At the 6th annual Terroir symposium, held earlier this year at the Oliver & Bonacini Arcadian Court in downtown Toronto, one of the many engaging seminars offered was lead by Rebecca LeHeup, Executive Director of Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, and centered on culinary tourism.
Who doesn’t love traveling? These days it seems the interest in local cuisine has exploded, and culinary tourism is our raison d’être. “There is only one thing every tourist does three times a day”, shares Leheup, “Eat!” In becoming a culinary destination, Leheup tells us, communities need to develop a “Taste of Place”. Going to a farm and having a taste of the regional experience is what motivates culinary tourists in search of a unique culinary experience that cannot be found at home. This has become the reason that we travel, and how we choose our destinations. We want to learn about, consume, and appreciate the food and drink that reflects the local, regional and national heritage, culture and tradition of each distinct destination.
Also participating in this seminar was Christa Glennie Seychew, Food Editor at Buffalo Spree magazine, and Owner of Feed Your Soul. Seychew shared with us that when industry left Western New York’s Rust Belt, land around Buffalo was simply abandoned. Eventually this was realized, and significant interest has since been growing in what is now totally preserved and pristine farmland and architecture. Seychew’s aim is to show that “agritourism and culinary tourism should not only be major aspects of traveling in Western New York, but that they are fundamental components of Buffalo’s renaissance.”
Surprise: as awareness of this rich farmland increases, Buffalo’s “local” movement is quickly catching up and changing the food industry. “We’re all hung up on pizza and chicken wings” Seychew admits, but, she assures us, think again: in addition to all the stateside Niagara wineries, we’re putting Buffalo on our culinary radar as an up-and-coming destination to dine. See you in the Nickle City.