Mov­able feasts hit the spot with on-the-go gour­mands

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Food Issue - MICHELLE ROWE

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.

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