Food has long played an important role in tourism and one of the best ways to explore and familiarise yourself with a place is through its cuisine. In recent years, a more unique version of food tourism has gained popularity, foraging. Foraging has become increasingly popular among tourists thanks to promotion by several chefs all around the world, and an increased number of places which offer foraging opportunities. This activity involves visitors exploring an area, whilst guided, in search for wild foods like truffles, herbs and scallops. This is then of course followed by a feast of these discoveries!
Caroline Davey, an ecologist, forager and cook at the Fat Hen school in Cornwall, England, explains that, ‘foraging keeps you completely in the moment, connects you with the ecological web of life which we are all a part of but are mostly disconnected from, and fills a deep ancestral yearning,’ She describes how, ‘the pleasure people get from then cooking a fantastic feast with these amazing ingredients all sourced within a few miles of Fat Hen is palpable.’
Alan Muskat, CEO of Asheville, North Carolina’s No Taste Like Home, adds that foraging is ‘ideal for people and the planet, wild food is healthier, fresher and more flavourful than its garden-variety descendants, and it’s all superfood because it’s what we evolved to eat.’
One of the beauties of foraging is that, just as local cuisine varies from place to place, so do foraging opportunities. For example, a foraging trip on the Cornish coast will be an entirely different experience to picking herbs on the slopes of Devil’s Peak, Cape Town, which will again be totally different to a trip to the French countryside. And foraging opportunities don’t exist solely in the countryside, you can enjoy it in the city too. For example a new initiative in Brussels is now promoting educational plant walks around the area and encouraging people to get out and about in the city, whilst learning about the plants that grow there. Forest to Plate, based in France and Belgium, collaborated on this initiative, in addition to the many other foraging adventures they offer.
It is understandable that foraging continues to gain popularity. It truly enables us to explore the many diverse environments of our planet, and with a healthy and delicious meal at the end of it, whats not to love?!