Are you a foodie looking for inspiration for your next weekend away? Or do you want to uncover some unusual new cuisine? Then Lonely Planet’s Food Trails could be your perfect guide. It lists 52 itineraries worldwide, with detailed maps and recommendations – all designed to be explored over a short break. I spoke to Karyn Noble, one of the authors, to find out why you should be popping this guide into your carry-on luggage.
I started by asking Karyn whether it was tough putting together the guide. “It wasn’t terribly difficult to decide on places for the book. It was more difficult to know how to condense it into just 52 food themed itineraries!” she told me. The itineraries have been designed to help you both with planning your trip and also uncovering the best food secrets when you’re there. “They’re not too prescriptive,” said Karyn. “We don’t say you need to do this all in one day. You can take your time. You can stay overnight. There are recommendations for accommodation and food festivals. People can take it with them or use it to plan their trip beforehand.”
Karyn says the wealth of writers at Lonely Planet meant they could cover a wide range of destinations. “The suggested itineraries are the crème of the crop – a fairly eclectic mix. We cover patisseries in Paris and the pinchos scene in San Sebastian. There’s a section on Piedmont in Italy too. They’re the classics. But because of our experience of tour writers, we’ve also got some unusual places. Iceland is one of my favourites.”
I hadn’t thought of Iceland as a foodie heaven, but Karyn explained why it’s high on her list. “I recommend it to anybody. I know a lot of people travel there for the northern lights but I recommend it as a food destination in itself. You can dine at a really romantic restaurant called Hótel Búðir and try the pesto made from Icelandic algae and seaweed, which is actually very nice.”
Karyn says a key aim of the guide was to try to find good, local food with some history and tradition in the area. A good example was in the Greek islands. “A lot of places are trying to revive ancient traditions,” Karyn told me. “I went to a restaurant in Crete that’s trying to bring back original Minoan cuisine. There was a menu there that fascinated me. It was full of information. I almost cried when I read it. It was just beautiful.”
She says the authors have also tried to steer clear of the usual clichés that people might associate with a particular destination. “We’ve got three Australian itineraries and they’re all very different. And they’re not all focused on barbeques and crocodile burgers!”
In fact, Melbourne is her big tip for 2017, the 25th anniversary of the city’s famous food festival. “They have a lot of tapas and the coffee scene is huge as is craft beer. There are also local gin distilleries, such as the new one that opened recently in Northern Victoria. That’s wonderful.”
To start planning your next foodie trip, check out Lonely Planet’s Food Trails, which is available at bookshops and online at Amazon.