One of the wonderful aspects about going on holiday is the chance to feast on some of the local cuisine. Wherever you are in the world, most of the top hotels will have food that you will be familiar with, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for your child to be more adventurous and get a taste of the local dishes.
Ordering tapas in Spain is a great way to try various platters – Spanish omelette and croquettes are popular palate-pleasers. Children may well gobble down calamares fritos with gusto – but first decide whether you are willing to reveal that they are made of squid rings and tentacles. Similarly, in Greece, the meze course at the start of a meal is also a good way to introduce children to a range of nibbles and tidbits and there’s bound to be one or two dishes which find favour with juvenile taste buds, whether it’s bread dipped in tzatziki or taramosalata. You are on even safer ground with Baklava, the sticky pastries that are popular desserts in Greece and Turkey, which are so sweet and delectable, they’re sure to go down a treat.
There is also lots of opportunity for fine dining, as some of the world’s top chefs have opened restaurants in holiday hot spots. At the spectacular Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai, for example, you can dine out in style at Nobu or the Ronda Locatelli. Marco Pierre White, Gary Rhodes and Atul Kochhar, meanwhile, have all opened fine-dining restaurants aboard the cruise ships of P&O.
If you’re staying in a grand hotel, or simply passing by, taking an English Afternoon Tea is highly recommended. The Grove in Hertfordshire, and many of London’s finest hotels, such as The Ritz, The Dorchester
and The Berkeley, all serve daily delicacies, with scones loaded with jam and cream and neat finger sandwiches. If you’re holidaying in Paris and fancy some extravagant repast in the afternoon, drop by Le Meurice for the teatime goûter, courtesy of pastry chef Camille Lesecq, and indulge in some of those dainty pastries and rich gateaux the French do so well.
Of course, a true gastronome won’t want just to merely sample the offerings of other great chefs – he will be itching to roll up his sleeves and have a go.
To learn from the master chef, sign children up for a cookery course like La Petite Ecole de Cuisine at Raymond Blanc’s gastronomic temple Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton, near Oxford. Aspiring chefs will explore the grounds and organic kitchen garden and cook up a lunchtime feast, make the perfect soufflé, and one of Raymond’s favourite childhood desserts – floating islands. Prices are £255 per child for a one-day course, which includes lunch, tea and every child will receive a certificate to commemorate their culinary efforts. Every half term, Seaside Hotels’ Lanzarote property, Los Jameos Playa, offers children Mange-Tout food classes (www.mangetoutkids. com). Each day is colour-themed and focuses on different fruits and vegetables and includes cookery, along with arts and crafts, games and songs to inspire children to eat healthily. Seven nights during February half term, including return flights from Manchester and half-board accommodation, costs from £685 per person through Monarch (www.monarch.co.uk).
The Evian Royal Resort by Lake Geneva in France offers children the chance to perfect the art of pastry and gateaux. A special offer runs until December 30, 2010, where one child can stay, play and eat for free, with complimentary children’s club, full board and accommodation shared with parents. Prices from £1,190
per person, for one week, including BA flights and private transfers. Book through Tots Too
(tel: 020 7284 3344; www.totstoo.com)
Check out our article Tasty treats in Tuscany in our Europe section.