Make no mistake about it, culinary tourism is booming. It’s now a mature special interest category which brings with it higher expectations for novelty, creativity, and innovative offerings. Cooking and mixology classes, food and wine pairings, and food festivals seem so, well, yesterday. Here’s a look at what was and what’s now.
|Cooking classes||Behind the scenes with the chef|
|Wine tastings||Hot sauce or other specialty food tastings|
|Eating local||Eating with locals in their homes or outside venues (e.g. mama cooks, eat with a local)|
|Group food tours||Personalized dining itineraries based on food preferences, traveling configurations, budget|
|World’s Fair with Food Courts||Food themed world’s fair (Milan Expo 2015)|
|Chef driven menus||Crowd sourced menus|
|Dining as party||Dining and conversation (“silence is the new luxury”)|
And in the category of dining trends, it’s important to not leave out gluten free. Any major restaurant has to cater to the needs of gluten free diners. Not only is it expected, but the absence of sensitivity to these special needs loses business and also makes a statement about service.
It’s interesting that in two restaurant visits in Miami in the past 45 days, one to a multi million dollar upscale restaurant operated by an international group, there were only two items on a multi page menu for gluten free. I was with a group of 8 and the diner walked out. In another case, another high-end restaurant, the waiter and kitchen staff had obviously not been trained about this special needs group. Take note!
Photo courtesy of Travel and Leisure