New no-frills flights are creating top-quality eating opportunities

Food Miles
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The Independent Travel

Despite reports of rising overheads and falling revenues, the budget airlines continue to increase the destinations they fly to – and that's great news for adventurous food lovers, who will find new restaurants, bars and cookery schools awaiting them at the other end.

Take advantage of bmibaby's new service from East Midlands to Cologne to explore German wines at the new Riesling Lounge, Excelsior Hotel Ernst, Cologne (00 49 221 2701; excelsior hotelernst.com), where sommelier Theresa Stenze holds regular Riesling tasting classes. Or just relax with a glass from a list that covers all of the regions and top producers such as Deutzerhof.

Learn how to make authentic, traditional Arabic dishes including falafel and manakeesh flatbread at Beit Sitti cookery school, Amman, Jordan (beitsittijo.com), in historic Wiebdeh, now accessible on easyJet from Gatwick. To enhance a full day's cooking, optional extras include a visit to the vegetable market, a guided tour of the area or a visit to the school by a fortune teller, oud player or storyteller.

Try guillemot and oxtail served with blueberry, horseradish and juniper prepared by the current Icelandic chef of the year, Gustav Axel Gunnlaugsson, at Sjavargrillid, Reykjavik (00 354 511 2707; sjavargrillid.is), now linked to Edinburgh by Iceland Express. The grilled seafood specialities include lemon wood-grilled Arctic char served on a mini wood burner.

You can get a taste of Amsterdam's red light district and keep a clear conscience at SkyLounge, Mint Hotel, Amsterdam (0031 20 2621003), now connected to Glasgow by easyJet. One of the rooftop bar's signature cocktails is made with three-year-old Dutch gin, gingerbread liqueur and bitters. There's spectacular city-wide views and upmarket nibbles including Creuses Chapons oysters and d'Aquitaine caviar.

Soak up some north Aegean sun and check out the emerging gourmet restaurant scene of the Kordon area of Izmir, a long, buzzing seaside promenade lined with restaurants and cafés, accessible from Gatwick with easyJet. Chef Binali Yilmaz has raided the history books and family archives for traditional Izmir dishes at A7 City Club (00 90 232 462 67 30; tepekuleizmir. com), including lamb cooked in yoghurt.

Michelin-starred twins Laurent and Jacques Pourcel have brought a refined touch to the stunning Domaine de Verchant, Montpellier (00 33 4 67 07 26 00; domainedeverchant.com), a hotel set in a vineyard on the city's edge, now connected to Manchester by bmibaby. The seven-course menu prestige might include medallion of lobster with oriental salad, turnips, grapefruit and Banyuls vinaigrette.

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