It’s not wrong to say that food makes the world (and our tummies) go round. That is probably because behind every dish is a story. Recipes get passed on from generations to generations and the food itself is an ‘artifact’ itself which can be easily replicated or revived. No wonder food mean a lot to us. It does more than just sustaining our lives but it also brings us back to the roots of our culture. And one of the best ways to travel or experience a culture is to try out their local cuisine or simply embark on a food trail to savor the distinct local taste of food from each region in a country. And the great news is there are such gastronomy travel tours! Contiki’s unique gastronomy trip – Munch – is one amazing trip for foodies especially.
I’ve been on a Contiki tour a few years back before to Europe and I must say that they really understand what youths or young adults prefer. They organized trips for 18 to 35 years old that differs from the conventional travel tours offers at the local travel agencies here. With Contiki, you will be traveling with a bunch of energized youths along with a super enthusiastic tour manager. But with Munch, I believe the trip would be more exciting as it provides an ultimate itinerary for all to eat their way across Europe. Other than tasting the local authentic food, you might get some hands-on cooking experience during the trip as well. This is where you can learn from the local chefs on how to prepare some of their local signature dishes!
On a side note, CulinaryOn is also on the bandwagon with Contiki to share Contiki’s unique gastronomy trip—Munch—with Singapore’s millennial travellers. Last week, I had a preview of what it is like to be on a Munch trip with Contiki at CulinaryOn. We attended a cooking class with Chef Antonio Massagli at CulinaryOn where we learn how to make Nicoise Salad with Tuna, Ravioli with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach as well as Berry Tart with Raspberries. It’s a 3-course meal which took us about almost 3 hours to prepare it from scratch. But it was one satisfying meal after all the hard work we’ve put in to prepare ourselves a really good meal.
We worked as a team to feed about 12 of us that evening and each of us has the opportunity to get out hands dirty as we prepared our own fresh ravioli and pastry tarts for desserts. It was no easy task but the Chef was very patient and he guide us along for every step.
The most challenging part was making the ravioli because we have to make our own dough sheet and filling from scratch. That step took quite a while as we have to also learn how to cut out the dough into circular sheets and filling up the ravioli with spinach ricotta cheese mixture. All our hard work was worth it because the ravioli turns out really delicious.
Like what Chef Antonio said, cooking can be very therapeutic as you free your mind from all worries and simply focusing on cooking. And when you put all your heart and soul into preparing a meal, the food will turn out good and the person tasting it will be able to feel your love for cooking.
Witnessing the magic of liquid nitrogen which instantly freezes the berry compote as the Chef froths it up with the whisk!
After all the kneading and rolling, we finally managed to make the base for our berry tart and pour in the berry filling.
Chef Antonio is Italian and that explained why he decided to spam the salad dressing with olive oil.
We all felt like sous-chefs, helping Chef Antonio to plate up the Nicoise salad with Tuna to feed our rumbling tummies.
Meanwhile at the Ravioli station…
It was pretty cool to learn how to make your own ravioli. It’s difficult but doable!
Look at that masterpiece!
The moment of truth…
You could see the delight in all our faces after we have completed all the cooking. Thankfully, we do not have to do all the washing and that’s the best part about attending a cooking class.
Wouldn’t it be cool to cook as you travel and explore the various parts of Europe? I certainly hope to be on a Munch Trip with Contiki and munch my way around Europe.
Munch travellers can expect to enjoy:
· 2 days in Barcelona: kick off the journey in style with a traditional Tapas feast, then spend some time exploring beautiful Barcelona and take a Spanish cooking class.
· 1 day in Aix-en-Provence: arrive into Aix later afternoon and spend some time exploring this stylish town before being treated to a traditional Provençal bouillabaisse dinner.
· 2 days in Florence: enjoy plenty of time to explore Florence, head out for a traditional Tuscan dinner or get straight on the Gelato. Learn to make pasta at a Tuscan villa.
· 1 day in Bologna: get a taste for Bologna while wandering the city’s food markets, then enjoy a traditional dinner of tortellini al ragu.
· 1 day in Milan: spend an afternoon sipping Aperol and watching the action on the bustling plazas before a tasty regional risotto dinner.
· Dedicated Foodie Munch Stops: Arles, Nice, Genoa, San Gimignano and Lake Como!