Exploring new and familiar flavors in food and wine is one of travel’s greatest pleasures and can give you lasting memories of trips focused on the world’s best food and wine destinations.
From the grandeur of an antique villa overlooking the rolling countryside to an award-winning winery in a surprising destination, the mouthwatering flavors of a traditional recipe to an exciting new way of preparing a customary dish, visiting a destination for its food and wine is explorative, revealing diverse connections to local culture.
From Italy to India, South Africa to Spain, Argentina to Morocco, find the known and unknown with our guide to the world’s 15 best food and wine hotspots.
Italy is one of the most famous wine and food destinations in the world, with traditions of wine-making and culinary history established millennia ago. From the rustic cuisine of Tuscany to renowned cheeses, the mouthwatering ragu of Bologna to the wines of Piedmont, Italy’s culture is deeply intertwined with its wine and food. The stunning and diverse scenery around Italy has shaped the culinary and oenological flavors that are steeped in the traditions of the cities and their surrounding regions. These are demonstrated in local stalls, home kitchens, and Michelin-starred restaurants.
With one of the most celebrated food and wine cultures in the world, France is renowned for practically inventing the modern concept of dining. With a strict tradition that has inspired chefs, home cooks, and vintners, the country has exported its ideals of flavor and production, while still maintaining a timeless allure. From revitalized ingredients to established gastronomic authority, medieval villages to sprawling vineyards, local cafes to Michelin restaurants, France has a wide range of vintages, cutting-edge haute cuisine, classic favorites, and remains the only place in the world where you can sip real champagne where it is bottled.
Spain is a kaleidoscope of food and wine, where color imparts as much of an importance in the cuisine as the flavor. With captivating historic cities finding new ways to celebrate familiar flavors, the country as a whole outpaces even the most established culinary traditions to reveal an enticing slower pace that forces you to pay attention to the layered tastes. With Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastian, vineyards that sweep across regions like Rioja, and dishes like paella that take on a local flair, when you look beneath the classic surface of Spain, you can find an entirely new way to experience the food and wine.
Portugal is small but mighty, with much flavor bundled into the landscape and seaside. Beyond the gorgeous beaches, Portugal has an authentic culinary scene and established wine authority that are often overshadowed by more prominent regional neighbors. With a tradition of fresh seafood and spiced meats that bring together seafaring customs and a history of international imperial trade, the strip of country on the Iberian Peninsula embraces the sunshine, captures the soulful flavors of terraced hills, and brings to light new ways to enjoy centuries of tradition, whether with a glass of port or a bowl of caldo verde.
Germany as a food and wine destination is not surprising for travelers with a keen understanding of famous wine regions and growing culinary trends. Regional variations on classic dishes feed into a sense of national identity and local specificity that focus on available, seasonal ingredients, as well as renowned white wines and reds known for possessing a delightful spice. With over 300 Michelin-starred restaurants, wine regions that embody history and evolution, and an understanding of how heritage informs contemporary trends, Germany is far less of a surprising wine and food destination than one may think.
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The influences of Hungarian cuisine come from far and wide, while the wine directly relates to the ancient practices from before the Roman arrival. Vineyards produce distinctive, full-bodied reds and sweet wines that bring an entirely new palette to life. With generous spices, endless richness, and a touch of extravagant flavor, the cuisine of Hungary accentuates the wine and the abundant heritage. Famous dishes rely on generous spices, especially paprika, while the easily paired wines represent an expression of national pride. Domestic winemaking is steeped in rustic tradition and results in high-quality wines that exude local regional custom.
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Australia has risen to international acclaim for its food and wine, with some of the world’s most celebrated winegrowing regions and destinations that have created bold culinary visions. The diverse landscape of the continent has chefs practicing ancient recipes and working with hyper-local ingredients, whether within the desert terrain of the Red Centre, the tropical climate of northern Queensland, or the pristine seaside abundance of Sydney. The cuisine and wine focus on the quality of ingredients, their production, and in which landscapes they grow to create a veritable ecosystem of meaningful and unforgettable flavors.
