If planning holidays around restaurant reservations, food festivals and regional flavours sounds like your travel MO, read on.
To paraphrase St Augustine: The world is a menu and those who do not travel only eat the first course. While culinary tourism certainly isn’t anything new, it’s a trend youth travel gurus Contiki have sunk their teeth into. Instead of fishing through food blogs and Yelp reviews to craft your ultimate travel tasting menu, why not put your taste buds in the hands of the travel pros?
Munch is the must-do trip for any gourmand worth their #foodporn likes, and Contiki has brought in the big guns. With the help of Thomas Castberg, European Masterchef’s answer to George Calombaris, this food odyssey will satisfy even the most obscure craving; the lauded Danish chef had the tasty task of sniffing out the best local eats for your fine palates. There’ll be no sparing your mates (online or otherwise) from the onslaught of food and travel pics, especially when your Mediterranean meander kicks off in Barcelona, the seaside city jam-packed with Gaudi goodness.
Before share plates were a ‘thing’, there were tapas, and in Barca, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable feast of these bite-size morsels and a cooking class. Next up is the land of brie and baguettes, France. Follow in the footsteps of one-eared wonder Van Gogh in Arles, sup burgundy and bouillabaisse in Provence, and nail the perfect Instagram foodie flatlay with produce sourced from Marche aux Fleurs in Nice. Over in Italy, it’s all about the good life. You’ll discover where pesto is the, err, besto (hint: Genoa), tuck into hearty Tuscan fare in Florence, try risotto in all its OG glory in Milan, and of course, drink your water weight in Aperol spritzes.
Traveller numbers on Munch are capped at 25 to ensure there’s plenty to go around. There’s no need to worry about shower shoes or navigating the nuances (ahem) of hostel dorm etiquette either. Comfortable private twin-share hotel accommodation comes as standard. Chef Thomas has even trained up the hotel partners to serve you only the freshest local produce.
If all that isn’t enough to get your mouth watering, now might be a good time to mention the special guests. Hayden Quinn and Dan Churchill, MasterChef alums, new-school Surfing the Menu hosts and all-round nice guys, are along for the ride. These food-loving lads share bulk charisma and charm, so you’re in for a fun time.
Munch rounds out the Contiki Limited Edition Summer Series trio, joining Snap, the trip for ‘phonographers’ looking to take their ‘gram game to the next level, and Boutique Local, which is all about backstreet flavour and daily life. The nine-day Munch trips run from May 27 to June 4 and from September 16 to 24, 2017.
Sharing a meal in a foreign land, regardless of language barriers, offers a deeper cultural connection than any museum visit could. Go at it alone and you only just might stumble on a gem, but follow a guide who’s on the pulse of new finds and local favourites, and you’re on the fast track to culinary enlightenment. Now, who’s hungry?