Foodie Foraging: The Rise Of Food Tourism

While cultural sites and historical structures might attract our attention when we travel, it is a nation’s food that really inspires us to start parking and “up sticks”, as they say in Britain (which means ‘to move elsewhere’…for those who are wondering.) Fortunately, there is a huge amount of variety offered across the globe. With the number of foodies increasingly on the rise, the travel industry has adapted its packages; now you can take a trip where eating is the name of the game.

Food tourism is just that: a global experience that centers around culinary experiences, introducing intrepid travelers to a place through its food and local specialties. There’s more to the industry than just trying out any number of foodie delights, however; since its birth, the food tourism industry has helped to draw attention to lesser-known areas of the earth while simultaneously driving local food suppliers and culinary professionals. The food industry is a big business with people willing to pay, and this is helping poorer areas of the world expand their local economies.

Combining travel with the wonders of local cuisine, food tourism enables travelers to experience a place through its cooking, teaching them about a region’s culinary past, present, and future through guided tours. While tours differ, you can expect to gain insight into local manufacturing and farming, taste a few foodie specialities, and dine at some of the most renowned places in your chosen destination. Many tours bring together travelers from all over the world, showing them a region through its culinary delights. Each experience is unique; some tours last the time in which it takes to enjoy a single meal, while others evolve over the course of a day, introducing you to a huge amount of variety in the same region.

What can you expect on your next bout of food tourism, then? A surprising amount, it turns out, and not just related to your rumbling tummy. Many foodie companies aim to tell a story through their tours, painting a picture of the local history and industry, showing how past events have shaped what people in the community are eating today. It’s not just about homegrown dishes, either; by introducing travelers to “foreign” dishes within the country, food tours can help to unravel histories of immigration and international change, showing how the influx of a foreign people can change what “natives” put on their plates.

Across the world, a huge number of food tourism companies have sprung into life, each promising intrepid travelers an experience that they’ll never forget. French company La Route des Gourmets specializes in national cuisine, offering customers the chance to explore different regions of the country. With huge geographical change in France, each tour is unique in and of itself and is a great opportunity for travelers to understand each niche in French cooking; while the cookbooks might tell us differently, there is simply not one “local” cuisine.

Elsewhere in the world, larger companies are setting their sights on bigger stretches of land, sending adventurers to all corners of the earth in order to try something new. The Food Tour Corporation is an umbrella company that manages a number of smaller tour groups, each dedicated to a specific region and style of cooking. Through its tours, you can eat your way through New Orleans, taste a little of Dallas’ history, or sip on a little homegrown wine. Food tourism doesn’t just have to be for exotic places, and more and more we can see the kinds of things that are available right on our doorstep.

With so many flights and hotels popping up across the world, having a truly unique travel experience can often feel hard to come by. If you incorporate food into the mix, however, you can uncover a surprising amount about a place and you might just leave with a completely different opinion. Food is the soul of life, so why shouldn’t we taste a little more of what it has to offer?

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.

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