Foraging: Your Tasty Ticket to Explore the World

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, CroatiaTruf­fles: 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 TownHerbs, 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 DhabiOys­ters: 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 & CaicosConch: 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, FloridaScal­lops: 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, DenmarkUrban 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.