Fed up with festive fare already? Responsibletravel.com rounds up some of the world’s most far-out traditional food to send taste buds off on their own holiday adventure. Managing director Justin Francis says: “With food such an important part of Christmas, it’s a shame if we let our perspectives be narrowed to just turkey and Brussels sprouts.
“When I look at the wide range of cultures and cuisines we have across the 400 specialist tour operators listed on responsibletravel.com, it always reminds me that part of experiencing a new place is discovering local delicacies and tasting new things.
“It’s been fun discovering some of the world’s most weird and wonderful fare at this time of year”.
Pass the salt…
1. Casu Marzu, Sardinia. A cheese the EU has been trying to ban for years. Due to the live maggots which partly digest the pecorino into soft, crumbling goo. Afficianados eat it with live maggots, as dead ones suggest the cheese is unsafe. The aftertaste is said to linger for hours. And the nightmares for years.
2. Tarantulas, Cambodia. A particular delicacy for Cambodians, stir-fried in chilli, garlic and salt and said to taste a bit like soft-shell crab. The white meat found in the head and body is the tastiest while the brown, pasty gunk in the abdomen in spider marmite. You either love it or hate it.
3. Dancing Shrimps, Thailand. Known as ‘Goong Ten’, this northern Thai salad features tiny live shrimp tossed in fish sauce, ground roasted chilli, coriander and onion, with lime juice squeezed over to set them jigging.
4. Fried frogs, Thailand. The Thais share a French love of frogs, but the whole beast – deep-fried, curried, stewed. Or try Mok Huak, deep-fried, partially developed tadpoles reputed to taste like chicken nuggets.
5. Pajata, Italy. A Roman speciality, unweaned calves intestine cooked cooked with the chyme (partly digested mother’s milk) left inside. Heat turns it into a unique cheesy sauce for a dish served grilled (pajata arrosto) or with rigatoni.
6. Huhu grubs, New Zealand. The Michelin Man’s bug alter-ego, the larvae of New Zealand’slargest endemic beatle are said to taste like peanut butter.
7. Blood, Kenya. Used in sausages around the world, but the Masaai in Kenya prefer it straight up, direct from the cow. Nicking the jugular, the Maasai then mix the fresh, warm blood with milk before knocking it back. And on sealing the cow’s wound it appears to suffer no ill effects. Dracula move over.
8. Balut, Indochina. It seems Indochina has a taste for duck foetus (about 8-9 days old) boiled in the shell. Prepared a variety of ways, the Vietnamese go with salt ‘n’ pepper, lemon juice and Vietnamese mint, while in the Philippines the broth surrounding the embryo is sipped from the egg before the shell is peeled and the embryo scoffed.
9. Cuy, Peru. Low in fat and cholesterol and high in protein, cuy, or guinea pig is South America’s answer to rabbit. Try deep-fried or roasted, and the younger the cuy, the crispier the skin.
10. Rocky Mountain Oysters, USA. Not a seafood sensation, but bull’s testicles deep fried for comfort food for cowyboys out on the prairie.
11. Hrútspungar, Iceland. Passing the balls to Iceland, Hrútspungar are instead pickled lambs testicles. For a soft, tangy treat, peel off the membrane and saute with lemon and sumac.
Tasting other cultures’ food and drink is a highlight of many holidays, responsibletravel.com has a range of cooking and food holidays with much more palatable options.
Are you obsessed with perfecting your Pinterest-induced food folder, or just looking for some new inspiration for that next dinner party?
Foodies are slowly taking over YouTube, Pinterest, and Twitter sharing some of their delicious recipes for all to try at home. Here are just some of our favourites over at SHESAID, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Let’s just start with a relatively healthy option, shall we? Health blogger, author, and Sydney-based nutritionist Jessica Sepel shares some of her delicious recipes to over 58,000 loyal followers.
The best? Try some of her delicious smoothies which are sugar and gluten-free.
A self-confessed serial food-spotter and public relations specialist at Ladurée, this is a sugar lovers paradise! Indulge in some of the delicious cocktails, or simply recreate some of the classic French dishes on offer.
The best? An exclusive sneak peek into the wonderful world of Ladurée in Paris.
This world-renowned chef and television host travellers the world in search of traditional meals, and full belly. Bourdain is back in action after a recent trip to Iran, filming his television show, Parts Unknown.
The best? Nothing is sugar-coated on this channel. You won’t find food which has been specially altered for Instagram – what you see is what you get.
Who can resist a delicious gelato, especially since the weather is starting to heat-up? The close-up shots of the fresh gelato is reason enough to start following.
The best? Real gelato with real ingredients.
Paris based cook, Alexis Gabriel shares some of his favourite recipes which are inspired by the change in seasons. Food, love, and a humble sense of humour are the best parts of his Instagram feed, not to mention some beautiful shots of Paris.
The best? Exclusive shots of the fresh French markets where Alexis buys most of his produce.
