Food Travel Destinations & Ideas

Travel plans for the culinary minded

Certain culinary pilgrimages are obvious; a reservation at El Bulli (even more so in light of its imminent closure) or the French Laundry can anchor an entire holiday. But once those culinary peaks have been scaled, it can be a challenge to find off-the-beaten-path vacation eating spots without some help.

Look to these experts to create your perfect edible itinerary:

Travel By Design Tammy Zacks, the daughter of a restaurateur, grew up visiting fine restaurants the world over. She took that experience and turned it into this boutique tour company that organizes small trips led by master chefs, who focus on their personal picks. Upcoming trips include a French excursion with L.A. chef Josiah Citrin and a trip to India with Suvir Saran of New York's Devi.

Tasting Places This London-based outfit offers hands-on culinary travel experiences where participants learn to cook the local cuisine as they explore it. Next on the calendar: Travel to Mairena in southern Spain with chef Sam Clark of London's award-winning Moro restaurant for four days of easygoing instruction in Alpujarras cuisine.

Purple Truffle If your idea of a big group is two, call on Purple Truffle. The Paris-based company run by Bonnie Brayham specializes in tailor-made itineraries for hungry travelers in France and Italy, where she arranges introductions to local farmers, chefs and vintners. Seafood lovers can stop for oyster tasting on the southwest shore of France, while the bivalve-intolerant might opt for truffle hunting in Tuscany.