Gourmet offerings across Europe tempt travellers to enjoy more than just winter sunshine

Gourmet offerings across Europe tempt travellers to enjoy more than just winter sunshine

  • Spanish cuisine attracted 7.4 million international travellers in 2013 (Turespaña)
  • 67.5% of visitors to Italy frequent restaurants and pizzerias (National Union of Chambers of Commerce)
  • Foodie focus at Albania’s most exclusive Adriatic resort, with properties from €35,000 (Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa)

Britain used to have an incredibly poor reputation when it came to cuisine, but two decades of love and attention have revolutionised the UK’s edible offerings. Now, the country can proudly boast of its world-class cuisine, with everything from fine dining establishments in big cities to gourmet country pubs attracting tourists to the UK.

However, Britain’s foodie offerings were insufficient to earn it a mention in the Huffington Post report on the 20 most Michelin starred cities by capita in the world. Instead, France, Italy and Japan stole the limelight, with Spain (San Sebastian and Marbella) also earning two spots in the top 20.

The Spanish results are a far cry from the ‘Costa del Nightmares’ currently being showcased on British TV by Gordon Ramsay. Of course, nightmare restaurants can still be found in Spain (as in any country), but the majority of establishments are offering fresh, locally produced food that celebrates the country’s fantastic flavours. In fact, Spanish cuisine drew 7.4 million international tourists to the country in 2013, according to Turespaña – an increase of 32% on 2012.

Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading Spanish homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, comments,

“Spain has some wonderful flavours flowing through its cuisine. Saffron and paprika add both taste and colour, while a rich variety of meats and cheeses delight the pallete. The climate here also means that Spain benefits from a wonderful range of domestically produced wines and olive oils, as the long summer season makes growing conditions just perfect.”

Taylor Wimpey España has two developments currently near the foodie capital of Marbella: La Floresta Sur, in a peaceful location near Elviria Beach, where the large two and three bedroom apartments start at €178,000; and Avalon, in the best golf resort near Puerto Banus, where apartments are available from €265,000.

Italy’s gourmet reputation is unquestioned and its pizza, pasta, gelato and wine have been drawing tourists to it for decades. Data from the National Union of Chambers of Commerce reveals that 67.5% of those who travel to Italy attend its restaurants and pizzerias, while 68.3% frequent bars, cafés and bakeries.

Luxury Italian fractional ownership company Appassionata has found that food and flavour cooking holidays are one of the key attractions for the owners of their properties. From the urban fractional Casa Tre Archi (from £65,00 per fraction), in close proximity to an award-winning pizzeria, to the rural Casa Leopardi (£195,000 per fraction), where owners share in the wine, olive oil and truffles produced on the estate, food is high on the priority list. Owners regularly indulge in cookery lessons with pasta chef Fabio, either at his Castello di Marte restaurant or at their Appassionata holiday home. Appassionata founder Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs observes,

“Italy has such an incredible reputation for food and it’s definitely well deserved. Here in the Le Marche region, the emphasis is on locally sourced produce, so the diet is rich in game, fish, wonderful cheeses, peppery olive oils and soft, velvety red wines. We buy and cook what is in season, the ultimate in healthy living. My personal favourite are the local mussels, caught in Pedaso, cooked in white wine and garlic, accompanied by a chilled glass of local passerina white wine’’.

One less obvious gourmet destination, but one that is fast rising up the ranks of foodie must-visits, is Albania. Just 45 miles from Italy, Albania’s cuisine shares many of its neighbour’s flavours, but without the heft price tag. While Italy is known as an expensive place to eat and drink, Albania offers the same wines for as little as €4, making it a wonderful alternative for a foodie holiday.

The food offering formed an important part of the development and planning stage for the exclusive Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa on Albania’s Adriatic coast, where deluxe apartments and villas can be purchased from between €35,000 and €360,000. Marketing Director Peter Walshe explains,

“Albania’s traditional and Italian inspired cuisine is fantastic and we were keen to showcase this as part of the Lalzit Bay Resort and Spa. The development’s emphasis is on high-end, luxury accommodation and facilities and we knew that the food has to be first-class. We will feature both local dishes and select international dining experiences, as well as freshly caught seafood – with 300 m of private beach frontage, it would be a crime not to! The fruit and vegetables grown in the region are outstanding for freshness and quality and it’s incredibly cheap too.”

As rain and winds descend on the UK once more, the lure of winter sunshine becomes ever stronger. Thanks to destinations such as those mentioned above it can now be accompanied by gourmet feasting as well.

For more information on the properties detailed above, please contact:

Taylor Wimpey España: +44 (0) 8000 121 020 or www.taylorwimpeyspain.com. Those residing outside of the UK should call 0034 971 70 69 72.

Appassionata: +39 33154 13225 or www.appassionata.com.

Lalzit Bay: +44 845 125 8600 or visit www.lalzitbay.com.