Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between food and culture, art of cooking, food presentation, and service.
Gastronomic food is generally rich, or delicate, but always presented appetizingly, and in the style of a particular region or a chef.
The word gastronomy is derived from ancient Greek gaster (stomach) and nomos (laws tat govern), literally “the art of regulating the stomach”.
North American food culture in the last 30 years evolved as wealth increased, Now, many rich North Americans travel to destinations (Europe, or Far East) to experience restaurants famous for their inventive cooking and impeccable service.
Europeans have been involved in gastronomic tourism for much longer because of the proximity or countries famous for their gastronomic establishments, i.e France, Italy, and Spain.
Culinary tourism is defined as the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences by combining them with travel.
There are four fields of gastronomy – practical gastronomy (preparation adn service), theoretical gastronomy (writing, recipe development, and food philosophy), technical gastronomy (logistics, sources, literature), and food gastronomy (the actual practice of eating adn drinking).
Culinary tourism can involve communities with special sights, and several restaurants serving exemplary food. Such communities can, and do co-ordinate advertising and special events to attract culinary tourists to enrich them with delightful experiences, and also enrich the community. In Ontario Niagara-on-the-Lake, close to Niagara Falls is a prime example.
But there are also destination restaurants, generally in one region and relatively close to each other.
In France, a culinary tourism couple, or group (culinary tourists happen to be wealthy middle-age or older relatively healthy, and well-educated) can start in Paris, (two or three restaurants) and travel to Lyon (the gastronomic capital of France), then continue to Alsace. From Alsace, the couple or group can travel to the south were several famous chefs proudly prepare local specialties with riffs of their own using truly fresh and seasonal ingredients.
The Michelin guide is an excellent source of information regarding such restaurants, and all other relevant data.
Spain, especially Barcelona and environment, Basque country on the north coast, and Rioja are well known to gastronomic tourists
Germany, France, Italy, Benelux states (the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg), Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland) and Spain generate thousands of gastronomic tourists who visit these countries and their neighbours.
The Far East is well known to gastronomes; Japan for its sushi, sashimi, and other specialties, Thailand for its delicate curries, and Hong-Kong for its diversity, Indian, for its variety of regional cuisines, including Singapore is also a notable gastronomic destination.
New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco attract thousands of tourists, who are part gastronomic tourists, and part casual travellers.