Whether your camping, caravanning or renting an apartment, cooking meals can be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying parts of your trip – and give you a real insight into the local culture
1: Cook something using local produce
This is my big thing. I think part of the enjoyment of caravanning and camping is food. Obviously, you are in a nice location. And most places have something that they produce that’s delicious and fresh. Go to the local market and let your senses guide you. Not only will find something really lovely to bring back to your camp and cook, you’ll feel like you’ve really connected with the area.
Keep an eye out too for little roadside stalls, the ones with the honesty boxes. They’re always a great way to buy fresh fruit. And eggs!
2: Choose something you would not normally cook at home
You’re on holidays – be brave! Try something you normally wouldn’t cook at home. If the trader you’re buying off can speak the same language, or you’re good at charades, you can ask them how to cook it. They’ll probably tell you the best local herbs and spices to use as well.
Even if I have an idea in my head of how I’m going to cook something, I’ll always ask a local – even someone back at camp. You pick up so many tips that way.
Give it a try. It’s really exciting. It’s a really great challenge. And when you come home it’s nice to say ‘Oh! I cooked octopus!’ or something else you would never buy at home.
3: Keep it simple
Again, you’re on holidays. You don’t want to stress or overstretch yourself. If it’s fresh produce it doesn’t need loads of sauces and different cooking techniques anyway. A nice piece of fish, for example, just needs searing.
Also, you’re in a caravan or a tent. You don’t want too many pots and pans. You just want to cook delicious, fresh food that’s prepared in a nice, efficient way. The ingredients are so fresh and tasty, you don’t need to do much more. You want it nice and natural and not labour intensive.
4: Ditch the plastic
I have never liked eating off plastic, even before plastic became Public Enemy Number One. Good food deserves bettere. Even if you are eating your food beside a mountain or your BBQing on the beach, decent plates and cutlery make the world of difference.
This is what it is all about. Everything may culminate in the final meal, but every step of the way can – and should – be enjoyable. Going to the markets – that’s the first part of your enjoyment. Cooking the meal is the next. And then finally, eating the meal with friends or family, in a beautiful spot, is the most enjoyable part of all.
Last summer I was in Biarritz for my birthday and my husband and I we took a lovely picnic down to the beach and we lit a fire and it was just so nice. There is fabulous food hall in Biarritz where they had all these lovely little tapas things. It was so magical – a truly lovely evening down on the beach.
Monica Rivron is a trained chef and keen caravanner and will be speaking about Food and Caravanning at Destinations: the Holiday and Travel Show. The show takes place at Manchester Event City from 17-20 January 2019. Advance ticket prices are £8.50 or £9.95 on the door. To book, please visit: www.destinationsshow.com