April 15, 2015

Conde Nast Traveler names top 20 food destinations

Tapas, or small bites, are popular fair in Spain. These dishes often cover a wide variety of tastes, leaving the diner full and satisfied.

Tapas, or small bites, are popular fair in Spain. These dishes often cover a wide variety of tastes, leaving the diner full and satisfied.

Conde Nast Traveler magazine released The World’s Best Food Cities: Reader’s Choice Awards winners on their website this week. Out of the top 20, zero U.S. cities made the list. Perhaps, after finishing Austin culinary arts school, you’ll want to travel to see some of the incredible food cultures outside of the country. If you do, consider visiting these well-established food towns:

The top five cities
Readers voted and the top 20 food cities are as follows:

1. San Sebastian, Spain: The Basques know how to do their food. Tapas, also known as pintxos or small bites, are popular here. The source recommends visiting spots with three Michelin stars (there are a total of 16 stars spread across the city’s eateries),  as well as taverns and locations with more experimental menus to get a full picture of the flavor of this Spanish area. According to the Herald Sun, some locations count the toothpicks left on a diner’s plate to establish what to charge them based on how many tapas they have eaten.

2. Paris, France: Bistros have been popping up and completely renewing the culinary culture of this romantic city. Gastropubs combine classic French fare with new ideas and tastes, reviving the restaurant world with fair prices and great food. Great foods you must try while in town include baguettes, pain au chocolate and basically anything that is made in a patisserie. For those with a sweet tooth, try incredible caramels at Jacques Genin and grab a few crunchy macarons wherever you end up. There are typical flavors, like strawberry and pistachio, and more adventurous versions such as lime-basil available at just about every corner. And, of course, sample wine and cheese, both of which come fresh from the French countryside and will forever change your boxed wine habit and use of American cheese slices.

3. Cape Town, South Africa: If you’re a fan of baked goods and chocolate, you’ll want to make a stop in Cape Town. Located at the southern tip of the African continent, this city of about 3.5 million speaks 11 official languages. Most inhabitants have mastered English, so navigating the are should be a piece of cake. Speaking of food, head to The Pot Luck Club in the Old Biscuit Mill to get a taste of everything with the Sharing plates. These sampling-sized dishes include each of the five basic tastes: Salty, sour, sweet, umami and bitter. The restaurant offers brunch, lunch, dinner and bar service and, while a bit spendy, is definitely worth it.

4. Florence, Italy: Ever tried cucina povera? This Italian term means “poor cooking,” and while it may not be pricey, dishes with this rustic charm are certainly delightful. Think simple ingredients that can be found in the garden or kitchen and use every part of each ingredient. Classic examples of this include rabbit, pasta frittata, minestra soup, tomato salad and very basic pizza. It’s like if you went home after a day of attending the Austin culinary arts program and decided to throw together a quick meal, but it’s Italian and seriously delicious instead of a salty bowl of prepackaged ramen or a bag of chips for dinner.

5. Rome, Italy: Like all Italian food, Roman dishes are focused around fresh vegetables, olive oil and pasta. This city is world famous for its mind-blowing pizzas, pasta carbonera, and fried appetizers like zucchini blossoms and salted cod. Bolognese sauce and every cheese under the sun are commonly used on bread crumb-topped croquettes or poured over oxtail and any number of pasta varieties. If you visit, be sure to try a ricotta cake made with the soft cheese, lemon, pine nuts, raisons, vanilla and sugar.