People want to reclaim what’s real. Mass tourism is no longer sufficient. ~ Jamie Wong
Culinary Adventures are the new way for travellers to experience a country and connect directly with locals and their culture through the plate. It’s an immersive way to “travel better, on a deeper emotional and more personal level”, explains The Rise of Experiential Travel Report by Skift + Peak.
For years, Lisa and I have brought friends on incredible trips to France to directly experience the real French culture by eating in regular people’s homes, touring food markets and travelling to far off small villages to taste the dishes that made them famous. What we have found is: people want to escape the homogenized trips and experience more adventurous and experiential travel. Mass tourism is dead.
Enjoying Cioppino and local wines on the Mendocino bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Sunset.
We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls. ~ Anaïs Nin
Experiential travel is more three dimensional and immersive; it refuses to be left alone and ignored. You get to participate in the story that is being created in real time, leaving room for spontaneity and hidden gems. Think of the movie City Slickers, where Billy Crystal, Daniel Stern and Bruno Kirby go on a cattle drive across the Southwest. Along the way they experience both the good and bad of authentic travel, forming a closer bond of friendship and come away forever changed by their experience.
The ritual experience is all about friends, fresh ingredients. Sun, sky, and moments that build memories. – Jean-André Charial
When our French friends and family came to visit us in California, they wanted the same kind of genuine experience. I remember one particular visit when we drove up highway one in an old VW bus, cooked a giant pot of Cioppino, the San Francisco Fish soup invented by Italian American fishermen in the late 1800’s, and ate it on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean while watching the most incredible sunset I had ever seen. You could never recreate that point in time; experiential moments just happen.
Culinary Adventures allow you to truly savor a region through the eyes and stomachs of the locals, and participate firsthand in their culture. In each area we visit, we are pairing with friends who live there and love food and wine. They will act as our personal guides to show us their cities and villages. And although we have an itinerary of sorts, we allow for plenty of spontaneity to happen.
Burgundy Culinary Adventure – June 2018
This year, we are taking a group to Burgundy and Lyon to experience the glories of French cuisine in what has long been considered the food mecca of France, and perhaps the entire world, to eat our way through the vieux city one plate at a time. Our friend Sonia will give an in-depth understanding of the local cuisine through its history and culture, and most importantly by tasting it.
We will be visiting many places, including the famed Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse, a bustling food market with over 60 food stalls peddling culinary delights. With our appetites primed, we will visit one of Lyon’s many Bouchon to enjoy a hearty meal Lyonnaise with a few pots of Beaujolais wine. We will visit a number of charcuteries, including C. Reynon Traiteur, who has been making the best charcuterie since 1937, bakeries and food shops as we wander the narrow streets of the old city.
On Sunday, regional wine expert and friend Pascal Wagner, self-described ‘Oeno Technical Wine Storyteller Sommelier’, will take us on a magical mystery tour of discovery, enjoyment and stimulation of all the senses during a private winery tour and tasting, followed by a picnic lunch in a vineyard, where we will drink incredible wines amongst the vines that grew them.
The following day, we’ll have an intimate cooking class and learn how to prepare one of the most classical Burgundian dishes: Poulet de Bresse à la crème, made with the fabled AOC blue-footed ‘Poulet de Bresse’ chickens; then sit down to dine on an incredible lunch we made together.
Be A Catalyst for Adventure and Excitement
Make incredible moments happen, perspective and attitude are everything in experiential travel. Travel guru Rick Steves once said, “It’s not what you spend or pack that makes your trip memorable; it’s the state of mind you bring. … Savor the differences. … Be ready to ad-lib, to be imaginative while conquering surprise challenges. Make an art out of taking the unexpected in stride. … Good travelers – like skiers bending their knees to make moguls more fun – enjoy the bumps in the road. … Don’t complicate your trip: simplify! Travelers can get stressed or waste time over the silliest things, which, in their niggling ways, can suffocate a happy holiday. … Avoid unnecessary burdens. … Ask questions all along the way. Make yourself an extrovert, even if you’re not. … Don’t be afraid to butcher the language. … Be a catalyst for adventure and excitement. … Be open-minded. Absorb, accept, and learn. Much of the success of your trip will depend on the attitude you pack. If you can think positively, travel smartly, adapt well, and connect with the culture, you’ll have a truly rich … trip. So raise your travel dreams to their upright and locked positions, and let yourself fly away.”
Provence Culinary Adventure – Summer 2019
We are in the midst of planning our next adventure in the Summer of 2019 to Provence. Email us via the form below to get on the mailing list for more details about those epic trips.
To read about our recent amazing trip to Cagnes-Sur-Mer, near Nice, go to my story posted on Curious Provence, a wonderful site about everything Provence.