What we eat while traveling has always been a big part of a memorable trip. A recent survey by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism says 71% of Americans participated in at least one culinary activity while on an out-of-town trip and that activity was one of the most significant travel experiences of the vacation. Now, cuisine-focused adventures offered by travel agencies are making menus much more than a souvenir.
“With interest in local cuisines growing thanks to the success of popular television shows like the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, gastronomic adventures are overtaking itineraries among gourmets and casual diners alike,” said travel service company Amadeus in a recent newsletter.
Noting trending travel requests and getting the information out to travel agencies who want to be prepared with their offerings, Amadeus sent along information about a variety of food-oriented travel packages.
Travel agencies are creating itineraries that include tours of wineries, food and wine events, festivals, cooking classes, cruises with guest chefs and more so travelers can experience the unique flavor of a particular geographic region or city.
Learn to cook on a cruise
On cruise lines, dining has always been a big part of the experience. Now, many lines have gone beyond buffets to offer culinary-themed voyages. Holland America’s Culinary Arts Center and Oceania Cruises’ Bon Appetit Culinary Center are floating cooking schools where passengers get up-close and personal instruction from chefs on the ship.
A side order of history
“Culinary tourism offers foodies a taste of history with experiences such as the Tasting Tour of the French Quarter in which the rich New Orleans food culture comes alive,”adds Amadeus. “After experiencing a historical walking tour, travelers visit the city’s famous eateries such as Antoine’s and Tujague’s, both established in the 1800s.”
Die-hard chocolate addicts will want to experience the Swiss Chocolate Train and visit the Cailler-Nestle factory and tasting room at Broc, Switzerland. In the U.S., life doesn’t get much sweeter than the town of Hershey, Pa., or the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory in San Francisco.
Cooking on all burners
Culinary travelers want to take home practical knowledge of how to prepare the foods they’ve discovered and can sign up for cooking classes, such as the weeklong Culinary and Art Adventure in Provence with Chef Philippe Gion. Participants go home with a personalized cookbook of dishes they’ve learned during the week.
Trips and tours with special, focused themes like the food-oriented travel options listed here won’t be found on a click-to-buy website. A qualified travel agency, specializing in food-oriented travel packages is the place to look for these and other themed travel options.
Flickr photo by Jeff Kubina