If you missed the Sunday Times last week then you missed a very entertaining Food Special in their Travel section. Eat The World was a 16-page guide that covered a range of food features such as the 'World's Weirdest Meals', 'Where The Bloggers Eat' and Restaurant Rules'. I honed in on 'Italy's Finest Food Festivals' as I am currently planning next summer's visit to Tuscany and Umbria - flights to Pisa were booked today. I see that we can take in Ferragosto, a day of outdoor feasting in Italian towns and villages on 15 August and Desenzano's night-time Festa dei Lumi (lamp festival), with street food (below).

If you cannot get a late copy or view the Food Special on-line, then I am giving some of my highlights here.

'20 Essential Foodie Weekends' featured the following food in the following places as being the best you can taste:
  • Lobster in Sweden - go on a lobster safari with Everts Sjobod. 
  • Nutella in Piedmont, Italy - in Alba, the Saturday market is nut mad.
  • Oysters in Whitstable, UK - cycle or walk the Crab and Winkle Way to Canterbury.
  • Cicchetti  in Venice, Italy - these bar snacks are often free with a glass of  valpolicella.
  • Wine in the Douro Valley, Portugal - only 90 minutes by car from Porto for the rich red wine
  • Whisky in Scotland- combine world-class distilleries with world-beating scenery.
  • Strudel in Italy - Alta Badia in the north was once Austrian, both countries input to the recipe 
  • Butter in Brittany, France - blocks of the stuff studded with course chunks of salt.
  • Pintxos in San Sebastian, Spain - the Basque take on tapas with the best in the Gros district. 
  • Turkish Delight in Istanbul, Turkey - chewy, delicately flavoured and dusted with sugar.
  • Gourmet in Lyon, France - now the gourmet city of France surrounded by fine ingredients.
  • Wild Food in Cornwall, UK - on the banks of the River Fal you'll never go hungry.  
  • Humus in Tel Aviv, Israel - in the old town of Jaffa at Ali Karavans order it with fava beans.
  • Real Ale in the Lake District, UK - try the Black Bull in Coniston for a Bluebird bitter. 
  • Hot Dogs in Copenhagen, Denmark - traditionally found in vans around the city.
  • Wine in Sussex, UK - Bolney and Ridgeview Estates are the pick of the 'best sparkling'.   
  • Seafood in Galicia, Spain - plump clams, and sweet lobsters are fresher than ever tasted.
  • Sherry in Jerez, Spain - Casa Vina de Alcantara is the centre of Andulusia's Tio Pepe sherry.
  • Pizza in Brooklyn, USA - Roberta's pizzeria is one of the best in the Big Apple.
  • Truffles in Istria, Croatia - the truffle hotspot is in the north in the Motovun forest.

'Seven Restaurant Golden Rules' was most entertaining and very enlightening and I will definitely use them in future.
  • Dodge The Tourist Traps - search for a little place offering just a few starters, mains and desserts printed on a menu that is not laminated, has no Day-Glo pictures and is in just one language (the language of the country you are in). Try a restaurant with a chalkboard where dishes are crossed out as they sell out. A subtle clue is a place full of locals.   
  • Order The Plat Du Jour - look for the 'specials' board or the dish of the day, using fresh local ingredients that should be cheap and sold out half way through the service.
  • Keep It Seasonal - check what local ingredients are in season before you travel. If you can't be bothered then ask the waiter for the in season meals.
  • Do Drink The Water....Mostly - in most developed countries there is no need to drink bottled water, unless you like the fizzy stuff. Order tap water in most European countries. Don't trust the water in Mexico, Egypt or India  
  • Don't Fear The Sommelier - tell the sommelier your budget and you'll avoid the embarrassment of having to ask for something cheaper or spending  more than you wanted. Tell them what you like - your favourite grape or region. Try a glass before buying a bottle.
  • Don't Expect Too Much From The Service - don't fret over rubbish service. Don't expect to be fussed over in the USA or France but take your time in Italy or in the Caribbean, where a couple of hours for dinner is the norm. So manage your expectations depending on the destination. 
  • Tip Shrewdly - tourists usually overtip, so it pays to know what to leave. In the USA go for 15% to 20%. In most European countries a few coins will do as the tip will likely be included in the price and you will often be paying an additional cover charge for the bread and olives. Leave 10% in eastern Europe and Australia. Tips are not expected in the Far East. 
And finally, for the adventurous travellers, I simply list without comment the two eateries with 'The World's Best Street Food' according to fellow greedy food bloggers:
  • Paris - Frenchie To Go and Pascale
  • Barcelona - Butipa and El Quim de la Boqueria
  • Brussels - Keep on Toasting and L'Amour Fou 
  • New York - Ristorante Morin and The Halal Guys
  • Los Angeles - Chengdu Taste and Mariscos Jalisco
  • Mexico City - Tres Galeones Taqueria de Puerto and El Huequito
  • Rio De Janeiro - Ferro e Farinha and Cervantes
  • Tokyo - Turret Coffee and Tenko
  • Hanoi - New Bun Cha and Phuong Beo Pho Tiu
  • Singapore - Lolla and Masala Tandoor
  • Sydney - Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken and Bowen's Bacon & Egg Rolls


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