It’s no secret that our love of travel centres around sampling exotic new foods with a beautiful drink in the other hand in an exciting foreign locations. From celebrity chef encounters to hunting for your own produce, gastronomic food and wine tours are quickly becoming one of our favourite travelling pastimes.
Gastronomy tourism (or gastro tourism) is a growing trend, as travellers look for authentic cultural experiences through gastronomy. Travellers are leaving behind the run of the mill cooking schools in search of becoming sake connoisseurs in Japan, joining a fisherman in Wales for the day or having the chance to eat a home cooked feast with locals in Istanbul.
The key to enjoying exciting new gastronomic delights without the gastro belly is to think with your head not your tummy according to Phil Sylvester, Travel Insurance Direct’s Head of Content and Travel Safety Specialist.
TID’s Top Tips for avoiding a gastronomic disaster:
Drink bottled water, everywhere: It’s almost impossible to avoid gastro and it’s a bit of a lottery as to who gets it, but if you’re concerned, drink only bottled water. Use it for brushing your teeth, avoid ice in drinks, and use antibacterial hand gel liberally and often.
Street Food Safety: Fresh is always best – this is a motto to live by when considering any street food overseas whether in South East Asia, Turkey or India. Don’t eat anything that’s been sitting around for even a short while. Insist on the food being freshly prepared for you. If the street vendor won’t cook you a fresh dish, go to another vendor who will. Be sure to watch for stalls that look clean and fly-free.
Ready to become a gastronomic traveller? Here are TID’s Top Four Up & Coming Gastro Destinations:
Turkey: Istanbul is the perfect mix of a cosmopolitan city with a unique, untouched culture which is reflected in its local cuisine. Tourism in the capital city is booming with a 23.8% increase in visitor numbers for the first quarter of 20134. Turkey’s cuisine is vibrant, homely, flavoursome and absolutely delicious, from gozleme to kebabs to their famous coffee. Add to that the city’s colourful spice bazaars and you have a fascinating foodie destination.
Morocco: For one of the most diverse food cultures in the world, head to Morocco. With Arab, European, and Berber influences, the sights, sounds, and aromas of the street vendors in Marrakesh are intoxicating. While steamed sheep’s head and stuffed camel spleen may not be on your food bucket list, there are plenty of other dishes to try in the souks, from chicken brochettes and tagines, to a super sweet pastry called Briwat (a fried triangle of filo pastry with almonds) and sweet mint tea.
United Kingdom: While the UK is one of the most popular destinations for Aussie’s to visit, it is the far north of Scotland and Southern Wales which offer a unique and less discovered gastronomic experiences. No longer is British food synonymous with fish, chips and roast dinners – instead, think freshly caught langoustines, locally farmed venison and a smorgasbord of food festivals to really tickle your foodie taste buds. Key foodie regions include the Isle of Skye in the north of Scotland, Cornwall in England and Pembroke and Abergavenny in Wales. Offering delicious fresh produce, Rural Geographies named Wales as one of the top three destinations for gastro-tourism5.
Japan: Japan’s cuisine is a most rewarding mouthful for travellers. Most Japanese restaurants concentrate on a specialty cuisine, such as yakitori, sushi, sashimi, tempura and ramen noodle bars. If at all possible, don’t miss kaiseki, an art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colours of food in a multicourse dinner served in the style of a tea ceremony. It is often said that kaiseki is the pinnacle of Japanese cooking.