What is Food Tourism, and Why You Should Jump at the Chance to do it

You’ve no doubt seen millions of food pictures on social media. The Instagram snap of an incredibly fancy waffle, the Facebook photo of the most beautiful chocolate cake with strawberries you’ve ever seen. The foodie movement is huge, and it doesn’t just stop at the local farm to table hot restaurant in town. More than ever, travelers are engaging in Food Tourism, which includes drink. What’s the big deal about food? Read on to see why you should get in on the action.

food-tourismWhat is Food Tourism?

Food tourism is defined by as enjoying food and drink experience, near and far. What that really means is that anyone who is seeking out specialty foods in travel, be it in Paris or just the really amazing restaurant half an hour away, is engaging in food tourism. The idea goes beyond just a great eating establishment, though. Food tourism is about the exploration of food. So, that means cooking classes, food tours, olive and wine vineyard tours, wine or beer or spirit tastings, visiting a chocolatier, gelatria, or local bakery, or simply shopping at a local grocery store, or a gourmet foods store are all part of the food tourism movement.

Why it’s Good for the World

This may sound dramatic, but food tourism is a major fuel for world-wide economy. It’s true, though. Every tourist eats three times a day, and often partakes in a little indulgence for a special chocolate, or market fruit, or fresh baked croissant, whatever is part of the travel experience. That’s money generated at least three times a day, which funds small businesses and, thus, the economy. So, eat. It’s good for the world.

Food Should be in Your Travel Plans

Of course, you’re going to eat when you travel. But engaging in the local delicacies is an important part of cultural immersion. And this is the heart of why food tourism is taking off. The exotic is enticing. And now that we have access to visions all around the world, such as those photos on your Instagram feed, people are itching to try new things.

Food isn’t just something to feed your growling stomach. It’s something to understand. When you eat local foods, you’re tasting products indigenous to a region. If corn grows well in your destination, you get to eat brand new dishes involving corn in creative ways. Spices, herbs, the kinds of meat available – fish in sea towns, cattle and lamb in the bonnie countryside, for example –  these are all integrated into dishes. Your meals are a part of history. These are the foods the locals eat.

food-and-drink-experienceCooking methods are also dictated by long ago availability. Most places have typical full kitchens, but history of cooking is echoed in the way food is prepared, even today. Stewing and fermenting is common in colder regions where food must be preserved for the winter meals, while raw fruits and vegetables are more common in warm, dry regions where fire is a hazard. Plus, it’s hot!

All that aside, when you try local foods, you get to try something you’ve never tasted before, which opens your mind as well as tickles your taste buds.

Ways for you to Engage

Sounds great, but how do you partake? There are a number of ways to enjoy food overseas. You can find a cooking class in almost any major city around the world. Seek out one that specializes in something you couldn’t learn at home. Some classes last just a few hours, while others are full days of intensive culinary skill.

Food tours are fun because you often go shopping at local markets to check out the products locals buy on a regular basis. You may go to a butcher, a dairy farmer, or a winery to learn about how food is cultivated. The tour usually ends with a delicious meal, too.

Seek out local restaurants on your own, find the best bakery, the loveliest cheese, and the best place to get a really good bottle of wine. Do-it-yourself food tourism is a little cheaper and a little more adventurous than an organized experience. But no matter what, you’re in for a treat!

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had abroad? Have you ever taken a great cooking class overseas?

What Do You Think?

What is Food Tourism, and Why You Should Jump at the Chance to do it

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