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Top 20 Culinary Experiences in the World

The best culinary experiences combine tantalizing foods and fascinating cultures. From dining on crêpes in Paris to devouring rich chocolate in Belgium, these are the most visited culinary experiences around the world. The rankings were calculated by the popular travel app Visited. Visited allows you to bookmark new bucket list destinations and get a personalized travel map. You can set travel goals, mark off where you’ve been, and find hundreds of iconic destinations using the Visited app. 

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The most popular culinary experiences in the world, according to Visited users, are:

1. Crêpes in France

The delectable culinary delight of crêpes was born in Brittany in the 13th century using buckwheat batter and a hot cooking stone. Crêpes are thin and delicate, making the perfect backdrop to hold together sweet or savory foods. To make a crêpe, buckwheat nutty flavors join forces with creamy milk, golden eggs, and melted butter. Popular dessert crêpes include tasty options like Nutella, fresh fruit, and mouth-watering French chocolate. Savory crêpes, on the other hand, showcase France’s famed, mouth-watering cheeses, vegetables, and more. Tourists in France enjoy exploring crêperies and trying the sweet and savory national treasure of crêpes. For a full list of French Culinary Experiences, check out Lonely Planet.

2. Paella in Spain 

Paella is a popular rice dish created in the mid-19th century in Valencia, Spain. The savory dish was first made with variations of meat. As paella became more popular, people also started to make a seafood version. Paella is cooked in a paella pan with a soft, fluffy top and a crispy bottom. Traditional paella is made with rice, green bean varieties, chicken, rabbit, and garrofó (lima or butter bean). The hearty dish is perfect to pair with Spanish cider.

3. Chocolate in Belgium 

The third most popular food destination is Belgium. The Western European nation is famous for its delicious chocolates, which generally have a higher cocoa content than other places. Belgian chocolates have been around since 1635. Belgium hot chocolate became popular among the upper and middle class in the 18th century. Some of the top Belgian chocolate brands today are Cote d’Or, Godiva, and Leonidas. The Flanders region of Belgium is often referred to as the capital of chocolate, and two of the world’s biggest chocolate factories, Callebaut and Puratos, are located in the region.

Related Post: 10 Most Popular Chocolate Destinations

4. Parisian Pastries

France has legendary cuisine, including pastries – the sweet, flaky baked goods popular for breakfast or anytime treats. Pastries in France have been around for centuries. One of the oldest patisserie shops was opened in 1730 by Nicolas Slohrer, King Louis XV’s pastry chef. The shop sold both sweet and savory treats. French pastries have been perfected over generations, with highly skilled chefs using complex techniques to create an astounding variety and complexity in pastries. From delicate macarons to buttery pains au chocolat and rich éclairs, the diversity of French pastries is mind-boggling. Some popular pastries in Paris are macaroons, éclairs, pains au chocolat, and mille-feuille. 

5. Croissants in France

Although croissants are originally from Austria, they first appeared in Paris thanks to Viennese bakeries in the early 19th century. August Zhang opened one of the first Vienna bakeries in Paris. French bakers adopted and refined the croissant, incorporating their distinctive laminated dough technique with butter. This innovation and cultural factors contributed to its transformation into a national symbol. The croissant relies on a laminated dough technique with butter, resulting in its distinct flakiness. Fresh croissants are all over France, offering a delicious, flaky, buttery, and sweet breakfast treat.

6. Tzatziki in Greece 

Tzatziki is a refreshing yogurt-based sauce popular as a dip and condiment throughout Greece and other eastern Mediterranean countries, with Greece boasting a well-known regional version. This deliciously tangy and creamy sauce is a favorite food in Greece for tourists and locals alike. Tzatziki has a long history in Greece, but it’s hard to say who came up with the sauce. Tzatziki is made up of Greek yogurt, cucumbers, herbs, and garlic. It offers a tangy, creamy flavor that enhances many different foods. Tzatziki is often served as a dip with pita bread or as a side with fried eggplant or zucchini. In Greece, it’s commonly used on gyros, popular pita wraps filled with grilled meat, often lamb. Tzatziki is incredibly versatile and can be eaten with different dishes like grilled meats, salads, and vegetables.

