Eating overlooking the city lights
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Food experiences aren’t only targeted at foodies. Food experiences, generally speaking, are moments and sources of comfort, entertainment and belonging for all of us. A positive food experience may encompass one of several aspects (or all of them): understanding the process of cooking a special course; sourcing the right and local ingredients; trying and testing different approaches and techniques, ingredients and flavours; cooking the dish with friends; garnishing and presenting the dish to loved ones, eating in a good atmosphere; eating in a different environment. The necessary ingredients to excel to the next level in a common activity, such as eating, is very diverse from one individual to another individual and across cultures. Food patterns vary a lot.
With this quest, we’ll give some prompts and food for thought on how to put together an itinerary of local food experiences. This asset mapping exercise will help you (to delightfully) explore your region/city/community, whilst having fun, to know better your own culture(s) and to share with others the best places to go to or activities to experience in the area.
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Do you take pride in your local food heritage? Do you have innovative ideas?
Your task is to make (bucket) lists of local food experiences people may take in the city where you live. As local, you may know better what could be leveraged.
We’re positive that one of the key-ingredients to make the experience memorable is authenticity. Authenticity is hard to capture, as it is part of culture, it evolves according to our lifestyle, habits, routines, values, priorities, health concerns, etc., but there are some aspects that you may consider.
- The season you’re in (e.g., Winter, Summertime);
- Local products available at that time (seafood, meat, etc.);
- Traditional or typical dishes, garnishes and techniques;
- Natural or built resources available (e.g., from the scenic point of view);
- Activities that were becoming obsolete and requiring more workforce, such as agriculture and fruit picking;
- New activities and interests (e.g., intimate dinners with chefs; chefs cooking at your home; thematic walking tours, escape rooms about food, general interest to eat organic food).
- Convene some of your closest neighbours and friends in a welcoming place.
- Together, brainstorm about food experiences that you would like to have. A sort of bucket list food. What are the key-ingredients to make these experiences memorable and looked-for?
- Get focused in your community/city/region. What could be explored, experienced and promoted? What’s local? What’s typical? What’s original? Deem everything connected to the food world, from sourcing or producing ingredients to the delivery of a dish or experience, such as picking fruit, producing staple items of your diet, taking cooking lessons to prepare a local dish, volunteering in a farm, selling crops in a local stall or market. You may either create experiences that aren’t part of the routines of local people, but have potential to be explored, such as, for example eating pizza or finger food in a sunset scenery.
- If you would like to get some external insight, create an Instagram poll to get the opinion from your network, asking questions like “what was the best food experience you had in (name of the local) outside a commercial facility or restaurant?”.
- Create the best food-wise experiences of your location. You may create several lists, according to types of experiences or profiles. For example, list experiences that you would recommend to do with children, for adventurous people and risk-takers, for lovers of soul food, for special occasions, for outdoor moments, for experiences in nature, for wine tasting. The imagination doesn’t have boundaries! Get some inspiration from the two bucket lists that we have provided using the first two links in our resources section.
- Now that the content was well thought-out, read the Top 10 Tips on Writing Top 10 Lists article to get some hints on writing top 10 lists and get the reader’s attention.
- In terms of design, if you’re not a professional designer and you don’t know any, you can get a great help for free, by using Canva templates and layouts.
- Distribute and promote the list(s) locally, so everyone has the chance to take new experiences. Lists are also a resourceful thing to have handy to give recommendations to non-locals or tourists.
- Organise a food experience (or trip) from your list and invite people to attend or prepare one of the listed experiences as a birthday present. The word-of-mouth is always the best way to get things easily promoted.
- Some hosts of these experiences might be interested in preparing and welcoming people for private and intimate food experiences. If so, eatwith.com might be an interesting option for them.
By completing this quest, you will come up with an easy-to-do activity that can effortlessly be mainstreamed locally and outside your community/city/region. This activity has the power of going local and identifying your community’s assets and strengths. It may help explore and experience the local known and unknown food heritage and create new memories.
Top 10 lists are easier to remember, can be inspirational and can lead you and your community to take action. Generally speaking, top 10 lists mirror local culture. On top of that, lists can be broken into multiple social media posts and can be easily advertised online.
- Understand food as a cultural element part of individual’s and community’s identity;
- Identify local assets related with food sector;
- Promote local resources, experiences and businesses;
- Cultural diversity in food;
- Food as an element which shapes the cultural identity of a community;
- Food as a connection component to an individual’s family, community, region or country;
- Take stock of local food experiences;
- Create inspirational, appealing, diverse and inclusive food bucket lists;
- Energise the community through the food industry.
- Be the spark that ignites urban revitalization through artistic and cultural actions in my region;
- Promote culture being the initiator of cultural activities that benefits the community;