"Wow, these tomatoes actually taste like something." The vibrant produce grown in gardens mere steps from where we dine during our Backroads trips through Croatia often garners this reaction. Leaders often jokingly respond, "Because it's grown with love," but, in all seriousness, that's the simple truth. After leading Backroads trips here for the past two years, I've been lucky enough to dine on some of the most delicious, fresh and original meals in all of Croatia, in some of the most undiscovered places. More than just great meals in the homes of our local hosts, these are experiences that offer a window to the genuine culture, passions and real day-to-day world of the people who call this place home.
Hawaii is a foodie's paradise. There's no other way to say it. You'll find roadside fruit stands boasting smoothies, popsicles, and baked goods filled with local tropical fruits like strawberry, mango and pineapple. Local organic farms host a variety of tours where you can sample luscious sugarcane treats with a fresh squeeze of lime, prepare your own fresh coconut milk and indulge in a myriad of local chocolate delicacies. Fine dining establishments in Hawaii bestow modern twists of island favorites like macadamia nut-encrusted Mahi Mahi and salads decorated with edible flowers straight from the chef's garden. Food trucks dole out fresh fish tacos while locals crack open young coconuts from the back of their trucks to satisfy thirsty beachgoers.
Dreaming of traveling in Italy, but not sure if you can navigate the land of pizza and pasta with a gluten allergy? Go ahead, book that trip—incredible gluten-free Italian dishes await!
Backroads has long embraced the philosophy that, after a day spent biking or hiking in off-the-beaten-path corners of a new and beautiful region of the world, an outstanding meal is the perfect way to immerse ourselves even further in the local cuisine and culture. For this reason, our guests in Europe and the United States enjoy exquisite meals at over 30 Michelin-starred restaurants, including California's Madrona Manor, Italy's Ristorante Villa Crespi, Spain's Marqués de Riscal and France's Auberge de l'Ill.
Here at Backroads we like to find adventure in the great outdoors--cycling through rural countryside or hiking over mountain passes with the wind whipping through our hair. All of this is wonderful, but sometimes our most memorable adventures can be found right on a plate in front of us. Bugs, intestines, rodents. In many parts of the world, these are delicacies in the same league as lobster or caviar. So how "weird" does it get? Who better to ask than our fearless, world traveling, eat-anything-that's-not-poisonous Backroads Trip Leaders!
Writing about the "why" of picnics at Backroads in a recent blog post got me thinking about the "how..." I certainly wasn't born knowing how to create a bountiful spread for 20+ people in the middle of nowhere, and our guests are always curious where this seemingly magical skill comes from when they roll up to an overflowing lunch table. So here are a few tips and tricks I use when creating some of my favorite dishes. Try them the next time you're tasked with pleasing a throng of long-lost relatives or picky eaters and bring some Backroads organization, aesthetics and deliciousness to the table!
As Backroads leaders, we wear many hats in a given day: concierge, mechanic, translator, chauffeur, navigator, motivator… the list is infinite. One of my favorites to don, however, has to be that of “chef,” because that’s when we get to perform the magic that results in the famous Backroads picnic lunch!
If you've spent any time traveling internationally you've undoubtedly encountered some form of curry on menus and local tables in just about any region of the world, and especially in South Asia. So what exactly is curry, and why does it seem to be everywhere? With a little bit of knowledge about this delicious culinary tradition, your traveling adventures (and your palate!) will be enriched as you learn to appreciate all that curry has to offer. I'm here to help you out!
Lasagna, pizza, bolognese, tortellini, Chianti... the list goes on. It's safe to say the Italians have cracked some kind of food and wine code. With dining traditions nearly as rich as their Parmigiano-Reggiano, there's more to learn than the old "spaghetti fork spin" we all know and love. This post will talk about the lesser-known culinary traditions in this beautiful country and the golden rules you must know before your next Italian adventure. Let's dig in (pun intended).
Imagine taking a trip to drink champagne in Champage or port wine in Porto. What could be more satisfying? Answer: If that same trip has you biking the incredible Rue des Vins d'Alsace or hiking along the Douro River Valley's terraced vineyards between sips. With these top trips for wine enthusiasts, you can savor the local lifeblood while actively exploring stunning wine regions around the world!