Italian Gelato: cool off in style this summer

It doesn’t need to be summer for the Italians to eat ice cream – indeed, for many it is a daily ritual year-round – but sales of this most iconic of Italian treats, the gelato, go through the roof when the heat rises. Wherever you are in Italy, there will be a queue at your local gelateria, or ice cream shop, and quite rightly so.

Gelato in Italy isn’t ice cream as we know it. In many countries ice cream is made with cream; in Italy, the secret is to make it with milk. It is this that makes their gelato so smooth and creamy, so irresistibly full of flavour. Chocolate gelato is rich and silky; fruity gelato bursts with flavour. If you have anything of a love affair with Italian food, as I do, get yourself to an ice cream shop (gelateria) and indulge in this unmissable and delightful experience.

How to order your gelato in Italy

So it is that ordering gelato from your gelateria is something of an art. You need to know what the different flavours are, do you want a cone or a cup, how many scoops…yes, you can get a long way by pointing, but it pays to learn a few words when it comes to ordering gelato Italian-style. It’s also handy to know that, as in many Italian establishments, you often need to pay and get a receipt before you actually order your gelato; you then show your receipt to the gelato server and say which flavours you want.

Sound like you know what you’re talking about and that first taste of cool gelato on the tongue will be even more satisfying…nothing more to say than buon appetito!

Ice cream vocabulary – the basics:

Una coppa cup
Un cono cone
Un gusti flavour / scoop
Un cono con due gusti, per favore a cone with two scoops, please
Un attimo, per favore one moment, please
Non sono pronto/a I’m not ready
Prego / dime yes please / tell me (from the gelato server)

Popular gelato flavours:

Cioccolato al latte milk chocolate
Cioccolato fondente dark chocolate
Bacio chocolate hazelnut (after the famous Bacio chocolates from Perugia)
Gianduja milk chocolate & hazelnut (like Nutella)
Cioccolato all’arancia dark chocolate and orange
Pistacchio pistachio (NB. ‘chio’ is pronounced with a hard ‘k’)
Mandorla almond
Nocciola hazelnut
Fior di latte literally ‘flower of milk’; tastes like sweet cream
Stracciatella chocolate chip (with fior di latte base)
Cocco coconut
Caffè coffee
Malaga rum & raisin
Zuppa inglese literally ‘English soup’; like trifle, with a custardy base, bits of cookie & sweet wine or Marsala

Popular sorbetto flavours (delicious and very real fruit flavours that usually don’t contain milk):

Cioccolato al latte milk chocolate
Limone lemon
Melone melon
Fragola strawberry
Lampone raspberry
Pera pear
Pesca peach
Frutti di bosco fruits of the forest
Mela apple
Albicocca apricot

Get a head start by brushing up on your Italian before you go! Cactus runs 10-week evening Italian courses in the UK.

Or book a language course in Italy and immerse yourself in the language and culture – just think, gelato every day! Cactus runs Italian courses in over 20 locations across Italy, from the classical hubs of Rome and Florence to the coastal delights of Taormina and Sorrento.

Learn French & eat chocolate…can it be true?

An educational get-away you can just about get away with!

Anyone who’s been putting off that French course now has the perfect reason to book un petit séjour in Paris this autumn. No need to tell your friends back home the minor detail that it may coincide with Salon du Chocolat, 5 days of pure chocolate heaven – no, they can just be impressed with your desire for self-improvement and hopefully not notice your fuller waistline. Read more

Top spots in Brooklyn: according to staff at the Brooklyn School of Languages

Cactus talks to staff at the new Brooklyn School of Languages to get the low down on the coolest places in town…

1. Dennis Chase – Director of Studies

Dennis is originally from Connecticut and moved to New York five years ago. He originally moved because of his wife’s job but he loves the restaurants, nightlife and jazz clubs of the city.

