EUROPE (THE NEW PAPER) - One of the best things about travelling is getting the opportunity to try new foods and experience local specialities.
Whether it's a sunset cruise around Dubronvnik, Croatia, to eat freshly caught fish and locally produced wine, or a Spanish tapas extravaganza of chopitos, olives, cheese and croquetas, we all want a memorable culinary experience that is the envy of our friends back home.
Mr John Boulding, Insight Vacations Global CEO, says a trend in 2017 is food holidays, where memorable food experiences have become a top priority for travellers.
"Trying local cuisine is now the number one motivator for our guests. Local food provides a direct connection to the history of a region, and provides insights into the lives of the local people," said Mr Boulding.
"One experience we're exceptionally proud of and that is new for this year is our private and exclusive VIP dinner inside the Vatican after hours.
"After the museums close their doors to the public, our Vatican tour culminates with a special invitation from the curator of the Ethnological Museum, who shares his immense knowledge of the collection, before a Signature Experience of dining within the museum itself. That truly is something special," Mr Boulding added.
Local food provides a direct connection to the history of a region, and provides insights into the lives of the local people.
- Mr John Boulding, Insight Vacations Global CEO
Using food to discover the history and culture of a place has become pivotal in what travellers want to experience when they are on holiday.
It ranges from visiting the local market to enjoying farm to table cuisine, or just enjoying dinner with a local family who can share their stories.
Tasting the local cuisine in the best restaurants or learning to cook with a master chef, the foodie traveller is continuously seeking authentic experiences that are also relatable to the destination.
Check out these three destinations for travellers seeking culinary experiences:
An emerging destination for cuisine is Poland. Young Polish chefs are creating unique flavours with wild mushrooms and berries from the local forests.
Some restaurants embrace their Polish food traditions and deliver contemporary interpretations using local ingredients like potatoes, cucumbers, beets, mushrooms and apples.
A popular dish to try is the pierogi, Polish stuffed dumplings, and Polish sausages. Other regional dishes to look out for include the oscypek, a smoked cheese made of salted sheep milk, and Mazurek, a traditional Polish cake that is eaten during Easter.
There is a growing interest in whisky distillation, where travellers book holidays that allow them to learn about the production of the alcohol.
Tourists are also travelling around Scotland to taste local delights such as Aberdeen Angus beef, Stornoway Black Pudding, Lock Fyne oysters and smoked salmon.
Don't miss Scotland's national dish - Haggis - a savoury pudding that combines meat with oatmeal, onions, salt and spices. There's even Haggis ice-cream and haggis-flavoured crisps and chocolate
Wine-lovers will be enthralled by the abundance of good food and wine in Loire Valley, France.
Explore the provenance and production of famous wines like Muscadet and Sancerre.
Visit famous and family-run wineries, shop at local foodie market tours, visit the Cointreau distillery and museum and learn about the production of the world-famous orange liquor.
There is also a cave walk to discover the secret world of the mushroom, an underground dining experience with wine tasting and a cruise on the River Cher.