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Foodie heaven

Good food is a key ingredient of all Inntravel holidays, but, naturally, some are more gastronomic than others. Here are the regions and holidays which promise a particularly mouthwatering experience, a real treat after a day of exploring, walking or cycling (which, of course, gives you the perfect excuse to indulge).
  • The name of our journey by rail along the Bay of Biscay, Flavours of Bilbao, San Sebastián & Bordeaux, speaks for itself. Bilbao has morphed from industrial centre to gastronomic hub, while San Sebastián, close to the border with France, boasts a staggering number of Michelin stars – and pintxo (tapas) bars – for its size. Last but by no means least, Bordeaux is, of course, synonymous with world-famous wines. But it’s not all about food. Bilbao is home to the Guggenheim Museum, whose exterior is as arresting as the artworks inside, and the world’s oldest transporter bridge. San Sebastián’s other draws include its Belle Epoque architecture and sandy beach, while Bordeaux is a place for museum visits and leisurely strolls along its elegant 18th-century boulevards.
  • Norway might not be the first country that springs to mind when you think of foodie destinations, but it is now following the lead of Denmark and Sweden, whose innovative culinary exploits have garnered plenty of well-deserved attention in recent years. Not satisfied with having earned the title ‘adventure capital of the fjords’ (it's a great base for walking and trips along the fjords), the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund, in particular, is making its mark on the foodie map. It goes without saying that you can expect to find lots of fish on menus, alongside game and lamb, flavoured with sauces made from berries.
  • The Black Forest’s excellent cuisine owes a lot to its proximity to France. Keen to lure tourists out of hotels just across the border in Alsace and into their own hotels, chefs in the Black Forest have upped their game in recent decades, eschewing heavy potato-based recipes in favour of lighter, more refined options. All this means that you’re in for a real treat food-wise after a day's walking, with innovative dishes featuring wild garlic, game, river fish, nuts, wild mushrooms, berries and herbs from the forest. (Joseph Fehrenbach, owner and chef of the hotel of the same name, even goes out to forage for them himself.)
  • There are a couple of good reasons why Sevillanos like to weekend in the nearby Aracena Sierra. First, the tranquillity. The wooded hills feel far removed – metaphorically, if not literally – from the bustle of city life. Second, the food. One sign of this is the way the pigs are treated: they roam freely in the woods, feasting on acorns. The resulting cured ham, one of the main specialities here, is delicious. Seemingly every village has a small restaurant serving authentic dishes packed full of flavours. These villages also hide some surprising architectural treasures, making for an interesting and varied walking holiday.
  • If you love a good old traditional British pudding, our Cotswolds Treat walking holiday is for you. Plan ahead, timing your break so that you are staying in the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton on a Friday night, and you can take part in the weekly Pudding Club, a celebration of sweet treats ranging from eternal favourites such as sticky toffee pudding and jam roly poly, to lesser-known ones such as Sussex Pond and Lord Randall’s Pudding. After a little light-hearted pomp and ceremony – the seven puddings are paraded into the dining room – it’s down to the serious business: the sampling, followed by a vote for the ‘pudding of the night’.

    Elsewhere in the UK, another walking holiday with an emphasis on good food is the Yorkshire Gastronomic Celebration. Not only do you eat at some of the area’s best country hotels, but you also have guided tours of producers of Yorkshire cheese, rapeseed oil and wine.
  • Enjoyable as the walks across the herb-clad hills are, To the Pont du Gard is essentially a celebration of French cuisine, and as such is one of our most gastronomic walking holidays. As you stroll through carpets of thyme, pausing to admire the views of distant blue mountains or to cool your feet in the River Gardon, the thought dominating your mind is likely to be what culinary delights await you next. All three hotels boast first-rate restaurants, but the jewel in the crown is the Hostellerie le Castellas, with its exquisite interpretations of Provençale dishes.
  • Competing for renown with the region’s picturesque coastline is Catalonia’s highly innovative gastronomy, of which the cornerstones are the locally grown rice; sauces made from tomato, garlic and pine nuts; and the fusion of ingredients from the sea (mar) and land (muntanya), such as chicken with lobster. Combining this mouthwatering cuisine with high-quality hotels of character, idyllic medieval villages, and a fantastic finale by the sea with dinner at the acclaimed restaurant of the Hotel Llevant, Flavours of Catalonia offers all the ingredients, quite literally, for a highly enjoyable holiday.
  • In a country that prides itself on its cuisine, the gastronomy of Burgundy stands out as the crème de la crème. Instead of cream, though, it is, of course, wine that flavours dishes such as coq au vin, boeuf bourguignon, oeufs en meurette (a starter of poached eggs in red wine) and pôcheuse (fresh water fish cooked in white wine and served with garlic croutons). Our cycling holiday is not just about food, however – by day you can feast your eyes instead, on architectural gems such as the Louis XIII-style château in Cormartin and the intricately tiled hospice in Beaune.
  • ‘Elegant’ is an apt word to describe our Secret Lake Iseo walking holiday, applying equally to the 4-star hotels, the presentation of the refined cuisine – which draws on the abundance of lake fish, with dishes such as grilled sardines, steamed crayfish, and stuffed tench served with polenta – and even the scenery of neat vineyards, angular mountains and colourful lakeside villages. ‘Indulgent’ conveys the essence of the holiday even better, though, and it’s no wonder that this is one of our most popular walks.
  • With distinctive dishes such as goose à la Périgordine (in a truffle and foie gras sauce), cassoulet, ballotines (stuffed duck or goose) and maigrets de canard (grilled duck, usually in a creamy mushroom sauce), just browsing a menu in the Dordogne will set your mouth watering. If you have spent the day exploring the enchanting landscapes on foot or on two wheels, passing medieval villages, walnut orchards, and châteaux standing sentinel above the meandering river, you have the perfect excuse to indulge…
  • The holidays above aren’t the only ones with a strong emphasis on gastronomy.

    Other walking holidays which you might like to consider include Piedmont’s Hills & Vineyards, Pathways of Puglia, The Secret Dolomites and Olive Groves, Vineyards & Abbeys in Italy; Across the Istrian Peninsula in Croatia; Secret Provence, Castles, Vines & Forests of Alsace, The Basque Pyrenees and The Granite Coast of Brittany in France; Valleys, Vines & Volcanoes in Spain; and Where Eagles Soar in Germany.

    If you prefer cycling, it's also worth taking a look at The Land of Kings, Bayeux & Beaches of Normandy and Villages & Vineyards of Alsace in France.

    Finally, we also have some other touring holidays that are likely to appeal to foodies: Fino & Flamenco and A Trail of Three Cities in Spain, and Cities, Palaces & Wines in Portugal.
 

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