Dennis’ Top Tips for Jazz in New York:

Low end: Fat Cat in Greenwich Village

Great for: Live jazz, ping pong and foosball

Mid range: Smalls in Greenwich Village

Great for: Feeling like you’re back in the 1950s

High end: Smoke on the Upper West Side

Great for: Top level musicians and excellent food menu

Dennis’ Top Tip for your stay: Check out Barclay’s Center.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

2. Eva Kramer – Administrator

Eva is a born and bred Brooklynite, from the Fort Greene area. She loves Brooklyn because it is less touristy, quieter and calmer than Manhattan. Once you cross the bridge there is a change of pace and things are more residential.

Eva’s Top Tips for Eating Out in Brooklyn…

Brunch: Olea in Fort Greene

Great for: Mediterranean and Turkish style breakfasts

Lunch: Farmer in the Deli in Fort Greene

Great for: the biggest and cheapest hero (baguette style sandwich) in Brooklyn

Dinner: Fortune House in Brooklyn Heights

Great for: hot and sour soup

Dessert: Junior’s in Brooklyn Heights

Great for: the original New York cheesecake

Eva’s top tip for your stay: don’t go home without visiting Coney Island and the Transport Museum.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

3. Mathilde Brouillet – Head of Admissions

Mathilde has lived in NYC for three years but she is originally from Paris, France. She likes Brooklyn because although it’s very close to Manhattan, it’s quieter and has a real sense of community.

Mathilde’s Top Tips to avoid culture shock in New York…

Tipping: Everyone is expected to tip in New York – even if you think the service was bad. A good rule of thumb to follow is:

Happy – 20%

Ok – 15%

Not happy – 10%

Plan before you arrive: NYC can be overwhelming with so much to do and see. Mathilde recommends going online before you arrive to find out what’s happening during the time you are there and to plan what you want to see. Good places to start are Time Out and About.com.

Medication: Bring your own if you need it as medication is very expensive, especially compared to Europe.

Thank to Dennis, Eva and Mathilde for giving us their top tips for Brooklyn and New York. If you’re heading there, don’t forget to look these places up! And feel free of course to give us recommendations of your own…


The Brooklyn School of Languages offers year-round adult English courses, junior summer camps and daytime and evening foreign language courses.

Top 10 food & wine destinations in Latin America

In a recent survey by the world’s largest travel review site, TripAdvisor, Cactus is delighted to see that it offers language vacations in ALL of the top 10 food and wine locations in Latin America. From succulent steaks to sumptuous seafood and delectable chocolate, it seems the continent has it all – so book your trip, y ¡buen provecho!

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

It’s probably not ideal to visit Argentina’s vibrant capital if you’re vegetarian – that said, the city’s Italian roots ensure an ample supply of Italian restaurants offering meat-free pizza and pasta. But it’s with all things beef that the city really comes into its element. If you’re after a melt-in-the-mouth steak washed down by a world-class Malbec at a giveaway price, then Buenos Aires is the place for you. You are literally spoilt for choice with ‘parrillas’ offering an array of grilled cuts of meat – plus intestines, if that’s your thing. All cooked very simply as that’s all it needs; the hardest decision will be choosing which delicious local wine to accompany your platter.

Spanish courses in Buenos Aires

2. Cuyo, Argentina

The Cuyo region of Argentina is located on the eastern slopes of the Andes and comprises the province of Mendoza, an area boasting spectacular mountains alongside fertile wine-growing land – this region on its own producing nearly two thirds of the country’s wine. The provincial capital of Mendoza is easily one of Argentina’s most livable cities, attracting people from afar with its active cultural scene, thriving nightlife and accessibility to mountain-based adventure sports such as white water rafting and skiing. Be reassured there is ample opportunity to replenish your energy at the end of the day, huge slabs of steak in wait and yes, you’ve guessed it, a mouth-watering selection of wine from the nearby vineyards.

