5 Rules Every Foodie Needs to Know

The countdown is ON and I couldn’t be more excited!

Just three weeks until my next food trail, and let me tell you–it’s a doozie! I get to visit two of my absolute favorite food & wine destinations: Burgundy, France, and the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Visiting Burgundy in the fall may be one of my absolute favorite things. The grapes have just been harvested, and there’s a fog in the sky and a chill in the air that is lovingly complimented by your choice of local pinot noir and a serving of boeuf à la Bourguignonne (know simply as “le boeuf” in those parts). As for the Emilia-Romagna, it isn’t the local Lambrusco I await, but the indigenous Prosciutto Crudo, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale, and more variations of tortellini than I have days to eat…all washed down with my choice of wines from nearby Piemonte and Veneto! Magnifico!

These two regions couldn’t be more different, yet they remain preferred destinations for my food-and-wine-obsessed clientele. While I plan to do plenty of eating research on this trip, the reason for my visit is to scout out the best of the best—guides, accommodations, activities, vineyard hosts, restauranteurs—in person, for you. The vast majority of my clients geek out about food, wine, or both (at varying levels of expertise, of course). In fact, many manage to teach me something special that they gathered during their travels, and I am always thankful for the tips. I’ve compiled a few of my own foodie lessons learned here for you. Bon appetite!

5 Rules Every Foodie Needs to Know


Fresh is Best. 

Take, for example, the two regions I will be visiting next month. Escargots from not-Burgundy will never, ever, measure up to the delicacy in Burgundy! The Emilia-Romagna is home to true Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (not the stuff in the green can), and though we may sometimes get decent replicas here in the states, what we are eating wouldn’t even be passable in Bologna. There are a couple of good reasons for this. First, in the case of Burgundian snails, you can’t imitate what is found in the soil. It is the mystery of terroir, and it’s the same reason you can transplant those pinot noir vines anywhere in the world, but their grapes will never taste as though they were born in that mineral-rich ground. The second reason is more practical. We simply cannot afford the best quality (after the excessive cost of suitable transfer), or the act of shipping would too greatly damage the product. This is one reason why travel is important and enlightening—we cannot duplicate the exposure we get to other cultures and their foods.

Pair to Perfection.

If you are not a drinker, you may want to skip this one, though I adamantly affirm its truth. Food is best enjoyed through the delicate blend of balance and contrast found in a wine glass. {The same can easily be said of beer in some circumstances.} There is a reason why oenological expertise is so valued, and it isn’t about getting people drunk. For thousands of years, properly paired food and wine have graced the tables of kings and commoners alike. It’s like this: once the food is prepared, it cannot be made to physically taste better in any way other than with the addition of a complimentary wine. A Sommelier-paired meal may not be in everyone’s budget on a regular basis, but there is ample literature available that can at least guide you in the right direction for your own home pairings.


Experience Equals Enjoyment

Lesson learned from the Old World: there is nothing more delightful than bread broken in pleasant company. Europeans live by this principle, and one needs only look so far as a German biergarten or an Italian osteria to see it in action. You don’t have to arrive with a friend, you only need to be willing to make one.

Savor Slowly

This is, without a doubt, the most difficult concept for Americans to comprehend and implement. I won’t get into the FACT that we move way too fast in order to cram in way too much. Rather I will offer the words of Parisian Patrick Vidal,


As a daily driver of the mommy cab, I get it. We are slaves to speed and convenience. But if most of the world has never heard of a Hot Pocket, perhaps we’re the ones doing something wrong! Fred Plotkin, foodie extraordinaire, coined a concept that inspires me on the daily—that of being a “pleasure activist.” In short, this means that we actively engage our senses so as to create memories that can be recalled and even re-felt.

Confession: I often attempt (poorly) to eat left-handed. I do this not out of a misguided sense of etiquette, but because it forces me to eat slowly. Eating (fumbling) carefully requires attention to the details of what is on my plate—its material, its beauty, its fragrance. It disallows me to shovel food in my mouth and taste it for only a second before reaching for the next bite.


My mama shows her love through her (amazing) food. It is pretty exceptional, really, because she has this gift to give, this unique way of blessing others. I know this might sound crazy, but the only thing that makes her food taste better is thankfulness. Try to approach your next meal as if you were seated at my mom’s table—with a heart of genuine thanksgiving to the one who lovingly prepared it…just for you. Quite simply, gratitude isn’t what follows a meal, it’s how we participate in its preparation.

Until next time.



P.S. If you are feeling hungry for one of my totally unique, fully-customized food and wine tours, more information can be found by clicking HERE!