When I went on a food tour in Miami’s Little Havana, I felt like a local. I watched as cigars were rolled, dominos were shuffled and mojitos were muddled. Needless to say, it was a blast.
It got me thinking about how I experience my own city. If you’re like me, you tend to stick to your routine, despite your best efforts to venture out. Today, pick one new local place to check out this weekend. Be open to popping into trivia night at your neighborhood pub or a wine tasting at that urban winery you’ve heard so much about. You may discover you can truly feel like an excited tourist discovering new experiences without ever leaving your own hometown.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 77 Percent
It turns out a lot of women might experience a new place through their taste buds. According to a report published in collaboration with the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, 77 percent of American tourists travel with the intent of partaking in unique culinary experiences. This can range from venturing out to new restaurants to trying cooking classes and even harvesting crops with local farmers.
But the percentage of Americans who lust after culinary tourism, which grew from 40 percent to 51 percent between 2006 and 2013, say they are in it for more than just the tasty food. Culinary tourists value the opportunity to learn about local food culture and food history, get connected to local growers and producers, and dine at restaurants where chefs support those local flavors and local food cultures.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Grace Della, Founder of Miami Culinary Tours
That fantastic Little Havana tour I told you about was offered through a great food-tour company called Miami Culinary Tours, which was founded by entrepreneur and ethnic-food expert Grace Della. Grace launched her food-centric business in 2010 after helping her mom create a successful culinary tour in her native Argentina. The idea was to appeal to visitors by illuminating them to the fact that Miami has so many distinct culinary flavors and delights to be explored, far beyond the offerings of the Applebee’s adjacent to their hotel.
After calling the culinary mecca of San Francisco home for a decade, Grace moved to Miami and began developing quite the foodie persona. She has judged food competitions, was a restaurant critic and has even appeared on the Food Network and the Travel Channel. But it is her Miami Culinary Tours biz that is currently dazzling tourist and locals alike. Grace, who has a background in architecture and history, works with a staff of eight guides and an array of food bloggers to tell Miami’s story through its eclectic food scene.
Miami Culinary Tours currently offers three tour adventures: the Little Havana Food Tour, the South Beach Food Tour and a food-and-art tour that explores the Wynwood Art District. From Cuban coffee to key lime pie, you get the chance to munch on a bevy of goodies while learning about the story behind each location and food specialty.
I guess you can say Grace is a storyteller. She gives out-of-towners and locals a chance to experience the heritage of The Magic City in a whole new and decidedly delicious way: one bite at a time.
QUITE THE QUOTE
When it comes to experiencing life and travel, Eleanor Roosevelt said it best when she said:
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.