Spanish courses in Mendoza

3. Lima, Peruimage

Traditionally best known for being home to the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu, Peru is now gaining something of a reputation for its cuisine, and nowhere more so than in its capital, Lima. The food here is a reflection of the city’s rich cultural history, a mix of Spanish, African and Asian influences that manifests itself in spicy creole dishes and Chinese-inspired ‘chifa’ cuisine. With its coastline generously supplying the fishing industry, the country’s signature dish is ‘ceviche’, a tangy plate of raw fish and shellfish marinated in lime juice and hot peppers; head to a cevichería to sample ceviche like the locals, and finish up with a swift pisco sour, the national cocktail of local grape brandy and egg white. Other typical foods worth trying include anticuchos (marinated beef hearts), cau cau (tripe stew), papas a la huancaina (a potato and cheese dish) and, to round it all off, alfajores (a sweet filled pastry).

Spanish courses in Lima

4. San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Argentina does it again with an impressive third appearance in the top four. And although you can of course get your fill of steaks and wine here, Bariloche has another string to its bow: chocolate. Not what you would expect, perhaps, from this beautiful Patagonian city in the foothills of the Andes, a major centre for skiing, trekking and mountaineering – yet the perfect treat to re-fuel after a day’s outdoor activities. Stemming back to the arrival of European settlers – notably Swiss and Italian – in the late 1800s, Bariloche’s chocolate industry has flourished ever since, and there are dozens of chocolate shops all over the city tempting you with their creations. It would be rude not to indulge, after all, in the chocolate capital of South America!

Spanish courses in Bariloche

5. Santiago de Chile, Chile

Chilean food tends to be quite meat- and seafood-based, the latter thanks to its long coastline which provides plentiful fresh ingredients for dishes such as pastel de jaiba (crab tart), mariscal (seafood stew) and ceviche (marinated raw fish and seafood). More hearty fare includes parrillada (barbecued meat), arrollado huaso (pork steak rolled with red chilli), empanadas (pastries filled with a mix of onion, beef and boiled egg) and pastel de choclo (a tart made from ground corn and filled with a mix of onion and beef or chicken). Being the fifth largest exporter of wine in the world, it goes without saying that wine is the main drink in Chile and you will be presented with a fine choice to accompany any meal that you sit down to.

Spanish courses in Santiago de Chile

6. Cusco, Peru

When it comes to eating, the ancient city of Cusco does not disappoint. With strong indigenous roots, year of colonial life and a regular influx of international tourists, the cuisine of this city high in the Andes is both exciting and delicious. Typical dishes include pepian de conejo or cuy (rabbit or guinea pig cooked with onion, garlic and peppers – guinea pig is a very traditional food item in Cusco), adobe and chicharrones (fried pork rind), humitas (sweet corn muffins filled with cinnamon and raisins, steamed in corn leaves), tamales (similar to humitas, but filled with meat) and stuffed chilli pieppers. And to wash it all down? The local Cusqueña beer is a great choice, or a pisco sour for something a bit stronger, and chicha if you want to do as the locals do; this fermented corn beverage comes in various strengths and is best sampled in one of Cusco’s many thriving chicherías.

Spanish courses in Cusco

7. Cartagena, Colombia

Coming in at number seven is Colombia’s beautiful Caribbean port town of Cartagena. With its coastal location it comes as no surprise that seafood tops the list of must-try dishes, ceviche (marinated raw fish and seafood) and caldero (a fish and rice dish) being popular choices. Meat also features in plenty of dishes (try ‘viuda’, a mixture of beef, pork or chicken with steamed vegetables) and soups such as sancocho and mote de queso are well worth trying. Again, Cartagena has a lot to thank its location for, as tropical fruit juices are extremely easy and cheap to make, providing a delicious and healthy refreshment under the hot Caribbean sun. Melon, mango, tamarind and papaya are just some of the flavours to choose between – try something different every day of your stay! 

Spanish courses in Cartagena

8. Bogota, Colombia

Colombia’s capital city is the country’s second entry in the top 10, this time for a particular beverage rather than its food though. And that beverage is nothing other than hot chocolate, or ‘chocolate santafereño’ as it’s known in Bogota. Now I am something of a hot chocolate addict but I’ve never tasted hot chocolate like I have in Bogota; here, the hot chocolate is whipped up rich and creamy, and then cubes of queso blanco, a salty cheese, are dropped in and allowed to melt. The overall result is a delectable creamy drink that’s both salty and sweet, perfect for those cold Andean mornings or as an after-dinner treat.

