EXPERIENCING THE WORLD,
ONE BITE AT A TIME
When I first got the travel bug, I was clueless when it came to where and what to eat. So clueless that I often wound up eating at fast food chains in some of Europe’s most exciting culinary capitals.
Don’t tell anyone but…
I even ate LE CROQUE McDo in Paris! Le Croque McDo is McDonald’s answer to the otherwise delicious Croque-Monsieur sandwich; a mind-blowing combination of ham and cheese with velvety béchamel oozing out all over the place. Trust me when I tell you the only thing these two sandwiches have in common is the word ‘croque’.
Laura, I love your blog. The content, layout, recipes and travel articles are beautiful and useful. You have a way of sifting through information and offering the most essential culinary travel tips. Your site is useful and fun to read. I am looking forward to going on one of your self-guided food tours soon.
ON A MISSION
Since then, I’ve gone on to become a certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP), and I’ve had some amazing food experiences all over the world, like:
- Cooking with a Contessa in a beautiful Italian palazzo.
- Judging a National food competition – the Canadian Culinary Championships.
- Eating cicchetti with local fishermen in a bacaro in Venice.
- Taking cooking classes at the same school where Julia Child perfected her craft.
- Hunting for truffles in the Tuscan countryside.
- Using a molcajete in the Baja to make regional salsas.
- Devouring insanely creative tapas at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Spain.
- Being accepted as a member of the World Gourmet Society.
- And so much more!
Now I’m on a mission to help you do the same. No more fast food chains for me – or you! My meticulously planned self-guided food walks and mini travel guides are designed to help you experience the highlights of a local cuisine in a short period of time – whether you’re on a stopover, layover, pre or post cruise extension, shore excursion, or weekend getaway.
I also share recipes collected on my travels, along with my best travel tips, of the moment travel news, inspiring stories, interviews, and gorgeous galleries.
I took the Rome food tour in October 2017. So glad I did! I visited places that I would never have known about. The pasticceria was a highlight (I love tiramisu), as was the rooftop bar. The tour instructions were very clear, and I liked how I was able to go at my own pace, and not be rushed. I timed it so that I ended up at the rooftop bar for a spectacular sunset. .
how i became a food-obsessed traveler
I’d been traveling for as long as I can remember, and although I enjoyed it, I always came home feeling a little letdown. Like I had missed something important. I knew there had to be more to it than architecture and art. More than landscapes and history. Although I didn’t know it at the time, what I was craving was a genuine connection to people and cultures.
I finally found what I was looking for in 2011 when I took a trip to Paris to indulge a newfound fascination with French culinary technique.
I put myself way outside my comfort zone and signed up for a cooking class at the Ecole Ritz Escoffier. I was the only English-speaking student in a class of French speakers. The chef spoke rapid-fire French while his assistant, Sophie, translated for me. At least that’s how it was supposed to go down. The reality was a bit different. The chef kept her busy doing a million other things – setting the table, uncorking wine, fetching things. To complicate matters, the class was quite advanced. This was the Ritz, after all, the epitome of haute cuisine. We cut potatoes into tournes, prepped ‘yesteryear’ vegetables, butterflied guinea fowl. We even made puff pastry from scratch.
Surprisingly, the language barrier dissolved faster than a bouillon cube in boiling water. So many cooking terms are French in origin – julienne, sauté, soufflé, flambé – to name a few (even bouillon). Plus the chef demonstrated each technique.
And the other students were all so enthusiastic! There was not a shy person in the room. Julia Child once said that “in France, cooking is a serious art form and a national sport”, and that was certainly the case with this group. When the chef asked for a volunteer to try a particularly challenging culinary feat, people were nearly knocking each other over as they raced to his station.
In North America, our food obsession began in the early 1980s and has built to a feverish pitch ever since then. The French, however, have been at it for centuries. Even Marie Antoinette was a foodie.
Once we finished the cooking, we sat down to this incredible feast. We ate on plates rimmed in gold. Drank bottle after bottle of exquisite wine. Shared plenty of laughter. Even though I had no idea what we were laughing at (it could have been me for all I know) I laughed just as heartily as everyone else (maybe it was the wine?). It was just the best day ever.
To this day, this is my all-time favorite travel experience. It was the first time I really understood how food connects us, how it can be a bridge between cultures, a tool to help us appreciate our differences and similarities.
And I’ve been hooked ever since.
Great review, thanks! And loved the breakdown so we know what to expect on our visit there in June. Managed to get a booking thanks to the tips as well.