When I go on holiday, it’s all about the food. I know, it shouldn’t be. It should be about spending time with my family and relaxing… is it really possible to do both when you have children??
Back in the days before children, I went to some wonderful places and ate some brilliant food but as a vegetarian, it can be difficult.
Take our mishap in Rome for example. I adore Italian food, particularly pizza. So all those years ago when my husband proposed (he passed me a note in the Sistine Chapel) we decided to celebrate with a pizza and a glass of wine.
Sadly, we weren’t quite thinking straight and just grabbed some dinner where we were – right in the centre of the city. It wasn’t until we got the bill that we realised we’d just paid over £100 for a pizza and a glass of wine each.
In fact, this brings me onto my controversial opinion that French pizza is better than Italian pizza.
I spent a year living in Nantes in France. Our local pizza restaurant sold some of the best pizzas I’ve ever tried for around £4. They were served on enormous plates and if the pizza fitted on the plate they’d throw it away and start again.
Also in Nantes, there was a tapas restaurant that was by far the best I’ve ever visited. We would go in there and order four tapas mains, followed by four tapas desserts. Having four desserts pretty much made that a dream meal.
Add in the fact that one of the desserts was just a pot of melted chocolate served with a spoon and you’ll understand how disappointed I was when we went back some years later and the restaurant had closed.
On the subject of dessert, my husband would categorically say that the best meal he’s ever had was in Wellington in New Zealand. He has no idea what we had for a main meal but we had a mojito cheesecake for dessert.
For me, a great meal is all about something unusual. We’ve been to some amazing restaurants, including the Fat Duck when it was in the UK.
However if I had to choose my favourite meal ever, it wouldn’t be one that I had in a restaurant.
When I went to Venezuela, we spent a couple of days with tribes living on the Orinoco Delta. The most memorable meal I’ve ever had was with them.
I remember waking up in my hammock at dawn to a roaring sound that I thought was monsters (drama queen, me??) It turned out it was howler monkeys, who in fact don’t howl at all – it’s more of a roar.
We then ate cheese and plantain toasted sandwiches for breakfast while we watched the howler monkeys over the other side of the river. We even saw a sloth. More memorable than a mojito cheesecake in my book.
When it comes to restaurant food, I think that one of the mistakes I’ve made is not planning properly. My husband had some amazing seafood meals in New Zealand but being vegetarian, they tended to just offer me a vegetable stack.
I love this interactive food map of Dubai from Travelbag. What I particularly love about it is that you can filter it to the restaurant type that you are looking for – including an option to specify vegetarian restaurants.
If I ever go to Dubai I’ll be visiting the Tidjoori that boasts organic and vegan food. After all, it’s my turn to be the one that gets an amazing restaurant meal. For some reason, the girls seem to be having all the fun at the moment!
Please note, this post was written in collaboration with Travelbag. All views, opinions, £100 pizzas and love of cheese and plantain sandwiches are my own. (Do try the toasted cheese and plantain though, it’s surprisingly good).