Dame Traveler asked me to share a list of my top destinations, here is the post as shared with them, to read the full post and more click here
(through the article click the highlighted areas for more tips)
As a French girl, there is no lie that I have a love affair with cuisine. Whether it’s the saltiness from a delicate cheese or the sweetness from the perfect cream filled choux, I am always looking for the next “foodie” experience when I travel. Having sweet memories as a kid hunting for the best éclairs in Paris with my mom, I now as an adult look for the best local cafes and food in a city. Every corner of the world has something to offer in cuisine that speaks to the culture and local way of life. Food is a way to be emerged into the local culture and gives a taste of heritage and history. For the dame traveler who loves food and culture, these are my 5 favorite cities for the “foodie.”
1. Annecy, France:
Annecy is a small city situated on a stunning aqua clear lake between the Northern Alps of France. Only thirty minutes away from Geneva, Switzerland, this French-Swiss town is unlike any other. Another nickname for this city is the Venice of France because the small center of the city is filled with water passages lined with beautiful flower hedges. The cuisine is a remarkable French meets Swiss infusion, and is known for the gastronomic selections from the Haute-Savoie region. I loved this town for not only the breathtaking views, but for the cheese. Cheese is everything in this region of France, whether you prefer it melted over potatoes or a pot of it, cheese is the star of the show. When I was there, I spent most of my time searching for the best dishes and landed upon a hidden gem.
Insider tip: Eat at Le Frétti three times. The first time, sit outside on the patio to try the fondue with breads, cured meats and perhaps flavored with pepper. The second time, eat up stairs and indulge in raclette, the art of melting cheese, scraping it off and pairing it with steamed potatoes. Now the third time, if you haven’t had enough cheese quite yet, try the tartiflette, a local dish made of scalloped potatoes with more cheese, sautéed onions and lardon cooked into it. Other local favorites are vin chaud (mulled wine), ciders, and the white wines – all of which are great to pair with the cheese dishes.
2. Athens, Greece
After a recent trip through Greece, I found myself falling in love with Mediterranean food, the history of the ancient town of Athens, and all of the stories to be told on each street corner. Athens is a destination for those looking to indulge in fine dining, experience cosmopolitan Greek culture and truly be emerged back in time. I loved the city for the historic district of Plaka that boasted quaint, local cafes to spend the afternoon after a morning filled with historic adventures.
Insider tips: Gyros are a must try. They are flavor packed and a great on the go snack; one of the best places in Athens is Lefteris in the Omonia square where lines are not uncommon. Another local favorite is fried calamari; these dishes are a great afternoon snack with fresh squeezed lemon. Now the Acropolis is the attention grabber as it sits perched high on the hill and for dinner a sunset view of this place is a must. From the Grand Bretagne Hotel, at their rooftop restaurant called GB Roof Garden, there is a stunning view plus killer food. This is a definite indulgence and a bit of a penny to eat here but the food is phenomenal and the view even better – the tuna tartar is a must have.
3. Melbourne, Australia
Australia, the star of breakfast and endless top coffee shops. The delightful city of Melbourne hosts all that a foodie would need for months worth of meals. Welcome to one of the most diverse cities in the world. It is a blend of many cultures, old world to new world, and a bit of everything else in between. I think I spent most of my time trying to figure out the identity of this city until I quickly realized it’s a melting pot of many cultures. Every block changes with colors, style, and size. I think that’s what I came to appreciate most about this city all said and done. One minute you could be in Paris, another London, the next New Orleans and then suddenly Chinatown. The city is booming with life; bustling coffee shops, packed restaurants and high end shopping.
Inside tips: Spend most of – if not all of your money on breakfast. Sure there are amazing dinner spots but even better breakfast. The Kettle Black in South Melbourne is the newest and best spot in the city, ordering a few dishes like the hotcakes, porridge, and fresh tuna is a great start. One of my other favorite breakfasts was in Fitzroy at Proud Mary, they had a hotcake dish that had crumbled honeycomb, fresh fruit, a scoop of ice cream and fried mandarins on it. It was my husband’s dish and I think I may have consumed more of it then he did. For the coffee connoisseur, head to spots like Brother Baba Budan, Patricia, and Auction Rooms. One other “foodie” experience to try is the classic afternoon tea at the Hotel Windsor where you feel like a princess while trying teas and small treats.
4. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Off the beaten path, up a mountain, and you have arrived to the valley of 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen is situated in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland. It is comprised of the small towns of Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Mürren, Gimmelwald, Stechelberg, and Isenfluh. Mürren, Gimmelwald and Wengen are only accessible by gondola or by foot creating this magical rural countryside feeling. The area is known for outdoor adventures in the shapes of hiking, skiing, and base-jumping. I loved exploring the mountainside, finding a small village to walk through and being outdoors. The nature landscapes are incredible and you can’t help but feel a bit more grounded after spending a few days here. When I think of the food in this area, I think family. Because of the small size of the area, there are only a few restaurants where everyone comes together to enjoy comfort food after a day of being outdoors.
Insider tip: The first dish to get your hands on is the comfort food of Rösti. Rösti is often considered the Swiss national dish and is a yummy version of savory hash browns. The Hotel Obereland serves some of the best in Lauterbrunnen. In the morning for breakfast head to Flavours to have great coffee and a hearty meal. Of course you could come back for an afternoon pastry and a classic Swiss hot chocolate.
5. Sorrento, Italy
The gateway to the infamous Amalfi coastline, Sorrento is a bustling city featuring some great adventures. I loved the tall buildings, winding alleyways, and beautiful views of the Bay of Naples. Being the busier of the cities on the coastline, Sorrento is a historic town featuring lively street music at nights, relaxing cafes for the late morning, and of course sun bathing decks for the afternoon. I could have spent most of my time just getting lost walking in and out of the cathedrals, popping into shops and of course indulging my sweet tooth.
Insider tip: As Sorrento is one of the largest producers of limoncello, this has to be one of your first drinks. Whether it is by itself or over ice cream, the lemon from this region of Italy is one to remember. Now gelato, I think if you had 4 a day, you could maybe try all of the flavors in a week. This rich treat is a local tradition with flavors like fior di latte, amarenna, lampone, and stracciatella. If you haven’t filled your appetite with sweets, for dinner pasta is a must, La Fenice has great seasonal dishes whether you prefer red or white sauces. Being so close to Naples, the home of the Neapolitan pizza, there is a lot of influence for top pizza places like Pizzeria Aurora or L’Orangerie at Excelsior Vittoria Hotel.