I thought I would expand two of the things I talked about in older post Turn your long weekend or mini-vacation into an adventure: food and drinks. Some of my best travel memories come down to the food experiences. Probably because I like to eat so much, but also because of the people I meet and the things I have learned about different meals. I also have enjoyed wine and craft beer trips. I found the experience has enhanced my food experience at home.
Peak travel will start slowing down in the next few weeks, so getaways will be more reasonable. I have been on quite a few combination foodie and drink vacations, and they have been excellent. They work well if you want to travel alone or with one or more people.
The ultimate foodie and drink experience
Here are my favorite food and drink experiences so far. I didn’t include some of the obvious places like San Francisco, France, Spain and parts of Italy and Australia (other than Ireland and Germany for beer, but the foodie scene really surprised me at the time).
The places on this list all have gluten-free and vegan or vegetarian options.
Seneca Lake, New York: food and wine scene
- Seneca Lake is part of the Finger Lakes region, and is one of the biggest wine spots in New York State. With that comes some terrific restaurant options, at some of the wineries, as well as nearby. Two of the ones with locally sourced menu items that I have enjoyed include Stonecat Café, which also has live music some days and an excellent duck confit, and Ports Café, a great fine dining option; I enjoyed the shrimp boil.
- New York isn’t necessarily known for its wine, but there are award-winning wineries around the state. There are over 30 wineries in Seneca Lake. The selection is amazing, and you can try the Wine Trail to sample many. Since I live in the State, I’ve gone a couple of times to try different places. Some notables for me include Lakewood Vineyards and Villa BellAngelo. Both recently won international awards, and the staff were knowledgeable and very friendly.
Fleurieu Peninsula, Australia: food and wine scene
- The food in Fleurieu is locally sourced, and there are a lot of impressive selections. Eat local South Australia has a list of options in the region. I wasn’t disappointed with anywhere I tried when I was there. Le Mistral was a standout fine dining experience; I had an awesome bouillabaisse. Leonard’s Mill caters to different food needs and changes their menus seasonally; the steak dinner was excellent.
- There are over 70 wine cellars. Victor Harbour and Bremerton are just two of the names.
Scopello, Sicily, Italy: food and wine scene
- There are excellent restaurants and markets scattered all over Scopello, so you won’t have trouble just popping in and grabbing a bite to eat when you’re hungry, especially if you’re a seafood lover. Just two of the restaurants in the region with amazing food and views are The restaurant at Hotel La Tavernetta and the restaurant at Tenute Plaia. Any of the fish and pasta dishes I’ve ever had have been outstanding.
- There are over 700 vineyards in Sicily. You can find several in the Trapani region in and around Scopello. TripAdvisor has ratings from visitors on some of the top vineyards in the area. You won’t be disappointed; generous portions of top-quality wine and cuisine are in abundance.
Budapest, Hungary: food and beer scene
- From cheap eats to fine dining, and a variety of types of food, you will find something tasty. Just a couple of the notables were Bock Bisztró, a tapas style Hungarian restaurant, and Parisi 6, which serves traditional Hungarian food as well as Eastern European. If you eat beef, try the goulash at least once if you go.
- Take one of the free bar tours to sample different beer and drinks, and you will find something up your alley. Taste Hungary has a list of options. They’re free, so you don’t have much to lose, except for the money you spend on alcohol! But Budapest is fairly cheap to drink.
Berlin, Germany: food and beer scene
- Berlin has food options for any palate. I enjoyed Panama, which was brand new when I went. The ceviche was excellent as was the chicken. Markthalle Neun has a street food event every Thursday. Not much else to say other than it’s amazing! If you’re looking for meatless options, Berlin was voted the hottest city on the planet for vegetarians and the world’s “New Vegetarian Capital.” One example is the vegan bar and restaurant Kopps, which serves creative traditional German food. It’s on the higher end, and they rotate their menu frequently. I also enjoyed the Lucky Leek. They had a potato soup that was incredible.
- Berlin’s microbreweries are excellent, as are their craft beer pubs. A couple of notable breweries to try include, Privatbrauerei Am Rollberg and Hops & Barley(you can also rent a room to stay there).
Dublin, Ireland: food and beer scene
- The quality of food options at different price points is excellent. They even got their first food market this year, Eatyard. Forest Avenue was just one of the notable restaurants with a fantastic tasting menu as well as a-la-carte options – excellent sea bass.
- There are tons of options for beer tasting in the city. The Guinness Storehouse is too touristy for me, but less busy if you go off-peak travel time. A couple of places I enjoyed were Open Gate, where you get a chance to sample some Guinness beers before the hit the market, or if they even make it to market; and JW Sweetman had great beers, although the food was average. Galloway Bay Brewery is a great microbrewery, and in Dublin you can try their beers at Against the Grain and The Brew Dock, which are two of their terrific pubs. If you’re gluten-free, don’t worry about not being able to drink beer; cider is just as popular and available everywhere. Check out Gluten-Free Ireland for information.
These are some places I’ve gone for food and drink vacations. Up next is Niagara-on-the-Lake, outside of Toronto, and next time I’m in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast, I will do one in Okanagan Valley there as well.
Have you tried any that you would recommend?
For more tips, you can also check out my post Eat like a foodie when you travel.