Vacations are all about indulgence, so treat yourself to something extra sweet this holiday. Here are a few great foodie vacations for travelers with a sweet tooth. Whether you want to whip up Italian desserts or know where all the best bakeries are in Paris, this list has you covered!
1) Immersive Italian Cooking Lessons – Tuscany, Italy
It’s hard to imagine a more authentic experience than learning to cook from a nonna (grandmother) in a medieval walled village in Montefollonico, Tuscany, Italy. Cook in Tuscany will make your dreams come true with their 6-day immersive cooking and culture stay. By having grandmothers teach their courses, you get to sample the lifestyle of the locals as well as get firsthand information on the cuisine and wine. Every day, you’ll make a dessert to accompany your meal. For example, you might make panna cotta with fresh berry sauce, topped with chocolate, crostata filled with fresh local jams, white chocolate truffle mousse, fresh-baked cantucci and freshly made cheese (made by you) paired with local fruits and honeys.
You’ll feel like part of the family, sharing meals and experiences with other culinary travelers, students and instructors. You can spend your free time roaming local shops and markets, wine cellars and vineyards, savoring local landscapes. Your stay will include daily excursions and tours of local and historic sites.
White Chocolate Truffle Mousse. Photo courtesy of Cook in Tuscany.
2) Private Cooking & Pastry Tours – Paris, France
Paris Perfect is a luxury vacation apartment rental company in Paris that offers customized services for guests to get the most of their stay in one of the world’s greatest culinary destinations. Foodies with a sweet tooth might appreciate their Café Gourmand Cooking Class. Here, a local Parisian chef will come to your apartment to teach you about the art and science underlying France’s most indulgent treats. The chef will reveal secrets behind delightful desserts of your choosing, including a decadent chocolate mousse, the perfect madeleine, or a delicate fruit tart. You’ll conclude the class by tasting the treats and chatting over espresso.
French macarons. Photo: julien haler/flickr
If you’d rather enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor, try a walking tour of Paris’ best chocolate and pastries in the Left Bank. You’ll start with a melt-in-your-mouth macaron in the glittering neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. You’ll continue to be delighted by the city’s pastries and meringues as you continue to taste your way through charming bakeries. At some, you’ll be able to go behind the scenes to discover the traditions of Parisian pasty chefs and chocolatiers. With your professional guide to answer your questions, your mind and stomach will be satisfied with this tour of Paris’ sweeter side.
3) Italian Cooking Classes and Walking Tours – Various Locations in Italy
The Lazy Italian Culinary Adventures is a new company providing culinary tours to Florence, Bologna and Rome, Italy. The tours include three cooking lessons, one focusing on sweets or gelato. In addition to learning to make your own food and dessert, you will enjoy walking tours with culinary stops, including pastry shops and gelato shops.
Italian yumminess! Photo: Gregory Bourolias/Unsplash
4) Make a Favara Lamb – Sicily, Italy
Experience Sicily is hosting an 8-day culinary and cultural “Stirring Sicily” vacation filled with hands-on cooking experiences and tastings on the Island of the Sun. On the 4th day of the tour, you will learn how to make an unique Sicilian Easter treat called Favara Lambs made of marzipan (sweet almond paste) with a center of pistachio pesto. The local instructor (from GoSicily Cooking Experience) has been making these lambs since childhood and is from Favara — the town that is famous for making them.
The 8-day experience will be based in Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy on an olive farm that produces U.S. certified organic olive oil. You will also visit western Sicily, enjoy two other hands-on cooking lessons with local “mammas,” and do a street food tour of Palermo, famous for cannoli. You’ll enjoy a tour, wine tasting, and exquisite, wine-paired lunch at a nearby vineyard, and dine at restaurants featuring both traditional and contemporary Sicilian cuisine.
Favara Lamb. Photo courtesy of Experience Sicily
What awesome foodie vacations would you recommend? Please share in the comments below.
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey (http://jessieonajourney.com) and Epicure & Culture (http://epicureandculture.com). Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor’s, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn’t really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.