Over the last decade we’ve watched Travel Channel and Food Network blur their lines. From Andrew Zimmern’s Delicious Destinations to Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, the once isolated pastimes are now becoming increasingly difficult to disentangle.
Which brings up the ever-complex question of where will you go on your next adventure? Is it the amazing scenery that draws you in? The exciting activities the area has to offer? The museum scene? While all of these are factors to take into consideration, we’re busy watching a new wave of vacationer being dubbed the culinary traveler. The culinary traveler is constantly basing their next trip around the gastronomy of the destination. It is truly a food-centric trip.
Food is one of the most tangible representations of a culture. There’s really no better way to experience the local life than by fully immersing yourself in the native cuisine. By tasting a treasured local dish, you’re directly tapping into the indigenous customs. Dining is a common thread amongst humanity, something that ties us all together.
Many cultures were built around traditions that began at the table, so there is much to learn about the local land from the meals the natives prepare. On a recent trip to Portugal, we learned about the origins of Portuguese cuisine – a merging of French and North African flavor profiles and cooking techniques with seafood-centric meals. For instance, on a kayak tour through the rugged sea-caves of the southern coast, our tour guide Pedro proudly displayed a fresh octopus he caught that very morning. Beyond detailing how he was going to prepare his catch for the evening, the conversation evolved into the many other ways this sea-faring culture’s cuisine influences are present throughout the art and architectural styles the country has to offer. Similarly, so many trips can be tailored around your culinary preferences. A beer and bratwurst lover, Oktoberfest is calling your name. Aspiring to become the next master sommelier? Boudreaux’s on the horizon. The spicier the better? Thailand and its fiery Green Curry next on deck?
While traveling for food is wonderful, in the end any trip is comprised of the company we keep, the remarkable things we witness and the memories that last long after departing. When ready to embark on your next adventure try basing it off of what the location brings to the table.
So where will your next craving be taking you?