Spanish courses in Bogota

9. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio earns its place in the top 10 foodie destinations of Latin America for the sheer range of food on offer here, thanks to influences from all over the world plus a number of excellent local dishes that never go out of fashion. Feijoada is the hearty national dish and is both filling and economic, consisting of staples such as rice, beans and sausage. Meat-eaters should head for a churrascaria, where you can eat your fill of meat and seafood, while on the move you might like to grab a lighter snack such as a salgadinho, a small savoury filled pastry. And you don’t have to have been to Brazil to have tried its national drink, the caipirinha, a popular cocktail in bars worldwide; made with cachaça, sugar, lime and water, it is delicious and refreshing, and a must in any Rio bar.

Portuguese courses in Rio

10. Panama City, Panama

Bordered by sea on both sides, Panama is spoilt for choice when it comes to fish and seafood. You will find corvina (sea bass) on the menu everywhere, used in many recipes and also served simply raw and marinated as ceviche. Other staples to look out for include sancocho (a delicious chicken and vegetable broth), filled or topped tortillas (which are thicker than you may have tasted in other countries), arroz con guandu (a popular side dish of rice cooked with beans and spices) and tropical Central American fruits. ¡Delicioso!

Spanish courses in Panama City

Weihnachten - essential German words and phrases for Christmas

The festivities begin on the forth Sunday before Christmas, or the first day of Advent. Families set up Advent wreathes (Adventskränze) , traditionally with four candles, one of which is lit each Sunday before Christmas, counting down the weeks. Christmas / Advent markets (Christkindlmärkte / Weihnachtsmärkte) traditionally start at this time and shops stay open later.

On the eve of 6th December, St Nicholas’ Day (Nikolaus), children put their shoes or boots (Nikolaus-Stiefel) by the fireplace or outside their bedroom door. If they have been good, their Nikolaus-Stiefel will be full of edible treats in the morning, but if they’ve been bad they will only receive a tree branch (Rute).

On Christmas Eve (Heiligabend), the Christmas tree (Weihnachtsbaum / Christbaum / Tannenbaum) is revealed. Children eagerly look forward to seeing it as they are not allowed to do so before then. German Christmas trees are decorated in a similar way to those in the UK and USA with tinsel (Lametta), lights (Lichter), candles (Kerzen), and edible decorations such as nuts, apples and sweets. Presents (Geschenke) are put under the trees and plates piled with fruit (Obst), nuts (Nüsse), marzipan (Marzipan), chocolate (Schokolade) and home-made seasonal biscuits (Weihnachtsgebäck) and laid out. When the children hear a bell, the can go in to see the tree.

Families sing Christmas carols (Weihnachtslieder) and open presents, and everyone wishes one another Merry Christmas (Fröhliche Weihnachten / Frohe Weinachten / Frohes Fest). Some people go to midnight Mass (Christmette), where there will traditionally be a display of the crib in the stable (Krippe) and a re-enactment of the story of Christmas (Krippenspiel).

Christmas Eve is a time for feasting. The traditional dish eaten on Christmas day is roast goose (Gänsebraten / Weihnachtsgans) stuffed with apples (Äpfel) and prunes (Backpflaumen) or chestnuts (Esskastanien) with dumplings (Knödel) and red cabbage (Rotkohl). Also popular is carp (Karpfen / Weihnachtskarpfen).  In some regions the Christmas feast takes place on Christmas day (der erste Weihnachtsfeiertag) and simple dishes are served on Christmas eve, such as stew (Eintopf) or sausages (Würstchen) with potato salad (Kartoffelsalat).

