Foodie Travel Tips: 10 Things to Consider on Your Gastronomic Trip
New tastes, smells, and emotions serve as motivations to live when visiting a new destination. Apart from learning about the culture, history, art, and customs of a place, whether you are a foodie or not, one of the most fascinating attractions is its gastronomy. You can explore the markets to learn about the typical products and endemic fruits and vegetables, taste the street food like a local, try traditional food places to experience homemade flavors or indulge in the gourmet or fine dining that each destination has to offer. Undoubtedly, these pleasures are a way to immerse yourself in the culture and customs of the destination. To fully indulge in a food-focused trip, consider these 10 foodie travel tips.
10 Foodie Travel Tips
Research gastronomic culture
As a food enthusiast, one of the first steps we take when planning a trip is conducting thorough research on the local gastronomic culture. This involves identifying traditional dishes, ingredients, and products unique to the destination, as well as selecting those suitable for the season of our visit. Additionally, we search for the finest establishments to sample these dishes, visit local markets, and pursue any culinary experiences we desire during our trip.
Make reservations at busy restaurants
If you plan to visit a popular restaurant, it’s advisable to book your table in advance to avoid missing out on the dining experience. We have to do it, especially for establishments run by famous chefs, Michelin stars, or those offering a unique dining experience. Researching and learning about such places beforehand is always a good idea. Making reservations ensures a hassle-free and enjoyable dining experience.
Explore restaurant options when you are at your destination
While this point may seem contradictory to the previous two, I find it interesting to explore a city locally without relying on guidebooks, blogs, or review pages. The idea is to move away from the most touristy spots and explore lesser-known areas. You might be surprised by the hidden gems you uncover.
Visit the food markets
One of the top activities for food enthusiasts is exploring local food markets. They can easily be found in almost every destination, often with weekly markets held in the streets, adding an exciting vibe to the city or village. These markets offer the perfect opportunity to interact with locals, glimpse their daily lives, and discover new products and ingredients native to the area.
Try Street Food
Street food is an integral part of the urban culture. It allows us to relish genuine and uncomplicated flavors that represent the essence of the city. Often, we get to witness the preparation of these delicacies right in front of our eyes, as if watching a live cooking show. Moreover, walking through the streets while savoring the tang of a pizza in Naples is an unparalleled experience, allowing us to enjoy the surroundings and admire the architecture or monuments along the way. Thus, sampling the street food of a new place is a must-do activity for any tourist.
Take traditional food tours
If you haven’t had the chance to research the local cuisine of your travel destination, or if you simply enjoy experiencing local food with the help of a knowledgeable local who can explain the flavors and take you to the most authentic places to taste them, then you might want to consider going on a gastronomic tour. These tours typically include visits to local markets where you will learn about the essential ingredients used in the local cuisine, sample fruits, and taste the local food specialties. It’s a fun way to discover and enjoy the culinary culture of the place you’re visiting. Consider joining Devour’s food tours available in various cities across Europe and the United States.
Participate in wine, beer, or any drink tasting
When we travel to different destinations, we can experience the unique beverages they offer. For example, we can taste delicious beers in Brussels, sample exquisite wines in a beautiful chateau in Bordeaux, or enjoy rum tastings in the Caribbean, such as in the Dominican Republic or Cuba. By recognizing the specialties of each place we visit, we can fully appreciate and enjoy the unique experiences they offer.
Take a cooking class with a local
Taking a cooking class is a fun way to learn how to prepare delicious recipes at home and relive the memories of your vacation. It allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, visit markets, learn home cooking techniques, and, in most cases, dine at a local’s home. You’ll experience a unique atmosphere that will make you feel as if you’re at a friend’s house.
Participate in a food festival
As part of your research, it’s important to look into the various events happening in the city during your visit. If you happen to stumble upon a food festival, it’s definitely worth checking out. Typically, food festivals offer live music, and a wide variety of dishes that are representative of the city’s culinary scene, including offerings from restaurants, street food vendors, and drinks all in one convenient location.
Adapt to local meal times
Although it is the final consideration, it is one of the most significant when it comes to food and dining: adapting to the meal schedules of the country you are visiting. Every country has its meal schedule, which may differ significantly from what you are used to. It’s important to keep this in mind because it affects the opening hours of various food establishments. While northern European countries usually have dinner between 6 pm to 7:30 pm, other countries like Spain have dinner between 9:30 pm to 10:30 pm. So, if you travel from one country to another, this can be a noticeable difference that may impact your dining choices.