If you’re thinking about taking a culinary-focused European autumn break, searching out the gastronomic treasures of France or Italy will no doubt spring to mind. But following in the footsteps of some of Europe’s top chefs can help you unearth less obvious destinations.
* Rick Stein recently made a TV pilgrimage to his ancestral homeland of Germany to explore the country’s cuisine. Stay at the Maritim Hotel (00 49 69 75780; maritim.com) in Frankfurt, where Stein visited the Kleinmarkthalle indoor market and sampled the local dish of Grüne Sosse (green sauce) at Café Liebfrauenberg (00 49 69 287380; cafe-liebfrauenberg-frankfurt.de) between 3-6 October, and a half-board gourmet break is €335pp (£286). Full details at: bit.ly/EatFrankfurt.
* In his book Spanish Flavours, London-based Spanish chef and restaurateur José Pizzaro (josepizarro.com) describes the food of Galicia in north-western Spain as “culinary heaven”. easyJet (0843 104 5000; easyjet.com) recently launched a new service from Gatwick to the region’s capital, Santiago de Compostela. Enjoy local produce given a refined twist by pioneering chef Marcelo Tejedor at the Michelin-starred Casa Marcelo (00 34 981 558 580; casamarcelo.net).
* Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood trained and worked at Anabelle hotel in Cyprus (00 357 26 888 000; annabelle.com.cy). From September it will offer classes where guests can learn how to bake traditional Cypriot breads such as baskies (a cheese bread with lamb, cheese, raisins and spices) and Tsoureki, a sweet Easter bread; €90pp for two days.
* Shaun Hill, chef/proprietor of Michelin-starred The Walnut Tree Inn, Abergavenny (thewalnuttreeinn.com) made a “spectacularly good” discovery on a recent trip to Slovenia. “Hisa Franko in Kobarid is a rustic spot, way off the beaten track, where I ate a brilliant meal for reasonable money,” says Hill (00 386 5 389 4120; hisafranko.com). “It’s run by a couple, with Ana running the ultra modern kitchen and husband Valter, who keeps an enormous cellar of Slovenian wine.” Expect seasonal dishes that include the wild herbs, flowers and mushrooms that grow near the restaurant and guest house.
* Two Michelin-starred pub chef Tom Kerrridge of The Hand and Flowers in Marlow (thehandandflowers.co.uk), recommends Stockholm. “I ate some of the most incredible food I’ve ever come across at Restaurant Franzen. Bjorn Franzen is a premier-league chef who is on his way to super stardom” (00 46 8 20 85 80; restaurantfrantzen.com).