The wine and food of the small island nation of New Zealand have attracted the attention of enthusiasts from around the world. The winegrowing traditions remain markedly progressive and the culinary aesthetic has evolved to celebrate indigenous ingredients and incorporate the beautiful flavors of international influence. Whether sipping a domestic wine while overlooking a fiord or sampling a multi-course menu whose flavors progress with each bite, New Zealand pushes forward while celebrating Maori ingredients, seafood traditions, the customary comforts of lamb, and the accentuating effects of good wine.
The wonders of the food and wine in South Africa should come as no surprise, with the diversity of the landscape and culture intertwining with Mediterranean-style sunshine, cool evenings on the plains, ancient cultures, and centuries of colonial and international influences. Chefs and home cooks have innovated cuisine to bring together local ingredients that celebrate a new approach to tradition. Rugged coastline, jagged mountains, and open grasslands support world-class hospitality to create a collaborative old- and new-world wine destination that constantly replenishes the ideas of what food and wine collaboration can do.
Morocco as a destination for food is no surprise, but the country’s wines have become entangled with its proximity to Spain and history of French colonial rule. The table becomes the center of joy and community in Morocco as dishes laden with flavors celebrate a heritage of spice, the richness of the natural landscape, and a mixture of cultures defined by the desert, sea, and mountains. The wines, similarly, embrace the natural diversity, with vines cooled by the Atlantic breeze or the Atlas Mountains to find a perfect balance, while experimenting with food and wine pairings and underscoring the essence of Moroccan tastes.
Beyond the land of pharaohs, pyramids, and bazaars, Egypt continues to contribute exotic flavors to international cuisine, with ingredients steeped in ancient history and spices celebrated in the region. The Nile offers a depth of flavorful fruits, vegetables, and meats, as well as a unique connection to winegrowing that dates back to an often untold part of ancient Egypt. As an international exporter of spices, with control of the Red Sea and use of the Mediterranean Sea, dishes embraced the use of herbs and spices turning eating into art. Whether you prefer red or white varietals, Egyptian wine has stepped back onto the international stage.
Japan may be better known for rice wine and sushi, but the history of wine was introduced to the country by merchants of the Silk Road nearly 1,000 years ago. The ever-growing popularity of Japanese wine domestically and on the international stage compliments the strong tradition of Japanese cuisine. The likes of delicate sushi and robust fish dishes pair perfectly with Japanese wines, while the custom of fattier meats and preparations offer great accompaniments to hardier varietals. As with the food, the wine acts as an expression of the climate, land, and culture to create something truly unique.
Incredibly varied, exceptionally colorful, and endlessly surprising, India embodies the spirit of its cuisine and wine across regions, with commonalities that connect an underlying heritage, as well as acting as the foundations for localized differences. With influences from Europe to East Asia and the Middle East, with each culture-shaping regional flavor profiles, the tradition of wine production dates back to the Bronze Age. Savory spiced meats, layered tastes of vegetarian dishes, and timelessly inventive combinations pair perfectly with the variety of wines produced at high altitudes for distinctive palettes.
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Passion and indulgence define the pleasures of wine and food in Argentina. With modest winery beginnings in the early 16th century, wine production in the country has had five centuries to progress with the evolution of national culinary culture. Whether finding the perfect red to pair with Asado, a crisp sparkling wine to accompany dessert, or an enticing Moscato to enhance a flavorful pizza, Argentine food and wine is a celebration of everyday occasions that complement life’s simple pleasures across the edges of Patagonia, the terraced Andes, the Cuyo desert, the tropical northern territory, or the renowned pampas.
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Chile has subtly established its wine and food as irresistible around the world, with layered flavors that represent time-honored traditions, original ingredients, and contemporary trends. With a variety of fresh seafood and an immense culinary landscape that features rustic fare and sophisticated culinary experiences, the food and wine culture of Chile can feel like an indescribable journey. Driven by local identity, established in traditional indigenous ingredients, and fortified by salt flats, tropical edges, rich valleys, jagged glaciers, and deep forests, Chile is an approachable wine and food powerhouse.
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The world is filled with exceptional flavor, from famous contemporary restaurants to rustic traditions, customary vineyards to surprising wineries found in unique destinations. Whether interested in the cultures around wine or eager to explore the distinctive tastes that accentuate specific ingredients, the best food and wine trips blend your preferences with exciting new discoveries. You can find far more excursions to embrace the pleasures of travel with our Food and Wine Travel Guide. Speak with an expert Food and Wine travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.