Some of the best travel shows on TV are those which feature delicious culinary delights from around the world. There's something about watching someone land in a foreign place, surrounded by culture and new energy, indulging in a meal that can only be found in that city or town. For those who have experienced this, there's truly nothing else like it - especially if that meal is exceptional.
The good news is this: Entire vacations can be planned around food! Food tourism, also known as culinary tourism, offers a gateway into a destination's cuisine, flavor, and food culture. Those who are just waiting to whet their appetites - literally - can follow these tips for planning a venture into food tourism.
Where To Go?
The biggest question when it comes to planning a food-themed vacation is figuring out where to go. To say the process of getting the answer is overwhelming would be an understatement! The basic rule of thumb is to travel anywhere that doesn't include one's own backyard - but, again, this doesn't make the planning process any easier.
So, to spark some inspiration, here are some things that one can plan a trip around:
- International food festivals
- A favorite cuisine
- Meal-specific (such as brunch, lunch, or dinner)
- A popular destination that's known for its food (Paris, Sicily, Tokyo, etc.)
- By choosing a multi-day food tour
- Plan around a holiday
- Choose a country that's plentiful in food markets
- Plan around a food budget
Travelers should also know that food tourism can also include beverages, so breweries, distilleries, and cideries are all fair game. Additionally, non-alcoholic options, such as kombucha tours, are another great way to experience the culture and beverage-making processes in another place.
For those interested in a specific type of food - let's say, for example, pasta - booking a trip to Italy that includes cooking class is another form of food tourism. This is an excellent way to meet new people, learn how to make one's favorite dish, and eat some delicious, fresh, and local food. This often goes hand-in-hand with a producer or artisan food tour, which can include anything from cheesemaking to breadmaking. Food tours might include a trip to multiple cheesemongers to tour the facilities and try cheeses, or a trip to multiple bakeries. In Pennsylvania, there are many food trails, with the most recent being a charcuterie trail.
How Is Food Tourism Beneficial?
Food is a universal language in the sense that it has the power to unite people across the world. Flavors are something that we all understand and can enjoy together, and the art of cooking is something that's worth sharing. In terms of a cultural experience, touring a destination with food at its core can be enriching and rewarding on a social front as well as one that's appealing to one's stomach. It's also a great way to help a country's local economy - indulging in local food is the perfect way to give back while also experiencing a new world of flavors!
Sharing History And A Meal
Many times, traditional recipes have been handed down through generations. This means that travelers might even have the chance to sample a dish that has been made the same way for centuries, which is, believe it or not, a way of experiencing the history of a country. For example, the traditional dishes in Osaka are those which have been prepared in very much the same way for centuries since they were first created. Since this city happens to be a food hub in Japan, it's a great place to start for those who are looking for pure Japanese food culture.
Consider Vineyards And Breweries
Believe it or not, entire vacations can also be planned around one's favorite celebratory beverages. Most people are familiar with Napa Valley but might not be familiar with the events that are held there - these make for the perfect excuse for a vacation and serve to be something one can plan a trip around. Additionally, an international event, such as Austria's Oktoberfest, is the perfect way to get a taste of Bavarian beer and food, which is a true treat for those interested.
A major event, such as the Food & Wine Festival, draws in visitors from all over the world in Aspen, Colorado, and other places, and for a good reason. Between the vendors and the incredible wines on display, it's truly a foodie's heaven. Staying on a vineyard in a place like France or Portugal could also be a reality which also makes figuring out an accommodation incredibly easy.