“Food is everything we are. It's an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma…”
Anthony Bourdain said that. And I couldn't agree more. The real impact of food goes far beyond our sense of taste, because the experience of eating imparts an unmistakable sense of place. It is the communion that settles us into the here and now, the flavor that enlivens fading memories, and the vessel that connects us to the distant places we long to visit.
If you’re a foodie who loves to travel, you can share a meal with international chefs, meet coffee farmers from Guatemala, and tour the streets of Taiwan right from your own kitchen using this virtual itinerary as your guide! So without further adieu, I offer you Hidden Lemur’s ultimate virtual “day trip” for foodies:
Breakfast: A Virtual Coffee Tour
No matter where in the world I wake up, I never forgo the ritual of morning coffee. While traveling, I have found that sharing coffee (at any time of day) is one of those ubiquitous customs that never fails to invite memorable conversations with locals. If I’m speaking your language right now, then make today’s cup a memorable one by virtually venturing to Guatemala. With an online coffee tour from De La Gente, coffee fiends can learn about the cultivation of their favorite elixir while giving back to the amazing growers who work hard to make mornings easier.
De la Gente has a mission to “create economic opportunity for coffee-producing communities” and believes that direct trade equals direct impact on economic, social, and environmental levels. They partner with five cooperatives from four of Guatemala's top coffee-growing regions and create economic opportunities for 138 farmers while providing improved market access and delivering high-quality products to roasters and consumers.
You don’t have to love coffee as much as I do to appreciate the sustainable impact of supporting ethical trade, small scale agriculture, and community driven tourism. Whatever your favorite morning beverage, a Guatemalan coffee tour is time well spent!
Midmorning: Virtual Street Food Tours
Now that you’re fully caffeinated and ready for action, hit the streets with intrepid Youtubers, Luke Martin and Sabrina Davidson. Their channel, Chopstick Travel will transport you to the best street food destinations of Lebanon, Taiwan, India and more. Their videos are not only entertaining, they also help curious travelers prepare to navigate the colorful (and often intimidating) world of street food with confidence and ease.
Lunch: Virtual Cooking Classes
After a busy morning of virtually hopping from country to country, I’m sure you’ll have worked up quite an appetite. So here are three options for an unforgettable lunch:
I Like Local
Share a meal and exchange stories with a Balinese herbal medicine expert at i-likelocal.com. Follow this link to schedule it!
I Like Local is a fantastic resource for connecting locals with sustainable travelers who want to have authentic experiences and give back to the places they visit. Check out their growing library of activities (created by and for travelers) when planning your next trip!
Virtually immerse yourself in one of many European food and drink experiences offered by guides from their homes in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and England. This is a great way of connecting with passionate chefs and foodies eager to share their local cuisine and customs.
I mentioned Airbnb in the first installment of Hidden Lemur’s virtual travel guidebook — but the robust catalogue of virtual experiences bears repeating! When you book an experience through Airbnb, you can spend the afternoon virtually anywhere. Have you always wanted to make your own Chinese hand pulled noodles or spill secrets over Sangria with a Portuguese drag queen? No time like the present.
Afternoon: Food and Travel Shows
By late afternoon, I imagine you’ll need some time to relax and digest. So kick back and spend an hour or two traveling vicariously with some of the world’s best chefs on The Chef’s Table, No Reservations, or Salt Fat Acid Heat.
If you’d like to chew on something a little more pithy or even challenge your relationship to food, have a look at the 18 Best Food Documentaries of All Time.
Dinner: Upscale Online Cooking Classes
Are you still wearing your pajamas? If so, I challenge you to go glam up, cue the ambiance, and treat yourself to an upscale virtual dinner. Whether you’re planning a high end date night, dining solo, or celebrating a special occasion with family, or curating a festive online office event, you can elevate the experience with a little help from the experts.
Both the Boka Group and Avital Tours have created the recipe for success with customizable, immersive food and drink experiences. From cook-along classes with top chefs, mixology lessons, wine tastings, happy hour events and more they’re sure to quench your cravings. If you live in the continental US, both services will even ship the perfectly portioned ingredients right to your door.
After Dinner: A Virtual Reality Tour of Champagne
Top off an epic day with a celebratory bottle of bubbly and a romantic view of one of France’s most iconic regions. Here, you can take a Virtual reality tour of Champagne! If you don’t have a VR headset, fear not, it’s also available in 2D via the aforementioned link.