For globetrotters, many tour companies specialize in culinary travel packages—from cheese making in France to visiting the colorful Cai Be floating market in Saigon to learning to make ribollita soup in Tuscany—and arrange meals, flights and accommodations. Ask a travel agent for recommendations or search "culinary travel" and "foodie tourism" on the Web.
If you prefer to schedule your own activities or simply want to stay local, there is no shortage of culinary outings for the domestic traveler. You can wind through the historic district of Savannah, Ga., where restaurant and specialty shop proprietors will explain the history and ingredients of famous Southern dishes; visit Seattle’s Pike Place Market for an insider’s look at vendors and stories about the market’s culture; or tour a Vermont maple farm and local gourmet meat market while setting up base camp at an historic New England inn.
Consider reaching out to local culinary historians—who may offer lectures on the origins of various foods and guided tours—or a local gourmet food club. And group tours aren’t the only option: You can do it yourself, too. Some state and local travel and tourism boards provide online culinary tour maps that feature destinations for locally grown and produced foods.
Here is a sampling of culinary tourism activities for food and nutrition professionals:
Food & Culinary Professionals DPG
Offering culinary tours in countries around the globe for more than a decade, the Food & Culinary Professionals dietetic practice group trips focus on the history, tradition and culture of a region’s food and wine. Join FCP in January for hands-on experiences in the kitchens of the Napa Valley’s Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. FCP’s next international trip (scheduled for spring 2013) will head to Spain’s San Sebastian coastal culinary region and Rioja wine region. Learn more about FCP tours at foodculinaryprofs.org/index.cfm.
With a mission to guide people to good health through heritage, Oldways Culinarias is centered on the premise that food, wine and culinary traditions are at the core of different cultures. Trips are led by culinary experts in local foods and flavors, and include cooking demonstrations, trips to farms, vineyards, cheesemakers and bakeries, and meals in favorite local restaurants. Upcoming tours include Puglia, Italy, in spring 2013 and Madrid in fall 2013. For more information, visit oldwayspt.org/programs/culinary-travel.
Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA’s more than 200 chapters across the country host events to celebrate food in the context of pleasure, culture and community—such as farm tours, seasonal feasts and taste workshops. Past events include an heirloom variety workshop at a gene bank in Maine, a honey tasting at a Connecticut apiary and an apple cider celebration in Washington state. To find a Slow Food USA chapter in your area, visit slowfoodusa.org/index.php/events.
American Institute of Wine and Food
With 27 chapters throughout the country, AIWF offers events ranging from garden, vineyard and farm tours to culinary outings in local neighborhoods and foraging and fi shing excursions. To fi nd information about your local chapter and upcoming events, visit aiwf.org/site/main/local.html.
International Association of Culinary Professionals
While many local IACP chapters offer food tours as part of their events program to members, the national IACP conference also includes food tours in the meeting’s host city. Visit iacp.com to learn about IACP’s 2013 conference in San Francisco.