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Whetting travelers' appetites

travel Updated: Jul 12, 2011 15:35 IST
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Knowing that the fastest way to a traveler's heart is through his or her stomach, tourism boards are aggressively pitching their culinary heritage during peak travel season. 

From Singapore to Slovenia, governments are trying to woo hungry travelers to their respective countries by enticing them with promises of spicy, exotic fare and pastoral images of lush, green agriculture.

Singapore's tourism board, for instance, has been bringing a taste of their country to the world in a mobile kitchen and recently visited Paris, one of nine cities chefs will be visiting through to April next year.

The campaign "Singapore Takeout," traveled to London and Paris, and arrives in Moscow July 15. Next the mobile pop-up restaurant visits New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Delhi, Dubai and Sydney.

During a recent stop in Paris last month, Singaporean chef Andre Chiang showcased the hallmarks of his cuisine -- fusion cooking -- with dishes like Patatas Bravas cooked in chive oil, calamari risotto with jasmine rice, and foie gras jelly with a black truffle coulis.

Singapore is quickly becoming a hot spot for Michelin-starred and celebrity chefs who recognize a market when they see one. The growth of the luxury goods sector in Singapore and rising affluence has created a parallel demand in haute cuisine, attracting the likes of Joel Robuchon, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck to set up outposts there in the last two years.

Traditional Singaporean fare, meanwhile, is described as a culinary melting pot of its peoples: Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan, a fusion of Chinese, Malay and Indonesian cuisine.

From the spicy Szechuan flavors of China, the galangal, lemongrass and ginger spices from Malaysia and coconut curries of India, Singapore boasts a richly gastronomical history.

Halfway around the world, Slovenia too is pitching a culinary heritage based on the Mediterranean and Balkan diet. From Slovenian cheeses and native wine, to traditional dishes like sausages and cabbage and Slovenian-style ravioli, the tourism board is hoping to woo travelers to food festivals throughout the summer and fall.

Peru has also teamed up with a Pisco maker in a campaign to mark the 100th anniversary of the re-discovery of Machu Picchu. Pisco is a strong, colorless, grape brandy.

Mixologists in the US were invited to put their own twist on the Pisco Sour, the Peruvian national cocktail made with lemon or lime, egg white, simple syrup and bitters. The contest ended this week in Las Vegas and winners were given free trips to Machu Picchu as well as bragging rights to creating the official Centennial Machu Pisco Sour.

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