & Opera Farm
With modest farms, unpolluted climates and fish-rich coasts, Norway’s unique agriculture is to champion for its local-quality foods. The word ‘kortreist’, meaning ‘short-travelled’ is well-used: cheese, organic meat, fish, honey, fruits and vegetables don’t go far to get to your table.
Eat it there: At Åmot Country Villa & Opera Farm in the Sunnfjord region, deer graze on grasslands surrounding the courtyard, while herbs such as chives, sage and Egyptian onion are fresh from the garden. Enjoy breakfast in the opera garden, restored to its classic and pristine 1890-style, or dine in the opera barn, where the menu is tailored to complement the opera performance.
Take it home: It doesn’t get fresher than this crab salad by Norwegian-based blogger Thanks For The Food. For that organic ice-cold quality, buy it from a local fishmonger, then add dill, chives, lemon juice and chickpeas for a light-but-filling summer lunch.
Nowhere packs the soul of the Mediterranean into its food quite like the Greeks. Thanks to unique volcanic soil, Santorini is touted for its distinctive cuisine and spectacular ingredients. Sunsets are only outshone by summer dishes stuffed with chunky white aubergine, creamy fáva and seafood worthy of the flight costs alone.
Eat it there: If whitewashed walls swathed in blooming bougainvillea aren’t enough to get you through Aigialos Hotel’s doors, the Greek gourmet dishes served in its restaurant might. With award-winning chef Konstantina Faklari at the helm of the kitchen, organic ingredients are turned into imaginative traditional-cum-modern dishes.
Take it home: There is an old Greek saying that ‘ouzo makes the spirit’ – you’ll see many locals playing cards or bathing on shores sipping it. Lemon and Olives combine the aperitif with octopus for a traditional, easy-to-make dish that will transport you back to the Aegean on first bite.