For dessert there various kinds of sweet bread, such as Christstollen (long loaves of sweet bread with nuts, raisins and dried fruit), Lebkuchen (spiced ginger bread, normally chocolate covered), Marzipan and Dresden Stollen (a type of moist bread filled with fruit).

On 26th December (der zweite Weihnachtsfeiertag), a holiday in Germany, people generally visit family and friends.

What is Thanksgiving and where is the best place to celebrate it?

If you live in the US, or are lucky enough to be in the US over this All-American holiday, make sure you save your appetite because this day is all about food.

The origin of Thanksgiving brings us back to 1621 when the settlers of Plymouth, Massachusetts, sat down with the Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans and shared a feast in order to celebrate their autumn harvest. The two groups gathered to celebrate the bounty of their crops and so it follows that when the modern American family sits down for a Thanksgiving meal they keep the tradition of giving Thanks. Thanksgiving is a holiday for all families, regardless of religion, color and creed.

Thanksgiving became an official national holiday in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President, thought it would bring the nation closer together amidst the Civil War. In 1941 President Roosevelt decided that the holiday should be on a Thursday in November and ever since then it has been the sign that the Holiday Season has begun. Most businesses and all schools are closed for Thanksgiving and the following day. Black Friday, as the day after Thanksgiving has been coined, is the busiest shopping day of the whole year in the United States.

There are specific food traditions for the Thanksgiving Day dinner which does not really replicate the original Thanksgiving Day meal in 1621. In 1621 the Plymouth settlers did make fowl, but no one really knows if it was specifically turkey. In modern day America, hands down there will be turkey on nearly every family’s dinner table. Sides will most likely be mashed potatoes, corn, and pumpkin pie to follow.

If you are lucky enough to be in the U.S. during Thanksgiving, try to get invited for a home cooked dinner. But if you can’t, being in New York will rival anywhere in the States, as there is a massive parade down 5th Avenue that includes major celebrities, marching bands and giant floats. Restaurants will still be open and they will even offer their own version of a Thanksgiving Day dinner. Tuck in!

Cactus offers English courses in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Cactus also offers TEFL / TESOL courses in the US, and part-time evening languages courses in cities across the US.

Visit San Sebastian this November and feast on the delights of Gastronokima

November 2011 will see the 13th Gastronomika in San Sebastian, and anyone who manages to coincide taking a Spanish course in the city at this time of year will be very lucky indeed. 

The event is attended by some of the world’s top chefs, and includes discussions and demonstrations throughout the three days (20th-23rd November in 2011). The convention focuses on new, evolving and diverse gastronomies from all over the world, although there are also sections dedicated to wines, dining and the hospitality trade. Although the events attracts many industry professionals, it is also open to the general public, who flock in large numbers to enjoy the tastings and demonstrations.

Going to San Sebastian during the Gastronomika would definitely be fantastic, but fear not – if you cant make it at this time of year, you can still enjoy top-class food whenever you go. Aside from the many Michelin-starred establishments, which may be somewhat over-budget, San Sebastian is renowned for its many tapas – or pintxos as they are known here – bars (pictured), which will provide you with some delicious local fare that could arguably rival what any Michelin-starred restaurant could offer.

Cactus offers a range of Spanish courses in San Sebastian, including General Spanish, Individual Spanish, Combined Spanish, Intensive Spanish, Mini-Group Spanish, Juniors Spanish, Exam Preparation Spanish and Spanish and Surfing. Please visit the Cactus Language website for full details or to book a course.

Your Oktoberfest survival guide

Top Tips

1. Don’t wear flip flops!

By 9pm at the latest there a pools and trails of various liquids all over the Hofbräuhaus tent floor, so wearing flip flops is ill advised! Also, having a 1L Maß dropped on a bar foot hurts like hell. So come prepared – in proper shoes.

2. You need a table

If you get there later in the day, chances are you may struggle to get a table in the most popular tents. So either get there or early or don’t be shy and join another group at their table. As you will not get served without a table, you have to be seated. Ingeniously stopping a passing waitress whilst you’re still standing in the corridor will not get you a beer either – find a table.

