March 18, 2014 at 2:31 PM ET
We've spent lots of time perusing maps, but we've never seen any that make us so eager to jump on a plane — right now.
New York-based food stylist Caitlin Levin joined forces with Henry Hargreaves, a photographer living in New Zealand, to create this playful new series of maps made out of the iconic foods of various countries and continents. It's an ingenious idea, since food is one of the most immediate — not to mention delicious — ways of understanding the identity and culture of a place, and of uniting people.
Some decisions of what foods to include on a particular map were fairly straightforward: The France map, for instance, had to include — what else? — cheese.
"We used several types of cheese for France — to name a few: brie, soft farmers cheese and blue cheese," Levin told TODAY. The U.S. map has a more food-activist bent. "We decided to make the US out of corn because the US has become known for its use of corn in some form or another in virtually every processed food," Levin added. She explained that each map took about a day to make.
Levin and Hargreaves, both enthusiastic world travelers, wanted each piece to look like an old-school map, so they hired their friend Serit Melmed to design the typography. Watch the video for a behind-the-scenes look at how the team puts together these spectacular creations:
Check out this slideshow to see the artists' incredible food maps of 10 countries and continents: