En español | Mix a taste for travel with a curious palate, and you get the recipe for an enchanting culinary experience. If sampling local delicacies while you’re on vacation is just as important as taking in the sights, you could be an ideal candidate for culinary tourism.
See also: A menu of tasty tours.
Mexican Mushroom Mayhem
Gundi Jeffrey and Erik Purre Portsmouth, 60-year-old mushroom lovers, made Dana Clarence’s tour choice easy. Members of the Mycological Society of Toronto, the two Canadians lead weeklong mushroom tours in Mexico. While each trip is unique, some aspects stay the same: hunting for mushrooms, studying them with fungi experts, enjoying meals featuring regional cuisine and mushrooms, and sightseeing.
“We usually stay in small hotels, lodges, or former haciendas. We’ve even stayed on coffee and citrus plantations,” says Jeffrey. “We look for places where the staff will make special mushroom dishes for us, or where we can cook for ourselves if we prefer.” Past trips have ventured into Tlaxcala, Veracruz, and Copper Canyon.
“I’m not particularly interested in cooking,” confesses 57-year-old Clarence, a retired Toronto lawyer. “I am, however, particularly interested in eating. I enjoyed the taste sensations.”
Puerto Rican Palate Pleasers
If you prefer independence, Puerto Rico invites gastronomes to take self-guided culinary and cultural tours of the island’s diverse regions. Norma Llop, 50, a chef for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, has been busy developingrutas gastronómicas, including three Porta del Sol routes.
The tourist officeprovides all the details you’ll need: maps of the routes along with lists of paradores (inns) and local mesones gastronómicos—specially selected eateries that serve the best of Puerto Rican cuisine. All you have to do is get to the “Isla del Encanto” and rent a car.
Llop is particularly enthusiastic about the Ruta del Café, which winds from San Sabastián to Sabana Grande, away from the coast. “It’s more for the foodie kind of person, someone who doesn’t mind sacrificing the beach,” she says.