Planning amazing eating experiences is one of the things I enjoy when on my travels. However, thinking way back, I remember one in Saskatchewan, Canada. Almost 30 years ago, after a long weekend in Saskatoon I was driving back to Regina with a friend and we stopped in at The Hole in Wall just outside Dundurn (about an hour into the 2 1/2 hour drive). Neither of us had been there before but we had heard good things about it. It was off the beaten track, hence the name, and we followed the directions we had been given unsure of where we were actually heading. We turned east off the highway then north then east again on country roads until we came to a small settlement and there it was – an old Texaco petrol station that had been converted into a restaurant with Peruvian style. We had a reservation but were a little bit early and there was no one around so we went for a drive around the community as it was too chilly for a walk. It was winter in the prairies and getting dark.
Finally another car drove into the parking lot and we were welcomed into the warmth of the main dining room, sat in front of the soon roaring fire and served complementary glasses of wine while we were advised of the menu. Everything we had was delicious and this gem of a restaurant became a quick favourite. The South American flavours were spot on and the service and atmosphere were excellent. There used to be a sign advertising the restaurant on the highway but it didn’t last long; unknowing customers started showing up expecting a quick burger so the owners took the sign down. They didn’t need the drive-by traffic as they were busy enough thanks to the cottage patrons nearby and those, like us, who were willing to drive an hour or so to get there.
I did a quick check before writing this to see if the restaurant is still there and sadly it closed a couple of years ago due to the death of the chef. It was a family-owned business and his children plan to open another restaurant in Saskatoon with the same name and menu, and the same iconic sign from the front of the building. I hope they do!
I think mine has to be a meal on the Orient Express – all dressed up, piano playing background music, lovely food and a very expensive bottle of wine!
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It is a mixture of destination and food that I remember most about Lipziger Hof Hotel at Innsbruck. We had been walking at 7,400 feet from Hafelkar summit on a glorious autumn day, and came back down on the cable car and walked through scenic Innsbruck to enjoy a delicious meal at our hotel of polenta sprinkled with parmesan on grilled vegetables in a tomato and herb sauce, after a salad topped with strips of grilled chicken.
My memory dates back over more than 50 years. I was studying in Germany (Freiburg) and went with a few friends across the border to Switzerland for a short walking holiday. On out first night (in Fribourg) we had my first experience of Swiss fondue. What I remember most about the evening was the fun of sharing food, wine, conversation and laughter with good friends. Given that we were solemnly advised by our waiter that, if the piece of bread dropped from your fork into the fondue, you had to kiss everyone in the group. Some friendships developed quite rapidly as a result
I really enjoyed a Burger King in Tenerife. It was the first time I’d been abroad, and was frankly amazed to see a familiar brand on the strip. I did eat the local cuiine most of the time though, so that’s ok
Eurocamp holiday looks like the perfect break, good mix of activities. Never tried it before and wouldn’t mind giving it a go with the family.
Thanks for your foodie travel memory @dragonfly63 – I’ve looked up the Chateau de Chenonceau and I am sitting here drooling at the thought of your classic French cuisine in the Orangery. The Silver Travel Book Club’s book for January is ‘Food Trails’….did you enjoy great food at other places in the Loire, on that same trip, or just at the Chateau?
That’s got me reminiscing about my own foodie travels….
One of the most memorable one-off meals whilst travelling was probably the time the family spent Christmas in St. Lucia. We shied away from the traditional turkey and Christmas pud at all the hotels in Rodney Bay, and opted for the high-risk strategy of ding at Marjorie’s shack on a remote northern beach.
‘What will you serve?’
’Don’t worry…it will be great.’
She was right. We were the only ones eating in the airy al fresco ‘dining room’…apart from a couple of locals propped up on nearby stools, guzzling rum punches. Course after course came out of the rustic kitchen, along with the aroma of, erm, herbal cigarettes…barbecued fish, meat, vegetables, all piled high and perfectly cooked. I had a long-jump competition with my nephews on the beach, bareback horseriders splashed through the surf and we shared our party-poppers with the relaxed locals. Truly a memorable meal, along with satisfying so many other senses.
As for a Food Trail, we were lucky to follow part of the Farm to Table route in the Lonely Planet book a few years ago. We visited the legendary Salamanca Market in Hobart, stumbled across the artisan Bruny Island Cheese Company on tiny Bruny Island near Hobart, and also slipped down a few oysters at Get Shucked on Bruny. But we didn’t get to the rest of the trail – the Lark Whisky Bar & Distillery in Hobart, the capital’s smaller Farm Gate Market and the Dunalley Fish Market – so we’ll just have to go back.
Oh wait, there are another 51 ‘Food Trails’ in this wonderful book to follow first….
The most surprising and excellent meal we have had was in the Orangery at Chateau Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. The setting was superb, the service faultless and the four course meal was as beautiful as it was tasty. We had Chateau bottled wine with it and when the credit card bill came through it had cost us a fraction over £60.
Thanks @GerryK for the brilliantly evocative memory of a very special – and free – meal in Budapest. Did you get a couple of cold Budvars to go with the hot bowls of wild venison?
Food Trails – this month’s Silver Travel Book Club choice – is crammed with fascinating food-based travel itineraries…though none may be quite as amusing as GerryK’s. ‘This book is a gastronomic tour of the world in 52 short breaks. We’ve scoured the globe for the greatest food experiences worth planning your travels around – not just fine dining, but also the best regional specialities, the most atmospheric street food spots, and the most memorable cooking courses.’
’Puglia’s Peasant Cuisine’ trail includes the fish market in Bari, buying ‘biscotti di pasta di mandorle’ (sweets made from almond paste) from the nuns at Lecce’s Convento San Giovanni Evengelista and learning to cook traditional Pugliese dishes at the Stile Mediterraneo Cooking School near Lecce.
Prefer Thai food? The ‘Northern Tribal Roots’ trail will take you to Chiang Mai, the capital of a tribal kingdom long before Siam became Thailand and with a distinct cuisine. Grab the essential ingredients from the town’s frenetic market at Talat Warorot, eat lunch at Khao Soi Lam Duan Fah Ham on the east bank of the Mae Ping river and learn to cook northern Thai dishes at the Chiang Mai Cookery School.
Want to graze closer to home? Follow the ‘Seafood & Cider Crawl’ food trail across Devon and Cornwall, ‘Eat at the Ends of the Earth’ on the trail in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides or head to the wild west coast of Ireland for the ‘Connemara Seafood Trail’.
Remember, there are trails for 52 perfect weekends in the world’s tastiest destinations in FoodTrails….my senses have been working overtime as I plan which trail to follow first since Santa bestowed the book on me. You can win a copy too. Just let us know what has been your own most memorable meal or food experience whilst travelling.
Leave your comment on this Forum thread or on Silver Travel Advisor’s Facebook page and the best two entries will each receive a copy of Lonely Planet’s sumptuous ‘Food Trails’.