We've put together a list of tips to help you get the most out of your next adventure.
1. ALWAYS SEEK OUT LOCAL ADVICE
Before you go, seek out local blogs and guides to help plan your trip. Another way to get first hand local advice is to take one of our cooking classes! During your private class, feel free to ask any tips or advice from our chefs (they can even teach you how to order like a local!). While you're travelling, seek out a local and ask where they might go for lunch or dinner in efforts to avoid the typical tourist trap restaurants.
2. KNOW WHAT FOODS ORIGINATED THERE
Before you head out on your adventure, find out what the national dishes are of the country you're visiting so you can make sure you check them off your list. National dishes are chosen because they represent the country's image and are part of their identity. Take this Hainanese Chicken Rice, it is one of Singapore's National dishes and is served anywhere from school lunches to high-end restaurants. It is not just something the world identifies with their culture, it truly is loved by the locals year-over-year.
3. RESEARCH THE 'MUST EAT' FOODS IN EACH REGION
Go one step further - No matter where you are travelling, there will be a special dish, vegetable or specific preparation of a dish that is unique to every region in the country. Pesto, for example, originates from Genoa which is the capital of the Liguria region found in the north west of Italy. Pesto alla genovese is a MUST eat if you visit Genoa, no questions asked.
4. VISIT A LOCAL MARKET
See how the locals buy their weekly groceries. Local markets will usually be where you find the freshest produce and authentic products. Depending where you are, try your hand at bartering with the vendors! It may seem odd to you but it's all part of the experience.
5. TAKE A COOKING CLASS
What better way to get hands on experience using ingredients you may have never used before than a cooking class teaching you how to make local dishes? We suggest taking a cooking class near the beginning of your trip so you have a better understanding of the flavours and ingredients in the local cuisine. This can help you navigate menus during your trip. And make sure to ask your instructor any questions you might have about ordering from restaurants!
6. ENJOY A LOCAL COCKTAIL
A Hurricane in New Orleans, Aperol Spritz in Milan and Tinto diversion in Madrid - even if it isn't really your flavour, you should have one just to say you did while you were there.
7. EAT WHAT'S IN SEASON
If you're visiting Ontario, Canada, anytime between July and September, grabbing a pint of fresh wild blueberries from the local market has to be on your list. Find out what produce is in season when you plan on visiting your destination to enjoy the freshest flavours and probably save a couple dollars.
8. EXPLORE LOCAL STREET FOOD
Some street food looks amazing (like this deep fried Hungarian lángos) and some of it may look a little more intimidating (fried scorpions anyone?) but more often then not it's delicious. We say trust your gut, but push yourself to be a little more adventurous. Chef Daniela can also teach you how to make a couple traditional Italian snacks you might find while walking through the streets of Southern Italy in our Street Food Cooking Class.
9. TAKE A TOUR & LEARN SOMETHING
From vineyard tours in Tuscany to whiskey distillery tours in Japan - Tours are a fun way to learn something new about the destination you're visiting. An added bonus of tours are that they give you an opportunity to meet other travellers from around the world that have similar interests as you.
10. VISIT SPECIALTY SHOPS
A whole store of ham? Yes, please! These Jamonerías can be found throughout Spain and are filled with Jamón Ibérico, which has been dubbed the finest ham in the world. Many countries will have shops dedicated to products they specialize in so make sure to keep an eye out for these gems and see if you can get a free sample...or 20.
The Ultimate Night-In. Skype a Chef for a Private Cooking Class
The Chef & The Dish has been rated 'Best Gifts for Couples" by TimeOut NY! Learn to cook with a chef or culinary expert from around the world - all without leaving your kitchen! Skype a chef into your home for a great date-night in, girls get-together, epic dinner party or gift for someone you love.