The Jet Set

Whether I’m driving 30 miles to a nearby small town for amazing Mexican fare or flying over an ocean to get the world’s best cheese, bread, and chocolate, food is both the best reason and the best fringe benefit of travel.

I was musing on this as I clicked over to a Forbes magazine article tantalizingly titled “Top Ten Gourmet Getaways.” I envisioned a richly photographed story that chronicled the markets and restaurants of the world. How would they choose just ten?

Instead, the article rhapsodizes on hotels and resorts around the world that offer lots of cooking classes or meet-and-greet tasting opportunities with their star chef. The photos are mostly PR shots of people standing around a cooking class. Hardly food porn.

These high-end properties have seen the foodie writing on the wall and installed “culinary arts centers” complete with Viking ranges and high-end cookware, all the better to lure today’s affluent vacationer, who, like the army, apparently travels on his stomach.

It also describes “the first-ever private jet culinary tour,” in which guests will eat their way through Thailand, Burma, India, Bhutan, and China with Gael Green and Simon Winchester for two weeks. “The cost: A mere $49,950 per person.”

All this is well and good, but I feel more kindred spirit with people who make their own culinary travel adventures.

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