7. Pain Au Chocolat in France 

The French pain au chocolat – or “chocolate bread” in English – is a sinfully sweet, flaky, buttery delicacy loved by people worldwide. The pain au chocolat is international travelers’ seventh most popular food experience. The delicacy is a croissant-like pastry made with laminated dough layered with rich, dark chocolate. Pain au chocolat embodies the French love for fresh bread and fine chocolate. It’s a simple yet luxurious treat that captures the essence of French pastry-making. 

Related Post: 10 Most Visited Wine Regions in the World

8. Fish and Chips in Australia

Fish and chips is a popular quick meal for seafood lovers and pub-goers around the world. The savory dish includes fried fish, usually white fish, and deep-fried chips (also called French fries in many countries) made from potatoes like Russets or Maris Pipers. Salt and vinegar are often used for a simple but zingy garnish. Unlike many other countries, Australia has an abundance of seafood and offers a wide variety of fish choices for its fish and chips. Popular options include reef cod, rock cod, barramundi, flathead, flake (often shark), snapper, whiting, and even gurnard in some regions. Enjoying fish and chips is the perfect way to connect with locals in Australian pubs or to eat and watch a sports game.

Related Post: Top 10 Cities with the Best Beer in the World

9. Pasta In Tuscany, Italy 

Italy is world-famous for fresh pasta, with tantalizing, homemade noodles, fresh sauces and garnishes, and recipes passed down from generations. Pasta dates back for centuries in Italy. When visiting Tuscany, there are four delicious pasta dishes to try. Pappardelle al cinghiale, is a dish made with the pasta named pappardelle, ragu di cinghiale, parsley, and parmigiano reggiano. Another popular Tuscan dish is pappardelle alla lepre, made with pappardelle, hare, onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, olive oil, and tomato. Pappardelle all’anatra is another local favorite made with pappardelle, duck, tomato, red wine, stock, rosemary, carrot, and sage. Finally, Paglia e fieno is a rich pasta composed of tagliatelle, onion, prosciutto, peas, heavy cream, parsley, and parmigiano reggiano. For ultimate food guide in Italy, check out Lonely Planet’s Italy.

10. Afternoon Tea In London, England

Afternoon tea is a longstanding tradition in England with strong ties to the Royal families. It’s a bucket list experience for many travelers. An afternoon snack was typical in London, and it was formalized in part in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, a lady waiting for Queen Victoria. She thought there was too much time between lunch and dinner, so she asked if her kitchen could make a platter of cakes, scones, sandwiches, and tea. This helped popularize the tradition throughout London. Afternoon tea is still around in all parts of England. Traditionally, afternoon tea consists of several courses, with savory finger sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries, and tea. Usually, the tea is black tea, like Earl Grey or English Breakfast. 

11. Tapas In Madrid, Spain

Tapas are a versatile and core part of Spanish cuisine. They’re meant for sharing and include small portions of food that can be appetizers, snacks, or combined to create meals. Eating tapas is a social affair in Spain and one of the best ways to soak up Spanish culture and try a variety of tasty specialties. Gambas al ajillo, or shrimp in garlic oil, is a popular tapas dish made with small shrimp, garlic, olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper, and coriander. A classic tapas dish is huevos roots, which include serrano ham, potatoes, eggs, Padron peppers, olive oil, and salt. Enjoying tapas and conversation is one of the best ways to celebrate being in Spain. 

12. Fondue in Switzerland 

Switzerland produces some of the best cheeses, and fondue is a savory way to enjoy them. Gooey, melted cheese of the highest quality is a classic staple in Switzerland, especially during the cold seasons. Fondue is a shared meal with a communal pot of melted cheese over a burner. Diners dip bread, vegetables, and sometimes fruit into the cheese to enjoy a meal together. A classic Swiss fondue is made with Swiss cheeses like Gruyere and Emmental mixed with white wine, garlic, kirsch, and pepper. 

