Ticking off a bucket list of destinations is one thing, but today’s traveller wants more than that! They want to get under the skin of a destination and truly experience it as a local would. Travel the world and indulge your inner foodie through Trafalgar’s ‘Be My Guest’ experiences, which allows visitors to dine with local families who work the land, hear their interesting stories and share their day-to-day, all while learning to cook regional dishes. Here are our top 2016 foodie experiences to feed your soul…
Join Konrád Schieszl and his family just outside Budapest for a hearty Swabian dinner of Mangalica ham, fresh cheese, and fiery pálinka (spirit), and hear the spine-tingling story behind Schieszl Winery, which served as a haven for a Jewish family friend fleeing Nazi persecution during World War II.
The friend and his family hid in one of the cellar’s giant wine barrels; today reincarnated as the doorway to the restaurant. When the war finally ended, the Swabian people, who’d relocated from Germany many years before, were forced to return to their country of origin, with just 24 hours to make the move.
Ticking off a bucket list of destinations is one thing, but today’s traveler wants more than that! Here are our top 2016 foodie experiences to feed your soul…
Happily, their Jewish friend, who had become a very successful lawyer under the communist regime, helped the Schieszls eventually return to Hungary and buy back their treasured home allowing them to do what they do best!
Today, Konrád Schieszl is a successful restauranteur and winner of several gold and silver medal wines. Spend a few hours with his family visiting the kitchen, wine cellars, and enjoying wonderful home-grown produce, including jams, hams, and cheeses.
Located on the Alpine Lake Maggiore, Isola Madre has been linked to the Borromeo family since 1502 and is today home to Ristorante La Piratera, owned by the Telli family. Guests will join Sr Telli and his family to hear all about the origins of the Pirate Tower before joining him for dinner
The tower of the restaurant is 800 years old, founded as a lookout post in the 13th century and repurposed for several uses over the years, but not least as a pirate hideaway for future Prince Vitaliano X Borromeo Arese and his friends at the beginning of the 20th century.
Fond of his little pirate’s cove, the prince agreed to allow Sr Telli’s mother to open a VIP restaurant to serve traditional Italian specialities on the spot and the name Ristorante La Piratera was born. So too was Sr Telli himself – would you believe in the actual restaurant!
Getting to Isola Madre Island is an adventure itself, as you will board a private boat to cross the waters of Lake Maggiore into the welcoming arms of Sr Telli who will meet you on arrival with a tasty aperitif.
You won’t need to be Jolly or Roger to enjoy the tasty Italian specialties the Tellis are likely to serve up. Enjoy traditional risotto cooked with ‘Gavi’, fried fish from the lake and melanzane alla parmigiana. Yo, ho, ho…
Close to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher lies Barrtrá Seafood Restaurant, renowned for its home cooking and locally sourced produce, the restaurant is run by Paul and Theresa O’Brien, whose family moved from Limerick City to be close to the sea.
Before settling down for lunch, guests will be taken on a wild food walk along the beach by Theresa’s friend Oonagh, whose proud motto is, “grow, find, cook, eat!” Consequently, you’ll quite likely end up eating some of the food you’ve foraged!
Oonagh is an interesting character; a horticulture tutor by day, she sells her own organic produce in the local market and has a huge interest in food and sharing it through her food blog – www.wildkitchen.ie
Enjoy spectacular views over Liscannor Bay and the Cliffs of Moher while spending some time with the quirky O’Brien’s and the odd crustacean on the beach, before tucking into Theresa’s delicious and traditional Irish seafood recipes.
Join Fergus and Gregor Wood on their 300-acre historical working hill farm Ledard, on the shores of Loch Ard in the picturesque Scottish Trossachs. Your arrival is greeted by none other than a rousing bagpipe serenade and the very friendly pack of 14 sheepdogs before being escorted to McGregor’s Barn, dating back to the 17th century.
You’ll hear all about their life on the land, local clans, and their hero Rob Roy, who came of age in the barn in 1689, just three months after he fought on the Jacobite side at the Battle of Killiecrankie. Against a backdrop of clan weapons and banners hanging from the walls of the barn, you’ll indulge in hearty Highland lamb dishes, warming whisky made the Scottish way and traditional ceilidh music.
Fergus has a close connection with traditional music as the founder, manager, and player in the Kinlochard Ceilidh Band, one of the top traditional dance bands in Scotland that has played all over the world.
With the help of his wife Francesca, he also manages the Scottish Sheepdog School, which is based at Ledard Farm. His son, Gregor is recognised as one of the finest presenters of Burns poetry and is an expert on Rob Roy and the weapons of the Highlands clans. Truly an interesting clan.
Travel to the charming, whitewashed village of Gerena near Seville and the 625-hectare La Mirandilla Ranch, naturally protected from the outside world by an archway of prickly pears, and one of the most famous bull-raising ranches in Spain.
Meet the Marquis de Albaserrada and his “adopted” son Fabrice Torrito (rather appropriately, his surname means little bull) who helps to run the Finca La Mirandilla Ranch. Learn all about the Albaserrada’s bull-raising history and meet his bulls as you enjoy tasty locally made sangria.
You’ll learn how the bulls are treated as Olympians and about bullfighting traditions before sitting down to a delicious Andalusian meal including smoky churrasco chicken, pork, and local chorizo.
It’s a scene straight out of the Sound of Music. Head to charming Faistenauer Farm just outside of Salzburg and meet the Klaushofer family who’ve lived here since the marriage of Anna Kendler in 1874. Their son Simon and wife Maria eventually took over the farm in 1894.
The farm is organic and produces not only cheese and butter, but also fresh bread, honey from their bees, and elderflower products from their own elderflower bushes.
Simon and Brigitte Klaushofer have worked on the farm since the nineties and are proud to show off the day-to-day farm activities and all their family members, including the cows and bees.
You’ll enjoy a delicious meal of home-made Austrian farm specialties including frittatensuppe, turkey escalope, pork roast, and to end it all off, a triumphant cheese strudel with vanilla sauce.
Be My Guest with Trafalgar
For more information on Trafalgar’s Guided Holidays and ‘Be My Guest’ experiences throughout Europe: www.trafalgar.com/sa