The Rise of Culinary Tourism

Vacation, hooray! Traveling is one of our favorite leisure activities and for as long as most of us on the team can remember, generally revolves around… food. For me, frequently (ok, almost exclusively), my travel plans revolve around food, wine, and coffee. How about you? These tendencies fall under the culinary tourism umbrella.


Lebanese Mezze

A taste of Lebanese Mezze at Chateau Kefraya


Culinary tourism a.k.a. food tourism or gastronomic tourism is defined as:

the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences. By combining travel with these edible experiences, culinary tourism offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic taste of place. 

– Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance

What mental imagery is evoked when you hear the term? Maybe a wine tour in Montalcino, a local food tour in one of your favorite places (see this Mile End Montreal Food Tour, for example), or a local food and wine festival? Yes! On all fronts, the aforementioned activities fall under the traditional understanding of culinary tourism. However, with the rise of the industry, you’ll find culinary tourism integrated into experiences in more subtle ways.



Don’t overlook an opportunity to take a cooking class while on vacation!


According to Skift, 

39 million U.S. leisure travelers choose a destination based on the availability of culinary activities, while another 35 million seek out culinary activities after a destination is decided upon.

Here are a couple of examples of how culinary tourism has been integrated into the greater travel industry:

Luxury Retreats, an international luxury villa rental and vacation rental company, has a 24/7 Concierge team that is skilled at pairing travelers with local chefs for the duration of their stays. 

Travel Noire, a rising star travel startup, fully embraces culinary tourism as part of their curated travel product known as TN Experiences. Culinary tourism plays an integral role in their experience design–travelers are guaranteed authentic, delicious, and culturally enlightening culinary experiences throughout their journeys to places like Bali, Bahia, Johannesburg and more. Frequently, TN also arranges for hands-on experiences like cooking lessons with locals. 

As you plan your travel, why not hire a private chef for your vacation? The perks? Your chef will be well-versed in the best of local ingredients and cuisines and he/she will come to you and give you a chance to continue to enjoy your holiday and decompress. 

At ChefXChange, we appreciate the experiential importance of food. As you travel, be sure to check our growing list of hubs and satellite cities, to have an authentic and unforgettable culinary experience.