Monday, January 31, 2011

Meeting the Challenge of Incorporating "Regional Cuisine" into Group Tours

Because Snobby Tours®, Inc. specializes in custom-creating unique heritage and cultural touring experiences for our travelers, we always include local, often iconic, restaurants at the destination(s) which specialize in the cuisine(s) of the region in each of our Itineraries.  

Wine-pairing Lunch at a Texas Winery
©Snobby Tours®, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
How do we approach dining options and meal selection for our groups?  Generally, breakfast at the Hotel plus one other meal during the day, either lunch or dinner, is included in the Tour Package price.  Prior to any tour, we pre-select restaurants at our destinations and make arrangements with the various restaurants which will allow us to create a menu with appetizer, entree, dessert and beverage selections within the designated budgetary range.  (Alcoholic beverages are not included unless the meal is a wine-pairing event, for example.)

Selecting Sweets in a Mexican Bakery
©Snobby Tours®, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Do we try to incorporate local cuisine?  Absolutely!  We consider this to be part of "experiencing the heritage and culture" of our Itinerary destinations.  For example:  Chicago is filled with wonderful ethnic neighborhoods each having restaurants featuring that area's cuisine.  In Chicago, we took a culinary tour one day and "grazed" in Greektown, Little Italy, and in the German area just north of the Gold Coast area. We also dined in iconic restaurants in several of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods.

Lunch in Aix-en-Provence, France
©Snobby Tours®, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
What are our favourite dining options?  We prefer to pre-select from the restaurant's menu in advance of trip departure so that the menu selections are narrowed down for the kitchen and the restaurant can easily accommodate a large group seated, or alternatively, we prefer to be served "family style".

What tips can we pass on with regards to feeding a group over a one week trip?  Create a realistic "Trip Budget" which includes a budget line item for meals each day.  This will allow the Itinerary to be flexible enough over the week to include some fine dining as well as casual, lighter fare.

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