3. Say yes to pretzels

“Brezel” is a local salty baked snack, commonly served with beer. It’s widely available all over the Wies’n and is a miracle cure for excessive beer consumption. The salt seems to soak up a lot of alcohol, helps sober you up (to a certain degree) and wards off the worst of the hangover the next day. We highly recommend it!

4. Check out the German beer tents

If you’ve had enough of the raucous, Southern hemisphere-dominated Hofbräuhaus tent, head to one of the “more German” beer tents favoured by the locals, such as Spaten or Hacker. They are generally a little more laid back, serve good food and some have nice beer gardens to relax in on sunny days.

Useful Vocabulary

das Bier (n.) beer
die Maß (f.) Stein (1L Bavarian beer)
das Glas (n.) glass
der Masskrug (m.) 1L Bavarian beer mug
die Wies’n (f.) Bavarian name for the area where the beerfest takes place
Entschuldigung. Excuse me
Wie komme ich zur Wies’n?  How do I get to the Wies’n?
die Brauerei (f.) brewery
das Brauhaus (n.) beer hall
trinken to drink
Ich möchte bestellen. I’d like to order
Ein/ zwei/ drei/ vier/ fünf Bier bitte. 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/ 5 beer please.
die Grillhaxe (f.) Roast knuckle (generally of pork) with crackling
die Haxe (f.) Boiled knuckle (generally of pork)
das Sauerkraut (n.) Traditional Bavarian cabbage
der Kartoffelknödel (m.) Potato dumpling
der Semmelknödel (m.) Bread dumpling
die Brezel (f.) Pretzel (Bavarian snack)
Was kostet das? How much is it?
Zahlen bitte. I’d like to pay please
essen to eat
Hallo Hello
Ich heiße …. My name is….
Ich komme aus I am from…
die Achterbahn (f.) rollercoaster
das Karussell (n.) carousel
das Dirndl (n.) traditional Bavarian dress for ladies
die Lederhose (f.) traditional Bavarian leather trousers
die Tracht (f.) traditional Bavarian dress
die Gaudi (f.) fun
Ich bin betrunken. I am drunk
Ich bin blau. I am drunk (very informal)
Mir ist schlecht. I feel sick
Wo sind die Toiletten? Where are the toilets?
Ich brauche einen Arzt. I need a doctor
die Kopfschmerztabletten headache tablets

For more Bavarian slang, visit the official Oktoberfest website:  http://www.oktoberfest.de/de/lexikon/en/

Visit the Cactus Language website for full details of German courses in Munich

Get ready for Oktoberfest in Munich

It may come as a surprise that the world’s biggest beer festival, Munich’s Oktoberfest, was born out of celebration for a royal wedding back in the early 19th century. Yet it was the drinking and partying that drew most attention at the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig (later to become King Ludwig I) to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen on October 12th 1810, and it was this that launched ‘Oktoberfest’ as we know it. Read more

Cactus’ top 5 destinations for food lovers

Each country and culture has its own array of gastronomic specialties, but there’s no denying that some places are just synonymous with good food. Often, it’s countries with French, Spanish and Italian influences that boast a particular gastronomic prowess, but sometimes it’s even more specific than that…there are some cities in the world with cuisine that is quite simply on a different gastronomic level.

Here’s our pick of the cities that will have you salivating, enthusing… and returning home a stone heavier!

1. Bologna

To be the best city in the world for Italian food, it’s fair to say you’ll have come up against some pretty stiff competition. Bologna is famous the world over for its amazing cuisine though, and deservedly so. One of the tastiest and best-known dishes worldwide, Spaghetti Bolognese, originates from the city, which gives some indication of its pedigree. Bologna is also known for its salami and ham, although most things that you eat in the city will prove to be mouth-watering. It’s not just in the restaurants where you can find fine food though – there are countless food markets around the city where you can by top-quality produce to experiment with yourself. 

