Today one of my favorite travel blogs Gadling did a Foodie Travel Day. This provided me with an excuse to check out a few new blogs and to share some of the research that I’ve done for my upcoming Italy trip.
Food is one of my highest travel experience priorities. If you gave me a free trip to New York on the condition that I could only go to one place there is a better chance that I would pick some deli rather than a museum or theatre.
When I first started looking for Italy Food Blogs I was quite surprised to see that there aren’t a whole lot of real travel related food blogs in the initial results. The search results are markedly different than what I found when I searched for Hong Kong Food Blogs a year ago. Searching for Hong Kong or Vancouver + “food blogs” tends to result in restaurant reviews by locals and travellers.
Many of the food blogs that I found were about Italian food rather than food in Italy and most of those are written by North Americans. Now that I’ve gone through the first couple of pages of results and it seems that Italians themselves don’t feel the need to blog about their food. If you are to believe what Jamie Oliver has to say in his Great Italian Escape series, food knowledge is so integral to the Italian culture that it might seem silly for locals to write about it. After all, how many times can you say fresh, local, in-season ingredients prepared the way that Nonna made it.
At first I also suspected that there may be a search engine bias here too. Italian food is a whole genre of food and so I got results about the general topic of Italian food including many recipe blogs. Hong Kong food as a style isn’t very distinct from Chinese food or more accurately Cantonese food, so it would make sense that my HK search resulted in location specific blogs rather than style specific blogs. Alas, refining my searches to be location specific (e.g Venice, Bologna, or Florence) rather than country specific didn’t yield much cleaner results.
Changing my search terms to “Venice Italy restaurant reviews” did end up giving me more restaurant reviews, but these non-blog reviews don’t tend to provide enough information to really give you a sneak preview of what each restaurant has to offer. Instead of a write up of where the place is, what the room is like, what the menu is like, and photos of the dishes, you get anonymous comments like “the best food we had on our trip”. That type of comment means nothing to me because many people are perfectly happy eating junk. I need to be able to get a feeling for a reviewer’s standards before I can make my own assessment. There are some good commenters in those review sites, but you have to dig a lot harder for them. I suspect that once again TripAdvisor is your friend here, and that’s probably where I’ll do the bulk of my research.
The good news is that there are a few gems out there as far as blogs go. You have to explore through blog rolls and city specific searches to find them, but here are a few of the ones that I’ve marked:
Il Forno (older but interesting)
il cavoletto di bruxelles (in Italian, but commonly referenced)
Italian Food Forever (Culinary Journals section)