Friday, 16 October 2009

A Gourmet Tour From Hell

Blogging about travel writing is totally different from writing about your travels. When sharing your travels with the world, you can be frank and free. With professional travel writing, your best bits have to go into the article or book, not on your blog. Duh. Seems obvious when you think about it.

And you don't want to commit professional suicide by being too frank, however amusing the PR's screw-up was, or however hideously memorable that restaurant meal was.

Actually, though, let's write about the string of awful meals I had on one "gourmet tour" of a region which had better be nameless.

The worst meal was hot meat with gravy and raspberry sauce, served in a dizzyingly decorated restaurant to the sound of a PR woman yelling non stop about the chef, his ingredients, his philosophy, etc. No place to hide. Boy, that woman had some lungs, and she was mortally offended at anyone who left a scrap.

Next day of our gourmet tour, the highlight was plates of small spiky fish plus patented pink goop (tasting like kiddy toothpaste with a touch of vinegar.) No veggies, no bread, nothing but lots of spiky little fishes and pink goop.

The third day, we attended a cookery demonstration for - well who knows? Because everyone was riveted by the absolutely enormous cockroach making its way slowly up the demonstration podium, oblivious of the demonstrator clashing her pots and pans above. Nobody, but nobody wanted to eat the dish she had just so lovingly prepared for us.

The fourth day I pleaded illness. I ate nothing all day and went to bed in the evening with a bagel. How I loved that bagel's little dry-bread face! I still remember it with appreciation!


  1. That does sound pretty foul. I hope experiences like that are in the minority for you!!

  2. Come on, what was the place you visited????

  3. Hope you managed to have some good food on your gourmet tour

  4. Actually it put me completely off that style of rich, fancy food for a couple of years. It still makes me feel a bit ill to think about it. A good example of how it can be counter productive to thrust things down peoples' throats (almost literally in this case). Sometimes less is more.

  5. Christine B.Osborne27 November 2009 at 12:11

    I can think of many awful meals, particularly many claiming to be `Indian` in England. But my two worst memories were in South Africa and Australia.

    In Port Elizabeth, I was served steamed fish with the roast lamb and gravy (it was a 2 course menu but as you can see, both came together).

    And a horrid souvenir of Alice Springs when my steak and vegetables also had a serving of spaghetti with it.

    I would like to add a final note in saying I absolutely loathe the crass trend for `tower servings`.

    Of small interest, perhaps, I used to write reviews of the Grand Restaurants of the World for Signature Magazine of the Diners Club.


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