For 95% of our existence on Earth, humans have sustained themselves by foraging. Getting back to our roots by looking at the roots of the flora and fauna that surrounds us is the essence of foraging.
The benefits of foraging are vast. It expands your typical flavor profile that modern grocery stores have boxed us into. The nutritional content is usually much denser than something purchased at the store due to freshness and better soil content (since it’s not over farmed). Foraging keeps you completely in the moment and connects you with the world that we are all a part of, but often can find ourselves disconnected from. Not to mention it turns dinner into a game and an accomplishment.
While foraging is exciting in your community, taking it to the next level often requires travel. Plus, one of the best ways to get to know a place is through its food. It’s increasingly easy for travelers to experience firsthand the foraging trend. Below are the top travel destinations to forage your way around the world.
Truffles: Istria, Croatia
Istria has grown into more than a medieval town with bountiful hills—it has even been hailed as “the next Tuscany.” Foodies and foragers come for some of the world’s finest truffles. Thanks to this craze blowing up, plenty of people are willing to help show you the ropes in the Motovun forest. Black truffles are available year-round, peaking in the summer, while the white variety turns up from September through December.
You’ll want to equip yourself with a small shovel and bag to gather these decadent fungi. Many locals utilize dogs to hunt for the truffles by scent—they can smell truffles that are up to 65 feet under the soil.
Herbs, Nuts, Sea Snails: Cape Town
Cape Town is a mecca for the forager. Depending on the time of year (the best being summer) and your location you can hunt for black mussels, giant sea snails, seaweed, edible plants, nuts, fennel, nettle, cape sorrel, and mushrooms. The local Mount Nelson Hotel even sends out foraging groups who reconvene afterward at the hotel to prepare and cook the ingredients alongside a chef.
Oysters: Abu Dhabi
In Abu Dhabi, swim along water banks filled with oyster clusters, wild flamingos, and gray herons. If you want to learn some of the ropes, the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr sails along the waters where the oysters are found and shows you how to gather and shuck oysters.
Conch: Turks & Caicos or Key West
The Caribbean is packed with islands that are home to the shellfish delicacy: the conch. It offers a mild taste with a gummy texture and is served at both roadside stands and upscale restaurants. It’s incredibly versatile and can be prepared as burgers, chowder, sweet and sour, and deep-fried in flour and spices in little conch fritters. Free-divers and snorkelers are keen on catching these critters. If you don’t know where to start, Caicos Dream Tours runs a Snorkel and Conch Cruise that includes a sail along the limestone cliffs of the Turks and Caicos cays and conch diving at Caicos Bank, where you’ll find conch along the shallow ocean floor.
Scallops: Crystal River, Florida
If you’ve heard of Crystal River, it’s likely because it’s famous for manatees and its crystal clear water. Just 90 minutes from Orlando, it features some of the best foraging in the United States. Scallops abound here, making it foraging heaven. Simply buy a fishing license, grab a bucket, and head out. Scallops hide just 4–8 feet underwater, making them easier seafood to forage for. If you’d like some direction, Manatee Tour and Dive will be glad to help you out.
Urban Foraging: Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is the hometown of Michelin Star chef, and hardcore forager, Rene Redzepi. Unsurprisingly, Scandinavia is a leader in urban foraging. Redzepi created an app, Vild Mad (wild food), that can be used to guide foragers through the Danish wilderness. This is one of the best foraging resources currently on the market. It even has some recipes from the chef.
August is the perfect month to urban foraging in Copenhagen. Thanks to the abundant sunlight in late summer, which means fruits are beginning to ripen. On a simple walk through town, you can find everything from plums, apples, and blackberries. You can even find herbs and edible flowers like oregano, chamomile, and rosehip flowers.