Food documentaries and glossy food publications have served up a global banquet of possibilities straight to our living rooms. Food tourism, food tours and gastronomic travel are increasingly popular holiday themes. So, how do you plan a gastronomic holiday and what are some foods worth travelling the globe for?
Food tourism provides you, the tourist, with a rich experience centred around history, people and culture. At the same time, it is economically important to rural and regional communities that may otherwise miss out on the investment brought in by capital city tourism. So, it’s good for you, and great for the host communities delivering you culinary experiences.
How to plan a successful food tour
Whether you’re attracted to local produce, authentic traditional dishes or celebrated dining experiences, investing time in planning beforehand will ensure a successful tour. Here are some sources of food tour planning inspiration:
- Food review apps – there are too many to mention, but dining apps such as zomato.com or tripadvisor.com, can help you find food destinations based on other diners’ reviews and experiences.
- Online search terms – searching online based on phrases such as ‘best local food experience’ or ‘authentic local food’ for the region you’re thinking of gobbling through, should deliver some tried and tested search results to start working from.
- Food publications and documentaries – food magazines, blogs or television documentaries are a great way to inspire some food tour ideas. For example, consider following the late Anthony Bourdain’s adventures in ‘No Reservations’ or Rick Stein’s adventures.
- Research on local cooking classes or market tours – booking in to a local cooking class, ideally based on local produce, is a great way to immerse yourself in food and culture. Many food markets offer guided tours and are a great way to get a better understanding of the local cuisine and culture.
- Explore what local festivals take place throughout the year – whether it is a music festival, arts festival or food festival, you’ll learn a lot about local cuisine at a festival or significant cultural event.
- Word of mouth – perhaps the best way to ensure a successful food tour is to follow the itinerary of someone who has gone before you and loved the experience. People are usually flattered when you want to replicate their itinerary!
- Michelin one to three stars guide – for those looking for coveted wining and dining destinations, the celebrated Michelin dining guide is your go-to.
And while you’re travelling, talk to locals for recommendations of off-the-track food experiences.
Food experiences worth travelling for
Goodness. Where to start? It really depends on your palate, and the more open you are to flavours and ingredients the richer the experience ahead of you.
We researched the experts. According to tripadvisor.com.au and its bookings data, the three most booked food experiences included:
- Rome, Italy – the four hour walking tour, Rome food tour by sunset around the Prati District
- Florence, Italy – Cooking class and lunch at a Tuscan farmhouse with a local market tour
- Paris, France – Montmartre food tour
According to travel guide Lonely Planet, the top three food experiences are:
- San Sebastian, Spain – going from bar to bar eating tapas or pintxos.
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – eating curry laksa at hawker centres on Madras Lane by picking the lengthiest queue.
- Tokyo, Japan – eating freshly prepared sushi.
According to Airbnb Experiences, the three most booked food experiences included:
- Lisbon, Portugal – a walking food tour Lisbon’s Best Flavours
- Florence, Italy – a famous pasta shop called Dalle nostre mani offers Pastamania, a pasta making demonstration and tasting.
- Barcelona, Spain – a cooking workshop Paella Maestro.
According to Booking.com, the top three food experience recommendations included:
- Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia – for local culinary secrets such as Bean Sprout Chicken.
- Lima, Peru – highly rated for its local food scene.
- Joao Pessoa, Brazil – for its food truck trend and local Brazilian food.
Buon appetite! Disfruta tu comida! Aproveite sua comida! Enjoy your food experiences.