Ever wanted to try some of the best breakfast that Sydney has to offer? This account is absolutely drool-worthy, and features some of the best brunch meals you can ever have.
The best? They also have accounts for those living in Perth and Melbourne!
To keep the list short and sweet, we’re ending this list with Jamie Oliver. You can find a mix of healthy lunch meals and scrumptious desserts, which is the best kind of balance.
The best? You can make click through to his recipes and start cooking.
What are some of your favourite foodies?
There is nothing more satisfying than escaping the city life on a Friday afternoon for a weekend of pure gourmet food and wine indulgence. Think fresh local produce markets, cute cafes, cooking classes, boutique wineries, long lunches and evenings of fine dining at some of the county’s best restaurants. Louise Ryan from lastminute.com.au recommends her top gourmet weekend getaway destinations, all just a couple of hours from most Australian capital cities.
Just 1.5 hours’ drive north of Sydney, is the sleepy seaside village of Killcare, home to award winning luxury retreat, Bells At Killcare.
This boutique property is also a gourmet hot spot thanks to its award winning onsite restaurant, Manfredi at Bells, the brainchild of Italian-born Stefano Manfredi, one of Australia’s most celebrated and influential chefs.
The irresistible menu is based on authenticity, simplicity and freshness, changing seasonally and inspired by the produce grown in the estate’s vegetable gardens.
For those who want to practice their MasterChef skills, Bells also offers cooking schools, hosted monthly by Manifredi at Bells chefs. Walk away from your weekend escape with new skills to try on friends and family, having served up anything from fresh pasta from scratch to traditional Italian stews or winter ragu.
Only three hours’ drive from Perth, Margaret River is not only wine heaven, it’s also a gourmet foodies paradise. That’s double the reason to visit!
Spend your weekend wining and dining where the vineyards meet the sea. Many wineries have their own restaurants, providing picturesque settings for a long lazy lunch.
It’s also worth hitting up the Margaret River Farmers Markets (held every Saturday) and making your own picnic filled with fresh produce and local delicacies. To make your weekend a truly indulgent feast, spoil yourself and stay at (or at least visit) Cape Lodge.
Resembling a chateau in the South of France, this retreat is the ultimate weekend escape. The Cape Lodge Restaurant is the jewel in its crown, with an impressive stash of coveted awards including being voted in the top ten in the world for food in the Conde Naste Traveller’s Gold List.
Hit the open road and head one hour out of Adelaide to the picturesque Barossa Valley where you can blissfully wine and dine your days away.
Visit the Barossa Farmers Markets. Held each Saturday from 7.30am, you will be able to get a taste of the regions freshest produce. Hot tip – spoil your tastebuds by trying some of the handmade artisan cheese – delicious!
Amongst the many wineries, there is so many top, quality restaurants in the Barossa, including the intimate Hentley Farm restaurant, located amongst the vines in elegant restored stables. Hentley Farm also just got named Winery of the Year at the 2015 Australian Wine Companion Awards, so make sure you visit the cellar door for a drop of vino.
When dreaming of a getaway in Queensland, usually a coastal beach style escape comes to mind. However, for a foodie weekend, the Sunshine Coast Hinterland is one of Queensland’s best kept secrets.
Pay a visit to Woombye, the Sunshine Coast’s first major settlement near Nambour’s Big Pineapple, now the site of a thriving farmers’ market.
Stay at the ultra luxurious Spicers Peak Lodge beautifully located on a mountaintop, a world away from reality. For the ultimate in weekend indulgence visit the lodge’s chef hatted restaurant The Peak, where you’ll feast on locally produced, fresh seasonal dishes, matched with regional wines.
Just a couple of hours out of Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is a gourmet hotspot crammed with over 200 wineries and an abundance of delicious restaurants and local food produce outlets. From fresh strawberry picking, to breezy beach town cafes, to high-end hatted restaurants – the region has it all.
If you’re after something a bit special and want to treat a loved one, stay at Woodman Estate and try the breathtaking seven course degustation dinner. Set in a classic country hotel, the dinner showcases excellent local produce with high-end culinary flair and skill.
The Yarra Valley may be the first choice for wine tasting in Victoria, however the Mornington hinterland is a very pleasant surprise, especially when it comes to the regions pinot noir and chardonnay varieties. Our top winery picks include Foxeys Hangout, Montalto and Red Hill.
Mudgee is very quickly making a name for itself as one of NSW top food and wine destinations. The area is known for having some of the freshest produce in NSW, with their specialty being locally grown honey, olives, hazelnuts and venison prosciutto.Yum!
Given you’re in wine country, dine at one of the regions top wineries. Pipeclay Pumphouse is nestled in the beautiful, Robert Stein winery. With a paddock to plate philosophy, the menu is inspired by locally grown, free range produce. You can easily a long, lazy spend afternoon of grazing at this local hot spot.
After a long day of delish food and wine, retreat to any of the towns cute B&Bs, cottages or boutique hotels.
For more information or to plan your next gourmet escape visit www.lastminute.com.au