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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

Food Tours Worldwide: “A moveable feast” from Bangkok, to Graz, to Salzburg, to Porto!

Sweet. Crunchy. Spicy. Unusual. Hot! Tender. Delicious. Soft. And oh, my God … When have you last closed your eyes, sighed for the magic of the moment, the sweet taste of something unfamiliar yet incredibly tasty lingering hot in your mouth?

🙂

I know that feeling. Ever since I started travelling at the tender age of three years old, I remember our family culture as always being one of openness and curiosity – especially towards food. Dad and I would conspire over ordering lobster in the Mediterranean (exotic enough for us Austrians back then!), while travelling in the US during the 90’s had us try the first stuffed-crust cheese pizzas ever. It might not have been as much of a luxury culinary travel experience as the more organised Food Tour companies today, but I remember having tasted the first & foremost ingredient for any food tour experience back in those days: Natural curiosity, and an appetite for adventure. Yes, the octopus cooked, cut & sliced in front of me in the city of Vigo, Galicia, looked shocking at first, but so what? It tasted really good. Never know just how spicy that Thai food is going to be? Just try. No harm done really: At best, you return home with a great many stories to tell.

 

From Orient to Occident: Let us start cooking today’s meal with a culinary wrap-up offered by Bangkok Food Tours.

Travelling to Thailand, you cannot help but be focused on food. This country is so rich in terms of its natural food items that any season has something to offer for the foodie traveller. My visit of the city of Bangkok in October 2012 focused on the launch of the “Creative Tourism Network Thailand” and my speech at the country’s international Creative Tourism Conference. Nevertheless, there was plenty of time for us to have a creative go at some typical food experiences, such as cookery classes or a Food Tour in the city of Bangkok.

Can you spot the magic? My first ever, DELICIOUS street food served to me in the city of Bangkok.

Can you spot the magic? My first ever, DELICIOUS street food in the city of Bangkok.

 

While in Bangkok, I also took part in this small cookery class with the local chef at Sampran Riverside Resort, preparing a typical soup & papaya salad.

While in Bangkok, I also took part in this small cookery class with the local chef at Sampran Riverside Resort, preparing a typical soup & papaya salad.

 

My friend Caroline Couret, who has joined me from the worldwide Creative Tourism Network organization, delights in local Thai tea ...

Caroline Couret, who has joined me from the worldwide Creative Tourism Network organization, delights in this local Thai tea tasting …

 

And does the food prepared around here not look simply delicious?

And doesn’t the food prepared around here look simply delicious?

 

Street food in Bangkok, Thailand ...

Street food in Bangkok, Thailand …

 

... is nothing to be afraid of, as the people behind Bangkok Food Tours explain to us.

… is nothing to be afraid of, as meeting the people behind Bangkok Food Tours show.

 

Having this particular connection and knowledge about which place to go to, and learning the story behind it, is what makes each food tour experience I have had so far unique. Here, we taste a heap of tiny pieces of fried fish as part of our Bangkok Food Tour.

Having this particular connection and knowledge about which place to go to, and learning the story behind it, is what makes each food tour experience I have had so far unique. Here, we taste a heap of tiny pieces of fried fish as part of our Bangkok Food Tour experience.

 

Mouthwateringly good? You haven’t been to Austria yet. Our country is a, if not THE place, to go wild about food (and wine, and beer, and …). Both Graz & Salzburg offer professional food tour experiences for the hungry traveller.

Sorry guys, I know you should not mark your own goals. Boast to everyone else about just how good you are. But this needs to be an exception. I am Austrian, and I NEED to tell you about how good we are. With food. And all those special, local variances that no foreigner gets to pronounce correctly (and which always makes us laugh – once again sorry guys 😉 ): “Käsespätzle“, “Kürbiskernöl“, “Grießnockerlsuppe” or “Marillenknödel“, to name but a few. “Grüner Veltliner” of course, though since that has risen to fame in the city of New York, our Austrian wine growing community has truly and deservedly become immensely proud.!

Anyway. If the world of food tour travel was to be exhibited in a gourmet shop window, Salzburg & Graz would be among the top picks on display. Both inner cities, where the food tours take place, have long been declared UNESCO World Heritage of Humankind, with Graz even positioning itself as the Austrian “Capital of Culinary Delight” (“Genusshauptstadt Österreich“). Each year in August, the city is home to a spectacular outdoor event whereby dozens of local chefs team up to serve close to 1.000 people seated at the heart of the city’s main square along many magnificently laid tables – an event not to be missed! Graz Food Tours are offered through the network of the GrazGuides, spearheaded by charming Sigrid Alber who is also an official Austria Guide. Lots of (food) history, culture and local foodie restaurant & market tips here!

Starting our culinary exploration of Graz, a visit to the local farmers' market at

Start your culinary exploration of Graz with a visit to the local farmers’ market.

 

Graz Food Tour gives a tasty introduction to the city's food culture, stopping at this hotel & restaurant for a light Schnitzel morning snack ...

Graz Food Tours gives a tasty introduction to the city’s food culture, stopping at this hotel & restaurant for a light Schnitzel morning snack …

 

... with more local specialities, such as this bright red "Uhudlersekt" sparkling wine coming up!

… with more local specialities, such as this bright red “Uhudlersekt” sparkling wine coming up!

