When you go on holiday you want to experience everything – from seeing the local sights to meeting the wonderful native people and of course eating the delicious local food! For many people enjoying homegrown produce and specialty dishes can form some of the most memorable parts of a trip.
No matter where you are in the world you can guarantee that food will bring people together! Whether it is a picnic out on a ride made from delicious home baked bread or a gourmet 3-course dinner in an exquisite location. While we obviously focus on the equestrian elements of our horseback holidays, meal times still play an important role so we have picked our top five foodie holidays for the equestrian enthusiast…
A love affair with Italian food
The essence of Italian cooking is through its simplicity – beautiful local produce, cooked with simple flavours that taste divine! More than just pasta and pizza, the Italians learn to appreciate good food from an early age and eating is seen as one of life’s greatest pleasures! At I Moresani, which is south of Amalfi and Pompeii, alongside the breathtaking views you will see as you ride around the National Park on horseback, food will be one of the highlights of your trip.
I Moresani is part of the Slow Food movement which was initiated in Italy, but is now an international organization that aims to counteract fast food and fast life! Meals are based around the seasons, so vegetable and fruits are eaten when they are at their very best! From beautiful breakfasts that set you up for a day in the saddle, delicious picnics prepared fresh from the farm kitchen, to enjoying an evening meal breaking just-baked bread with your fellow riders as you recap the day’s events. For real foodies, you have the option to combine your equestrian escape with a cookery lesson to learn more about the culinary delights of the area! Many a traveller returns praising the ‘excellent food’ at I Moresani and our Italian Riding Specialist advises people to ‘take elastic waisted trousers’ due to the wonderful cuisine! You have been warned!
A French feast
The French are renowned for their cuisine – from simple local dishes to complex gastronomic experiences! The emphasis in France is always on excellent quality ingredients and creating wonderful memories whilst enjoying mouthwateringly good dishes. The French ethos of eating is to enjoy every morsel – and whether it is a ‘working lunch’ in a local auberge, or 6-course dinner for a special occasion – meal times are always notable.
The various areas of France have their own delicacies and the Haute Loire region of the Auvergne in south central France is no exception. At Chateau Chazelles you can enjoy relaxed leisurely riding as you view medieval villages, explore gorges and find yourself in beautiful open pastures. The well-trained horses will wait patiently while you devour a fabulous picnic which undoubtedly includes fresh bread and local cheeses including the region’s native specialties, Bleu d’auvergne, Fourme d’ambert, Cantal, Salers and Saint-nectaire.
At the end of the day, dinner will celebrate the wonderful delights of the local region, all created lovingly by the excellent onsite chef using ingredients sourced from the garden and local suppliers. The close proximity to Le Puy means you may also get to sample the renowned Puy Lentils – often combined with local sausages in a famously delicious and hearty dish. The hosts at Chateau Chazelles encourage an ‘en famille’ approach to dining and what could be better than enjoying beautiful food and wine alongside like-minded horse-lovers after a day exploring the ‘hidden treasure’ of France?
An Argentinian adventure
If you are a steak lover then you will undoubtedly have heard about the legendary Argentinian beef, but what is it that makes it so special? The excellent quality of this meat comes from the grass that the cattle are fed on. Unlike many other countries, which feed a high quantity of grain, most Argentinian cows are raised to eat luscious grass. The benefits of this are less saturated fats and more healthy omega three fatty acids in the meat and the taste is simply divine.
In an Argentinian restaurant, there will typically be a choice from many different cuts of steak – from the leanest and most expensive lomo (fillet) to the cuadril (rump). At Estancia Los Potreros, situated north of Cordoba, you will find a beautiful 6,000 acre working cattle estancia and stud farm set in the beautiful Sierras Chicas area. This working ranch is the perfect place to sample the famous Argentinian steak, whether simply barbecued at lunch during a picnic stop as you help the gauchos round the young horses up or part of a divine dinner, after an exciting chukka of polo, teamed with fresh organic vegetables from the farm. With quite a strong Spanish and European influence in the cuisine you can expect bold flavours in your food and aromatic wines to complement them.
Voted one of the ‘100 Best Hotels in the World’ by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Los Potreros delivers fantastic hospitality with a family feel and food that you will never forget!
Savour a Swedish spread
In recent years the culinary delights of Sweden have grown in popularity and are becoming very ‘trendy’ across the world. During the summer, thanks to the long light days and cool evenings the country naturally produces slow growing fruit with rich flavours. For meat lovers the forests are home to many wild game – including moose and reindeer – which is extremely tender and succulent and is used in many popular dishes, including burgers, meatballs and pizza! The country is also, of course, renowned for its fantastic array of fish, which play a key role in many dishes – from saltwater fish like the herring to inland water fish including trout.
Embarking on a riding holiday in Sweden will give you the chance to embrace all aspects of the nomadic culture. Ride on the famous Icelandic horses, experience the Sami lifestyle, explore the vast open countryside and enjoy all aspects of this country’s nourishing, hearty and unique cuisine.
Spanish cuisine at your disposal
If you are looking to combine an exciting horseback holiday with a bit of gastronomic tourism then Spain is the ultimate foodie’s destination! With a diverse repertoire of recipes, Spain’s cuisine typically uses a variety of high quality ingredients, from seafood, meat and vegetables, to fresh fruit and cheese, of course washed down with one of the many delicious wines!
What could be better than combining Spanish horses and gourmet food cooked by an experienced chef? This is exactly what our 7-night Gourmet Coast Trail in Catalonia provides. Ride across the very easternmost part of Spain, crossing green hilly landscapes, through medieval towns and onto the beaches of the Mediterranean with your own chef in tow. Each stop produces another gastronomic delight, from typical Catalan breakfasts, delicious wines of the region including Garnacha and Carinena, and picnics on the beach and under cork trees. After a hard day in the saddle you also have the option to enjoy Wellness treats to help you unwind.
Dive in to an assortment of tapas dishes, devour freshly made paella laced with seafood and brightly coloured vegetables, enjoy creamy goat’s cheese, taste the sweet succulent sun-ripened figs, peaches and cherries and reap the benefits of eating the locally produced olive oil and honey. This is Mediterranean cuisine at its finest.