Three Of The Best Destinations For Culinary TravelsSunday, September 01, 2013 Mary Anne Velasco
From Wales to Bolivia, more and more vacation spots are re-branding themselves as destinations for culinary tourists. Gastronomically themed expeditions by the likes of Chantal Royer, who bills herself as a "world traveler/foodie," have inspired many vacationers to plan their own trips to explore the foods of some particular culture or geographical area. Some of the best destinations for culinary travel are, like these three, slightly unexpected.
The concepts of Florida and food are only tenuously linked in the average vacationer's mind, being eclipsed by visions of beaches and theme parks. Many visitors buy a case of citrus fruit on the way home, but take no other notice of the state's culinary potential. This is a mistake. Florida abounds with delightful food destinations, from the midwinter Delray Beach Garlic Festival to spring's Pensacola Crawfish Festival. Celebrity chefs are most likely to attend the South Beach Food and Wine Festival. Less glitz and formality is available a little further south at the Florida Keys Seafood Festival in Key West. Here visitors throng communal tables to enjoy local the local fleet's catch, cooked right from the boats.
Travelers have always visited Israel as an experience of religious or ethnic heritage or to explore the region's antiquities, but an increasing number choose to explore the country's gastronomic possibilities. Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have enormous open-air markets filled with local produce, but the star of Israel's culinary pantheon is her street food and its near kin. Begin with the ubiquitous street corner falafel vendors and their pitas full of salad and chickpea balls or schwarma sliced from spit roasted turkey or lamb. Move indoors to a cafe serving classic hummus. For something more elaborate, explore the Saturday morning pastry called jachnun, often accompanied by spiced grated tomato and more hard boiled eggs.
Australia is not yet quite as famous for its cuisine as for its wines, but its time will come, and it will likely start on the far southern island of Tasmania. Honey is the most famous of the region's products, closely followed by wine, whiskey and artisanal cheeses. Those who eschew alcohol should try Tasmanian Chilli Beer, the local ginger ale. One local farm's restaurant makes the unusual choice of limiting its menu to sweets: it bills itself as Just Desserts, and proffers ice cream and berry pies as well as pots of jam as souvenirs.