Trust a roving editor to know the best spots off the beaten track for foodie heaven…
I’m fortunate to have travelled a lot in my career, mostly while working as a fashion editor in London.
I’ve eaten tripe at a late-night tapas bar in Madrid, homemade caramel on a beach in northern Brazil, and sipped champagne on a sand dune in the Middle East – all of which pale in comparison to a good steak in Paris.
In other words, every work trip was underpinned by good food.
So where does one go for the best gastronomical experiences in the world, without too many tourists? Here are five of my favourite ‘unknown’ destinations for foodie heaven.
1. Barcelona, Spain
The unofficial capital of Spain is full of excellent tapas bars, good rioja and, my favourite, jamon Iberico (cured ham). Try and find little bars with staff that don’t speak any English and are full of older locals, as these will always be the most authentic. The best meal I had in Barcelona was a strawberry and parmesan risotto (pictured)
2. Bali and Lombok
Bali’s not just a great tropical locale, it’s also full of excellent restaurants, bars and vendors selling fresh, local produce. If you’re unsure how to tackle it, My Adventure Store has a brilliant, compact 15-day itinerary which ensures you see both the beaches and the best restaurants on the islands.
3. Melbourne, Australia
Avoid the well-trodden paths of Lygon Street, St Kilda and South Bank, and hit Brunswick Street for retro Italian, and the city laneways for good coffee and fresh, locally-sourced brunches. Richmond is also worth a visit for its fantastic Vietnamese.
4. Bologna, Italy
Bologna is not only the home of bolognese, it’s also the birthplace of carbonara. There are many tiny, quaint family-run restaurants that will serve proper Italian carbonara, which consists simply of spaghetti, egg, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese – no cream.
5. Las Vegas, US
You won’t find Las Vegas on any gourmet travel guide, but it’s a little-known fact that the Nevada capital serves excellent food, whether it’s the Italian at Wolfgang Puck at the Venetian, or the triple-decker cheeseburgers at In and Out along the highway. The margaritas at Beauty Bar in downtown Henderson are phenomenal.