The real ‘taste’ of travel

Gastronomic experiences are increasingly becoming the sole reason among many to travel. Ruhani Duggal, Director, Minar Group, speaks about her company’s approach to promoting culinary tourism in the country.

TT Bureau

A country as diverse as India is bound to have an array of culinary choices; from Rajasthan’s dal baati to Kerala’s prawn curry, the options are plenty. Sharing statistics on the rise of food-based tourism in the country, Ruhani Duggal, Director, Minar Group, says that the culinary tourism market will register a CAGR of over 9 per cent by 2023. “We’re now observing a trend where gastronomic experiences are becoming the soul reason of travel. Besides countries like Germany, France and Spain, India is also making its mark on the world’s food map,” she says.

So, how does Minar Group promote food tours? Duggal says that they believe in the premise of innovating and always trying to offer more. “Earlier, good food was a bonus but now, good food is the highlight of a journey. We aim to provide our clients with authentic experiences where they can immerse themselves and actually feel the Indian culture in all its glory. A big hit with our clients has been cooking demonstrations at the homes of local chefs,” says Duggal.

“When travellers are sightseeing, it’s fulfilling when they can explore famous eateries as well such as Karim’s in Old Delhi, serving delicious kebabs since 1913. Our culinary voyages take our clients on a fresh adventure, where their palette is exposed to the finest Indian gourmet available in grand restaurants, hotels, as well as famous local eateries. From traditional Indian thalis to tasty street food or exclusive regional delicacies, they can get a real taste of some of India’s most famous culinary traditions,” she adds.

The concept of culinary tourism allows the traveller to explore and connect with a region and its culture. It is clear that food holds a soft corner in every traveller’s heart. Indeed, a number of tourist destinations have remained popular only because of the food they offer.

Elaborating on Minar’s other initiatives, Duggal adds, “We organise itineraries centred on the type of cuisine our client would like to experience, from Kerala’s curry tours with live, hands-on cooking classes, visits to the Spice Village and unravelling the savoury secrets of Kerala’s cuisine to wine tours with visits to some of India’s best vineyards. Then, there is the option of food walks or food crawls available that we usually do in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Goa.” Their clients often get the chance to interact with local chefs as well as reputed chefs from renowned restaurants to grasp the varied nuances of Indian cuisine.

Duggal concludes by saying, “Whether you enjoy cooking or are just a foodie by heart, this is surely something you’ll cherish and relish! After all, food is our common ground; no matter where you’re from, food is a universal experience.”

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