Culinary tourism is the newest kid on the block when it comes to tourism. However, since the late 1990s, the tourism industry has increasingly relied on food as an attraction to potential travelers. Food is one of those universal things that all humans need to survive. Whether you take the time to savor your food or gobble it down as fast as you can to get to your next activity, we all need to sustain ourselves with food! So why not make an experience out of it!
What is Culinary Tourism?
Culinary tourism is the act of visiting a region, country, or area with the specific goal of exploring its unique cuisine. However, this is not limited to only food. Travelers want to learn about, appreciate, and consume food and drink that reflects the culture, heritage, and traditions of the place they are visiting.
As the years have passed, many locations have popped up exploring everything from coffee to wines and cheeses.
Folklorist Lucy Long brought the idea of culinary tourism (also called gastronomic tourism) to the forefront in her book titled “Culinary Tourism”. In the book, she explores the many intersections of food, culture, and tourism in public and commercial contexts, in private and domestic settings, and around the world.
It is the first book that proposed that cuisine can and is, the destination and goal of many tourists.
What are the types of culinary tourism?
As mentioned previously, culinary tourism can take many forms depending on where you are. Let’s look at some of the most common type of food tourism:
What are the types of culinary tourism?
This type of culinary tourism focuses on the food of a particular culture or region. For example, you could go on a culinary tour of Italy to experience the pasta, pizza, and gelato of the boot-shaped country. But be warned, you might come back with a few extra pounds!
Here are some of the best places to go for a culture-specific culinary experience:
Italy: Home to pasta, pizza, gelato, and so much more, Italy is a must-visit for any foodie.
France: France is known for its fine wines, cheeses, and pastries.
Thailand: Thailand is a great place to experience the flavors of Southeast Asia, with its delicious curries, noodles, and street food.
Wine tourism is a popular type of culinary tourism that involves visiting wineries and vineyards. You can learn about the winemaking process, taste different wines, and even take a cooking class using local wines. But be careful, you might end up feeling a bit tipsy!
Some of the best places to go for a wine tourism experience:
France: France is home to some of the most famous wine regions in the world, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Rhone Valley.
Italy: Italy is another great place for wine tourism, with its famous regions of Tuscany, Piedmont, and Veneto.
Spain: Spain is known for its bold red wines, such as Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
South Africa: The Western Cape in South Africa is known for its famous wine route serving up some of the best strong, tannic red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinotage.
Cheese tourism is a growing trend that involves visiting cheese farms and factories. You can learn about the cheesemaking process, taste different cheeses, and even make your own cheese. But be prepared to get a little messy!
Here are some of the best places to go for a cheese tourism experience:
Switzerland: Switzerland is known for its delicious cheeses, such as Emmental and Gruyère.
Italy: Italy is another great place for cheese tourism, with its famous cheeses such as Parmesan and mozzarella.
France: France is home to the famous brie and camembert cheeses. * The Netherlands: The Netherlands is known for its gouda cheese.
Chocolate tourism is a sweet way to experience culinary tourism. You can visit chocolate factories, take chocolate tastings, and even learn how to make chocolate yourself. But be warned, you might end up with a serious case of the munchies!
Here are some of the best places to go for a chocolate tourism experience:
Belgium: Belgium is known for its delicious chocolate, such as pralines and truffles.
Switzerland: Switzerland is another great place for chocolate tourism, with its famous brands such as Lindt and Toblerone.
How People Explore Culinary Tourism
Whether you’re a casual diner or an aspiring food critic, there is a way for you to experience culinary tourism in a way that is comfortable for you. Here are three of the most common potions people go for when exploiting different cuisines.
Tour / Visit Local Producers
If you’re into knowing everything there is to know about what goes on behind the scenes, this is for you. A tour or visit to the local producers offers the opportunity for you to not only taste the food but to get to know the process behind making the magic happen.
Many people opt for this as it is a whole experience, not just a fleeting meal that you’ll forget after an hour or two.
Fine Dining / Restauranteur
Another good way to explore the cuisine is simply heading out to the local restaurants. Especially those bragging about local cuisine! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to ask the locals for their recommendations on where to find the most authentic and unique restaurants around!
This type of tourism is more popular in places like Thailand where streetfood vendors are almost everywhere. Many food tourists will argue that this is the best way to take a deep-dive into the local cuisine.
Whether you are looking for a relaxed vibe with good food, or ready for an exciting adventure, food tourism offers up some of the most varied and fun experiences. There is sure to be something for everyone!
Let us know whether you’ve ever been on a culinary tour in the comments!