Summer is finally upon us and 2022 marks the first time in far, far too long that most of us will be able to get out of Ireland and enjoy the multitude of regional cuisines that Europe has to offer. However with the cost of flights shooting up for the months ahead, it takes work to pick out the most affordable escapes - and that’s exactly what we’re here for. We’ve trawled through the summer schedule to scope out the most affordable must-visit destinations so you don’t have to, and here it is: the All the Food guide to five of the best, cheapest food trips you can book out of Dublin this summer. Happy holidays...
Basque Country, Spain (From €34, May)
We’re cheating a bit by flying into Santander, actually part of the neighbouring Cantabria province, but it’s Dublin’s quickest gateway to one of Europe’s very best food escapes. Known for its pintxos, little tapas-like dishes served on sliced baguettes, the Basque country is best enjoyed by bar-hopping, sniffing out the various little specialties that give one unassuming little joint a unique edge over the next.
Start by getting a bus to Bilbao, the region’s biggest city known for its bustling nightlife and the striking Guggenheim museum, and making your way to the Erribera (or La Ribera) Market, home to a handful of great stalls offering a crash course in the pleasure of pintxos, from gildas and gambas to angulas and bacalao. We recommend a short afternoon roundtrip northward to the beautiful village of Getxo, where the coke-and-wine cocktail kalimotxo first appeared - it’s been a firm favourite of Basque culture ever since.
The ultimate Basque destination for food lovers is of course San Sebastian, the city with the most Michelin stars per capita in the world. If you can spring for it, the three-starred Arzak is rightly regarded as one of the best restaurants on Earth, but there’s plenty of budget-friendly fare available from Bar Txepetxa’s famous anchovies to Ganbara’s wild mushroom and egg yolk plate, and any amount of incredible produce in between.
Arzak ( © Ronan Doyle)
Anchovies at Txepetxa / Wild mushrooms & egg yolk at Ganbara (© Ronan Doyle)
On the drinks front, don’t miss the txakoli wine and regional specialty cider while you’re here, or take a short hike up Mount Ulia for a kalimotxo and sunset combo you’re never likely to forget.
(© Ronan Doyle)