Food extraordinaire Zola Nene's top bucket list destination and other travel tips for your stomach

2018-11-21 12:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Black woman juggling lemons

Zola Nene shared her dreams of travelling to Italy and other foodie travel hacks. (Photo: Zola Nene)

Chef, food stylist, cookbook author and judge on Wedding Bashers - Zola Nene has tasted her way through many foodie adventures - and has many more that she wants to do!

We were craving some foodie travel inspiration, so we chatted to Zola to find out which country she wants to taste her way through, her travel hack for finding the best places to eat and how to keep your stomach happy when trying out new things.

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Where will you be spending your Christmas holiday?

I’ll be spending my Festive Season in George in the Garden Route, it’s where I grew up so I always go home to spend time with my family for Christmas.

What is your favourite travel destination in SA?

I’m going to have to say George... it is home after all.

Tell us a bit about your favourite trip that you’ve taken either for work or leisure.

Gosh, it’s so difficult to choose just one, but one of my favourite trips was to India a few years ago. I went for work, but it was a blast. I travelled with Katlego Maboe and we ate so many amazing dishes. What I loved most was being invited into people’s homes where they would share their family recipes with us - it was an unbelievable trip.

QUICK GUIDE ITALY: The Mamma Mia of your Italy trip planning sorted! 

Do you have a destination at the top of your bucket list?

Italy - it’s a foodie destination so I’m dying to go there to eat and discover all of the authentic Italian food on offer. 

What can’t you travel without?

Probiotics. Because I like to eat a lot of the street food, I like to give myself a fighting chance against any dreaded tummy aches by taking probiotics daily during my trips.

What kind of traveller are you – super organised with an itinerary or prefer to go where the wind takes you?

I err more on the side of super organised - I like to know how I’ll be travelling and where I’ll be sleeping, those are musts for me. I’m pretty flexible when it comes to activities on a trip though, those I’m willing to see where the wind blows me.

Who is your favourite travel buddy?

My sister is my favourite travel buddy, we’ve been on quite a few trips together and we always have such a laugh. 

SEE: Choosing the perfect travel partner(s) - why your best friend might not be the ideal candidate 

What was your worst travel experience?

I went to Mauritius a number of years ago and it just was such a let down for me, it didn’t feel as “tropical island” as the brochures said it would be. Mind you, that was ages ago (like 10 years), I’m sure it’s gotten much better since my visit there.

What’s your top tip for getting comfortable in a new place?

I don’t have a tip here... it takes a lot for me to get fully comfortable anywhere I’m afraid.

Do you have any tips for eating your way through a new city?

Eat where the locals eat. Chat with the staff at the hotel - and I’m not talking about concierge or reception - I mean the barman or the cleaning lady or the doorman, ask them where their favourite meals are and go there.

Where are the top spots in SA for some special summer fine dining?

Upper Bloem (Cape Town) is a favourite of mine, the food there is spectacular. Definitely worth a try this summer.

What international dish are you dying to try someday?

Gosh, too many to name, but I’m dying to eat gelato in Italy - that’s a foodie dream.

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