We believe that travel should be savoured together – and there’s no better way to bond than through the mutual love of food.
So if you’re thinking of taking your other half away for Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together a short video to give you some slightly saucy travel menu suggestions.
Or it may just be the way our mind works. Your call.
1. Munch on a Minne di Sant Agata – Catania, Sicily
If you think these buns look like breasts – it’s because they’re supposed to. They’re created in honour of the city’s Patron Saint, St Agatha – whose own bust met a rather grim end. Try them at the Feast of Saint Agatha, a three-day fiesta from 3rd-5th February, where the sweets are eaten in her honour.
2. Hankering after a Hot Dog? – try New York, USA
Hot dogs arrived in New York thanks to German immigrants around the mid 19th century. The frankfurters in rolls were sold from carts (sauerkraut optional) in Manhattan, then boomed in popularity as a seaside staple at Coney Island in 1870. One of the most famous places to try one is at the chain Nathan’s – they’ve been going for over a hundred years. Even President Franklin D Roosevelt and, err, Al Capone, have stopped by for one. But there’s also nothing like acting like a proper tourist while you’re there and scoffing one straight from a street cart. Read more tips for the Big Apple in our first timers guide to New York.
3. Get some asparagus tips in Granada, Spain
You probably don’t know (and let’s face it, why would you) that 50% of Spain’s asparagus is grown in Granada. It’s best tried between March and June, and it’s particularly “moorish” in a Revuelto. Elsewhere, the Belgians are big fans of asparagas – the crop from Mechelen especially. Try it, along with other famous Flemish foods in Bruges. Asparagas is also very popular in the north of France, surely you’ve heard of “Brittany spears”? There are even festivals in devoted to it, like in Worcestershire’s Vale of Evesham.
4. Get fizz-ical in Paris or Monaco
Champagne or Prosecco? In the UK, Prosecco sales overtook those of Champagne in 2015 (we popped £340m worth of corks). In France, it can only be called Champagne if it’s created using the specific method known as “Méthode Champenoise” from grapes grown in the Champagne region. The Champagne vineyards are now listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites and there are miles and miles to explore.
If you’re going to partake in some Prosecco, you’ll want to head right back to the source. The village of Prosecco (yep it’s really called that) near Trieste is believed to be the place the grape originated. There’s also a wine trail called the “Prosecco Road” where you can visit more than a hundred producers in the north-east of Italy.
5. Sample some strawberries in London, England
As well as tennis, Wimbledon is also famous for serving up strawberries at the height of the English summer* (*sun not guaranteed). In 2016 a whopping 139,435 portions were scoffed by tennis fans in just a fortnight. Of course they should come with cream, a dish dreamt up just six miles to the west at Hampton Court – the home of one of the oldest tennis courts in the world. This Tudor treat was found at banquets hosted by Cardinal Wolsey.
6. Babba (Rum Baba) – Naples, Italy
You know a dessert is sweet when it’s used as an Neapolitan term of endearment. The people of Naples love it so much, it’s probably not good form to mention that it originated further north as a French-Polish concoction. In the south of Italy you can try it two ways. Either rum-soaked or Limoncello soaked. We think it’s best to try both. Just to be diplomatic.
7. Tasting and throwing tomatoes in Buñol (Spain)
The squelchiest and messiest festival of them all, Tomatina takes place every August in Spain. It’s essentially a tomato-chucking celebration, and more than 45,000 people turned up to throw tomatoes at each other in 2016. And you know you’re going to get covered head to toe when you’re advised to wear goggles and shoes with grips. Good news – tomatoes are one of nature’s exfoliators, so your skin’s going to be glowing when you come home.
8. The world’s your oyster… in Nice
The French consider oysters a real delicacy, and they’re often eaten a lot around Christmas and New Year. Nice on the French Riviera to the south and Cancale in Brittany in the north are noted for their quality. If you’re looking to try oysters in the UK, Whitstable on the Kent coast is the best place to try them. Better yet, pass through in July for the Whistable Oyster Festival. Native oysters (so ones from UK & Europe) should really only be eaten when there’s am “r” in the month (so from September to April) – this is when they’re at their best. You can eat imported Pacific (Rock) oysters if you’re super keen in between.
Tell us your tastes when you travel
We’d love to hear what tickles your taste-buds when you’re abroad. Let us know the cool, unusual or just downright weird food you’ve tried on your travels by leaving a comment below.