What's hot in food travel in 2016
What's in store for those who plan to eat well, drink well and while travelling in 2016? Ute Junker has the answers.
1. FOLLOW THE NEW MEDITERRANEAN FOOD TRAIL
Watch out, Italy: you have some culinary competition. A new range of food tours is showcasing the cuisine of other Mediterranean destinations. Intrepid Travel's new Real Food Adventure through Slovenia and Croatia has activities ranging from truffle hunts to slurping straight-from-the-sea oysters. See intrepidtravel.com
2. CHOW DOWN WITH ANTHONY BOURDAIN
New Yorkers' appetite for food halls shows no signs of being sated. Noma co-founder Claus Meyer is launching a Nordic-themed food hall inside the Grand Central Terminal, with a flagship restaurant to be helmed by acclaimed Icelandic chef Gunnar Gíslason. The most anticipated project, however, comes from none other than Anthony Bourdain, who has hand-selected purveyors and providores from around the world for his planned food hall on Pier 75 at 15th Street – including our own Victor Churchill butchers.
3. EAT YOUR VEGGIES
Expect to see more and more restaurants going meat-free, following the vanguard chefs who have embraced vegetarian and vegan food. The latest to join the movement: none other than Alain Ducasse, whose freshly-revamped Restaurant Plaza Athenee focuses on veggies and seafood. Joining longtime veg fans such as London's Yotam Ottolenghi, Paris' Alain Passard and NYC's Amanda Cohen, Ducasse said the move is about ethics as well as gastronomy, saying, "The planet has increasingly rare resources so we have to consume more ethically, more fairly."
4. WELCOME DAVID THOMPSON
It has been a long time since Thai food guru David Thompson has had a restaurant in his home country. He's been busy thrilling diners in London – where his Michelin-starred restaurant, Nahm, ran for a decade – Bangkok and Singapore, but now it's Australia's turn. Unfortunately, you will have to fly all the way to Perth, where Thompson is about to open Long Chim, showcasing the best of Thai street food but with Thompson, the food is always worth the journey.
5. GO SLOW IN TURIN
You never know who you will meet at SlowFood's biennial celebration, Salone del Gusto: it could be a Bolivian farmer or a Michelin-starred chef. Held in Turin every second October, this one-of-a-kind food-fest is your opportunity to meet the producers of some of the rarest foodstuffs around – everything from artisanal cheese to little-known wines – and of course to try their wares. The program also includes workshops, dinners and even a cooking school. What makes it even more appealing: October just happens to be truffle season in Piedmont. See salonedelgusto.com
6. DISCOVER ISRAELI FLAVOURS
Israeli chefs have been scoring rave reviews in kitchens around the world: think Tom Amedi in London (The Palomar), Michael Solomonov in Philadelphia (Zahav), Haya Molcho in Austria and Berlin (NENI) and Michael Rantissi in Sydney (Kepos Street Kitchen and Kepos and Co). Now serious foodies are heading to Israel to check out the talent that decided to stay at home. In Jerusalem, Machneyuda and Eucalyptus are top picks; in Tel Aviv, it's Raphael. See machneyuda.co.il, the-eucalyptus.com , raphaeltlv.co.il
7. TAKE BACK THE TIP
No matter how great the meal, there's one thing about dining in the US that tends to leave a sour taste in the mouth: that whopping 20 per cent tip at the end of the meal. So three cheers for respected NY restaurateur Danny Meyer, who is phasing out tipping at all 13 of his restaurants, upping the menu prices instead. Diners will finally have clarity around what they're really paying, and staff will benefit from increased wages. Here's hoping it catches on.