13. Pizza In Naples, Italy

Pizza is one of the most popular foods around the globe, and Naples is the birthplace of savory slices of pizza. Italy’s pizza boasts next-level flavor, with fresh herbs, olive oil, garlic, oregano, and pureed fresh tomatoes. One of Naples’s most famous kinds of pizza is Neapolitan-style pizza, made with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Another famous type of pizza in Naples is Margherita pizza, which includes fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and tomatoes. Margherita pizza shares the colors of the Italian flag – red, white, and green. With thousands of pizzerias in Naples, visitors can always find a delicious slice of pizza. 

14. Lasagna in Italy 

Lasagna is a hearty pasta dish perfected in Italy and enjoyed by people worldwide. Early forms of lasagna were served as a layered noodle dish in ancient Greece. The city of Naples is often credited with developing the lasagna we recognize today. Around the 18th century, Neapolitans added tomatoes, a New World import, to the dish, creating a richer and more flavorful sauce. They also began layering thinner pasta sheets with béchamel, creating the classic lasagna structure. Lasagna is the name of the flat pasta noodles used in the dish, which gives it its name. There are seven layers in a classic Italian lasagna, including meat, cheese, and béchamel sauce. Bechamel sauce is made with butter, flour, milk, salt, nutmeg, and pepper. All the ingredients combine to create an irresistible and filling dish that tourists and locals love in Italy. 

15. Maple Syrup from Canada

Canada produces almost three-fourths of the world’s maple syrup, most of which comes from Quebec. Canada’s rich maple syrup has a natural sweetness, making the perfect topping for breakfast foods like pancakes and waffles. The gooey goodness can also be used as a natural sweetener while baking or as a topping for fruit, ice cream, and other desserts. Quebecers enjoy “tire sur la neige,” pouring hot syrup on snow to create a snow-cone-like natural treat.

16. Champagne in France

Champagne is a sparkling wine produced only in northeastern France’s Champagne region. In Champagne, they adhere to strict protocols about what grapes to use and how to treat them to create the legendary bubbly adult beverage. The signature bubbles from Champagne come from a secondary fermentation inside each bottle. Visitors can tour vineyards in Champagne for an up close and personal look – and taste – of the premium beverage.  

17. Schnitzel in Vienna

Schnitzel is a meat dish that dates back to the 1800s in Vienna, Austria. It includes tender meat – often veal – complemented by crispy, fried breading. Today, wiener schnitzel is an Austrian national dish made of veal pounded thin with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. In Vienna, there are also variations with other meats, including pork schnitzel (schnitzel vom schwein), often served with potato salad. For the health-conscious, chicken schnitzel (schnitzel vom huhn) provides a lighter alternative. 

18. Deli in New York City 

New York City is known for its delis, a tradition that has been around for over 100 years. The most famous deli in NYC is Katz’s Deli, known for its oversized kosher sandwiches. The most popular deli sandwiches at Katz’s are pastrami on rye with mustard and a pickle on the side and corned beef on rye. Both sandwiches are piled high with juicy meat and served on crusty rye bread.

19. Goulash in Hungary 

Goulash is a hearty stew that has been slow-cooked in Hungary for years, dating back to the 9th century. The goulash is made with chunks of beef, paprika powder, simple-rooted vegetables, and garlic. To make the stew, a national Hungarian dish, tender meat is simmered in a beef broth with paprika and garlic for a smoky, rich flavor. Goulash is the perfect dish to warm up on a cold day. 

20. Sangria in Barcelona 

Sangria is a favorite alcoholic drink in Spain that goes well with many Spanish dishes, including tapas. The wine-based drink has been around since the 18th century. A traditional way of making the sweet drink is with red or white wine, fresh fruit, juices, spices, and a splash of brandy or rum. Sangria comes in many varieties, with the final flavors influenced by which fruits and wine are used. 

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