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Foodie's Paradise: Escape to Europe

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Cheese in France

Foodie's Paradise: Escape to Europe

story by: House of Travel

Eating, stuffing ourselves, gorging, devouring—it’s one of the great things about going on vacation, over-indulging on delicious foods without feeling the slightest shred of guilt! A trip to Europe is filled with no small amount of delectable dining options. For a small continent it sure packs in quite a variety of cuisines. From crepes in France, sausages in Germany to fish on the Nordic coast, a holiday to Europe is one belly-filling encounter after another.

If you have an insatiable appetite and are keen to take a European foodie flight of fancy, here are three appetizing escapades to consider.

More than just tulips in Rotterdam
Think of Holland and think 'tulips from Amsterdam.' Well move over tulip markets, there's another major player on the Dutch market scene—Rotterdam's extravagant Markthal.

Opened in late-2014, the Guardian reports that the new Markthal cost a whopping €175 million (NZ$266 million) to build, and it's easy to see why. The building alone is worth seeing. A horseshoe shaped sensory extravaganza, its inner walls are covered from top to bottom in decadent murals of fruit, vegetables and flowers - think the Sistine Chapel of the farming world.

Once you've stopped gazing at the over-the-top design of the place you'll find over a hundred stalls selling every kind of food you can imagine. Come here on an empty stomach with a big bag, both ready to be filled. Spicy sausages, cheeses from every corner of the world, delicate Spanish cuts of meat and thirst-quenching craft beers are just a taste of what you'll find. Get stuck in and give yourself plenty of time!

Say 'cheese' at the Cardiff Country Fair
Miss Piggy had a nose for good food advice when she said, "never eat more than you can lift". That may be a trifle difficult when you see the size of some of the wheels of cheese at the Cardiff Country Fair in Wales. Formerly known as the Great British Cheese Festival, Miss Piggy's nose would have come in handy here too, with over 460 pungent cheeses ready to tickle visitors' nosebuds.

The event takes place in September in the beautiful surrounds of Cardiff Castle and has grown from a festival dedicated solely to cheese into a celebration of the food of the great British countryside. Cheese-making master classes, a broad selection of artisan food makers, old-fashioned British fair games and a bar stocking over 25 local ales and 30 ciders make it heaven for cheese connoisseurs and food lovers in general.

For years the festival was an annual event but it recently switched to become biennial, which means the next instalment isn't until 2016. But that gives you plenty of time to plan your trip and work on your odour-tolerance!

Go gelato-crazy in Italy
It doesn't get more indulgent than creamy scoops of homemade ice-cream, made using a generations-old family recipe, from the home of gelato - Italy! Flavours to satisfy even the most obscure palate are readily available. Alongside the usual favourites you'll find the likes of ricotta and fig gelato, a local favourite in Florence, while cioccolato con peperoncini (chocolate with hot pepper) is another popular one in many cities.

As for where to go to get the best Italian ice-cream, take your pick. Good ice-cream runs in the blood in Italy and it's not hard to find amazing flavours, cooked with 'Mama's secret recipe,' almost everywhere you go. National Geographic lists the scoops in Florence as among the best in Italy. The hardcore ice-cream eater, however, will make the trip to Ghibli ice-cream parlour on the island of Elba (yup, the one that made Napoleon able), whose 62 varieties saw it crowned the best ice-cream in Italy at the Rome ice-cream festival in 2013.

And after all that food, it might be time to hit Europe's famous shopping streets to pick up a new pair of pants!

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