Food events are my main motive to travel
It will be no surprise to followers of my channels that my biggest motivation to travel is the promise of epic food events. I select my next destination based mostly on what exotic delicacies I can scoff once I get there (I like to call this food tourism or gastro travel). Closely followed by natural beauty and wildlife, enthralling cities, and how friendly the natives are.
When I am eating on my travels, my main agenda is to experience local food, as authentic as I can find. Restaurants with tourists are generally avoided. Whereas bustling tin shacks with not an English word spoken often equate to fantastic feasting. Especially if they have strip lighting.
My ultimate local food experience whilst travelling
I do a lot of research beforehand. I will often try to get in touch with someone who lives at the destination and is willing to show me a cool food event, in exchange for a few beers and good chat. This worked supremely well in Mumbai, where I met up with a few people from Food Bloggers Association India. We ate well together.
The ultimate local food experience for me, is being invited into someone’s home to eat. I’ve alas, never quite managed this. I was probably closest quite recently in Catania in Sicily. The host of the apartment we were staying in told us of an artist friend she had, who was currently running an exhibition in Catania, and who we should get in touch with if we fancied visiting it. The artist ended up inviting us to join her for Sunday lunch in her home, cooked by her mother (real Italian mama’s pasta), which we were all damn excited about. But schedules didn’t quite work out, and it alas never came to be.
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|the different stages of making host Camille’s suggested mega brunch tower stack
VizEat and their unique food events
Well, I’ve now recently discovered VizEat, thanks to them finding me online and getting in touch.
These guys connect travellers looking to share a meal or food experience with locals. Food events from cooking classes and market tours, to supper clubs and wine tastings, in over 250 cities, in a whopping 110 countries.
These locals make up around 20,000 hosts around the world. They’re a combination of home cooks and trained chefs, all from different backgrounds. But what everyone has in common is the love for cooking, enjoying a new food experience, and meeting new people. My kind of crew.
I’m not entirely sure how I hadn’t heard of VizEat before; I think they’re well known across the continent, but less so in the UK. But now I have, I think it’s such a great idea.
They’re all about allowing people visiting a new part of the world to make meaningful connections with those who live there. Whilst so many transactions and encounters take place online these days, maintaining the human element of travelling is mighty attractive. And I think many would agree that some of the strongest connections made between people are forged over the breaking of bread. These guys use technology to connect travellers with locals, to facilitate the simple desire of enjoying a meal with others.
An invitation to try a VizEat local food experience first hand
VizEat got in touch, told me about what they do, and asked if I’d like to try out one of their food events in my home town of London. And so, one sunny Sunday, myself and my good friend Sally (aka The Cafe Cat), popped over to Camille’s house in West London to enjoy her ‘Delicious Sunday Brunch‘.
Buttermilk pancakes, creamed spinach, smashed avo, mushrooms, and crispy maple bacon. There were baked beans, wonderful Jing tea, coffee, sausages, and fried eggs. Not to mention the homemade jams, black pudding, roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh juices, cheese, and fruit salad – phew!
It was a serious feast, and a pleasure to meet and chat with Camille. We attempted to make friends with her cat too, but he was less keen.
VizEat also allowed me to run an Instagram competition for one of my readers. The prize: a VizEat food experience, in the city of their choice, for two people worth up to 150 Euros or equivalent. Which was very generous of them. Congrats again to the winner, Roxii!
It turns out that VizEat is now the world’s most popular meal sharing platform. Their local food experiences and food events have been called the future of dining by travel and tech commentators (Apple CEO Tim Cook recently joining an event on his latest trip to Paris). Now that I know it exists, I will, without question, be checking out what’s on offer next time I’m in a new city. Which is in fact next week.. Best get on it.
Have you ever dined with strangers before? Would you pay for a local food experience in a stranger’s house? Does the idea of eating with people you don’t know scare or thrill? What sort of food events do you like to experience abroad? Let me know in the comments below!
Note: This is a sponsored post in partnership with VizEat. I’m thrilled they found me and that I now know about them. It’s been great fun and a pleasure to collaborate on. All views remain my own, as always.
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