olive travels: where to visit in March
From food markets in Fife to Valencia's colourful festival and lively wine harvests in the southern hemisphere, here’s our pick of where to travel to this month
Want some ideas on where to go on holiday in March? We’ve selected our pick of destinations for a food lover’s break this spring: city-wide festivals in Spain, spring Scottish produce markets, and a curation of grape-picking events to celebrate the southern hemisphere's wine harvest. This is just a small selection of our UK, European and global travel guides, click here for more inspiration, or check out our pick of the best UK culinary escapes for 2022 and Europe’s top food trips for 2022. Want to know where to visit in February? Take a look here.
Spring in Scotland’s larder
Bowhouse market, just outside Anstruther in a coastal corner of Scotland, is opening its doors on 12 and 13 March for the first spring market of 2022. The market promotes and supports Fife's local food and drink businesses, so expect producer stalls packed with the region’s finest fish, meat, veg and bread (St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese, East Coast Cured and Perthshire Preserves among them). There’s a dedicated street food market too, so you can dig into wild game burgers from Screaming Peacock, proper fish and chips from Fish and Frites, or Stag Bites The Hog’s Cubano toasties.
While you’re in the area, join the Fife Coastal Path on a seafood safari through postcard-pretty fishing villages, stopping for smoked fish tacos at East Pier Smokehouse in St Monan’s, deservedly popular fish and chips at Anstruther Fish Bar, and a pint of prawns at Elie’s Harbour Café. Find more Scottish foodie breaks here.
Festive fun in Valencia
This cosmopolitan east-coast city is known for its oranges (that can be seen growing in the picturesque Patio de los Naranjos at the Silk Exchange and sold at Central Market) and bubbling rice dishes (traditional paella, seafood black rice and oven-roasted rice with morcilla) enjoyed on the golden sands of the surrounding beaches.
A lesser-known local tradition is the afternoon snack of horchata (tiger nut milk brought over by the Moors) with fartons (iced buns to dunk in), served in bustling neighbourhood horchaterías. Every March, these traditional canteens and cafés also offer donut-shaped fried churros dipped into molten chocolate (buñuelos con chocolate) to celebrate the city’s Las Fallas festival. Giant, elaborate wooden figures are processed through the streets and set alight in dramatic bonfires, bedtimes are pushed back until the early hours of the morning, and children line up in pairs to feed each other hot chocolate, wearing bibs to keep their Sunday best safe from stains.
Stick around until the end of March for the València Cuina Oberta culinary event, where top restaurants offer great-value set menus showcasing the region’s thriving seasonal produce. Taste superb rice from Albufera Natural Park, fresh fish straight from the Mediterranean Sea and floral honey produced by the city’s recently established urban beekeeping programme.
Find out more about Spain's unique regional foods here.
Southern wine harvest
During March's Fiesta de la Vendimia harvest festival, Mendoza city and its surrounding villages and vineyards come alive with colourful parades, food markets and open air concerts to celebrate the graft of workers in this stunning region of Argentina. Wineries open up for tours and tastings, there are unique pairing menus in restaurants, and tourists can join in grape picking and stomping in the vineyards.
Over in Australia, many events are thrown to raise a glass to the harvest. Be a winemaker for a weekend or take part in iconic grape crushing fun in Queensland, attend a chef pop-up at Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, join the annual harvest and grape stomp at Chalk Hill in McLaren Vale, or make the most of the festive atmosphere at the month-long Hunter Valley Harvest Festival. It’s a delightful time to visit south Australia, with autumn bringing plenty of warm days and autumn produce (think custard apples, kiwis, pomegranates and mandarins) in abundance.