Headliner speakers at this weekend’s Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center include well known travel writers and personalities Rick Steves, Andrew McCarthy, Pauline Frommer and Patricia Schultz.
Meanwhile, Cuisine Noir magazine is exclusive media sponsor at The Culinary Stage (look for the Cuisine Noir magazine stand adjacent to the culinary stage), which features a full program of cooking demonstrations and presentations. Highlights include crawfish and Cajun cooking demos by Chef Marcelle Bienvenu, chef/instructor at Nicholls State University, located in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Bienvenu, who is also a food writer, columnist and author of more than a dozen books, provided the recipes for True Blood—Eats, Drinks and Bites from Bon Temps (published in 2012), a companion series to HBO's True Blood series.
Culinary Travel Panel
Marcelle Bienvenu, widely known as the Queen of Cajun Cooking, will share a Cuisine Noir culinary travel panel stage, starting Sunday at 11:30am (February 17), with Maralyn D. Hill, epicurean explorer, culinary tourism advocate, food judge and past president of the International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association and Wanda Hennig, award-winning culinary travel writer and photojournalist, San Francisco culinary travel examiner and Cuisine Noir Delicious Life columnist.
Wanda's 10 tips for enhancing the culinary experience when traveling:
1. Consciously make culinary travel your focus. Before you head off, do some googling and discover the food and drink specialties of your destination, be in in the US or abroad.
2. Before I went to Porto while on a three-week visit to Portugal last year, my online research — plus responses to an e-mail sent to food and wine writers friends — told me the city was best known for its port, it’s wine (from up the River Douro) and its tripe (the citizens of Porto have been called tripeiros — tripe-eaters). OK. So knowing this meant I arrived ready to seek out the best-of and with a sense of focus and purpose.
3. Culinary being my focus, also meant getting excited by the old Bolhão city market where stallholders sell everything from fresh fruit and veggies to breads, cheeses, fish and meat. In turn, it meant speaking to artisans responsible for the breads and cheeses, fresh veggies and fresh fish. And trying versions of bacalhau, the salted cod that the Portuguese reputedly have the equivalent of a different recipe for, for every day of the year.
4. As a culinary traveler, one is looking at the local lifestyles, which saw me hanging out in coffee shops learning about Portugal’s coffee culture.
5. If you are partial to city culinary tours (which many cities within the US and internationally have now), look before you leave to see what’s available and ideally, set up something in advance. Or you can do it when you get there, which I did when I spotted a flyer for a culinary tour of Lisbon, all about heritage and traditions.
6. To be a culinary traveler, you don’t have to eat at expensive places. Markets and where the locals eat work well for anyone on a budget.
7. Having said that, I have a food critic friend who, every year when she travels, makes a point of eating at one of the world’s best restaurants. (Last time she stayed with me, we ate at the French Laundry.)
8. Think in terms of cooking schools and cooking classes. I have a friend who did a Thai cooking class in Bangkok. He will tell you it was the best “souvenir” he brought back, given that he still cooks Thai and uses what he learned six years later.
9. Ask locals where to eat. Before I went to New Orleans the first time, someone suggested asking guys from the fire department where to eat, which we did — and ended up in a hole-in-the wall with some of the best food. Of course, going online you can do huge amounts of upfront homework, especially around the US. Just follow the yelpers!
10. Being a culinary traveler also means you can travel the world right where you live, if it’s the San Francisco Bay Area or any other sophisticated city or region. With the wealth of restaurants reflecting a melting pot of cultures, it’s possible to go culinary traveling to a different destination any day of the week.
A great culinary travel plus is, you have to eat. Having it as a focus when traveling makes every meal an exploration, an adventure, and a chance to relate to the people and to learn about traditions and heritage.
See more on Cuisine Noir magazine here.
See more on Cuisine Noir's The Culinary Scoop blog here.
See Cuisine Noir Delicious Life here.
Get more info on The Travel & Adventure Show, Bay Area / Santa Clara here.