Culinary vacations (sometimes called culinary travel, culinary tourism, or cooking vacations) are the experience of exploring different cultures and cuisines through food and drink.
Food has a unique way of connecting people and anchoring them in the present moment, which is why memories of delicious culinary experiences can linger in your mind for years to come.
Culinary travellers seek out authentic, local ingredients, traditional recipes, and unique culinary experiences, like cooking classes, market tours, and wine tours and tastings.
Whether indulging in flavourful curries in Sri Lanka, mastering the art of soba noodle-making in Japan, or breaking bread with Buddhist monks in South Korea, your taste buds will be spoiled, and your culinary horizons expanded.
Tasting local street food in Thailand
Thailand is known for its delicious street food, and culinary travellers can explore the many food stalls and markets that offer a variety of dishes. Some popular street foods in Thailand include pad Thai, papaya salad, grilled meats, and seafood.
Participating in a cooking class in Italy
Italy is known for its cuisine, and culinary travellers can learn how to make traditional Italian dishes by participating in a cooking class. Classes can be found all over the country, and travellers can learn how to make pasta, pizza, and other classic Italian dishes.
Exploring the markets of Morocco
Morocco has a rich culinary history, and travellers can explore the country’s vibrant markets, or souks, to taste local flavours and ingredients. Some popular Moroccan dishes include tagine, couscous, and pastilla.
Visiting wineries in France
France is renowned for its wine, and culinary travellers can explore the many wineries and vineyards throughout the country. They can sample different types of wine and learn about the wine-making process from local experts.
Trying sushi in Japan
Japan is famous for its sushi, and culinary travellers can explore the many sushi restaurants and markets throughout the country. They can taste a variety of sushi types, including nigiri, maki, and sashimi.
Culinary travel allows travellers to immerse themselves in the local culture and gain a deeper appreciation for the role that food plays in a country’s history and identity. It is a delicious and unique way to travel.
Emerging Trends in Culinary Travel
As we become more conscious travellers, culinary vacations are taking new shape. Here are six emerging trends in food tourism.
1. Sustainable and Local Cuisine
More and more travellers are looking for authentic and sustainable food experiences that highlight local and seasonal ingredients. This trend involves eating farm-to-table, foraging, and cooking with local chefs.
2. Fusion Cuisine
Fusion cuisine combines different culinary traditions to create unique and exciting dishes. Travellers are increasingly seeking culinary experiences that blend traditional flavours with modern techniques.
3. Food Tours and Classes
Culinary tourism is now more accessible, thanks to the growth of food tours and cooking classes. Travellers can learn about local cuisine and culture while also enjoying delicious food.
4. Street Food
Street food has always been a popular aspect of culinary travel, but it’s gaining even more popularity. Many travellers seek street food tours and experiences that allow them to taste local flavours from vendors and food trucks.
5. Technology and Social Media
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in culinary travel:
- Social media platforms like Instagram are used to share pictures and recommendations of local cuisine.
- Apps and websites are used to find the best restaurants, markets, and food experiences in a given area.
6. Culinary Health and Wellness Vacations
Many travellers are also looking for healthy and wellness-focused culinary experiences as part of wellness travel experiences. This trend includes farm-to-table cooking classes, juice retreats, and vegan and vegetarian cooking workshops.
Culinary Vacations Companies
There are many, many reputable culinary vacation companies around the world that offer a range of culinary experiences, cooking classes, food tours, and more.
Here are five we like. Bon appetit!
The International Kitchen
The International Kitchen offers cooking classes and culinary tours in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and other countries. Their programs include hands-on cooking classes, market tours, wine tastings, and cultural excursions.
Edible Destinations offers food and wine tours, cooking classes, and culinary vacations in various destinations worldwide. They offer tours in Asia, Europe, Africa, and South America, among other places.
Created with the culinarily curious in mind, Intrepid offers local experiences with a foodie twist, combining their classic grassroots travel style with a culinary focus and includes plant-forward options.
Cookly is a global cooking platform that connects travellers with local cooking classes, food tours, and culinary experiences. They offer classes and tours in over 150 destinations worldwide, from Italy to Thailand.
Tasting Escapes offers food and wine tours, cooking classes, and culinary vacations in Italy, France, Spain, and other European countries. They offer hands-on cooking classes, wine tastings, truffle hunts, and more.