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The 6 Ultimate Road Trips for Foodies

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By Nora van den Heuvel

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From the meaty BBQ belt to vegetarian interrailing across Europe – we’ve got the ultimate foodie road trips all mapped out!

Having your own set of wheels is the ultimate freedom; it allows you to explore new cities, new cultures and most importantly new food. On Instagram, the hashtag #roadtrip shows up 42 million times and, in August 2018, the search term ‘road trip’ saw a dramatic spike in popularity in the UK, with search volume doubling over the last 12 months. More and more people are starting to realise that there is no better way to explore a country, and its culinary and scenic delights than hitting the open road.

Because we love celebrating good food from all over the world (just have a look at the variety in our recipe boxes), we’ve brought together a list of top foodie road trips from around the world!

If there’s one thing that the Lone Star State does well, it’s BBQ, so why not explore everything Texas has to offer by taking a foodie road trip through the BBQ belt. The road trip begins in Taylor, home to Louie Mueller Barbecue which has been cooking up some of the finest beef ribs in the country since 1949, before stopping at Franklin Barbecue, Austin, famous for its Brisket! Then onto Kreuz Market, both a grocery store and a meat market, smoking its meats in century-old brick pits. It’s a no frills no fuss kind of establishment with a sign hung on the wall that reads:

“No Barbecue Sauce (Nothing to Hide)

No Forks (They are at the End of Your Arm)

No Kidding (See Owner’s Face)”

This is the vibe you can expect from the BBQ Belt, forget fine dining and make sure you unbuckle your trousers to make room!

Stops:

  1. Louie Mueller Barbecue – Described as a “cathedral of smoke” due to producing the finest BBQ in Texas.
  2. Taylor Cafe Forget fine dining and enjoy one of the  best briskets in the south.
  3. Meyer’s Elgin Smokehouse -They say Elgin has the best sausage in Texas, well Meyer’s has the best sausage in Elgin.
  4. Iron Works – Grab a BBQ plate, pick from a selection of delicious meats accompanied by potato salad, beans, pickle, onion, bread and barbecue sauce.
  5. Franklin Barbecue – Famous for its beautifully tender, slow BBQ brisket.
  6. The Salt Lick – If you’re feeling hungry, tuck into a full plate of the beef brisket and pork ribs cooked over their famous brick BBQ pit.
  7. Kruez Market (pronounced “Krites”) – Both a grocery store and a meat market, smoking its meats in century-old brick pits.
  8. Two Bros BBQ Market – The end of the trip, so what better time to go all out and fill your platter with all the specialities the BBQ belt has to offer.  Load up with cherry glazed baby back ribs, beef brisket, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, turkey and all the sides you could wish for.

The words meat and Argentina are so often formed in the same sentence that you might get sick of hearing it….but you won’t get sick of eating it.

Start your road trip into meat heaven in the capital city of Buenos Aires, sampling a true taste of local culture: a cut of ribeye steak at Cabaña Las Lilas with meat that has come fresh from the owners own ranch.

Take a drive through the stunning Argentinian scenery stopping off in Risoria at Pasión por las Brasas, a local treasure tucked away off the beaten track that is home to the tastiest grill in the city. Then into the rural red rock mountains of Cafayate to devour the most delectable Salteña de Carne empanadas you will ever have the pleasure of eating at La Casa de las Empanadas.

Stops:

  1. Cabaña Las Lilas – Meat sourced directly from the owners’ ranch.
  2. Don Julio – They serve pretty much every part of the cow, but the owner recommends ordering the house cut; bife de cuadril (rump steak), cooked on their traditional V iron grill.
  3. El Desnivel – So many delicious treats to choose from but we recommend the chorizo (sausage) sandwich. Watch out though, the delicious smells from the grill are practically torturous while you wait.
  4. Pasión por las Brasas – A local treasure tucked away off the beaten track that is home to the tastiest grill in Risoria.
  5. El Papagayo Restaurant – Argentinian flavours mixed with Mediterranean influence, all cooked in wood-fired ovens or over a charcoal grill.
  6. Gapasai – The restaurant that’s putting Cordoba on the map and has a nine-course menu that will completely blow your mind.
  7. La Casa de las Empanadas The most delectable Salteña de Carne empanadas you will ever have the pleasure of eating.

When it comes to Italy, pizza and pasta get most of the attention but Italy’s cookies, cakes and desserts are just as delicious. Each region of the country boasts its own unique treat that will delight anyone with a sweet tooth.

Your trip begins in Turin, at Osteria Pierantonio Torino, where you can tuck into a bônet; a soft rich dessert that is the typical sweet of Piedmont. From there is onto Ristorante Le Beccherie, just outside of Venice, to taste one of Italy’s most famous desserts: tiramisu. The chef here boasts a reputation for making the best tiramisu in all of Italy with a soft creaminess that just melts in your mouth.

Leaving the north, you will make your way through Bologna, Florence, Rome and Naples sampling all the gastronomic delights they have to offer before finally reaching Laboratorio Pasticceria Roberto in Sicily. Baked from an ancient and traditional recipe, Robertos Cannoli is worth the long trip there and will surely leave your sweet tooth satisfied.

Stops:

  1. Osteria Pierantonio Torino – Tuck into a bônet; a soft rich dessert that is the typical sweet of Piedmont.
  2. Ristorante Le Beccherie – Taste one of Italy’s most famous desserts: tiramisu.
  3. The Pastry Gollini – The local speciality is torta barozzi, a lavish ‘black cake’ made of almonds, peanuts, coffee and dark chocolate.
  4. Bar Pasticceria Sieni – Budino di riso is a typical Tuscan breakfast and this bar has the best in the region.
  5. Regoli Pasticceria – A piece of Roman history that is serving the best crostatine con fragoline in all of Rome.
  6. Sfogliatelle Attanasio As the name suggest this is the place to go if you want to treat yourself to a Sfogliatelle (a crisp puff pastry).
  7. Laboratorio Pasticceria Roberto – Robertos Cannoli is worth the long trip there and will surely leave your sweet tooth satisfied.