Bologna is located in the region of Emilia-Romagna, and to be honest the region as a whole is fairly impressive in food terms. From Bologna you can easily get to Parma – home of the famous ham, and, of course, Parmesan cheese, and Modena – the home of balsamic vinegar.

Sheer heaven for any food enthusiast…

More about Italian courses in Bologna

2. Valencia image

Located on Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast, on the Gulf of Valencia, it’s no surprise that much of Valencia’s revered cuisine has seafood as its main component. In gastronomic terms, Valencia is probably best known for being the home of paella, probably Spain’s most iconic dish. Communal paella cooking and even paella competitions are common in festivals, especially in the Valencia region, and are great to behold and even better to taste if you get the chance! One of the great things about eating in Valencia, aside from the taste and freshness of the food, is that it’s really affordable. Great for the bank balance, not so great for the waistline!

Again, Valencia is home to some fantastic markets as well as restaurants. Of particular note is the central market, or Mercado Central de Valencia, which comprises 8000 square meters of market space inside the steel and glass building that is decorated with Valencian ceramic tiles. Well worth a look in itself…

More about Spanish courses in Valencia

3. Lyon image

Lyon may be France’s second city in terms of size, but when it comes to food it definitely takes the top spot – quite an accolade when you consider the prestige associated with French food internationally. Specifically, Lyon has made a name for itself as a capital of gourmet and luxury food, which is evident from the many Michelin-starred restaurants that you can find there. Aside from these, Lyon is also well known for its ‘bouchon’ restaurants. ‘Bouchons’ are a type of bistro, but with a fairly limited menu and a very unpretentious kind of décor. Most bouchons are family-run, and the majority of the chefs are women—the so-called ‘spiritual descendants’ of Mère Fillioux, Tante Paulette and Mère Brazier, and other female master chefs who helped Lyon achieve gastronomic glory early in the 20th century.

When you look at the vast array of local produce that is grown and made in the surrounding areas – fish from the Savoy lakes, fruits and vegetables of the Rhone valley and the wild game of the Dombes to name but a few – it’s no wonder really that the food in Lyon is so delicious.

One thing’s for sure…no matter how little money you have, heading to a fast food outlet in Lyon would be inexcusable!

More about French courses in Lyon

4. Buenos Aires image

Buenos Aires is a city that is famous for many things. Tango and football may be a couple but ask any self-respecting foodie what they associate with the city and there can only be one answer – STEAK.  Simply, what you’ll find in the restaurants of Buenos Aires is the undisputed king of steak. Cattle in Argentina graze in areas that have nutritious natural grass and lots of spacious, green pastures – as a result, the meat that is produced is free of additives and contaminants, and boy does it taste good.

There are hundreds of authentic and quality steakhouses to enjoy in Buenos Aires, but vegetarians need not worry, there’s plenty on offer for them too. With a strong Italian influence, the city has lots of fantastic pizza and pasta places, and recent years have seen an influx of quality Asian food places too.

There’s one more thing that you have to mention when it comes to Argentinean gastronomy, and that’s the wine…Argentina produces some of the world’s finest red wines, which you can enjoy at a bargain price in Buenos Aires.

More about Spanish courses in Buenos Aires

5. New York image

Think of a food associated with New York and you might say hot dogs, but really the city has no one signature dish or ingredient. This is hardly surprising when you think of the hugely diverse nature of the city, culturally. New York has always been a huge mix of ethnicities and nationalities, and that’s really the great appeal of its gastronomy. New York has a range of food and restaurants that you just won’t find anywhere else in the world – you could feasibly eat a different type of food each day of the year and still have some to try. Happily, the huge range of food available applies not only to tastes but to prices too…despite the high cost of living in New York, it’s still easy to find affordable eats to enjoy.

As is the case all over America, the size of the portions you’ll be served will make the eyes of any food lover bulge in excitement too. Remember though, you don’t have to wolf down the whole lot and give yourself indigestion – American restaurants are great advocats of the ‘doggy bag’, which you can take home and enjoy for a second time when you’re belt is back on its original notch!

More about English courses in New York