Cooking & food vacations advice

An Italian immersion

Marina Caldera from our Italy supplier Agriturismo Podere le Olle highlights local Umbrian temptations in her cooking and food vacations advice: “Everything that surrounds us in Umbria is related to food, and each village has specialities of which they are proud. Our area is famous for extra virgin olive oil and Orvieto wine, plus norcineria - cured pork meats. We also grow all kind of beans that are cooked with spelt and barley to create delicious soups. And we have a very specific pasta, a sort of rough spaghetti called umbrichelli. A traditional recipe is umbrichelli all' aglione, a spicy tomato sauce with lots of our very tasty red garlic! Another speciality is wild boar, either stewed or cooked with tagliatelle. The village of Cita della Pieve is the place for saffron, while Fabro is famous for white truffle.”

Marketplace marvels

Soontareeporn Hombuayai, a guide for our supplier Intrepid, on their Real Food Adventure Thailand picks out a unique local market in her food vacations advice: “I think the Mae Glong railway market is the most exciting in the world - people sell their produce on the actual train tracks! Everything is put on tables with wheels which will be easy to move when the train comes: live catfish, prawns and squid fresh from the sea, and dry seafood whose smell you will have to get used to! There is a warning about five minutes before a train, then everything is like chaos - the vendors move their stuff off the tracks quickly, and everyone must find the space on the trackside to stay safe. As soon as the train has passed everything is placed back to normal and the market starts again!”

Humble pleasures

Animesh Khandkar, a guide for our supplier Intrepid on their Real Food Adventure India picks out two humble Indian items in his food vacations advice:Chai is the most popular drink across the country, from pedestrians to the prime minister. The calls of chai vendors at stations are a good wakeup call if you're on a train or bus! The best is always available on a roadside stall - never in luxurious hotels. Vada pav - deep fried potato fritter in a bun with coconut, tamarind and garlic chutney- unites the two extremes of Mumbai. Bollywood celebs and people from Dharavi – Asia's largest slum – both enjoy this mouthwatering snack at the same roadside stalls. There are thousands of stalls but I think the best is one near Standard & Chartered Bank close to the Flora Fountain.”
Benoit Couvreur and Corinne Benoit from our French supplier The Frogs House highlight wonderful mealtime ambience in their cooking and food vacations advice:
“Imagine sitting in a colourful medieval old town, surrounded by ochre Italian- influenced architecture…a small tavern, packed with locals, talking loud and queuing to get home-made specialities...Thyme, olive oil, garlic...the smells of Provence are coating the little plaza. No individual tables, just long, wooden ones with benches around. The wood oven is burning, spitting socca platters one after another...salt and pepper are ready...wondering what socca is? Just come and try...” [Can't wait to find out? Discover the identity of socca here!]

Our top Cooking & food vacations Vacation

Short break pasta making & Italian food vacation, Tuscany

Short break pasta making & Italian food vacation, Tuscany

A Tuscan food adventure, learn to make pasta

From £825 4 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2023: 10 May, 16 Jul, 20 Sep, 19 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Cooking & food vacations or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tips from our travelers on
cooking & food vacations

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful cooking & food vacation advice that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
Go with the flow! In India, you have to be flexible, changes to itineraries are unavoidable, just see it as an opportunity to see something spontaneous.
– Mary Souster
"The mix of activities we did worked really well, not just the cooking and walking but also everything else we managed to do including wine tasting, visiting the olive oil co-operative, evening visits to local historical town, and more." - Mike Smith, Cooking and walking vacations, Spanish Pyrenees

"We had a tour around the wine making area including a view of the beautiful french oak barrels. We were accompanied on the tour by the friendly dog that lived there. We then had lunch outside which included wines matched to each of the courses. The owner of the winery led the wine tasting. All this happened on a beautiful warm and sunny day. It was perfect." - Christine Aickin, Umbria Cooking Vacation, Italy

"We loved the evening boat trip to a tiny island west of Turku. There was live music on the boat and on the island we were served a feast outdoors with fresh salmon, potatoes, grilled vegetables and more." - Diane Banner, Helsinki City Break, winter sports and Gastronomy
Ensure you leave the diet at the doorstep, the food and wine are beautiful in Umbria. Be prepared to relax - it is a quiet countryside location, with no TV and limited wifi.
- Joanne Wilkins
"Bring some sweets from your country for the families you’ll visit: I wish I did. Pack medicines for stomach problems; most people on our trip needed them. Don’t bother with a backpack since your luggage will be carried by bell boys (who happily receive tips from the tipping kitty) Ask for spicy if you like this; the food cooked at the homes was adjusted to ’western’ taste and we realised this too late. Go for the real, hot, stuff!" - Juul Van Hoof, Sri Lanka small group tour, a food adventure

"Leave packing room in the suitcase to take back purchases! In Thailand, take lots of currency in 100s and 20s - these are the notes you will use." - Suzanne Smith

"Go with the flow! In India, you have to be flexible, changes to itineraries are unavoidable, just see it as an opportunity to see something spontaneous. Pack a small torch – few street lights and uneven pavements make returning to hotel after dark an adventure!" - Mary Souster, India small group vacation, a food adventure
Written by Norman Miller
Photo credits: [Page banner: Brooke Lark] [Barbecue - Umbria: Umbria lovers] [Chai - India: Juan Antoio Segal] [India: Arihant Daga] [Umbria - food: Steven dosRemedios]