Perched at the crossroads between Italy, central Europe and the former Ottoman Empire, Croatia is a country with a complicated history – and a diverse culinary scene that makes it one of the world’s best food destinations. Inland, you’ll find that central European fare dominates, with a focus on meats, cheeses, noodles, beer and fruit spirits. Visit Istria (above), a Croatian-Italian bilingual region that borders Italy and Slovenia, for a strong local food scene that makes the most of the region’s excellent products: look for seafood, olive oil, mushrooms, truffles and prosciutto, washed down with wine and spirits.
Yes, they’ve got jerk chicken, Appleton Estates rum and Red Stripe beer, plus all the tropical fruit you can eat, but there’s so much more to explore in this Caribbean nation’s food scene, often featuring ingredients difficult to find elsewhere. For breakfast, try ackee (above) – Jamaica’s national fruit – fried up with codfish for a surprisingly egg-like dish. Broaden your carnivorous horizons by sampling stewed goat or oxtail, perhaps served with some steamed callaloo, a Jamaican leafy green. And wash it all down with a ginger beer or a glass of sorrel, the local name for sweetened, often ginger-flavoured, bright-pink hibiscus tea.
Like nearby England, Germany has a reputation for stodgy food that isn’t really warranted. That said, you might want to plan for some hikes and bike rides to burn off the plentiful and flavourful strudels, pretzels, breads, sausages, noodles, potatoes, cakes and beer, though nowadays, there’s more than just sauerkraut to lighten things up: vegetarian and vegan options are showing up on menus across the country. Locavores will appreciate the country’s dedication to local food; visit during asparagus season and you’ll find special menus at many restaurants dedicated to the much-adored vegetable in both its green and white forms.