Gastronomy Increasingly a Huge Motivation for Travellers

By Abraham, Lois | The Canadian Press, December 19, 2016 | Go to article overview

Gastronomy Increasingly a Huge Motivation for Travellers


Abraham, Lois, The Canadian Press


Gastronomy a huge motivation for travellers

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TORONTO - There's no better way to soak up the culture of a country than through its food, whether it's experienced through walking tours, cooking classes or hands-on demonstrations.

Food, wine and beer festivals around the world draw foodies eager to combine noshing and sipping while viewing the sights. Snaps on social media, food blogs and magazines also tempt travellers.

"Celebrity chefs and TV programs, we think, have played a huge role in gastronomy being a huge motivation for today's travellers," says Timothy Chan, public relations manager for G Adventures, a worldwide travel company founded by Bruce Poon Tip in Toronto in 1990.

One of those celebs is Anthony Bourdain, the globe-trotting host of "Parts Unknown," who has spent 250 days a year on the road chronicling food and culture for his CNN program.

"More and more people clearly are travelling for food. There's no faster way to get a clearer picture of a country and a culture, or interact with people than over food," he said while in Toronto this fall to promote "Appetites: A Cookbook."

"It's a way we talk to each other and communicate and show affection and try to reach out to one another by nurturing each other. There's so much information on every plate of food as you go from country to country, so it's both fun and useful to understand a place."

Canadian experts are leading food-centric tours to exotic locales.

Author Naomi Duguid has spent 25 years researching the cultural and culinary aspects of far-flung countries. Her most recent book is "Taste of Persia," which chronicles the rich heritage and culinary cross-influences found throughout the region that centres on Iran.

"You can understand things through the food," says Duguid, who calls a tour she's leading at the end of January to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand a "combo cooking-food-shopping-eating immersion course." She says many people combine that trip with one to Burma that follows. She's also hoping to take small groups on 10-day trips next fall to Iran and Georgia.

The popularity of "local living" tours of the Amalfi coast and Sorrento areas has led G Adventures to add more food-focused outings to the Garfagnana area in Tuscany and Umbria to the north. Participants learn to make pasta with grandmothers who share family recipes, and taste olive oil and limoncello in between hiking, biking and sightseeing. …

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