Do you ever find that the smell of local foods is one of your strongest travel memories?
Food is one of the best ways to experience a culture, and food tourism, which is also called culinary tourism or food tours is a growing travel trend.
Food tourism is simply a matter of traveling beyond your immediate neighborhood to find great food. Of course, the further you are willing to travel, the broader your range of culinary experiences will be. Basically, food tourism is the exploration of food as the purpose of tourism.
As you have probably noticed foodie tourists share millions of food and photos daily across social platforms like Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. This increases a traveler’s awareness of the different types of cuisines and cultures which helps to fuel their desire to experience them. Festivals and culinary events and food tours showcase local foods for a taste of place or location.
Tasting new dishes, encountering unusual ingredients, enjoying local hospitality — after all, it’s the most delicious way to experience authentic local culture.
Since the advent of celebrity chefs, cooking shows and the Food Network and the popularity of the likes of Anthony Bourdain whom all help to promote the discovery of new foods, making culinary travel even more popular than ever. Culinary travel-based TV shows, food magazines and food and travel blogs has created a foodie focused traveler.
Food Tourism encompasses many venues including cooking schools, culinary tours, wine tours, beer tasting tours, distilleries, and other culinary attractions such as farm to table eateries. Authenticity is also of critical importance to culinary tourists.
– International Culinary Tourism Association
What is a Food Tour?
A culinary or food tour is a professionally guided tour of the local food and beverage scene. Food tours can be a great way to get a taste for local ingredients, as well as to learn the history and culture of the region.
The nature and duration of the tour will vary. They are typically conducted in groups, though private or small group tours may also be available. Common examples are a walking tour of the restaurants and shops in a neighborhood or village.
How long does a culinary tour last?
A typical food tour will last 2-4 hours. Some tour agencies also multi-day culinary excursions.
How much does a food tour cost?
Often food tours will cost between $35-70 per person
Will food be provided? Yes, food tastings are normally included in the tour.
Food Tours celebrate real food, everyday local eating, and drinking experiences — everything from street food, ethnic eateries, grass roots local eateries, food markets and farmer’s markets.
Food Tour Operators are passionate local foodies — they are excited to share the best of their local food scene, guiding our travelers through the best street food and authentic local eateries. Eat Like a Local means behind the scenes experiences like meeting the local chefs and restaurant owners or hearing the stories about how they got started business.
Food Tours introduce you to authentic and affordable food experiences that help you to engage more deeply with the local culture.
Tips for a great food tourism experience:
Find Your Inner Foodie
Try to fit in one tour guided by a local.
Look for variety in the type of food served
Avoid asking for ingredient changes
Remember that food tourism includes drinks.
Don’t be afraid of street food.
Be open to new tasting experiences
Listen to the stories
Culinary Storytelling is a way of learning about and the people behind the food.
Anyone who has ever seen Anthony Bourdain knows that food is a wonderful way to explore the local culture.
Experience a taste of the local culture through spices and traditional cooking styles. Food gives you insights into history, social issues, and even politics so that you gain a better understanding of the values and customs of the community.
Destinations tell their story by featuring their unique culinary specialties, be that their regional flavor of barbecue, their local seafood or their locally-sourced produce. Food tells a story about the place and food tourism is about recognizing and embracing that story as you taste your way through the town.
For more information about food tourism:
Global Food Tourism Association
Food Tour Pros
World Food Travel Organization