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Top 5 Europe culinary tours: From Italian pizza making to Norwegian wine tasting with Holland America Line

Author: Lucy Abbott

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Holland America line brings you to amazing European destinations such as Italy, Greece, Turkey and Spain, all famed for their delicious cuisines.

Eat your way around Europe in style with Holland America Line’s culinary tours, offering you the chance to dive into the world of cuisine.

Smell, taste and savour fresh pizza in Italy, organic wine in the vineyards of Greece and freshly caught fish paired with local flavours in Norway - it’s safe to say your Friday night curry will never quite compare.

Be assured this will be a trip to remember with Holland America Line. The five-star cruise line prides itself on bringing the culinary traditions and cultures of the destinations visited alive both onboard and ashore.

Travel around Europe and feel the connection Holland America Line has with the region; with the line having sailed European waters since 1873 - it is safe to say they know what they are doing.

Discover the top five culinary tours in Europe that await throughout 2023.

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1. Pizza making class in Italy

The ‘12-night Mediterranean Romance’ itinerary onboard Oosterdam, departing from Venice, Italy, offers a range of beautiful Mediterranean destinations and cuisines waiting to be explored.

Even if you have already been lucky enough to visit Naples, you can see a different side to this iconic city with a panoramic drive as part of ‘An Eccentric Museum & Excellent Pizza’ culinary excursion in partnership with Food & Wine magazine.

Stroll through the heart of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and admire the bustling street of Via San Gregorio Armeno, best known for selling intricate scenes of the nativity all year round - it’s never too early to start your Christmas shopping!

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For more artistic creations, visit the San Severo Chapel Museum, where you are welcomed by impressive, vaulted ceilings, and gaze at the Veiled Christ, a famed marble statue.

Now for the fun part - food. Eat at one of Naples’ legendary pizzerias, Palazzo Petrucci Pizzeria (connected with Michelin-starred Palazzo Petrucci) and learn how to make the perfect pizza dough from scratch as well as how to cook it to perfection.

Of course, you will get to indulge in your creation in style - either on the restaurant’s pretty roof terrace or out in the bustling piazza.

Holland America Line brings you to acres of vineyards to sample the finest wines. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Wine tasting in Crete

Delve into two of Crete’s premier vineyards as part of Holland America Lines’ ‘Countryside Drive & Wine Tasting’ excursion, also in partnership with Food & Wine Magazine.

This culinary excursion, which can be experienced on the 24-night 'Adriatic Dream & Greek Odyssey' itinerary onboard Oosterdam, departing July 14, 2023, begins at Karavitakis Winery which possesses an 80-year family legacy.

Admire this boutique winery based in Pontikiana Village which boasts 150 acres of vineyards and features a different climate setting for each variety of grape from around the world.

Wander around the two wine tasting areas, a small church and hilltop olive groves, to ensure you have captured the tranquil essence this winery embodies.

And that’s not all - this excursion features plenty of opportunity to drink the wine, with the intimate, modern Manousakis Winery giving you an insight into local production.

Stroll into the whitewashed house before emerging at the vineyard-draped foothills where you will find your senses engulfed in a harmonious balance of rosemary, thyme, sage, lavender, marjoram and chamomile scents.

Your wine tasting generously includes five wines, each paired with a snack, so settle in and appreciate how each wine captures the very essence of Crete in a bottle.

Sample an array of spices at the spice market in Turkey with Holland America Line. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Turkish Kebab House

Make the most of your overnight stays in Istanbul onboard the 12-night 'Mediterranean Empires' itinerary on Oosterdam, departing August 7, 2023, and experience the city’s cuisine on ‘A Taste of Istanbul - Cultural Treasures & Cuisine’ culinary excursion.

You are truly spoiled on this deluxe two-part tour as you can enjoy culture, history and, most importantly, dining in Turkish style.

Begin by exploring the colourful and lively local markets to truly appreciate the central role they play in day-to-day life in Istanbul. Ensure you visit the Spice Market and admire the quick trading while taking in the scents of cinnamon, cumin, frankincense and myrrh.

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For in-depth knowledge of local ingredients which feature heavily in Turkish cuisine, you will stop at the Beyoglu Farmers’ Market, where all your burning questions can be answered.

Go on to admire unique species of fish that are only available in the Bosphorus Strait - the largest fish market in Istanbul.

After learning about food all day, you will definitely be ready to tuck into some Turkish cuisine. What better place to do so than a local kebab house, where you will also learn all about how kebabs are made and how to eat them like a local.

Visit La Boqueria food market for the freshest ingredients with Holland America Line. Credit: Holland America Line

4. Best Barcelona cooking class

Experience authentic Catalan cooking and take part in a culinary experience crafted by expert chefs on ‘La Boqueria Market Cooking Experience' - In Partnership With Food & Wine Magazine’.

Take your 12-night ‘Mediterranean Romance’ cruise one step further with this culinary excursion, beginning at Barcelona’s famed La Boqueria food market, Casa Guinart.

Admire the hustle and bustling of the popular tapas bar, known for its market-to-table cuisine, before going on to participate in a hands-on culinary workshop with the chef himself - lucky you!

Feel like a true cook as the chef takes you grocery shopping in La Boqueria, then saunter up to an apartment that boasts a birds-eye view of the market and watch as he rustles up an elaborate meal with the local produce you bought earlier.

Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft will teach you how to cook at his restaurant, Lysverket. Credit: Holland America Line

5. Bergen cuisine in Norway

Take one step further in learning the true history of Norway on Holland America Line’s 21-day ‘Norse Legends’ cruise departing June 3, 2023, from Amsterdam.

Learn delicious recipes right from the horse’s mouth and be sure to jot down all the nuggets of knowledge you will receive from famed Norwegian chef Christopher Haatuft, who has worked in some of the world’s top restaurants such as Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Per Se.

You will join chef Christopher in his restaurant, Lysverket, based in a former power plant converted into an art museum - a truly stylish, unique and art-filled space.

Wander around and take in the stunning views which can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a landscape of water and mountains.

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Indulge in chef Christopher’s ‘neo-Fjordic’ cuisine, which encompasses local foraging, freshly caught fish and local flavours combined with unexpected ingredients.

After your meal (if you can still move!) go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the art museum and admire the permanent collection of European modernism - including Picasso.

You can experience this culinary delight on the ‘Lysverket In Partnership With Food & Wine Magazine’ excursion.

So, what better way to discover a destination than by food? Bring back a plethora of local foodie knowledge, courtesy of Holland America Line, to make your friends at home wonder how you suddenly became an international culinary maestro.

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About Lucy Abbott

Lucy is a cruise journalist who has sailed on a variety of ships, from expedition to river – with her favourite being expedition cruising.

Lucy is interested in new sustainable ways to cruise as well as how cruising is becoming accessible for all.

She works together with Kaye Holland to keep the World of Cruising website up to date with all the latest cruise news.