Food glorious food! Before most of us disappear into our traditional December food coma, I thought I’d shed some light on food-related active travel. Culinary tourism has really become a huge trend in the past few years. Lots of people want to not just eat well when they travel, but learn about world cuisines as they go. If this sounds like you, read on!
Broadly speaking, there are two types of trips: food trips and culinary trips – and you don’t want to confuse them!
On “culinary” trips, you’ll have at least one, and usually more, opportunities to learn to cook with a chef. What’s common is that you’ll assist, often with a partner, in the preparation of part of the meal you’ll all cook together. So you might be making sushi in Japan or pasta in Italy or spring rolls in Thailand (an amazing culinary travel destination, by the way). On some tours you also go with the chef to the market to purchase the ingredients, which is a photo op in itself. You can find culinary tours to India, China, France, Peru and Morocco – where you could learn to make a crowd-pleasing tajine.
Food trips on the other hand are not about learning to cook, but perhaps perfecting your talent for eating. Again visits to local markets are often included, so you can learn from your tour guide about local ingredients and how to select them. Then in the evening you’ll head off to a local restaurant where in my experience the guide will order a selection of dishes and explain the ingredients and how they are made. On occasion the owner of the restaurant may come out to chat with you, with your guide acting as a handy translator. Your job is to dig in.
Culinary and food tours are a great suggestion for couples who love to entertain, two girlfriends who want to do a fun trip together – with a learning component – or just anyone who loves food, sociability, an entertainment. Don’t forget to pack your appetite!