We go behind-the-scenes with legendary chef and presenter Miguel Maestre for his top tips on the very best street food and experiences.
If there’s one thing Spanish-born chef Miguel Maestre knows, it’s good food. And on his travels through Italy and Austria for episode 1 of the all-new season of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays, there was plenty of it. From kransky sausages with a dab of mustard on the streets of Vienna, to olive oil fresh from the groves in Tuscany and 24-hour buffet indulgence on the Danube River – these are his tastiest tips, along with hints on what to do and where to stay.
Discover more about Italy and Austria on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World's Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details.
LE: What surprised you most about your river cruise?
MM: I’d highly recommend a river cruise to anyone. It looks like a movie, the scenery is quite breathtaking with all the fields, hills and amazing buildings. It was so relaxing, just so good for your soul. You sit outside with your glass of champagne and look out at the beautiful scenery. It was surreal. And the food! We ate so much, there was a 24-hour buffet and it was dangerous. There were small goods, beautiful cheese boards and things like that, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a chef, I love good service. But onboard, the service was insane – there was one waiter every three guests.
LE: What advice would you give to someone who's never travelled on a river cruise before?
MM: Submerge yourself in the experiences. I’ve done ocean cruises but I’ve never been on a river cruise before. Unlike on an ocean cruise, you don’t feel the movement of the big waves, it’s just really relaxing. My advice would be to just relax and enjoy the trip. Don’t peak too early! There’s a spa, a gym and a pool to enjoy – just pace yourself during the day.
LE: What's something that will always stay with you from this trip?
MM: The fast food in Vienna is amazing. I love sausages and you’ve got these crazy places with all these different types: kransky sausages with cheese inside, really nice soft rolls and that, for me, is some of the best fast food. You’re sitting there eating in front of the beautiful cathedrals and it’s just so good.
LE: Are you Team Pizza or Team Pasta?
MM: I wouldn’t say I’m Team Pizza or Team Pasta, even when I’m in Italy: I’m Team Paella! I am a Spanish chef, after all.
LE: What makes COMO Castello del Nero, Tuscany so special?
MM: COMO Castello del Nero, Tuscany has a real authentic Tuscan feel – it used to be a castle owned by an influential family and they’ve kept it really original. You can walk down to the fields that are just two minutes from the hotel to see olive groves and big pine trees. You really feel like you’re in a classic Italian movie. You’ll want to speak Italian while you’re there.
Discover more about Italy and Austria on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World's Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details.
Discover the Riverside Luxury Cruises collection here.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out The Prettiest Ports on Europe’s Danube River.