1. Burgundy, France
The vineyards of Cote de Beaune in Burgundy.
France is, of course, regarded as the home of fine cuisine. The French are fiercely proud of their produce, and in particular, their wine and cheese. The Burgundy region is blessed with a bounty of fabulous vineyards and cheese producers. They have been growing grapes in Burgundy since the second century and the region produces some of the most expensive wines in the world. It’s best known for its red Pinot Noirs and white Chardonnays or, for those with a sweet tooth, Crème de Cassis is a popular liquor made from locally-grown blackcurrants. Mont d’Or, Comté and Morbier are three of Burgundy’s best known cheeses – though there are dozens of smaller producers waiting to be discovered – while the capital, Dijon, gives its name to the world’s most famous style of mustard.
2. The Southern States of the USA
Barbecue ribs – but whose are the best?
It’s an argument that has been raging for many years – who does the best barbecue? In the southern states, barbecue is a way of life. Forget charred bangers and burgers, we’re talking juicy, smoked ribs cooked low and slow, often overnight, and smothered with rich sauce mixed to a secret recipe. There are plenty of regional variations: in Memphis they favour a vinegar-based sauce, while Texans prefer a sweeter tomato-based concoction. In the Carolinas the sauce is flavoured with mustard while in Kansas City they add molasses. Wherever you are, quiz the locals to find the best barbecue spot in town – if you can get them to agree!
3. Naples, Italy
The ultimate street food: a traditional folded pizza Margherita in Naples.
Italian food is now an international staple, but when most of us say Italian, what we really mean is Neapolitan. Naples is rightfully renowned for its cuisine and wine, but most foodies will know it as the home of pizza. Purists will tell you that there are only two types worth eating – Marinara and Margherita – both of which originated in the area. The ingredients and techniques used to make Neapolitan pizza are strictly regulated by law, so quality is guaranteed. It’s not all pizza though, Naples is also known for its spaghetti, seafood, ice cream, coffee and the lemon liqueur Limoncello.
4. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok’s food markets are always bustling
The food scene in Bangkok is based around markets and street stalls rather than restaurants. They are literally everywhere you look in the city and offer up a dizzying array of dishes. Most of the best stalls have one particular speciality which has been perfected over many years and a healthy queue is a good indicator of the quality of the food. The Yaowarat and Talat Phlu districts are particularly rich hunting grounds. We all know green curry and pad thai, but Thai food is actually incredibly diverse with strong Indian and Chinese influences. Popular dishes to eat on the go range from moo ping – grilled pork skewers – to sweets like khanom krok – tiny fried coconut cakes.
5. New York
If you want it all in one place, head to New York. The city is a global melting pot whose residents have perfected numerous dishes in their own style. The New York City cheesecake, for example, uses cream cheese rather than curds, while the New York pizza is thin crust and heavier on the toppings than its Italian equivalent. That great American classic the burger was even invented here. Then there are the delis selling sandwiches piled high with salt beef, the hot dog vendors in Central Park, the Chinatown noodle shops and, bringing things right up to date, the cronut – a sugary, pastry-like piece of heaven, otherwise known as a croissant combined with a doughnut.
Published 9th May 2016