Anthony Bourdain says that experiencing a country through its food is one of the best ways to get to its core. For us, it's not only about how food tastes, but also where it comes from and how it's made. We've picked a few of our favorite tours that will immerse you in the taste and culture of distinct regions around the world.
1. Villa Romana: Authentic Amalfi Coast, Italy, International Kitchen, (From $2100/person)
Italy's Amalfi Coast is the stuff of dreams and travel bucket lists. Arrive in the scenic seaside town of Minori and jump into the laidback, food-obsessed culture with this tour. Stay six nights at the Hotel Villa Romana, named after the ancient ruins nearby, and participate in four cooking lessons. When you're not in the kitchen, guides take you to visit a local fishmonger, watch mozzarella-making demonstrations, and see how limoncello is produced.
2. Real Food Adventure, China, Intrepid Travel (From $2031/person)
Go far beyond your mall food court for Chinese food and head straight to the authentic source. From Beijing to Shanghai you'll stop at various spots like Tongchuanlu Wet Market, where you'll bargain for fresh lobsters, crabs, and abalones – later on, you'll get to enjoy the fruits of your labor at a local restaurant. Our favorite part of this adventure is the Jinbo Village; here, you'll enjoy a home cooked meal by your local family hosts. You'll also learn about the process of making wine and tofu and assist with traditional Chinese farming.
3. Treasures of Ticino, Switzerland, Whole Journeys (From $4295/person)
Cheese and hiking don't normally mix, but on this tour through Switzerland, we're tempted to rethink the relationship. For eight days, you'll go on hikes to Lake Maggiore, Lake Lugano, and through the Alps, all while learning how some of the most sought-after cheeses of the region are produced. Along the way you'll visit local cheese artisans who produce Cristallinas and Piora, explore medieval churches, and enjoy picnic lunches. And no cheese tasting would be complete without a wine pairing to match: Taste a famous local Meride Merlot on a visit to the winery where it's produced.
4. Quito Sweet and Culinary Experience, Ecuador, Quito Urban Adventures (From $92/person)
If you don't want to devote your entire Ecuadorian itinerary to food, you can plan a single day around it. In Ecuador, visit one of the oldest bakeries in Quito to observe – and sample – its regional take on quesadillas. You'll also taste caramels in a family-owned candy shop, and join a tamale and empanada cooking class in Quito – all in six hours. Naturally, an experienced tour guide will show you around, but make sure you bring comfortable walking shoes – this tour moves fast.
What's your favorite foodie tour? Tell us!