Movable feasts hit the spot with on-the-go gourmands
Foodtourism has been on the rise in recent years and there’s no sign of our appetite for culinary adventures — both here and abroad — waning.
Where once we may have limited ourselves to flicking through a guidebook for an international restaurant recommendation (more often than not ending up in a cavernous tourist trap as a result), we’re now seeking bespoke dining experiences and off-thebeaten-track visits to farmers and markets, often with a celebrity chef guide in tow (see Page 6).
Tourism operators now realise the value in courting the culinary tourist, and a raft of new products — from hosted visits to Michelinstarred restaurants in Spain and cooking classes in Bangkok to street food tours in Istanbul — caters to every taste and budget.
Cruise companies have opened outposts of awardwinning restaurants on their ships and introduced cooking classes and wine tastings as voyage highlights, while airlines, realising that an unidentifiable stir fry and a stale bread roll will no longer cut the mustard, have drafted in the likes of Neil Perry, Luke Mangan and Gordon Ramsay to sex up their meals.
On the domestic front, Tourism Australia has just announced Matt Moran as an ambassador for its new T-qual Tick tourism initiative, capitalising on the enormous publicity celebrity chefs are now generating.
A world of new opportunities has opened up, enabling today’s traveller to get to the heart of a nation through its stomach, whether it be via a visit to that secret Venetian restaurant where all the local vaporetto drivers hang out, or by pulling up a stool next to television chef Luke Nguyen at his favourite Hanoi street stall.
It’s no longer bon voyage so much as bon appetit . . . and long may it continue.