Food finds have always been a key ingredient to a memorable trip, but cuisine-centered adventures make menus much more than a souvenir
A recent survey by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism revealed that 71% of Americans participated in at least one culinary activity while on an out-of-town trip and that activity was one of the most significant travel experiences of the vacation.
With interest in local cuisines growing thanks to the success of popular television shows like the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” gastronomic adventures are overtaking itineraries among gourmets and casual diners alike.
Here’s how you can capitalize on the “foodie frenzy” to cook up travel experiences your customers will savor.
Create itineraries that include tours of wineries, food and wine events, festivals, cooking classes, cruises with guest chefs and more—so travelers can experience the unique flavor of a particular geographic region or city.
Adventures in gastronomy can include week-long trips — such as a Burgundy wine tour in France — or shorter food excursions, such as to the three-day International Pinot Noir Celebration in Willamette Valley, a 160-mile long valley of vineyards in Oregon.
Cruising a la carte
Cruise ships, long well-known for exquisite dining experiences, have gone beyond buffets to offer culinary-themed voyages. Holland America’s Culinary Arts Center features a theater-style kitchen for hands-on cooking demonstrations presented by Food & Wine magazine. Oceania Cruises’ Bon Appetit Culinary Center is a floating cooking school with classes in French cuisine, food-and-wine pairings, Italian dining, classic American dishes and more.
A side order of history
Culinary tourism offers foodies a taste of history with experiences such as the Tasting Tour of the French Quarter in which the rich New Orleans food culture comes alive. After experiencing a historical walking tour, travelers visit the city’s famous eateries such as Antoine’s and Tujague’s, both established in the 1800s.
Travelers who want to take a bite out of the Big Apple’s rich culinary history can partake in numerous food-tasting/culture tours. A Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District tour takes in Italian, French-American and classic American restaurants. The Original Greenwich Village Food and Culture Walking Tour gives tourists the opportunity to sample Italian pastries, rustic Mediterranean cuisine, cheese and pizza while learning about this famous neighborhood’s rich history.
Wine and cheese aren’t the only delicacies worth circling the globe for. Die-hard chocolate addicts will want to experience the Swiss Chocolate Train and visit the Cailler-Nestle factory and tasting room at Broc, Switzerland. In the U.S., life doesn’t get much sweeter than the town of Hershey, Pa., or the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory in San Francisco.
Cooking on all burners
Culinary travelers don’t just want to eat their way through a trip; most want to take home practical knowledge of how to prepare the foods they’ve discovered. They can sign up for cooking classes, such as the weeklong Culinary and Art Adventure in Provence with Chef Philippe Gion. Participants go home with a personalized cookbook of dishes they’ve learned during the week.
The premiere cooking school in the U.S., the Culinary Institute of America in Vermont, offers three- to five-day cooking “boot camps” while the Chef Joe Randall’s Cooking School in Savannah, Ga., serves up lessons in Southern cuisine during a three-day culinary adventure.
Getting your piece of the pie
Travel professionals can tap into this tasty niche and create customized culinary adventures for their customers using Amadeus Vacation Link. This FREE leisure platform makes it easy to book cruises, hotels and tours to satisfy your clients’ appetite for culinary adventures.
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