3 foodie capitals for delicious language courses abroad

Whether it’s discerning the differences between regional cheeses or choosing from an array of unfamiliar fungi, speaking the local language opens up a whole new aspect to eating when travelling abroad.

While it can be fun to make vague guesses when ordering, true foodies want to know exactly what they’re eating, and preferably where it came from and how it was made. Increasing numbers of gastronomically inclined tourists are choosing to combine their trips abroad with a language learning course.





Bologna is described by Italians as ‘la dotta, la grassa e la rossa’ (the learned, the fat and the red). This is due to its having founded Europe’s first university (‘the learned’), its status as the country’s gourmet capital (‘the fat’), and also as the home of left-wing politics (‘the red’).

Many of Italy’s best-known foods originate in Bologna and the surrounding area. These include lasagna, mortadella, tortellini, spaghetti Bolognese, Parma ham, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar.

While the city was once something of a secret foodie destination, its popularity has increased dramatically in recent years – Trip Advisor now lists it as one of the top 10 European food cities.

For those planning a trip to Bologna, some of the city’s best eateries include Da Gianni, Trattoria Anna Maria, Trattoria Meloncello. Be warned, however – there are no concessions for non-Italian speakers. Happily, as befits the city of the learned, there are plenty of places to get to grips with the language. For example, some choose to arrange their studies abroad with ESL-Languages, who offer tailor-made classes in the city.



Lyon, as any foodie worth their fleur de sel will tell you, is the gastronomic capital not just of France, but of the world. In the 1970s, resident Chef Paul Bocuse launched nouvelle cuisine and began the elevation of chefs to superstar status. Lyon is sadly often overlooked by tourists. For this reason, few concessions are given to those who can’t speak the language.

Learning French in France is a great experience, and there are plenty of providers available. Once armed with a little French, there’s no better place for a foodie to try it out than the famed Les Halles food market. Used by France’s top chefs, the market has 59 food traders, who are happy to discuss their wares. Eating out recommendations include Café des Fédérations, Bouchon des Filles, Daniel et Denise, Au 14 Fevrier, and Café Comptoir Abel.


The UK capital has it all, restaurants adorned with Michelin stars, a burgeoning multicultural and creative street-food scene, and possibly more markets than Marrakesh. Whether it’s an amble to Street Feast in Dalston or a sit-down meal at Heston Blumenthal’s Hinds Head, finding fine food in London is easy.

With ever-more descriptive language being used for food, some visitors will prefer to improve their English before sampling the city’s many delights. Click here for a list of English courses available in the capital.


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