8. TASTE NOMA IN SYDNEY
Four minutes. That is how long it took for tickets to Sydney's Noma residency to sell out 10 weeks' worth of tables, leaving hordes of food fans devastated at missing out. The good news is, even if you won't get to taste Rene Redzepi's inimitable dishes yourself, Redzepi's take on Australian produce is bound to leave a lasting impression on local chefs. Expect plenty of innovative ideas to flow on from the Noma residency. See noma.dk
9. GET STUCK IN AN AIRPORT
The last place we ever thought we'd eat well was an airport; but how times change. This year alone, Alain Ducasse's Saison opened in Newark Airport and the sumptuous I Love Paris debuted at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. The restaurant, helmed by three-star chef Guy Martin, is only open to transit passengers, and serves some of Martin most famous dishes, including his blanquette de veau. With renovations planned for a number of airports around the world, including New York's LaGuardia, we're excited to see who will be the next star chef to take stake a spot at the terminal.
10. GO CASUAL IN SAN SEBASTIAN
With its concentration of Michelin-starred eateries, this Basque city boasts a clutch of acclaimed chefs. Perhaps the most admired is Andoni Luis Aduriz, seen by many as the successor to the mighty Ferran Adria. Like Adria, Aduriz closes his restaurant, Mugaritz, for several months each year; combined with a price tag of €185 (NZ$201) per person for his degustation, that means many people miss out on the opportunity to sample his food. So the news that Aduriz is opening a more casual eatery in 2016 has us very excited, even if no details have yet been released. See mugaritz.com
11. FEAST ON FOOD MUSEUMS
At Brooklyn's brand-new Museum of Food and Drink, the focus is on the science behind the food we eat. Did you know that one of the compounds that makes coffee smell so irresistible is also found in skunk spray? At MOFAD, you can swallow a pellet and taste it for yourself. Over in London, the planned British Museum of Food has just launched with a series of temporary exhibitions curated by Bompas & Parr, which includes a video ride through the digestive tract. See mofad.org, bompasandparr.com
12. LOVE A LATIN
If you still think South American food is all empanadas and barbecue, you are way behind the times. Restaurants such as Central and Astrid y Gaston in Lima, Borago in Santiago and D.O.M in Sao Paulo are counted among the best in the world, and many of their talented chefs are starting to build international empires. Try the wares of Central chef Virgilio Martinez in London and Moscow, or head to Paris, where Gaston Acurio of Astrid y Gaston is about to open the highly-anticipated Manko, a Peruvian-style tapas diner. See manko-paris.com
13. DISCOVER NYC'S NEW DINING DISTRICT
Brooklyn and the East Village have had their moments; gourmets now have their eyes on the Financial District – or FiDi – where a clutch of acclaimed restaurateurs are planning to open new eateries. We are particularly excited about Wylie Dufresne, who recently closed the celebrated wd-50. His new restaurant will be housed in the AKA Wall Street serviced apartments. Also getting in on the FiDi action are Keith McNally, the man behind Balthazar and Minette Tavern; Tom Colicchio of Craft; the team from The Spotted Pig; and Nobu, who is relocating from Tribeca.
14. SEE TOKYO'S TSUKIJI BEFORE IT GOES
It's one of Tokyo's biggest tourist attractions: the sprawling Tsukiji Fish Market where tourists come in the pre-dawn hours to watch live tuna actions, check out the biggest range of seafood in the world, and treat themselves to a sushi breakfast. The market is being moved at the end of the year as part of the planning for the 2020 Olympics, so get in now to see a classic before it disappears. See tsukiji-market.or.jp
15. COOK WITH MARCO PIERRE WHITE
Cruise companies are wooing foodies in a big way: witness the three cruises P&O is offering next year featuring Marco Pierre White. As part of its Food Heroes series, passengers can sign up for a special chef's table dinner, where White not only demonstrates how each dish is made, but then sits down to dine with you. See pocruises.com
16. DRINK A TOAST TO THE CITY OF WINE
Perched on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux is La Cite du Vin, an €81-million centre celebrating wines from around the world. Opening in June, the Cite will complement its 20 educational exhibitions with a wine bar and a wine shop which will reputedly stock over 9000 wines from countries as far afield as Kazakhstan. See laciteduvin.com