An unavoidable challenge all non-meat eaters face when traversing the globe is which location would best suit a vegetarian traveller? With 20-40% of India’s population being vegetarian, it’s the perfect place to go for a veggie road trip.

With a huge international airport, Mumbai is where you’ll want to start. Pick up your rental car and head over to Cafe Madras, a delectable vegetarian restaurant known for its South Indian cuisine that will fuel you for the start of your journey.

You can’t take a veggie road trip through India without heading to Palitana the first totally vegetarian city in the world! In Palitana, trading meat and fish has been outlawed, making this city a slice of paradise for veggies. You’ll never have to worry about whether you can eat what’s on the menu, so take a stroll through the streets and if it looks good, eat it.

Once you’ve eaten your fill, time to get on the road again heading further north to Delhi, Haridwar (for some delectable kachori), Rishikesh, and finally arriving in Varanasi, a holy city that has a number of excellent vegetarian restaurants to feed the crowds making their pilgrimage to the holy city.

If you arrive early in the day, head to Brown Bread Bakery for some fruit punch and a sweet breakfast, take a stroll along the Ganges and then head over to Dosa Cafe for dinner and try some of their unconventional dosa (Indian pancakes).

Stops:

  1. Cafe Madras, Mumbai – South Indian cuisine to get you started on your foodie road trip.
  2. Palitana – The first totally vegetarian city in the world where the buying and selling of meat and fish have been outlawed.
  3. Naivedyam Restaurant, Delhi – Simple and authentic south Indian food – their dosas are to die for but nothing beats their chutneys.
  4. Saravana Bhavan, Delhi – A must-try for all veggies visiting Delhi, serving up dosas, uttapam, appam and filtered coffee.
  5. Ramana’s Garden, Rishikesh – Taking care of homeless children and also serving amazing lunches (be sure to try the raw cake!)
  6. Kashyap Kachori Bhandar, Haridwar – Delectable kachori.
  7. Brown Bread Bakery, Varanasi – Fruit punch and a sweet breakfast.
  8. Dosa Cafe, Varanasi – Try some of their unconventional dosa (Indian pancakes).

A country fast becoming known for its culinary credentials is Vietnam. Situated on the glistening coast of the South China Sea, the Vietnamese have been fishing these waters for centuries and seafood has become a major part of their national cuisine.

Hanoi is the starting point of your trip and is home to a number of adventurous chefs like the one at La Verticale who experiments with Vietnamese foods, infusing them with western influences. They have a number of stands out dishes but one you must try is the duck terrine and rillettes with Hanoi 5 spices.

Once you’ve had your fill in Hanoi head down the coast to Da Nang and situated right on the beach you’ll find Cua Bien Quan with the perfect sea view to enjoy as you devour some fresh oysters and clams.

Last stop on your Asian seafood adventure is Ho Chi Minh City. There’s a great street food vibe in this city with District 4 boasting hundreds of different stalls where you can be sure that something will take your fancy.

Stops:

  1. La Verticale – Vietnamese foods infused with western influences.
  2. Home Hanoi Restaurant – A fusion of old-world splendour and cutting edge sophistication.
  3. Cua Bien Quán – The perfect sea view to enjoy as you devour some fresh oysters and clams.
  4. Nhà hàng Bé Man – The seafood fried rice here is a must-try.
  5. White Rose Restaurant – Local food with an American twist, try the “Hoi An Pizza” Fried Wontons with Seafood.
  6. District 4 – Hundreds of stalls of street food – walk down seafood street for some freshly caught delights.
  7. Maria Saigon Seafood Restaurant – The seafood spring rolls and Ngoc Suong fresh fish salad with peanut sauce.

Want to add some festive magic to your road trip or have been dreaming of a white Christmas? Then hop in the car and take an adventure through Lapland, driving through the arctic circle and snowy roads is the ultimate Christmas adventure, and who knows, you might even run into Santa Claus.

Land in Oulu, pick up your rental car and head over to Rooster, a minimalist Finnish cafe where you can sip on a coffee and get out of the snow. They also serve Lohiburgeri; a burger served with fresh salmon, marinated fennel and horseradish mayo which is a must try.

Now it’s time to get on the road, head up to the Panorama Cafe in Kemi where you can tuck into some of their speciality dishes like arctic char and potato bake, wild-mushroom soup, and reindeer meatballs all while sipping on a home-brewed beer and looking out the 13th story window at the stunning view of the bay.

Rovaniemi is your next stop and is known as the home of Santa Clause. Nili Restaurant is a must-go-to during your visit but remember to reserve a table as it gets very busy in the evenings. They have a set menu that is to die for and will give you a true taste of Nordic culture, almost always including a reindeer option which is an essential part of Lappish cuisine.

Stops:

  1. Rooster Cafe – Try the Lohiburgeri; a burger served with fresh salmon, marinated fennel and horseradish mayo.
  2. Panorama Cafe – Speciality dishes include arctic char and potato bake, wild-mushroom soup, and reindeer meatballs which you can enjoy with a home-brewed beer.
  3. Nili Restaurant – A set menu that will give you a true taste of Nordic culture.
  4. Gaissa – Upstairs restaurant of the Hotel Santa Claus where you have to try the roast reindeer with locally grown potatoes and morel sauce.
  5. Otso – Give their speciality is a burger of smoked reindeer go.
  6. Laanilan Kievari – Authentic Scandinavian cuisine including their smoked Arctic char and reindeer steak.

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