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4 enticing food-growing regions

Lifestyle — Posted 15/07/14

Discover pockets of the world where sumptuous local flavors are the trademark.

Indulging in fresh, local produce is one of the best travel experiences. From Queensland to the Mediterranean, our world is full of rich food-growing regions, where the local tastes are as diverse as they are delicious.

Here are four destinations that really provide a feast for all the senses…

Atherton Tablelands, Queensland

While the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and lush plant life of the Daintree Rainforest lures the attention of most visitors to far north Queensland, the Atherton Tablelands is certainly worth a peek. Aside from the abundant birdlife, tropical wetlands and great bushwalking, the region is a wonderland of locally-grown tropical fruits, coffee and dairy. Coffee plantations spread out across the tablelands, from the Australian Coffee Centre in Mareeba, Australia's oldest producing coffee plantation, to Jaques Coffee Plantation, where a cup of joe and scones with jam and cream will set you up for the day. Also grown at the Australian Coffee Centre are two varieties of sweet red papaya and Lady Finger bananas, with the plantation estimating they pick over 2 million pieces of fruit annually.

Malatya, Turkey

The city of Malatya lies in the region of Eastern Anatolia, Turkey, and is famed for its apricot orchids. In traditional Ottoman cuisine, fruit is a natural accompaniment to main meals and apricots are widely eaten, along with other fruits including plums, figs and pomegranates. Apricot production thrives in this fertile land and Turkey has become a leading producer of fresh and dried apricots around the world, with much of the supply coming from Malatya. While in town, visit the Sire bazaar, a market dedicated to the plump fruit, and feast on the many dishes starring this local treasure – from the chocolate-coated, crushed pistachio-covered variety to the soaked and cream-stuffed delicacy.

Gilroy, California

The road from Los Angeles to San Francisco in California passes through plenty of foodie townships, from Monterey, home of the famous American Monterey Jack cheese, to the sun-ripened vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley. If you veer to the right at Watsonville – the Santa Cruz County town famous for its berry production – you'll hit Gilroy, the unofficial garlic capital of the world. With a festival devoted to the bulbous plant held annually in July, this city lives and breathes its fragrant nickname. While garlic crops aren't as concentrated here as they once were, there is still active growing and the legacy of its bountiful heritage remains strong.

Colchani, Bolivia

Any traveller to Bolivia keen on taking a tour of the impressive salt flats of Uyuni down south will commence their adventure in Colchani, a tiny town around 30 minutes to its north-west. It's here that an estimated 25,000 tonnes of salt is processed each year, after being excavated off the flats and left to dry in little pyramids in the sun. The end game is table salt, which is packed and transported by the bucket load. When you visit Colchani, you'll take a short tour of the processing factory before visiting the nearby salt hotel. Here, bricks of salt scraped from the flats form the main building, along with the furniture. At least you'll never be short of a pinch!

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