Writing up my dissertation on food experiences in tourism, I am constantly confronted with mouth-watering pictures of the most colourful and exotic foods. However, sitting here in the library, nibbling on a carrot or a cookie, is not exactly what I consider to be a culinary adventure. And certainty does not make those pictures on the computer screen any less tempting. I wish I could jump on a plane and just travel the world right now!
Food tourism is a trend that has developed quite remarkably in the last years. Many destinations now enhance their national dishes, culinary traditions and local food products to promote the uniqueness of the place. Food is said to provide a memorable and powerful experience for tourists through the involvement of all senses. It enables them to connect with a place and more importantly, with the people. For example, meeting locals in a tapas bar over a glass of wine and learn their stories is most certainly an eye-opening and enjoyable experience. Also, exploring a country or city through food can provide unique insights into the history of a place and its landscapes – gloriously called ‘terroir’ in the wine jargon.
When my brother and me were little, we were not allowed to order food in a restaurant that my parents were able to cook at home. Which meant no pasta, fries, lasagne or the like. Poor little me! Instead, I can vividly recall the joy of tasting my first ‘spagetthi vongole’ in a little seaside restaurant in Tuscany (after what seemed an endless walk along the cost to a lighthouse). And until today, I always have that same feeling of pride and delight, whenever I tried something revealingly delicious in a foreign country. I love to hear the stories behind the foods, to explore the markets, watching the fishermen of a costal village coming back from the sea in the early mornings, observe the buzzy streets through the windows of a coffee shop and let my thoughts wander…
Travel to eat is something truly magical. And for sure, food tourism is not the worst trend of the 21st century. I cannot wait to leave this grey library again. I want to eat and drink the world!
PS: Yes, I changed to English, due to the feedback of my dear friends. I hope you enjoy it!