I think sea food meal at St Malo would definitely be the most impressive with a huge mountain of perilously balanced shellfish. Delicious!
Thanks Silver Travellers for your latest insightful comments on Food Trails, the January book of the month for the Silver Travel Book Club, so proudly sponsored by Emerald Waterways.
@GypsyWanderer – what a fantastic ‘feast on the beach’ in Hawaii. And being cooked traditionally by a local sounds so much better a foodie travel experience than an expensive meal in an anonymous restaurant.
And @Upstart – thanks for sharing that entertaining story about your authentic Japanese food experience in a traditional ryokan. You’ve hit the nail on the Food Trails head in recognising how food is such an important element of cultural heritage for so many destinations.
Keep those foodie travel memories coming! Just leave a comment on this thread or on social media to be in with a chance of winning a copy of this very special book from Lonely Planet
Our tour group was staying overnight in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese hotel. Our bedroom had tatami mats, hanging scrolls, beautifully arranged flowers and futons.
We met for dinner in a large room with low tables and legless chairs arranged in a square. We were all, men and women, wearing kimonos. We were barefoot as we were told the house slippers provided for our stay were not suitable for the dining room. We attempted to kneel at the tables, as is customary in Japan, but after hearing the groans that accompanied our efforts the staff took pity on us and suggested we sat on the chairs and stretched our legs out.
The meal was served on a tray of exquisitely decorated bowls and pots. I lifted the lid of a pot. Inside was a grey octopus tentacle floating in broth. No thanks. A small cream-coloured cube reposed in a dainty bowl. Husband, who’ll try anything once, popped the cube in his mouth and chewed. His face turned a vivid red, he swallowed and gulped down a glass of water. Our guide came to see what was wrong. The cube was a piece of ginger. A jug of hot stock on the tray should have been poured over the ginger which was then discarded before the soup was drunk. Oops.
Despite the bad start, and the view of thirty pairs of knobbly, calloused feet poking under the tables, the meal was delicious, a variety of delicately flavoured fish, meat and vegetable dishes, each a mini-work of art.
It was a truly memorable meal. Although not everything was to my taste, it taught me that food is part of the cultural heritage of Japan and its people are justly proud of their traditional dishes, beautifully presented with old-fashioned courtesy.
Some years ago I did a seven week home exchange on Kawaii. There I was fortunate to meet up with a wonderful native Hawaiian, Gilbert and his family, and was invited to a Luau, on a secret beach, to celebrate American Independence, 4th. July. The night before Gilbert had been down to the beach to prepare everything and bury the pig on the hot stones under the sand.
By mid day the meat was cooked to perfection and what a feast we had, sitting at a table on the sand, the sea lapping near us, green sea turtles and stories and music of Hawaii. A feast I will never forget.
My husband and I took my 11 year old grandson for a tour of Normandy and Brittany in 2003 which was the hottest summer on record. We had our first restaurant meal in a Le Havre and my grandson was quite put out when we had mussels. He had been brought up as almost a vegetarian and couldn’t bring himself to taste even one! Nearly every time we ate out he chose an omelette with lardons, As we were in a camper van we could of course cater for ourselves, One day a fellow camper offered to buy a chicken and we were all horrified to see it was complete with head and feet! We went on to have a wonderful trip even though it became so hot that the fridge could not cope and our flip flops almost melted in the heat,
One of the most memorable visits was to Falaise where we had a memorable tour of the Chateau de Falaise which is built on the site of the castle where William The Conqueror was born in 1028. It was beautifully cool inside and we spent hours looking at the animations and interactive displays, I think we settled for a takeaway pizza and salad after our tour and we ate with our feet dangling in the cool water of the stream which ran alongside the campsite,
My grandson still talks about that holiday with great affection, Maybe he will take his own son to visit when he is old enough,
It is interesting that 16 years later he is now a great meat eater and frequently posts photos of the enormous meals he eats!
Just had a weekend in Palma. Lovely time especially in places that serve typical Mallorcan food.
Ah food, places to be, , alfresco dining ..Last year Goa…not sure yet about this year
Thanks for more great foodie travel memories.
@GeminiJen – what a great story about your friendly fondue on the Swiss German border all those years ago. Interesting now, how the concept of sharing food – the ‘tapas’ concept – has really fired imaginations and been replicated across cuisines and countries. No surprise really, and food and travel are happier bedfellows than ever before. There are 52 ‘Food Trails’ in this month’s glorious Silver Travel Book Club book of the month from Lonely Planet, each one more mouthwatering than the last.
@LH – your mountain food memory sounds perfect. Simple food elevated by the scenery and fresh air. Nothing better. I’m reminded of a plate of green beans we had one evening, at a lovely B&B after a day walking in the remote Spanish Pyrenees. Maybe there was some garlic too, otherwise nothing. Wow!
@DRSask – thanks for your very special food memory in the wilds of Canada. Let’s hope the chef’s children do manage to resurrect their father’s restaurant and culinary memories.
@SuzCG – Venice, what a place. But how good to hear that you found a simple, local eaterie that provided you with such a vivid foodie travel memory. How often is it true that the best travel adventures – with or without food – are a long way from the main tourist destinations….Keep those travel & food memories coming, Silver Travellers and Silver Travel Book Club readers….I’m sure we all have many vivid images from our years of adventures.
The one place that sticks with me is a tiny backstreet cafe/restaurant we came across in Venice. We were young, newly together and without a lot of cash so didn’t have the money to eat in the flash touristy places around the square. This place had the friendliest staff ever and because it was small with so few tables, honestly felt like a dinner party – all the customers were chatting to one another across the room. I had the best bruschetta – so simple but the freshest and tastiest ingredients – and such a lovely evening. We went back for dinner a couple of nights later and again, the food & atmosphere was excellent. Years later we went on a cruise for our honeymoon and one of the stops was Venice. Of course, we had to take a stroll back there and find it and had a lovely lunch, reminiscing about all those years before!