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Studying abroad is about much more than just learning a language. You meet people, you see sights and best of all – for foodies anyway – you get to sample new and wonderful culinary delights. Some of the destinations listed below are famous for a particular type of food, while some are just known for a generally high standard, whether you are looking for succulent steak, potent cheese or fresh fish.

So, our top five destinations for foodies, in no particular order:

Buenos Aires – Steak

In a city where waiters sometimes offer chicken dishes as the vegetarian option, the cow is king. Well, Maradona is king, but the cow is also much loved… and more likely to be given a pop at managing la seleccion than El Diez after the 2010 World Cup. The asado is a tradition that goes back to the days of the gauchos and, if you get chatting to an obliging local, you will find yourself promptly invited to sample the finest Argie beef in relaxed surroundings. Alternatively, head to one of the city’s many parrillas and get stuck in to great value meat that is probably the best you will find anywhere in the world.

If you’re lucky and know where to look, you can cut your lomo (tenderloin) with the back of your knife. Alternatively, go for a Bife de Chorizo and enjoy a vast, succulent slab of cow’s backside that tastes simply amazing. A couple of the best parrillas can be found around Palermo: La Cabrera on Cabrera y Thames is famed for large portions and top quality meats, while El Trapiche in Palermo Hollywood (as named by Buenos Aires’ estate agents) is a classic.

Find out more about our Spanish courses in Buenos Aires.

Bologna – Italian

The famous university city in the north of Italy is the destination for lovers of Italian food. Home of the famed Mortadella sausage (known in the USA as “boloney”) with its combination of tender meat, pistachios, peppercorns and olives, you can also enjoy Fettuccine Bolognese, naturally, and a bewildering array of meats, cheeses and pastas. Vegetarians are well catered for too and the Tortelli de Zucca (tortellini filled with pumpkin and amaretti) is one of a wide range of vegetarian pasta dishes… delicious with a sprinkling of parmesan. There are sprawling food markets along the city’s streets and a refreshing lack of tourists. Check out the Mercato Centrale or Mercato di Mezzo and Pescherie Vecchie.

Bologna was also home to one of the greatest language learners of all time, Guiseppe Mezzofanti. Find out more about our Italian courses in Bologna.

Lyon – French

Way before legendary Chef Paul Bocuse launched the myth of super-star chefs and nouvelle cuisine in the 1970’s, Lyon was France’s food capital. Stocked with fresh ingredients from the surrounding countryside, the city’s culinary scene got a kick start when aristocratic local families ran out of cash and their legendary cooks had to support themselves by opening restaurants in the city. The wine comes from the nearby Beaujolais region, the water comes from the Swiss Alps via the  Rhône and foodies from all over the world – and not least France – converge to feast on the unique cuisine.

Charcuterie is a typically Lyonnaise dish that you will find in many bistros, while the saucisson Beaujolais is a treat for anyone who loves a good sausage. There are a huge range of salads on offer too, not to mention frogs’ legs, cheeses, fish, meats and, well everything really.

Find out more about our French courses in Lyon.

Vienna – Cakes

Don’t say it near an Austrian, but much of the country’s food is a little bit stodgy. Dumplings of all shapes and sizes, spatzl (a bit like cheesy gnocchi) and goulash are tasty but, well, heavy going. Perfect for recharging batteries after a hike or ski, but they sit heavily in the stomach and aren’t spectacular to look at.

But cakes in Austria are something else entirely. Huge, for one thing, and stunningly crafted for another, the slices in the window of the Konditoreis are like aristocratic young Viennese ladies at a ball trying to outdo each other for the attentions of a particularly eligible Habsburg prince. If that’s a bit of a mouthful, you should try the cakes. Wow.

Find out more about our German courses in Vienna.

San Sebastian – Pintxos

San Sebastian Harbour

If one city can claim to challenge Lyon for the title of European foodie capital, it’s San Sebastian in Spain. Sitting at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay, tucked in between the Rioja wine region and the Atlantic Ocean, the capital of the Basque region is a seriously cool town and home to one of the world’s most respected film festivals, a couple of gorgeous beaches (great for surfing or posing, depending on your tastes) and a charming old town that attracts visitors from all over Spain and beyond.

But San Sebastian’s real secret is the food. Actually, it’s probably not such a secret, with a number of famous restaurants in and around the city and numerous travel writers drooling over the pintxos.  Almost every bar in town has a selection of delicious pintxos (known as tapas elsewhere in Spain) on offer, made fresh with excellent local ingredients including fish, hams, shellfish, octopus, peppers and much more. They say that where men in other Spanish cities join sports teams, in San Sebastian they bond at gastronomic societies.

There’s even a Basque word for roaming between pintxo bars: txikiteo.

For a taste of fine cuisine on a budget, head to pintxo bar Borda Berri in the old town, where the little treats cost around €3 each and are prepared by a chef who trained at El Bulli. You’ll have to practise your Spanish too, as unlike many bars in town, there are no pintxos on the bar to point at and you have to ask for what you want.

Find out more about our Spanish courses in San Sebastian.

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