During a recent journey to Cuba with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, travelers had the opportunity to partake in Project Paladar. Part of the 11th Havana Biennial, this collaboration matched 10 American cooks, primarily from New York, with 10 Cuban chefs in a restaurant built specially for the occasion. A recent article in the New York Times describes this remarkable event.
Project Paladar is just one of the unique culinary events that travelers might experience on a trip with Academic Arrangements Abroad. During one of our travel programs, you might dine in a private palazzo, eat lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant in an out-of-the-way village, discover the oldest cafe in Paris, or feast under a Bedouin tent.
We asked staff members at Academic Arrangements Abroad for some of their dining adventures and recommendations around the world.
Here’s what they had to say:
“In the beautiful resort town of Careyes, Mexico, the polo club provides a wonderful way to interact with locals in a casual environment,” recalls writer Stasha Healy, “and there’s a small restaurant at the polo field that’s tucked away, not obvious at all. I had a wonderful dinner there once, outside at a simple wooden table, under hanging lanterns. The crowd – which included polo players – was lively from a well-played match. The food was hearty and delicious – grilled meats and the like.”
In Stellenbosch, outside of Cape Town, Stasha tried wild boar carpaccio. “It was delicious,” she says. “Not something you see on many menus. I also tried ostrich and kudu in South Africa but was not overly impressed by either.”
Vice President of Communications Gloria De Luca remembers a special meal she had in Greece: “The grilled tentacle of a freshly caught octopus was a memorable birthday lunch on the island of Santorini. We were at a seaside taverna on a small fishing port, a local fisherman had just brought around his morning catch and the taverna owner threw it on the grill… A little chewy, but so tasty—and with cold retsina to wash it down, it was a meal I’ll never forget!”
Other staff members are also adventuresome eaters.
“I tried a fried spider in Cambodia in Skuon, this little village where we had a bus stop,” says Tour Operations Manager Marisa Swope. “The spiders are considered a delicacy. I just tried the leg, which was fried and crunchy. I definitely wouldn’t have known it was a spider leg if my eyes were closed! The taste was less memorable than the young Cambodian girl who sold me the spider and used the transaction as an opportunity to practice her English.”
In Nairobi, Kenya, Director of Operations Deborah Tarr noshed on grilled warthog, which she describes as “quite delicious.”
General Counsel Liz Irwin was served live parboiled fish in China, and tour director Eleni Papachristou sampled silk worm in Thailand.
“But if we are talking about memorable meals, I think most of us would agree that any feast on Sea Cloud is worth remembering,” Eleni adds. “They’re really creative and scrumptious meals. And don’t let me forget the absolutely to-die-for teatime crepes with homemade ice cream.”
What are some unforgettable meals that you’ve had while traveling?