Mar 11, 2015

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Decadent destinations: The top 10 places to pile on the pounds

Travel and calorie-counting don’t mix. The signature dishes of these indulgent cities are smothered in cheese, drowned in cream, and well worth adding an extra notch to your belt, writes Anita Isalska.

Make sure you arrive hungry at these 10 decadent destinations…

1. Slurp authentic ragu in Bologna, Italy

Average flight time from the UK: Two hours
Extra belt notches: Three

Credit: Comune di Bologna

Spaghetti bolognese has conquered plates from New York to New Zealand. For the real deal, twirl your fork in the northern Italian city of Bologna. The authentic dish there is tagliatelle al ragù, flat pasta ribbons swirled in beef, herbs and smoky pancetta.

Splatter your shirt with some of the best in one of Bologna’s casual eateries, such as cosy Trattoria dal Biassanot (Via Piella 16/a, 40126 Bologna;

This carnivore-pleasing city is also famed for mortadella, a cold sausage bursting with chunks of pork fat. They don’t call Bologna la grassa (the fat one) for nothing.

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2. Dig into deep-dish pizza in Chicago, USA

Average flight time from the UK: Nine hours
Extra belt notches: Three
Deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's

Credit: Choose Chicago

Crisp, feather-light pizza bases are for wimps. Chicago’s legendary pies are often an inch deep and loaded with unholy quantities of mozzarella, spicy tomato and pepperoni.

The pans are greased with generous glugs of oil, which partially fry the bases for a wicked crunch.

Between slices of pie, grab a classic Chicago hotdog. Ask for your dog ‘dragged through the garden’, so you don’t miss out on the full array of toppings: diced onions, tomato and lengths of pickled cucumber. After all, you shouldn’t skip your veggies.

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3. Team schnitzels with Sachertorte in Vienna, Austria

Average flight time from the UK: Two hours 10 minutes
Extra belt notches: Two
Vienna - Sachertorte

Credit: Wien Tourismus/Robert Osmark

Think of Wiener Schnitzel as fuel to power you around Vienna’s marbled squares and museums. The classic version of this breaded, fried veal escalope is best served with a twist of lemon – but you can strain your seams even more with schnitzel varieties stuffed with cheese, ham and mushrooms.

Save room for Sachertorte, chocolate cake glazed with apricot jam and thick icing, and take some calories home in the form of Mozartkugeln, Austrian praline and marzipan balls.

Book Vienna holidays

4. Gorge your way around Beijing, China

Average flight time from the UK: 10 hours
Extra belt notches: Three
Beijing - insects and scorpions on skewers at a market

Insects and scorpions on skewers at a market. Credit: Anita Isalska

“Have you eaten?” is a common greeting in China. In that spirit, Beijing is an excellent place to let your inner glutton loose.

Start with Peking duck, glistening with soy and sugar; try Beijing Dadong (with three branches in Beijing; for a gourmet duck experience. Then hit Ghost Street to simmer your choice of meats in a hot pot, before gobbling goats’ cheese in local favourite Little Yunnan (No. 28 East Huangchenggen Beijie).

Midnight munchies are easily cured at Donghuamen Night Market with smoky lamb kebabs or even scorpion skewers – mmm, crunchy.

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5. Savour a multitude of mole in Oaxaca, Mexico

Average flight time from the UK: 15 hours
Extra belt notches: Three
Mole Poblano in restaurant in Cabo San Lucas located in Los Cabos in Baja California Mexico

Credit: nik wheeler/Alamy

Smoky, sweet and dark enough to blot out the sun, mole sauce is lavished on meat and vegetable dishes across Mexico.

Foodie heartland Oaxaca boasts an array of these slow-cooked chocolate and chilli sauces from classic clove-spiced mole negro to fruity manchamantel.

Enjoyed your fill of mole-drowned meat? Grab some tlayuda (cheese and bean topped tortilla) and wash it down with mezcal, the agave spirit still sacred to many Mexicans.

And chapulines, grasshoppers sizzled with chilli powder, are as moreish as potato crisps – honestly.

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6. Chomp pasties in Cornwall, England

Average train time from London: Five hours
Extra belt notches: Two
Cornwall cream slathered scones, a classic cream tea

Credit: Adam Gibbard/Visit Cornwall

Cornwall’s half-moon-shaped meat pasties elicit local pride as well as stomach rumbles. And after biting through buttery pastry into glistening chunks of beef, you’ll understand why.

The bulging pasties at Oggy Oggy (34 River Street, Truro) are sure to make you wobble on the cobblestoned streets of Truro.

Sweet-toothed travellers should save room for a traditional cream tea, where jam and clotted cream are slathered on to oven-fresh scones.

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7. Be voraciously veggie in Delhi, India

Average flight time from the UK: Eight and a half hours
Extra belt notches: Three
Delhi - paneer tikka and rice

Credit: Anita Isalska

Jokes about ‘Delhi belly’ are passé. Delhi’s world-class restaurants and tempting street food are a foodie’s delight, and it’s especially good for vegetarian gourmands.

Try chaat (fried potato packages), chewy paneer cheese and chickpeas naughtily stewed in ground almonds, cream and spice.

And that’s before you’ve started on plump idli (rice dumplings), masala dosa (potato-stuffed chickpea pancakes) and desserts such as syrupy gulab jamun.

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8. Plump up on pierogi in Krakow, Poland

Average flight time from the UK: Two and a half hours
Extra belt notches: Two

Poland pierogi

Staples such as potato and cabbage are favourite fillings for Poland’s prized dumplings. But hungry travellers can feast on plates of pierogi without ever being bored. This succulent, unleavened dough is crammed with everything from beef and minced onion to herbed mushrooms, as well as sweet varieties marrying bilberries, strawberries and cream.

Dedicated dumpling-munchers should hit local favourite Zapiecek (Sławkowska 32, 31-015 Kraków; for some of the best.

Book Krakow holidays

9. Podge out on po’boy in New Orleans, USA

Average flight time from the UK: 13 hours
Extra belt notches: Four
New Orleans - Cafe du Monde beignets and coffee

Cafe du Monde beignets and coffee. Credit: David Richmond/

Stews, donuts and overstuffed sandwiches conspire to make New Orleans the most button-popping destination in the US.

When you aren’t dusting sugar off your jeans after a binge on beignets (fluffy flash-fried donuts) you’ll be jamming a fork into jambalaya, a rice dish with generous flecks of ham and shellfish.

But New Orleans’ belt-stretcher beyond compare is po’boy, a French bread sandwich bursting with shrimp, fried oysters or roasted meat – ideally dripping with mayonnaise and tomato.

Book New Orleans holidays

10. Lunch like a local in Lyon, France

Average flight time from the UK: One and a half hours
Extra belt notches: Two
Lyon - array of local market cheeses

Credit: Anita Isalska

Paris can keep its patisseries. Gastronomes in the know smack their lips for Lyon’s bouchons, local eateries tucked in among the old town’s coral-coloured alleyways.

Lyonnais chefs serve up incredibly filling delights such as rosette, cured sausage, and quenelles, zeppelin-shaped dumplings made from egg, breadcrumbs and fish or cheese – usually swimming in buttery béchamel sauce.

Creamy Saint-Marcellin cheese and coussins, tooth-twingeingly tasty almond candies, might tempt you in between meals. Bon appétit!

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Have we missed a decadent destination off our list? Where’s your favourite indulgent city? Leave a comment below to let us know.

  1. Wonderful article. I am drooling. This could well become my travel bucket list and I start with three down!

  2. Jaipur says:

    you can try below dishes in India street food…


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