Imagine a gentle hint of spice, perfectly balanced on the taste buds or an aroma of sweet pastries, freshly baked from the oven; no, this isn’t an advert for M&S food, but it is the immersive culinary experiences you can expect to walk away with after an Exodus trip.
It’s these sensory memories that take you right back to that charming little café or buzzing street market where you first experienced them. Culinary experiences can be some of the most profound memories when you come back from travelling. Below, we share 5 must-try culinary experiences from around the world, illustrating your guide to good taste.
1. Savour a glass of Vinho Verde in the Douro wine region
Wine has been produced in the Douro Valley of Portugal for the past two thousand years and today achieves the highest level of classification of Denominação de Origem Controlada. Making its way onto the World Heritage List, the Douro Valley vineyards are recognised for protecting living traditional cultures and interacting with the surrounding environment in a way that sustains biological diversity. With leisurely walks through the region’s beautiful rural landscape and a chance to sample the fresh and fruity, organic Vinho Verde at an intimate tasting, our Portugal: Walking & Wine tour captures the real essence of these ancient traditions.
2. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese meal in your Mekong Delta homestay
The best way to appreciate a country’s true culinary heritage is to sample some traditional dishes in the homes of its locals. During our Mekong Delta trips, you get the opportunity to spend a night in a family-run homestay, which is an experience not to be missed. Giving you a chance to fully unwind in their simple but cosy surroundings, expect a local welcome as you get to know your host family and while learn some traditional Vietnamese recipes. Dishes consist of an array of vibrant vegetables, pulled straight from the ground, and grilled, fresh river fish, caught right out of the Delta. The evening is then filled with live singing, accompanied by traditional Vietnamese instruments. If you’re seeking an authentic cultural experience, there’s nothing closer or more special than this unique Vietnamese homestay.
3. Tuck into a Bedouin desert feast prepared by nomads in Jordan
In the depths of the Arabian desert, beneath the rocks as red as the sun that sets behind them, an ancient, nomadic culture exists. It is one that welcomes its visitors with earnest hospitality and delights them with a Bedouin feast, cooked traditionally beneath the ground in a heavy metal cylinder. The hours of cooking have left the meat mouth-wateringly tender and infused with aromatic spices and yet the vegetables remain deliciously bright and tasty. Absorb this magical night in the desert, complemented with the melodies of traditional Bedouin music, on our Week in Jordan tour; a week filled with mysterious Arabian experiences. On this trip, you also get to explore the breath-taking ancient site of Petra – the iconic rose-red city carved into the rocks. Take a 4×4 jeep excursion across the desert landscape of Wadi Rum, where the looming sandstone mountains hold the history of Lawrence of Arabia. This adventure comes to a blissful close with the extraordinary feeling of floating in the Dead Sea.
4. Try your hand at making local Sicilian delicacies on a cooking course in Trapani
Sicilian cuisine exhibits multicultural influences thanks to the various civilisations that have occupied this island over the millennia, leaving a culinary heritage that defines it from mainland Italy. On our Sicily Food Adventure, we spend a morning learning a few of these dishes with a hands-on cookery course. Our local chef may introduce you to traditional Arancini; balls of creamy risotto rice stuffed with a range of Mediterranean delights before being deep-fried for a wonderfully crisp exterior, or perhaps for the sweet-toothed, the dish of the day could be Sicilian cannoli; tiny tubes of deep-fried pastry, piped full of creamy ricotta cheese, topped with candied fruits and nuts and dusted with sugar.
The foodie adventure continues with the discovery of the unique street food of Palermo that may include sfincione (related to the pizza, the base and toppings of this snack food will seem pretty familiar) or panelle (savoury chickpea fritters, often served in a sandwich), before moving on to learn about Sicilian cheese-making near Ragusa, olive oil production in a traditional organic farm and sampling some of the finest wines in Marsala and Etna.
5. Taste local chocolate and cheese at your hotel’s tasting rooms in the Dolomites
On our Winter Activities in the Dolomites trip, you’ll have the opportunity to explore one of the biggest connected ski areas in the world with over 1,200km of slopes. But it’s not just about cross-country skiing, you can also snowshoe, toboggan, or enjoy an epic winter walk in the Italian wilderness with the towering Dolomites as your backdrop.
After full days out in the snow, you’ll journey back to the cosy, family-run Ciasa Salares. Complete with a sauna, outdoor hot tub and luxurious spa, the hotel also offers unique dining experiences with their very own Cheese and Chocolate rooms, where guests can tuck into locally made produce with complimentary grappa tastings available every week. We don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty perfect end to an afternoon of exploring the snow-caked Dolomites on foot.
To whet your appetite further, why not check out our other Foodie Holidays for inspiration.