Anyone can try the hot new restaurant in town or look up a celebrity chef’s latest recipe, but true food lovers require something more. How can a cooking connoisseur level up?
Culinary vacations are gaining popularity and are now available at a wide range of price points and in just about every country imaginable. Culinary vacation Tuscany offers participants a chance to spend time in the beautiful Umbrian countryside while receiving hands-on training in harvesting olives, hunting truffles or just tasting wine. Gourmet cruises have hands-on experiences on ship as well as on shore, and there is a cruise to just about every continent. Even all-inclusive resorts once known for their bland buffets are getting in on the foodie action, with several companies combining exotic locales, swim-up bars, and fine dining.
Perhaps you want to try international cuisine but are hesitant to travel or just can’t get the time off work. Increasingly, wine vendors and specialty gourmet shops are offering evening classes featuring some of their most intriguing products. If you are ready to commit to a weekend a month or a semester of Wednesday nights, community colleges allow you to take your appetite for education even further.
This is the option that requires the least money, time and commitment; however, like a traditional blind date, it can be a lot of fun or can turn into a complete disaster. First, find an unfamiliar food store—perhaps an international market, or a corner shop in the nearest Chinatown. Walk the aisles and find something you have never seen before. Buy it. Then take your new exotic ingredient home and make something with it. You may be able to look up recipes or you may have to just smell, taste and feel your way around it. In any case, you will end up with something you have never made before, and your new food experience may become your new favorite dish.