The genre of culinary travel includes trips that focus on learning to create local dishes, those that emphasize tasting and wine pairing, and everything in between. As you can see, there are many options available. Let this Travelhoppers guide assist in your planning, as it will provide you with the basic recipe for culinary travel. With it, you and your travel consultant are sure to cook up the perfect culinary adventure!
The most important consideration in planning your culinary vacation is whether you want to learn traditional recipes and cooking techniques, or if you're more interested in enjoying the end result. Those wanting a strictly educational experience might enjoy cooking alongside famous chefs in renowned cooking schools. If dining inspires you, perhaps you would prefer the company of a learned chef as your guide. Or maybe you would like just a taste of culinary arts in your trip, as you explore other cultural aspects of your destination. The more consideration given to these issues before contacting a tour operator, the more efficient the planning process will be and the quicker you'll be on your way.
Culinary tour guides, many of whom have backgrounds in history and/or cultural anthropology, will tell you the history of indigenous dishes, offer guidance while dining with you, and even provide cooking instruction. Your tour may be guided by an actual chef, or may enlist the services of two guides: one culinary and one cultural. Your guide should be bilingual, even if those providing the cooking demonstrations are not. And of course, if you would like to design your own culinary dream vacation, chef guides and cultural guides can be hired on an individual basis - the possibilities are endless!
If you are more of a gastronome, you will want to take or design a tour that focuses on the pleasures of dining. Many culinary travelers maintain that there is no better way to learn about a culture than by sampling its traditional dishes. Such tours often include the excursions mentioned above, as well as more standard tourist attractions such as museums and art galleries. Certain tours allow more time for exploring the towns in which you stay. There are also more active tours, which incorporate such activities as hiking, painting and language instruction. These tours also provide a good option for those wanting to dine independently.
Not surprisingly, the most popular destinations for gourmet vacationing are Italy and France. Tasting tapas in Spain is also en vogue. When visiting these popular regions, the earlier you make your reservation, the better. But Europe isn't your only option. You may enjoy a culinary cruise to the Caribbean, or take a chef-guided tour of Mexico. For the more adventurous, culinary tours are offered in such exotic locales as Morocco, India and Vietnam. For those looking for an experience closer to home, consider becoming a barbecue connoisseur in West Virginia or cook up some Creole in Louisiana.
Created with images by Paolo Bendandi - "untitled image" • John Canelis - "Wine and Cheese in Paris" • The Creative Exchange - "untitled image" • Brooke Lark - "Nothing better on a rainy afternoon in Spain than plates and plates of pasta. Fresh grown scallions from the neighbors garden, jamon, ricotta, lemon and butter. Lots of butter." • Heather Ford - "untitled image" • Brooke Lark - "Because sometimes you can’t decide which one cookie you want with your coffee. So you just buy the whole bakers dozen, and nibble them all."