Call us snobbish, but the thought of going to another culture and eating only the dishes we already have back home makes us balk. It’s those mini adventures in eating is what makes travel so exhilarating – either because of the foods you eat or the people you eat it with.
Eating abroad is a cultural immersion into what people eat, when they eat, who with, where they source their food, and the rituals that take place around the preparation and eating.
With that in mind, culinary travel, while not new, is gaining popularity fast. Rest any hesitations aside about being in a kitchen: if you’re new to cooking, or still learning, it makes for a fun and relaxed environment in which to learn. For those who are already savvy chefs in the home, it’s a great way of expanding your repertoire and impressing your friends when you return.
What to expect: Often you’ll start with a tour of food from the area, heading to restaurants and marketplaces to taste local cuisine and buy ingredients. Then you’ll head over to the kitchen/classroom where your teacher has prepared a sample of dishes and ingredients. It’s here, in a friendly environment, you learn to create local culinary masterpieces, whether you’re a master chef, or feel more like The Muppets chef.
Think of a place you’ve traveled you’ll often recall the food you ate there. Learn to cook a fantastic regional dish from somewhere exotic and you’ll not only have the nostalgia of your trip to chew on, but you’ll continue creating new memories of the meals you prepare for your friends back home. It’s the food adventure that never ends.
The International Kitchen is one of the most prominent providers of culinary tours, with courses in Morocco, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Turkey, Mexico and South America. They offer anything one-day classes to week long tours.
Gourmet On Tour provide food tours and cooking classes, in regions including UK and Ireland, Morocco, Italy, France, Australia and Croatia. They also specialize in combining these with wine tours and tasting.
Artisans of Leisure have a 16-day culinary tour that takes you through Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand to give you an insight into the spice markets and frying pans of Southeast Asia
What will you cook up next?