“Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”
– James Beard
“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.“
– Mark Kurlansky
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Now, here’s a trend I can sink my teeth into…literally! For me, food and trying local cuisine has always been an integral part of my travel experience. I wouldn’t say I’m an adventurous eater or a foodie and certainly not a gourmet, but I love learning about and trying the local specialties. No McDonald’s for this gal!
Food Tourism is defined by the World Food Travel Association as: “The pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near.” In 2012 they even changed the name of their association from Culinary to Food Tourism finding that the general perception of “culinary” was a bit snobby and exclusive. In fact, Food Tourism is intended to be inclusive for all food and drink experiences…from that great local taqueria to 5-star fine dining in Paris.
According to Wikipedia, food tourism is “experiencing the food of the country, region or area,” and cites that it is now considered an important factor in the tourism experience and, along with other considerations, influences our destination choices. For the serious foodie or food tourist, the destination and its cuisine are inseparable.
Food is inherently a part of the culture and its people. After all, we travel, we eat. Do we travel to eat? Some do. Food travel can be just going to a different neighborhood, city, state, region, country… anywhere! Enjoying local culinary offerings includes wine tasting, beer tasting, chocolate tasting…the list goes on and on.
Enthusiasm and interest have exploded with a dedicated network and numerous cooking shows that introduce us to all aspects of food preparation and enjoyment. Once regarded as the exclusive domain of gourmets and considered elite and accessible only to those who could afford it, today everyone can enjoy watching celebrity chefs and foodies prepare, talk about, and travel the world whetting our appetites for more! Julia Child was a pioneer, and many others have followed…Jacques Pepin, Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Rachael Ray…the list goes on and on…
A more educated audience, we have become more sophisticated and discerning when it comes to wining and dining. In turn, the entire travel industry has been influenced and is responding, offering more and more itineraries and options including and emphasizing the whole food experience. (You could say it’s a trend that feeds itself!)
We are invited to dine, taste, sample, meet the chef or vintner, enjoy cooking demonstrations or take cooking classes, …we learn, we enjoy, we connect to the local people and culture…We break bread together. We eat, drink and be merry!
Buon Appeitto! Bon Appetit! Guten Appetit! ¡Buen Provecho Meshiagare! Afiyet Olsun!
Enjoy Local Specialties…
Visit Local Markets and Food Artisans…
Embrace and Enjoy the Local Experience!
Are you a food tourist? What food travel experiences have you enjoyed? Where is your next food travel destination?