More than 13-million Americans admit to choosing vacation destinations based on food alone and culinary tourism has become an increasingly hot new trend in the travel industry.
Andrew Knowlton, restaurant editor at Bon Appetit, offers his picks on a few great food trips:
One day trips
I Can't Believe I Ate My Way Through Chinatown Tour!—San Francisco, CA
This tour is dedicated to those who LOVE TO EAT, want to learn about Chinese food history and are "open minded" to try a variety of foods. Begin with a traditional Chinese breakfast, "what ARE Thousand Year Old eggs, and 'jook?'" Share tea at one of the top tea shops in the heart of Chinatown, nibble on dim sum from a "hole-in-the-wall" (with a very clean kitchen!) on the street, as Shirley runs into the cafe and comes back out with trays filled with delicious steamed dumplings; visit food markets, it's all about food, cooking, and eating. Finish the morning off with a fabulous lunch that includes food Shirley talks about. To tease your palate, the Lunch (after dim sum on the street) may include Peking Duck, Two Ways; Minced Chicken (or Squab) and Fresh Stir-fried Long Beans in Lettuce Cups; Steamed Salt Fish & Ground Pork...and—OK, sign up to get the rest!
Discover Chicago's Cultural Gems While Tasting Delicious Food—Chicago, IL
On this guided, narrated walking food tour, you'll learn about Chicago's rich history and treasured architecture while sampling authentic flavors from ethnic eateries and food shops. After the tour, explore Chicago with confidence and take advantage of our full spectrum of cuisine, entertainment, and cultural offerings on and off-the-beaten-path. Your journey includes delicious tastings from: An authentic Chicago-style pizzeria (est. 1983); Americas top spice and herb specialty shop (est. 1957); A favorite fudge and confectioner specialty shop (est. 1963)l; A 'Best in America' artisan bakery (est. 1993); A Middle; Eastern-Jewish deli (est. 1975); A high-end specialty tea merchant (est. 1978); A local chocolate lounge (est. 2005); Former Presidents' favorite cheese and caterering store (est. 1985). Visit Chicago Food Planet.
Tales of the Cocktail—New Orleans, LA
Take a walk through the French Quarter on New Orleans Original Cocktail Tour (previously the Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour) and discover the famous "spirits" of New Orleans. From the creation of the Sazerac and Pimm's Cup to the Hurricane and Hand Grenade, you'll enjoy a view of New Orleans history and culture through our legendary bars and restaurants, and the characters that frequented them. New Orleans Original Cocktail Tour mixes classic stories of famous New Orleans establishments with facts about the unique cocktails made famous here. This two and a half hour walking tour visits historical establishments such as Antoine's and Arnaud's restaurants, as Brennan's and the Court of Two Sisters restaurants, the oldest bars in the city including Jean Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop and Napoleon House, whose stories date back to the 1800s. Guests have the opportunity to purchase cocktails along the tour at various stops. Visit Tales of the Cocktail.
Gourmet on Tour—Morocco
Rich in both history and flavour, Moroccan cuisine is one of the most exotic in the world. During this week at Dar Liqama, learn how the sophisticated Moroccan palate arose as the country played host to travelers and rulers from China, India, Spain, Persia, and France. Dar Liqama is located just outside the ancient imperial city of Marrakech, a walled garden city of tall graceful palms set beneath the snow-capped Atlas mountains. The villa is nestled amidst the Palmeraie, a grove of over 150,000 towering palm trees, and was constructed to reflect the traditional style of Moroccan architecture, while also offering modern conveniences.
Magnificent Moroccan antique doors open from the grand columned entrance, as well as in the great hall and dining room. The eight spacious guest rooms of Dar Liqama are decorated in traditional Moroccan style and all have ensuite bathrooms; most rooms have private fireplaces. Swimming pools, a hammam (Turkish steam bath), an exercise spa, tennis courts, games room, and conference facilities are sensitively integrated amongst the palm trees. The week includes a guided shopping tour of the souk in the Medina, the vast Djemnaa El Fna Square with the snake charmers, magicians, acrobats - and rows and rows of mouthwatering food stalls.
Take a day trek in the Atlas mountains to the historic villages of the Berber people. During the hands-on cooking lessons, expert chefs introduce participants to the exotic combination of ingredients and techniques that exemplify traditional Moroccan cuisine. Learn first-hand how the fascinating history of this country has influenced its cuisine, which is truly eclectic. The cooking course consists of eight to nine hands-on cooking lessons during the week, learning how to produce traditional Morrocan food dishes, ranging from fresh salads to lamb to couscous. Visit Gourmet on Tour.
Bike Riders Tour—Various Locations
From Italy to France, Bike Riders' culinary biking Guest Chef Adventures take our cycling tour itineraries and add the extra dimension of intimate cooking and tasting classes, plus the chance to spend a week biking in Europe with an acclaimed Guest Chef. Pedal to an open air market, taste purple figs picked fresh off the tree, gather wild rosemary to roast a pheasant, or select the freshest catch straight from the fishermen's nets. In each region, our chefs help us discover the secret ingredients and culinary techniques that make for outstanding menus and memorable meals. Chefs listed for each tour will join us for at least one of the dates scheduled.
Visit Bon for more information.