Whatever corner of the world you find yourself exploring, it's impossible to understand the culture you're in without getting a taste experience for the local cuisine. All of the world's civilisations have developed their own unique traditions of eating and drinking, stretching right the way through from agriculture and farming, all the way through to the eating. So when you sample the wine in France or the sushi in Japan you're tasting the result of hundreds or thousands of years of that country's history.
But nowadays with our modern capabilities and globalised population, we often have a whole world of flavours at our fingertips, meaning national culinary boundaries are more blurred than ever. And nowhere does this blend of ingredients and cooking techniques seem more apparent than in the world of fine dining and taste experience. At Voyage Prive we take pride in offering great value luxury travel experiences that can have you tasting some of the world's best food and drink.
In the UK, names like Heston Blumenthal (of The Fat Duck) and Gordon Ramsay (Restaurant Gordon Ramsay) brought world-class fine dining to everyone's ears as they rose to the top of an already thriving TV chef scene. In particular, Blumenthal's experimental, boundary-pushing dishes opened us up to new possibilities in the kitchen, and this evolution in high-end cuisine reached its climax in the form of Noma, Copenhagen's world number one restaurant, notorious for some dishes where things might still be moving on your plate.
These new ways of producing world class food have paved the way for a new generation of chefs who continue to reinvent what you can do in the kitchen and the taste experience it ends up being. Nashville's The Catbird Seat and Manchester's new Rabbit in the Moon (by Michael O'Hare, of The Man Behind the Curtain) represent the new wave of culinary explorers.
All of this marks an end for the dominance France used to enjoy on the global fine dining scene, most notable by the number of Spanish and Italian restaurants now featuring in the very top lists, among many others. Northern Spain especially has quietly become one of the world's best regions for Michelin-starred restaurants; areas like Galicia and the Basque Country are a host to many fantastic restaurants, but none as prestigious at Catalonia's El Bulli, now sadly closed. If it's European fine dining you're into, our core expertise lies in opportunities in the UK, France, Spain and Italy.
Outside of Europe the US remains high with names like The French Laundry, and now we're seeing Lima, Peru, growing as a hub of innovative, world class cuisine and incredible taste experiences. Along with Australia, we have a great deal of experience in bringing food and travel together in both North and South America.
Some would way say it's even more important than eating, and certainly a taste experience is always limiting itself if it doesn't make use of well-chosen drinks to accompany the food. Wine tours in France, Spain and Italy can be a great way to explore these historic areas whilst learning about wine, the local cultural influences that go into the winemaking, and how local cuisine plays its role too. And don't just think of Europe when it comes to wine. Some of the best wine is made in Australia or California's Napa Valley, but might not make it out into the rest of the world before it gets snapped up. Our offers mean you can afford to go to some of the world's best wine growing regions.
But nowadays it's not all about wine: spirits are coming into their own. Rum is diversifying and growing in popularity. Whisky tasting is becoming more and more popular, especially since the Japanese started to challenge the Scots at producing the very best single malt.
Even more modest spirits like gin are enjoying a renaissance with countless new subtle distillations coming out all the time. Care taken in the construction of drinks has meant companies like Fever Tree take simple gin and tonic to higher levels. Since their collaboration with El Bulli some years ago, Spain has now become Europe's biggest consumer of gin - think big bowls with lots of ice and a good helping of citrus fruit, the perfect long summer drink!
While alcohol is a big part of most cultures, there exists a whole world of complex, traditional soft drinks, native to most cultures, that form a big part of the cuisine. Sample the matcha green tea in Japan, the hot, sugary, spicy chai in India, or the deep, rich hot chocolate in Mexico.
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