Archive for October, 2015
Fantastic travel article covering food tourism by Skift
The first question – what’s the difference between a “Food Tourist” and simply a Foodie? It’s sort of like the Champagne question: all Champagnes are sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines are Champagnes (Champagne is a regionally protected name in France that also restricts the type of sparkling wines produced..).
A Food Tourist (also known as a “Gastro-Tourist” – this name sounds a bit..flatulent??) is:
-Defined by Gastrotourism.com:
“Gastro-tourists are foodies who want to go behind the scenes to taste and discuss the nuances of local region-specific foods and to learn about unique ingredients and cooking techniques from cultural experts.”
-Is more than just interested in going to fine-dining chef-driven restaurants – they want a “unique” experience around food and drink,
-Sees food, eating and drinking as more than just a necessity – it’s a form of experiential entertainment
After reading these lines, it may seem a bit high-falutin’ to be a food tourist, but it’s really just an extension of the realities of the modern world – people can afford to live and enjoy many of their fantasies, hopes and dreams – food and drink satisfy both a primal and an aspirational component of a Foodie’s life.
So what does this mean for the tourism industry and the companies that promote local food and drink? The key point is to focus on the “experience” – this is today’s “sell the sizzle, not the steak”:
-Since so much of initial information on a region is based on the web, consider adding or changing your website to expose and increase excitement level of your dining/drink experiences. For example, you could put the spotlight on a local brewery having a beer dinner at a local restaurant – this is much more interesting to the food tourist than simply listing restaurants/breweries on your site.
-Much of consumer tourism is focused on the weekend “escape” – a quick 2 or 3 day trip to escape the stress of working/urban lifestyle. This is generally a higher-income person or couple and they tend to eat out at finer restaurants and spend more money, so they are looking for a story to tell everyone – sort of the new “first on your block” to do something. This demographic has generally travelled and been to Europe, so consider emphasizing local “artisans” who make cider, distilled spirits, craft beer, or wine.
-Foodie experiences can include cooking classes, chef demonstrations, local food specialties (Georgia peanuts, Maryland crabs, Carolina BBQ, etc.) so give them an opportunity to try more than one: create a “Taste of <your city/town/county/region>” which showcases a mix of local food artisans, food trucks, restaurants, wineries, craft distilleries, breweries and other local foods.
-Give tourists an opportunity to explore and spend their money supporting “local” – the locavore/farm-to-table movement is still growing and resonates with the new Food Tourist – they want to both support local, be sustainable, and have a memorable experience. Support your local farms, and agri-businesses by listing them on your website and using social media to tell their story – you won’t regret it!
<<Addition: just found out about Asheville, NC’s “Foodtopia” concept on their site – Foodtopia – great way to discover their great chefs, distilleries, breweries and more – they even post a Discover Western North Carolina Cheese Tour >>
I hope this opens up some new ideas for tourism in your region – the challenge is to look at what you already have in the way of food and drink businesses and to better position them for success with tourists. Sometimes the best marketing program is to simply let these businesses do what they do – it may seem weird, but the internet and social media have made stars out of little local businesses that may seem under the radar, but actually have been on the Food Network or other media vehicles and have distinct followings. One example that comes to mind in my local area is Georgetown Cupcake in Washington, D.C. Even though they have virtually no marketing budget or help telling their story, they’re TLC TV Show DC Cupcakes (and Facebook Page with over 1.3 million Likes) keeps them constantly with long lines down the street in Georgetown – the only business like this in all of DC!
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler
Saperavi — Mtsvane (silent “M”) — Rkatsiteli (silent “R”) – Georgian wines came to Washington, D.C. for a fantastic Trade Tasting held at Vidalia Restaurant on Monday, October 19, 2015 and really made a show! Presented by Georgian Wines (Facebook Event Here) the tasting was sponsored by The National Wine Agency, a division of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Georgia.
So what makes Georgian wine unique?
1)Wines are made in an ancient traditional way – the “qvevri” which according to Wikipedia: “large earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine”.
