Travelling the world for rare foods

A pilgrimage for food

We have friends who are currently walking the Camino del Norte in Spain.

Many people do the pilgrimages in that part of the world, walking a path that has been walked for hundreds of years by thousands of people.

Some of them have a religious motivation. Some have a goal of self-discovery.

Have you ever heard of someone making a pilgrimage for food? Maybe you have done it. I am not talking about just a craving for Cinnabon. This is more like having heard about some incredible specialty that is only made in one town, maybe only at a certain time of year, and deciding to travel for the purpose of tasting that one dish.

Maybe you think that’s crazy. Well, we all do crazy things for love. In case you want to see just how crazy people can be, I offer up a few of the available pilgrimages across the globe. Maybe you want to add something else to your list of places to go.

I would recommend you don’t read this column while hungry. It could motivate you to do something unusual.

If you’re into carbs…

• The world’s rarest pasta is cooked only two nights per year in a small town in Sardinia. If you are up for the 20-mile trek to Santuario di San Francesco in early May or October, you can sample the handmade “threads of God” in its mutton broth with Pecorino cheese.

• If your travel dates are outside these nights, try another unique pasta in the Sardinian town of Usini—sundried spirals called “andarinos”, served with fresh tomato sauce.

Maybe you want cheese with your carbs…

• Poland is known for many regional specialties, but this one is particularly rare. Only a few people from the Balkan tribe, the Vlachs, continue the tradition of making their special smoky sheep’s milk cheese called “oscypek”. This golden-hued molded cheese in decorative forms was once used as a currency; now it is served with beer or vodka and sometimes local fruit preserves.

If you’re into drinks…

• You may have had Amarula liqueur, but how about the drink made from the exotic marula fruit that is only consumed by locals? Head to Royal Thonga Safari Lodge in South Africa during the harvest season and you can attend the Marula Festival and enjoy marula beer after you see the elephants.

Perhaps you want something more down-to-earth…

• A bit closer to home we have a less exotic combination of flavours. Take a trip to a small town in Tennessee called Bell Buckle in June and attend the RC-MoonPie Festival Locals claim the combination of RC cola and a sweet treat resembling an un-roasted s’more is something worth celebrating. (Note: You might want to offset the calories by also participating in the 10K run they hold.)

As my last example shows, a food pilgrimage that includes a few miles of activity is perhaps the best recipe for a healthy experience.

Mirriam-Webster defines a pilgrimage as a journey to a sacred place, or “the course of life on earth”. Since every meal is a part of that journey, why not treat them as rewards?

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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