If there’s anything humans have in common, it’s the love of food!
Sushi, sashimi and ramen in Japan, pad thai in Thailand, cheese and chocolates in Switzerland, beer and sausages in Germany, bunny chow in South Africa, handmade pasta and traditional pizza in Italy and the list can go on.
For many, food is one of the first things that comes to mind when planning a trip to a new country. And what better than learning about the history, cuisine and culture of a place while stuffing your face with delicious food, in the company of a knowledgeable, fun-loving local?
“There is ample you learn while you’re on a food tour. Apart from experiencing the destination, you get to know about local ingredients, traditions and unique ways of cooking. This is mainly because your guides make sure you escape the tourist traps and taste the most authentic dishes. Moreover, sampling all the local treats during the first few days of your trip is likely to influence your eating habits and food choices for the rest of the trip, and possibly your life,” says Nick Gale from Secret Food Tours, a company that organises food tours in more than 50 cities around the world.
One part adventure, one part culture and three parts delish, a gastronomic odyssey is an enlightening experience for both your taste buds as well as your mind, and a great way to start a trip.
Cheese tasting in Ghent, Belgium
“Whether its a craft beer tour, a stroll around a market or a wine and cheese tasting, a group food tour is a great way to get around a new city with like-minded travellers from different parts of the world. It gives a fabulous kickstart to your trip as you get the chance to interact with people in a very informal atmosphere and instantly form new bonds,” says Eléanor Grondin, a Londoner who often plays a guide for food tours in the city.
Most food tours are all-inclusive tours and you can enjoy the culinary journey minus the hassle of finding the right routes and places, standing in queues for ordering food or making reservations, paying bills etc. All visits are planned and you get priority access to local food stores and eateries. Moreover, these tours are guided by locals who are sure to keep you entertained with interesting facts, stories and jokes only an insider would know; and that you would never be able to find in a guide book!
To sum it up, a food tour engages all your senses as you smell the aroma of freshly-cooked food, feel the texture and flavour of various food items, take in the sights and sounds of a neighborhood or market, and above all, relish the taste of everything you munch, sip and slurp during the tour!