The World Food Travel Association defines food tourism as “the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences, both far and near.”
Food tourism isn’t just about gourmet food, but it is also about the stumble-uponhappenings when exploring a new place, especially a new country. These experiences include: food carts, locals-only places, fresh markets, pubs, wineries and one-of-a-kind restaurants. Establishments that are unsuspecting during the day may come alive at night. A prime example of this is The Hoftgarten in Innsbruck, Austria, in the heart of the Alps. This beautifully quaint collection of landscape architecture transforms into a sprawling biergarten with outdoor and indoor bars, dance floors and copious picnic tables. All of these are lit by twinkle lights dangling ever so gently from the trees. With its central mountainous appeal and small town charm, Innsbruck lends traditional Austrian cuisine as well as foods from across Europe. “Acropolis is my favorite Greek Restaurant in Innsbruck. It is so authentic,” says Elisabeth Keinprecht, junior pedagogy major at Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, Austria.
As a more popular tourist destination filled with art, history, romance and stunning beauty everywhere you turn, Prague, Czech Republic, is indisputably a shining star in Central Europe. Lit by the lanterns from the maze of shops leading to Old Town and Wenceslaus Square, Prague offers many street-side restaurants to nosh at as well as posh places like Hotel U’s rooftop restaurant. “That was seriously the best food I have ever put in my mouth. The rooftop view from Hotel U was breathtaking,” says Gabby Roe, member of the UNO-UGA Innsbruck Study Abroad and senior accounting major from New Orleans, Louisiana, from Trinity College in San Antonio, Texas.
In one of the most exciting and compelling cities in the world, Paris provides a gamut of eateries to visit. From gourmet creperies to hole-in-the-wall snack nooks, Paris’ sweet and savory foods surely do not disappoint. Not to mention, every other bakery should be well supplied with a variety of fresh macaroons. One place not to miss is La Creperie de Josselin, Yelp’s number one creperie in Paris.
Naturally, Italy is molto famoso (very famous) for its classics: rolling countryside hills, warm colors, historic cities, pasta and vino. Therefore, when tasting your way through, it is imperative to stick with those classic Italian dishes. Pasta Bolognese, bruschetta, gnocchi, specialty regional lasagna, various cheeses, over 100 gelato flavors and a taste of the local wine is enough to carry your soul as well as your taste buds into the next century. “Each dish from the Golden View Restaurant in Florence, Italy, was perfect. The wait staff was also more than friendly,” says Allie Cimini, member of the UNO-UGA Innsbruck Study Abroad and junior media production major at Loyola University from New Orleans, Louisiana.
So whether you’re studying abroad, backpacking across Europe, train hopping to save your life, traveling the world or all of the above, remember the wise words of Anthony Bourdain, “...food, for me, has always been an adventure.”
Check out these top foodie hot spots for locally sourced, fresh, homemade eats, as well as student-priced, upscale foods paired with regional wines and handcrafted cocktails. Here are a handful of countries in the heart of Europe offering more than amazing restaurants for great meals or just an afternoon nosh:
Beef gyros with sautéed onions, French fries, pan-fried zucchini, tzatziki sauce and fresh herbs from the Greek restaurant, Acropolis
Pasta Carbonara from Santa Maria in Prague’s town center
Crepe filled with Chorizo, Bacon, Ground Beef, Shredded Chicken, Gouda, Sauteed Onions, Green Peppers, and topped with an Egg from La Creperie de Josselin
House Bolognese, also known as “The Best in Venice”
Cheesy oven baked Lasagna with homemade Italian red sauce and seasoned ground beef and toasted on the stovetop to brown the edges
Four Cheese Gnocchi with creamy spinach leaves from The Golden View Restaurant
Banana and Nutella Mouse Gelato on a homemade cone