Food Tourism with Timeshares

March_ProvencalFood Tourism is quickly becoming one of the newest trends (dare we say obsessions?) in both the travel and culinary circles. People have always made sure to stop by the “best BBQ in town” on their family trip to Houston, but they haven’t necessarily always traveled there for the food.

These days, as evidenced by prime-time television shows like Around the World in 80 Plates, dining on local cuisine is the vacation experience. And with the culinary world’s growing focus on local, farm-to-table dining, the natural landscapes of each locale serve to beautifully complement the dining experience.

Timeshare owners, in particular, have begun developing an interest in this type of tourism, due in part to time shares’ flexibility. Owners simply exchange their property through RCI or Interval International (the two largest timeshare exchange companies) to visit virtually anywhere their taste-buds take them. Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled a short list of our food-tourism dreams (both stateside and abroad) maybe one will spark your interest!

New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans is famous for its Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisines. New Orleans distinct flavor profiles have developed from centuries of amalgamation of the local Creole, haute Creole, and New Orleans French culinary traditions. French, Spanish, Italian, African, Native American, Cajun, Chinese, and a hint of Cuban traditions combine to produce a truly unique and easily recognizable Louisiana flavor. From fluffy beignets to spicy gumbo, we’re ready to sample some New Orleans specialties. Stay at: The Quarter House Resort (RCI)

Napa Valley, California – In Napa, we’re counting on wine, wine, and food-that-goes-well-with-wine. Bring on the farm-fresh cheeses, plump local fruits, organic-grass fed beef and light, refreshing sauces. You’ll also find myriad Tuscany influences and references in both the architecture and cuisine. Stay at: RiverPointe Napa Valley (II)

New York City, New York – If we could only visit one place on our culinary tour, it might just be New York City. With so many distinct cultures in New York, you can find delicious, authentic cuisine from almost any country. From traditional Arabic cafes to high-end Japanese specialties, New York City is, perhaps, the culinary epicenter of the world. Stay at: West 57th Street by Hilton Grand Vacations Club (RCI)

Barcelona, Spain – Fresh-caught seafood, tiny gourmet restaurants, traditional Mediterranean specialties and breathtaking open-air markets are just a few reasons we’re dying to dine in Barcelona. The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria (known simply as “la Boqueria” by locals) is regarded as one of the finest outdoor markets in Barcelona. Home to fishmongers, butchers, cheese-makers, veggie markets and dozens of small charcuterie shops specializing in Spanish hams and cured meats, la Boqueria is the perfect place to stop for lunch… every day. Stay at: Citadines Barcelona Ramblas (II)

Provence, France – We couldn’t make a foodie-travel wish-list without including this historic region in the South of France. The cuisine of Provence is the result of the warm, dry Mediterranean climate and abundant seafood on from the coast. The area is virtually brimming with culinary artisans who specialize in creating foie gras, honey, fresh lavender, wines and cheeses, fruit preserves and fragrant spices, most of which are used in local restaurants. Stay at: Club Le Bristol (RCI)

Guilin, China – We’re enchanted by the never-ending landscape of terraced rice paddies and the uniquely traditional foods of nearby Longji. Guilin cuisine is a combination of Cantonese and Hunanese styles. Characterized by its sweet, delicately spicy taste, the food of Guilin is unlike any “Chinese food” you’ve ever eaten. Among the area’s Three [culinary] Treasures: Guilin pickled tofu, Guilin chili sauce (made of fresh chili, garlic, and fermented soybeans) and Guilin Sanhua Jiu (a variety of rice liquor). Stay at: Guilin Royal Fortune Golf Club & Resort

Honestly, we could go on and on. Where would you go, if you could dine for a week anywhere in the world? Will you be exchanging your timeshare for a food-tourism trip anytime soon?