At the end of 2017, UNESCO officially acknowledged what all us pizza fanatics have always known: nothing compares to Neapolitan pizza. The art of ‘pizzaiuoli’ – the traditional practice of pizza-making that originated in Naples – is now inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. It’s in good company: other cuisines and local specialities already on the list include traditional Mexican cuisine, the Mediterranean diet, and Turkish coffee. Yum. We’re salivating already! Travelling for most of us means a chance to try amazing local cuisine, so we’ve picked our top 5 foods on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List in our favourite holiday destinations!
Art of Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’
Sinking your teeth into the crisp, crust of an oven-baked Napolitan pizza, savouring the oozing mozzarella with its perfect counterpoint of tomato and fresh basil, is sheer heaven. And there’s nowhere better to do it than in the colourful, chaotic and infinitely beguiling city of Naples itself, the proud home of pizza. After a morning exploring the narrow streets of Spaccanapoli, its historic quarter, or marvelling at the treasures of Pompeii and Herculaneum in its archaeological museum, treat yourself to this extraordinary slice of Napolitan culture.
Traditional Mexican Cuisine
Mmmmmm….just thinking about the gourmet treats in store on a holiday to Mexico gets our taste buds tingling! Get patriotic with some chiles en nogada, a popular dish which has the colours of the Mexican flag. It consists of stuffed poblano chiles (among the mildest varieties found in Mexico) filled with meat and dried fruit, topped with a walnut sauce and scattered with pomegranate seeds and parsley. You could grab some elote, fresh, sweet corn on the cob served straight from the grill, or tuck into some classic enchiladas, corn tortillas with different fillings, which are served with the famous mole sauce. Whether you’re heading to party in Cancun, visit the spectacular Mayan sights of the Riviera Maya, or just want to soak up some winter sun in Tulum, don’t miss out on the amazing traditional Mexican cuisine.
Everyone knows that the Mediterranean diet – enjoyed across Greece, Italy, Morocco and Spain – is one of the healthiest on the planet. It’s also one of the freshest, most varied and tastiest – as a glance at any of the local markets will show! You’ll be able to enjoy an abundance of fruit and vegetables, fish plucked straight from the sea, oodles of olive oil, plus cheeses, charcuterie and much, much more. Why not tuck into a seafood paella on the shores of the Mediterranean in Spain, linger over osso buco in Italy, enjoy a mezze feast in the Greek Islands, or scoop up a succulent tajine in Morocco? All this – and masses of sunshine too!
Croatian Gingerbread Making
If you’re heading to Croatia for your 2018 holiday, then don’t miss out on the delicious sweet treat of gingerbread hearts (licitars). These beautifully decorated, spiced biscuits have a history that dates back until at least the 16th century, and have made it onto UNESCO’s list of Intangible World Culture. They are traditionally used to decorate Christmas trees, but they are also made to celebrate weddings and Valentine’s Day. The perfect gift to show someone you care! Although the tradition originally grew up in the north of Croatia, especially in Zagreb, they have become popular across the country, including Dubrovnik and the sunny resorts of the Dalmatian Coast.
If, like us, you can’t face the day without a seriously strong cup of coffee, then Turkey is an ideal holiday destination for you! Turkish coffee is carefully brewed in a long-handled coffee pot from freshly roasted beans, and served in a small cup with a glass of water on the side. (You’ll need the water: the best Turkish coffee is strong enough to sear off your tonsils.) It’s the communal culture of coffee-drinking that earned Turkish coffee its place on the UNESCO list of Cultural Heritage List. There’s nothing better than settling into a traditional Turkish coffee house in Antalya or Bodrum – or wherever you choose to holiday in Turkey – and striking up a conversation with the locals.