Culinary Travel For A Satisfying Vacation
Every holiday involves food because we all have to eat. Still, it is one thing to grab a quick burger and fries which could have come from anywhere, another entirely to have a guide show you the best place to eat in a small European village. Culinary travel has the potential to combine many possible facets, making food an experience, not just a function.
Particular countries come to mind when exploring this kind of travel. European nations are especially popular, and those along the Mediterranean are perhaps the most popular. Along the way, tourists quickly discover that these warm Mediterranean regions grow plenty of grapes alongside other exotic flavors like olives and lemons.
This means that food is only one potential part of the gastronomic experience. Wine is frequently another for locals and guests alike. Guides and villagers will teach visitors which wines go with what foods, exploring the sensual nature of food and drink.
In Italy, gastronomic tours originate from cities like Umbria, Apulia, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast. In Naples, a must would be an authentic pizza topped with locally made mozzarella cheese. Taste the flavors of a simple pasta dish using few ingredients. Other popular foods to try in Italy include olive oil, fresh basil, specialty breads and equally fresh fish caught along the coastal regions.
France is a gastronomic delight. Villagers in places like Provence eat and serve local, seasonal food. They also know how to pair their wines. The most famous wine region is Bordeaux, but this could mean many things wine-wise since a host of grapes grow well in different parts of the country.
Spain is known for tapas, a series of appetizers made from all kinds of ingredients. Find items comprised of bread rounds, olive oil and herbs. Experiment with marine flavors such as calamari. Though regional variations apply, countries like Portugal and Greece also benefit from the warm weather to produce beautiful tomatoes and eggplant. As in the case of Souvlaki, lamb is of particular importance to the Greek diet.
When exploring regional foods, consider these options. One is the group tour. In Madrid, for example, join a walking group moving from one tapas bar to the next to sample foods and wines with advice and education provided by someone passionate and knowledgable. Some of the higher end tours offer groups with gastronomic experts and sommelier. Private tours provide tourists the same amount of expertise with more attention for a far higher cost.
Expect travel agencies and on-line companies to offer a wide range of tours combing food with some other element. One focus could be the local experience, leading to meals in rural homes and restaurants, wineries and cellars, perhaps even cooking courses. Your tutors may be regular people in their own kitchens teaching the old fashioned way or renowned chefs. Other tours take guests into city hotels for tasting menus at top restaurants. Still others make you work up an appetite with arduous hikes, visits to historic buildings and museums, some of which might add insight into the cultural importance of food.