The Taste of Tourism

Words by Phoebe Oliver

Spring is here, and with Brighton Food Festival round the corner it is time to turn our heads to gastro-tourism. We can’t be the only ones who have noticed suddenly that friends and family, when listing the various draws to their chosen holiday destination, have suddenly started citing “we have heard the food there is amazing” at the top of the list.

Here we explore some of the best places for foodie travel across the globe, but we are extremely lucky that we are producing some fantastic food and drink right on our doorstep.

The Brighton Food Festival ‘Spring Harvest’ (April 17 – 27), which kicks off over the weekend of Good Friday and Easter Saturday (18-19 April), sees the festival take over seafront Hove Lawns, with the huge free entry Sussex & The World Market featuring around 100 stalls, the Live Food Show and the Children’s Food Festival. New additions for 2014 include the Mixology Rum Shack with DJ and cocktail masterclasses, and tutored tastings presented by Discover the Origin, of Bourgogne Wines, Parma Ham, Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, Port and Douro Wines. There will also be a special tasting presentation hosted by wine expert, TV presenter and newspaper columnist Olly Smith.  In addition to the main weekend, there are lots of affordable tastings and dinners across the week including The Three Chefs supper at Drakes, Brighton Food Trail, the Big Sussex Market on New Road, Churchill Square Live Food Kitchen and the Rockinghorse Children’s Easter Egg Hunt in Royal Pavilion Gardens.

Go to to book tickets and for more information

Seafood in Olhao, Portugal
The coastal town of Olhão in the Algarve, Portugal is an up and coming gastro hotspot.  Olhão is not a typical ‘tourist’ town, it is the largest fishing port in the Algarve and home to one of the area’s busiest food markets.  The multitude of restaurants and cafés that line the seafront promenade and  are simple affairs that cater for the local population as well as tourists (mainly Portuguese though)  with delicious fresh fish dishes – including grilled sardines, monkfish stews, clams with pork and tuna steaks, not to mention octopus and squid.   The Portuguese wine, Vinho Verde (meaning ‘young wine’)goes perfectly with fish, and is available readily – and cheaply – pretty much everywhere.  Olhão itself is a picturesque town full of character with Moorish-style houses, an influence from the commercial links with Africa.  It does not have a beach itself, but the lagoon islands and beaches of Armona, Culatra and Farol can be reached by regular ferry.

Stay at The Real Marina Hotel & Spa in Olhão from £58 per room per night based on two sharing in April 2014. 

To book, go to or call (+351) 289 091 300

Olive Oil, Wine and Cheese Tasting Holiday, Tuscany, Italy
In the grounds of a wonderful Agriturismo are two beautiful farmhouses set 1.5km apart in the Tuscan hills offering the perfect location in which to pursue your passion for all things Italian. Just 40km from Pisa, this Tuscan cookery holiday offers a unique opportunity to discover Italian life where families work together on the estate to produce olive oil and wines using organic and traditional farming methods. Under the direction of your knowledgeable guides, you will learn about the local olive oil and wine production process and taste the end product for yourself. You will visit one of the local organic cheese farms which, surrounded by a unique landscape, specializes in the production of fully organic cheese, from fresh ricotta to ripened pecorino.

This is a wonderful introduction to Tuscany’s rich culture of wine, olive oil and cheese set in the beautiful and relaxing surroundings, a must for any food and wine enthusiast. offer the cheese, wine and olive oil tasting holiday from £409 per person for 4 days and three nights.  Minimum 2 people.

To book, go to or call 08456250445

A Foodie trek across India
India specialists Ampersand Travel provide a foodie tour which is like no other and offers a true feast for the mind. Hosted by passionate Indian food historian, Jonty Rajagopolan, the 13-day culinary journey sees food lovers travel with Jonty from the food of the streets to the kitchens of the Kings between the cities of Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Calcutta and Hyderabad, experiencing a way of life where every meal is a celebration of life itself and in turn learning the art of living to eat. Along the way, Jonty reveals a fresh insight into how food is so closely connected and influenced by both the country’s religion and culture but also highlights how each region’s character comes into its own in the kitchen. Highlights of the trip include a visit to the Golden Temple at Amritsar and some of India’s finest spice and vegetable markets as well as being welcomed into local village homes for a traditional feast. A series of schedule tours are on offer throughout 2014 but can also be individually tailored for private groups.

Ampersand Travel offers the 13-day Art of Living to Eat tour from £5,860 per person based on two sharing and including international flights, domestic flights in India, accommodation in some of the country’s finest hotels, all meals, activities, entrances, road transport and tour leader plus daily gift.

To book, go to or call (0)20 7819 9770