Although it’s a walking specialist – self-guided hikes to quiet European corners, to be precise – On Foot Holidays is also a foodie expert. The basic premise is this: having undertaken a day’s great hiking, you undo all the good work by gorging on delicious wine and food every evening.
All culinary options are diligently researched to guarantee quality and, as with all elements of On Foot Holidays’ trips, the food is strongly accented towards local offerings: traditional delicacies, cultural variations, recipes passed down the generations, regional dishes, and so on.
Here are some examples of On Foot tours with particularly strong and unique culinary offerings:
Guests get to stay on working farms and eat unusual Slovenian delicacies. Where most companies’ Slovenian walking trips concentrate on the Julian Alps, this one journeys via the unheralded Karst, a much flatter and more tourist-free area of vineyards, woods, villages, caves and rivers. The vineyards produce fiery teran, a red wine which combines perfectly with local prsut (a prosciutto), while the farms make their own hams, sell local honey and grow all manner of fruit. The trip concludes in the lively port of Trieste, to which walkers descend via a scenic funicular train.
Available April-October, this self-guided, seven-night trip costs from £650 pp including B&B, daily luggage transfers, six picnics, five dinners and route information. Flights not included.
Set 40 miles north of Rome in the province of Lazio and yet almost unknown to non-Italians, the Sabine Hills offer classically green crests, scenic high pastures, fortified villages and ruined abbeys. Every guesthouse seems to boast an excellent cook, and the wholesome, simple local style is perfect for tired trekkers. Look out for tomato-based pasta, chicken with bell peppers and light ricotta tarts. Olives, olive oil and breads are also prominent, as you’d expect, while tasting menus come packed with prosciutto. There’s also an optional short cookery course at Casperia’s La Torretta, and the trip concludes with a day in Rome.
Available April-October, this self-guided, seven-night trip costs from £695 pp including B&B, daily luggage transfers, two picnics, four dinners and route information. Flights not included.
In and around rural Catalonia’s La Garrotxa Natural Park, a renowned ‘volcanic cuisine’ dominates kitchen offerings. It stars potatoes, chestnuts, wild mushrooms, buckwheat, beans and boar – hearty fare, but cooked subtly, and supported by salads and truffles. Drink the native cava as an aperitif, but go easy on ratafia, the local herbal liqueur, a dangerous brew. Starting from the preserved medieval town of Besalú, the self-guided itinerary takes in the gentle dormant cones, rugged plateaux, tranquil meadows and a climb up to Santa Maria del Mont, a tiny, remote mountain church.
Available April-October, this self-guided, seven-night trip costs from £780 pp including B&B, daily luggage transfers, five picnics, five dinners and route information. Flights not included.
Instead of the Luberon’s flat lavender fields this trip makes for the region’s more interesting north. The route circuits around Mont Ventoux, taking in cliff top villages, impressive castles and a gorgeous Roman bridge. And, this being the Côtes du Rhône, visitors eat and drink like royalty. Each hotel boasts a good kitchen, but nothing tops the four-course gourmet experience in Gigondas: guests taste their way through tarte aux tomates, tiny quail, elaborate sorbets and a whole dairy’s worth of cheeses. The region’s tipples include a gutsy Gigondas and a sweet Beaumes de Venise.
Available May-September, this self-guided, seven-night trip costs from £840 pp including B&B, daily luggage transfers, five picnics, four dinners and route information. Flights not included.
On Foot Holidays also features other routes in France, Italy and Spain, plus trips to Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Turkey and the UK.
For more information call On Foot Holidays on 01722 322652 or visit www.onfootholidays.co.uk