 

Then of course, not to be missed: Graz preparing for its annual "Genusshauptstadt" imperial tasting event.

Not to be missed: Graz preparing for its annual “Genusshauptstadt”, imperial-looking tasting event, taking place each year in the middle of August.

 

This egg has been boiled to perfection at just under 70°C for almost an hour and served to over 700 people, in the same quality, at the same time ... yes ... only to let you know how far we sometimes take it in terms of culinary perfection. :D

This egg has been boiled to perfection at just under 70°C for almost an hour and served to over 700 people, in the same quality, at the same time … yes … only to let you know how far Austrians sometimes go in terms of culinary perfection. 😀

 

See you in Graz next summer?

So, see you in Graz next summer?

 

Salzburg too lures with its charm of classic cuisine & cultural heritage ...

Salzburg too knows how to woo its visitors with its charm of classic cuisine & cultural heritage …

 

... the recently developed Salzburg Tasting Tours ("Kulinarische Stadtspaziergänge") lead us into cute little cafés ...

… the recently developed Salzburg Tasting Tours (“Kulinarische Stadtspaziergänge”) leading us into cute little cafés …

 

... as well as to sample the most unusual and tastiest of local Austrian breads: A typical farmer's loaf, spiced with local herb & flower extracts on top!

… as well as to sample the most unusual and tastiest of local Austrian breads: A typical farmer’s loaf, spiced with local herb & flower extracts on top! For more information about Salzburg’s tasty culinary delights, check out my series of travel articles here.

 

Now, to wrap it all up, take heaps & heaps of passion, flavour it with the secret spice of “Francesinhas”, add a few of those odd-looking “tremoços” beans, boil for almost four hours and serve with a chilled glass of Vinho Verde: Welcome to Taste Porto Food Tours!

My love affair on Porto & the Douro valley has already been said. If Cape Reinga in New Zealand is the leaping place of the spirits returning home to mystical Hawaiiki, then seaside Porto is the leaping place of all spirits ready for joining the culinary heavens. Pasteis de chaves. Sardinhas. Moscatel. Pastel de nata. Bolhão Market. Tremoços. Tripeiros. Café Casa Christina. Eclairs. Flor dos Congredados. Taberna do Largo. Queijo. Vinho. Chouriço. … Listening to André of Taste Porto Food Tours speaking with passion & pride about his city, is like laying the table for a quintessential experience of Porto’s food culture. Never mind if you don’t understand each word in Portuguese at first: It is another language that counts here. 😀

Welcome to Taste Porto Food Tours: With André, our guide, at Bolhão Market.

Welcome to Taste Porto Food Tours: With André, our guide, at Bolhão Market, talking about life, the universe … and food, naturally.

 

I just love visiting traditional farmers' markets while on a food tour in a city, especially one that I am in for the first time. You?

I just love visiting traditional farmers’ markets while on a food tour in a city, especially one that I am in for the first time. And you? PS: Those quirky yellow beans here … Those are the ones called Tremoços. People in Porto like to eat them as a healthy, salty snack – before or while having a beer!

 

Taste Porto Food Tours literally takes you "behind the scenes" of the standard visitor experience, such as sampling a variety of the coffee beans used at Casa Christina traditional Porto coffeehouse.

Taste Porto Food Tours literally takes you “behind the scenes” of the standard visitor experience, such as sampling a variety of the coffee beans used at Casa Christina traditional Porto coffeehouse.

 

I love the eclairs at Leitaria Da Quinta Do Paco.

I love the eclairs at Leitaria Da Quinta Do Paço. “Only a tasting size portion” … 😉

 

Finally, Taste Porto Food Tours unwinds over this delightful stop at Taberna do Largo, its handpicked cheeses a true gourmet traveller's delight ... this one is served fresh from the oven!

Finally, Taste Porto Food Tours unwinds over this delightful stop at Taberna do Largo, its handpicked cheese tasting variety a true gourmet traveller’s delight … this one is served fresh from the oven and still melting on my piece of bread!

 

Do you know the American author Rick Steves? As a passionate public authority on travelling to Europe, he talks about the charm of “second cities, like Portugal’s Porto” – an interesting angle for city trips I believe. In this video, he shares his hands-on, authentic recap of what Taste Porto Food Tours is like: Pure passion, and a love for all things food, culture & history of the city of Porto – as André never fails to show. 😉

 

Thank you all so much, dear passionate food travellers & hosts around the world, for sharing and inspiring each other with the world’s culinary heritage today! Wondering where my next food tours will lead me? There is one round the corner, and one that will see me leave Europe in search for the world’s wonders … Stay tuned for more!

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
A cultural visit to Burgenland: Esterházy Palace & Lake Festival Mörbisch
#CreativElenaRTW: Round the world the culinary-creative way. Of Book Projects & Life Dreams!

2 Comments

  1. Sarah Lee

    Great piece Elena – the photos have made me VERY hungry and you’ve introduced me to regions I knew little about in terms of food. Think I fell in love with the Uhudlersekt wine on a previous visit to Styria though!

    Reply
    • Elena

      Yes, Sarah, we must really share that Uhudlersekt again next time. 😀

      Great to hear you took some inspiration from the foodie places I described here. So after Austria, I guess we’ll see you for a Taste Porto Food Tour? 😉

      Reply

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