All Roads Lead to Food
For as long as I can remember, I have been a “Foodie”. I usually shy away from labels, but this one fits so effortlessly that I have to make an exception. The “Foodie” term actually started circulating in 1980 and since I was born a year later, I am much more satisfied to be a part of the Foodie generation than a member of the Xennials. In fact, my boyfriend is delighted to find multiple pictures of me throughout my childhood eating tacos before “Taco Tuesday” even was a thing. Being a Smyrna girl born and bred my cuisine exposure consisted of anything fried…namely chicken with all the fixin’s like collard greens, corn bread, mashed potatoes and gravy and the like. However, on the rare, exciting occasions, my parents brought the world to us by teaching us how to make sukiyaki, taking us to International farmer’s markets, and creating the perfect paella. My introductions to Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Samantha Brown’s many Travel Channel shows, and Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods were spiritual experiences for me. I kid you not. I would spend hours absorbing the world’s culture through their cuisine.
As my fascination for global gastronomy grew, so did my love for travel. Today I am living my dream… not as a chef or a caterer, but as a travel agent. You see something very special happened as I started learning the nuances of the culinary world, I fell in love with the people and places. I realized for me… Food is to travel as peanut butter is to jelly. Whether it is mole in Mexico, goat curry in Jamaica, to sancocho in Dominican Republic, I take the time to feast on the flavors of the land. One of my favorite things about being a travel agent is getting to customize experiences for my clients to fit their personalities. No longer does luxury just mean fancy hotels and ritzy resorts, it now means that whatever your budget might be that you have the vacation perfectly tailored to you and your taste buds.
My mother always says that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomachs…I believe that to fully immerse yourself in the culture of where you are traveling is by following that same path. Here are some culinary experiences that will whet your appetite for your next tasty travels.
Cooking Classes Abroad
Why not visit an old-school local market in Bangkok to pick up some prized ingredients before being welcomed into a Thai home to prepare some tasty Thai food. As a parting gift they will gift you with a mini-cookbook waiting for you when you arrive home.
Or visit a farm in Santorini to pick their world renowned tomatoes, the 3,500 year old yellow peas, capers and fava beans to later create a “Meze” meal that was grown from the most precious volcanic soil.
In St. John’s they believe their favorite spirit shouldn’t be discounted with their “Cooking with Rum Class” led by a husband and wife team. While nestled in their home high on a hill overlooking the Caribbean Sea, you will enjoy a tasting of 6 different rums as you help prepare a rum infused 3 course meal while learning the history of the West Indies.
If cooking is not your thing, that is perfectly fine. Immerse yourself in the land’s cuisine with a food tour. Here are some that I love. I sent some clients on a private VIP Michelin Star Hong Kong food tour and they absolutely loved it. They were able to experience a 3 course meal at 3 different Michelin Star restaurants ending with a stunning 29 story view of Hong Kong with a toast of wine.
Another great option is the food tour beginning at the tallest building in El Centro taking in the beautiful sunset and panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta. This is a 12 course culinary journey featuring local cuisine at 4 award winning family restaurants that will leave you full and breathless.
These are just a few examples of the delicious adventures you can incorporate or plan around for your next great get-away. Food is such an amazing thing that unites each of us no matter where we are from. So the next time you are looking to travel why don’t you taste your way around the world… after all…
“People who love to eat are always the best people.” Julia Child
Ready for your next foodie adventure? Let’s get started!