2)Orange or amber wines are created for white wine varietals due to skin contact while fermenting and aging. According to Wine Enthusiast: “Orange wines are white wines produced more like reds, with prolonged maceration of crushed grape skins and seeds.” Article Link Here . The taste is quite unique from this maceration and storing in clay pots – dried fruits like apricots and floral notes immediately come to mind, but of course it depends on the quality of grapes and the varietal. We tasted many Rkatsitelis (“R” is silent – so “cats-e-telee”) and Mtsvanis (“M” is silent – so “svah-nee”) and one in particular that was memorable was the Shalauri Mtsvane that was decanted – see image – “dried apricots, floral aromas and tea-like in flavor” – Very, VERY dry wines as well – not even a hint of residual sugar on my palate and medium acidity – these wines CRY for food! Mamuka Tsereteli, the infamous importer/distributor of many Georgian wines for Georgian Wine House in the Mid-Atlantic Region also told me I needed to taste his Our Wine Rkatsitelli – this “amber wine” (which seemed to be a more favorable expression at the event – I guess my love of Orange Fanta didn’t go over well!!) had an intensity/acidity and dried fruit/tea/smoked ham (I stole this descriptor from the pamphlet..but overall, it’s a goodie!) aroma/flavor profile that really stood out at the event!
3)Over 500 “unique/indigenous” varietals with 8,000 years of winemaking history – literally, the cradle of winemaking as we know it! Here are some I tasted: Chinebuli, Tsitska, Mtsvane, Saperavi, Tsolikouri, Rkatsiteli, Ojaleshi, Otskhanuri Sapere, Kisi and Krakhuna..400+ to go..
THE LIST OF PARTICIPATING PRODUCERS INCLUDES:
Marani (Telavi Wine Cellars)
Teliani Valley Winery
So why not start with a National Cherry Blossom Festival Grand Sake Tasting? This image comes from the National Cherry Blossom . I attend this event almost every year and find that Sake is still a bit of a stranger to my palate – I shall explain: often the most highly rated “Daiginjho” which are the most expensive because of the process of buffing down the rice to such a small size – don’t have the most flavor. They can actually be quite subtle and even a bit mushroomy/earthy even floral notes. I guess it’s like Pinot Noir – which when they’re great are awesome, but when they’re made in a tough vintage or stored improperly, they can be quite drab! Although there’s food at this event, it’s really about the sake.
There was a UFO siting at Taste of DC – WhAAaatttt?? No, it’s this new Pop Up Cafe Concept called Cafe Bellas. Overall, I enjoyed Taste of DC – I went on the late side, so I couldn’t partake in the wine and beer tents which had virtually no lines and a pretty decent selection, especially of craft beers.
So what was the most unusual food I saw at any event? See the image at the Korean Festival for “Wild Caught Fresh U.S. Eel”..yep, those slippery little creatures ended up in my rice bowl! Is eel really that exotic – I mean if you watch Bizarre Foods/Andrew Zimmern? No, not really, but it scares most American diners just from the name and the thought of eating it! Having had eel many times in Sushi restaurants, I was more curious by the tent’s name – it seems that at least one Korean company is attempting to make a successful business in the U.S. of supplying this animal protein..will it succeed? Hard to tell, but just like rabbit, there are probably enough chefs and diners to make it an interesting focus on a few menus. Ohh, and of course it’s Gluten-Free!
Cochon 555 brought us Heritage BBQ which was a rockin’ experience around 5 great chefs (but I counted many more), 5 pigs and 5..well I think it’s wines, but as far as I could tell it was bourbon and mezcal..This is an Over the Top Event – it’s the Rock n Roll of Piggie Festivals, the Lamborghini of Porcine Madness, the Exclamation Point for the End of Western Civilization as we know it drowning in good things like Fidencio Mezcal, Handmade cocktails, Creekstone Farms Heritage Pigs, Pigs Heads, Bulleit, Breckenridge Booze, Buffalo Trace, Rappahannock Oysters and pretty much everything but actual Chef Porn (I always miss the After-Party to avoid the potential for Sodom and Gomorrah experiences!)..You Gotta Go Next Year!!
TasteUSA Upcoming Events for End of 2015
-Oct. 24th, 2015 – DC Scotch Walk – 8 Bars, 8 Scotches and only $35..Sweet Deal!
-November 7th, 2015 – DC Beerathon – 26 Beers at 26 Bars – yes, 12 oz. beers, and No, nobody expects you to finish all of them! Fun Tour, I’ve Done it, and you have all day to drink and mingle..
-Nov. 14th, 2015 – Brew & Bourbon Classic, Laurel Park – Special Priced Tickets – Only $20 inclusive of all the beer and bourbon you care to drink.
Charlie “I Drink on the Job” Adler