Cuisine Noir – Delicious Life: Culinary travel 101 for mouthwatering journeys

by wands on May 1, 2010

Full version of this Delicious Life column appeared in May 2010 Cuisine Noir mag.

City tour for cuisine noir story“Me, a culinary traveler? But I don’t go and eat at famous gourmet restaurants!” The lady does protest too much, I think. I’m paying a compliment to Meg Kiuchi, an Oakland painter, foodie — and yes, culinary traveler — who is acting like I’m trying to get her to eat slugs.

“So tell me, why did you stay in that rental apartment last time you were in Paris?” I ask.

“So that we could go to the markets and buy all the wonderful produce to prepare in our own kitchen at night,” she says. “We had this fanciful idea about the markets. As it turned out, while we (in the San Francisco Bay Area) are moving toward fresh and local produce, they (les Parisiennes) are moving the other way. At least that’s how it seemed. So we ate out more than we expected and took home breads, wines and cheeses.”

“And how much travel time, would you say, is your focus the food?” The retired social worker comes up with a guesstimate breakdown of one third food; one third art, architecture and visiting museums and galleries; and one third ambience, as in walking around and taking in the feel of the place and the people. “Wandering. I love to wander,” she says. “I love to find things down backstreets. And I like to fall upon little places to eat. Like, I would not go searching out the best escargot. But to discover a little restaurant serving the best escargot …”

North Beach San Fancisco city tour coffee

Telling us how he roasts coffee beans.

“I don’t think a true culinary traveler would go eat at famous gourmet restaurants, except maybe once in a while out of curiosity,” I tell her. “Face it, you’re a culinary traveler.”

Culinary Travel 101

Edible journeys make the world tastier. One of the joys of culinary travel is that no matter how voracious your appetite or where a journey takes you, there is an endless repository of flavors and smells to savor, textures to bite into, recipes to sample, traditions to discover and a never-ending buffet to taste, learn about, and share. Or to write home about when the idea of sharing a particular item kills the appetite.

There is no cookie-cutter definition. And there are no rules, just good ideas and what works for you.

Culinary Travel or Culinary Tourism?

Given that every good idea at some point becomes a business opportunity, culinary tourism — what I think of as culinary travel made formal — is one of the fastest growing tourism niches worldwide . . .

Read the full version of this story on the Cuisine Noir mag website.

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