Ask most people what they would do if money was no object and you never had to work again, and a huge number of people say “travel”.

Tourism eating

Ask the same group of people what they love about travelling and they will tell you it’s the people, the sights and….the food.

The thing about travel is, when you go somewhere further afield than, say, your local pub, there are always new foodie things to try. Travelling and eating. Like Mork and Mindy, Abbot and Costello and tequila and regret, they fit hand in glove.

So what better way to combine these two magnificent past-times, than tourism built specifically around eating?

Voila, ladies and gentlemen may we present……the Culinary Tour industry.

Tourism food

I know ‘cooking’ and ‘eating’ are not necessarily the same thing, but every cooking tour on offer from Ireland to Singapore and everywhere in between invites you to learn how to make a delicious dish, and then indulge in it. It’s like win/win, only winning-er.

Companies like ‘Exotravel’ and ‘Artisans of Leisure’ breathlessly entice you to join them in the vibrant marketplaces of Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Laos and a dozen other locations where you will be guided on how to buy local produce (usually pointing and pulling out money works for me, but there may be tricks I don’t know) and then will whisk you away to either a private kitchen with an ‘experienced home maker’ or a well-appointed restaurant with a chef, where you will learn all you need to know about making yummy things like a local, then get to eat them. Which is obviously the best part.

In Europe, the format is the same. Companies such as ‘The International Kitchen’ and ‘Epiculinary’ offer up the delights of Spain, France and Italy….and yes, Ireland seems to feature rather heavily….and other companies such as ‘Book Culinary Vacations’ offer specific tours like ‘Cheese and Walking in Switzerland’ where you actually make cheese as well as eat it, and then get to walk it off after a bottle of wine. They are not paying us to be mentioned here at My Grey Nomads, just so you know, but I may actually have to explore that last one further.

In the Pacific, you can find food tours on a number of islands including Fiji. ‘Intrepid Urban Adventures’ will help you out with that one although there is less of the cooking and more of the other part. But that also works.

Desserts and delicious things involving beef and bell peppers in the Americas abound, and the website boasts a culinary tour of Lima and Peru that teaches you how to make cocktails. And then, presumably, how to drink them.

Kayaking down rivers is fun and all and, seriously, who doesn’t love exploring old castles, but tours around producing and eating chocolate or mango sticky rice or veggie stuffed rice paper rolls or fresh bowls of pasta? It’s a no brainer. And you needn’t worry that you are not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to being chef-y….after all, there is a chef standing beside you whole way. Worst comes to worst, you take a thousand selfies with you in a white hat, apron and a bunch of ingredients, then stand back and wait for the tasting bit. Bon appetite!!



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