The vacation season is coming, and many people are planning not only a beach holiday at their favorite resort but also trips to new countries in search of discoveries, new experiences, and tastes. For fans of gastronomic tourism, we recommend reading the book “Viktoriia’s Gastronomic Trips” by famous travel blogger Viktoriia Knignitskaia. In it, you will find everything that will help you plan your new delicious trip.
Viktoriia Knignitskaia, this is your first book; why did you decide to focus on the topic of gastronomic tours?
The topic of gastronomic tourism has become extremely trendy. Some people travel and explore the national cuisines of the world, some go on the trail of ready-made travel notes and dine in restaurants recommended by experts, and some cook at home using authentic recipes. Gastronomic tourism is not just about traveling to distant countries and experiencing new combinations of flavors. You can visit a neighboring region of your country and discover a new dish there.
Scrolling through social networks is full of pictures of dishes and drinks from different establishments. This is also a result of gastro-tourism. Of course, for me, as a travel expert, gastronomic tourism has a broader meaning.
Could you tell us more about it, please?
I have been studying the travel segment for more than 20 years. You can discover the history, religion, economics, politics, and customs that form the unique identity of a region or even an entire country by looking at the national cuisine. But the purpose of my book was not just to tell about specific recipes. That, of course, too. But paramount, I wanted to support somehow family-owned restaurants that have found themselves in a depressing position during covid restrictions.
It’s no secret that it was difficult for the entire travel industry. Agencies and airlines suffered huge losses. What to say about small cafes and restaurants which emptied? Many could not stand the period of downtime and closed. That’s how the idea of publishing a gastronomic guide was born.
What is your book about?
About the peculiarities of the national cuisine of Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey, my secret places in these countries, my favorite chefs, and farm and family restaurants hidden from the bustling tourist routes. The most talented chefs cook for guests here: Massimiliano Alajmo at Le Calandre, Enrico Crippa at Piazza Duomo, Antonio Santini at Dal Pescatore, Niko Romito at Reale, Fatih Tutak at Turk Fatih Tutak, Mehmet Gürs at Mikla, Maksut Askar at Neolokal and many others.
Why these four countries?
This is my first book; I had to start somewhere. So I started with my favorites. Italy and France are centuries-old legacies and trendsetters in gastronomy. Spain is a massive part of my life; my heart is always here. And Turkey – this country will surprise you with an incredible number of culinary masterpieces and give you the most unforgettable taste experience.
Are there any recipes for local dishes in your book?
Absolutely! During my travels, I always collect recipes for national dishes in the most authentic places on the planet. I usually publish many of them on my blog, and during the lockdown, these recipes were included in my first gastronomic travel book. Not only are they unique in their age-old authenticity but also in the fact that chefs and my readers can cook from them. This collection of recipes has delighted my family and friends more than once.
The simplicity and authenticity of the national recipes passed down from generation to generation made my book understandable and exciting to a wide audience. Sold-out circulation of 800 thousand copies confirms this.
The book was published immediately in English. And it is not a translated edition but the original. What dictated the choice of language?
I am fluent in English. I also maintain my travel blog solely in English. It is not an obstacle for me, but instead expands the boundaries of possibilities for me and my readers from different countries. My subscribers have already exceeded one million; they are people from different corners of the globe. Most know English. And for those who do not, modern technology immediately offers a translation of the post into the desired language.
Has the book’s primary goal – to help restaurants cope with the crisis – been achieved?
Yes, the concept of gastronomic tours I developed enabled small restaurants to survive the difficult period of the pandemic; they did not close down and continued the family business. That’s priceless! And another wow side effect of the book’s release for me has been international sponsorship contracts with foreign food companies.
In the book, I focus on foods that the countries represented are proud of – Greek olive oil, French truffles, Italian pasta, olives from Greece and Israel, Parma cheeses, etc. And after publishing the book, the prospect of advertising collaboration with global brands suddenly opened up for me.