Gastro-Travel - A Culinary Adventure
Wherever you live, chances are you have at least a few places where you love to eat. One could be a local family owned diner and another a chain that has become a bit of a tradition for you and your family. If you’re lucky enough to live in an urban center, you have hundreds of choices. You even have neighborhoods chalk-full of wonderful ethnic foods for you to try and enjoy. For the foodie, choice equals heaven. And now with services like Fine Taste Club, you can sample foods from around the world, all in the comfort of your dining room. People, even non-foodies, need to eat and love digging into a good meal.
But if you had the chance, would you participate in Gastro-Travel or Gastro-Tourism? Would you be willing to plan and participate in a food-focused trip? If you’re like us, the answer is an emphatic “yes!” Gastro-Travel/Tourism has become increasingly popular over the last several years, with foodie travelers enjoying trips to countries known for their cuisine, and enjoying local favorites, on location. People travel for all sorts of reasons, and from our perspective, traveling in search of edible wonders sounds pretty perfect. What would be some of the dishes you’d like to sample onsite or some of the countries that would excite your taste buds and entice you to renew your passport? We chose a few that sounded oh-so-appealing. Let us know if you agree.
Ok, this may seem like an obvious choice, but all things Italian-kitchen are celebrated for a reason. Even though there is an Italian restaurant or an Italian menu item in 90% of all US restaurants, there is still something special about enjoying this fantastic cuisine in its country of origin. Imagine truffle hunting in Umbria, or enjoying a plate of fresh pasta al fresco in a Florence cafe? Learn the secrets to creating the perfect marinara sauce and watch pasta making masters create before your very eyes. Sample prosciutto in Parma, spaghetti Bolognese in Bologna, and a traditional Neapolitan cake in Naples. And don't forget the wine - how could you, you're in Italy!
Yes, another obvious choice, but French cuisine is not only spectacular, it is amazingly varied. The French have perfected every type of drool-inducing sauce and pastry - and every region has a slightly differently delicious take on things saucy and sweet. And just like in Italy, you'll want to try the regional wines, expertly paired by locals for maximum palette cleanse and flavor. You may think you've tried lots of French cheeses, but rest assured, there are dozens you've never heard of, much less sampled. Take a cooking course in Paris, and enjoy a foodie walking tour in Provence or the Loire Valley. There will be olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh fruits, cheeses, baguettes, and so much more. This is France - and it has to be on your culinary bucket list.
Don't be afraid to put a little spice in your life with a gastro-tour to India. In a country as populated and diverse as India, it's no wonder the cuisine alone can entice adventurous travelers. Of course you'll try as many curry dishes as possible (test your spice IQ and endurance!) and you'll also want to try some of the other offerings that have developed in India over the last 5000 years. Fish infused with coconut and spices, vegetarian delights, and street food that reveals layers and layers of flavor. Cooking in India is next level, whether it be a home-cooked meal, or a Michelin star restaurant. And your life will never be the same after you've experienced it.
Sushi is a very popular food all over the world, but when you travel to Japan, you will discover that the sushi prepared there is nothing short of mind-blowing. Sushi chefs study for years to perfect the perfect bite of nigiri or sashimi. You've probably never tried sea urchin or puffer fish at your neighborhood sushi joint, but in Japan, you won't want to pass up the opportunity. And besides the fish, meat that melts in your mouth, and world class award winning ramen. The Japanese are some of the healthiest people on earth, and sampling their cuisine gives us a clue as to why. There is a freshness to Japan's cuisine that is difficult to recreate outside its borders. Well worth a trip.
Being a culinary adventurer can be scary sometimes. When you're in a country where you can't read the menu and you don't really know what's on the plate in front of you, you may question your decision making skills. But you know yourself. You'll stay the course and clean your plate, because that's what foodies do. They travel and they taste. They explore and they savor. And they take trips just for the food. Of course there is sightseeing involved, but just as a country's landmarks will stay with you long after you return home, so will its fabulous food. Happy travels!