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Santa Fe Margarita Trail/Say So Media
Santa Fe Margarita Trail/Say So Media

8 Unexpected Food and Beverage Trails Around the World

Santa Fe Margarita Trail/Say So Media
Santa Fe Margarita Trail/Say So Media

Wine trails, food tours … if it feels like you’ve done, eaten, and drunk them all, dig in to one of these unexpected food and beverage trails around the world, taking you from Scotland’s gin distilleries to Pennsylvania’s pretzel factories.

1. THE SCOTLAND GIN TRAIL

Think Scotland’s tippling tastes extend only as far as a dram of whisky? Think again. Gin is booming in the country far better known for its scotch production; from the Outer Hebrides to the Angus Glens and industrial Glasgow, new distilleries are opening up at a rapid pace, incorporating botanicals unique to each region. More than 70 percent of the UK’s gin is made in Scotland, from big names like Tanqueray, Gordon’s, and Hendrick’s to smaller labels such as Caorunn, Rock Rose, and The Botanist. In recognition of this impressive statistic, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) launched The Scotland Gin Trail earlier this year, which takes visitors from Edinburgh to the Shetland Isles, through the rugged Highlands and the cities, visiting distilleries and dedicated gin bars along the way.

2. ECUADOR’S GUAYUSA TRAIL

Ecuador’s Guayusa Trail in the Amazonian Napo Province may essentially be a tea trail, but this is not your average cuppa. The guayusa plant is known for its high levels of caffeine and antioxidants—reasons why the indigenous Kichwa would use the plant in their “morning ceremony” rituals. The Guayusa Trail takes visitors to the guayusa growing farms (called chakras), as well as to a local community to participate in a morning ceremony and to the Runa Foundation to learn about fair trade farming.

3. PENNSYLVANIA’S SNACK FOOD TRAIL

Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery/Facebook

There’s a lot to thank the Keystone State for, not least its exceptional production of tasty pretzels, potato chips, and candy. Pennsylvania is home to almost 50 snack food manufacturers, including favorites Utz, Hershey, and Julius Sturgis (America's first commercial pretzel bakery), many of which open their doors to hungry visitors. From the Sturgis Pretzel house in Lititz to Intercourse Pretzel Factory, Herr’s Snack Factory in Nottingham and ending up in York at Wolfgang Candy’s Das Sweeten House, the trail will take you through Lancaster County and Dutch country, past some of Pennsylvania’s most scenic small towns and traditional farms.

4. SANTA FE’S MARGARITA TRAIL

La Fonda on the Plaza

A dry, dusty spring in Santa Fe, New Mexico demands liquid refreshment, and what better than a tart margarita to quench your thirst—or several if you embark upon the city’s dedicated Margarita Trail, which launched on May 5. You can buy a Margarita Trail passport from any Santa Fe Visitor Center, which gets you a $1 discount on the specialty margarita on offer at each of the 31 participating bars and restaurants. Bartenders will stamp your passport after each margarita and when you’ve collected five stamps, you’ll earn a commemorative shirt, while 20 will net you a signed copy of The Great Margarita Book. Slow your roll though; the powers that be quite sensibly only allow a maximum of two stamps per day. (That's the Chili Cucumber Margarita from  La Plazuela at La Fonda on the Plaza above, by the way).

5. DUBLIN TAPAS TRAIL

Where might you travel if you want to eat some delicious tapas? Barcelona? Madrid? How about Dublin, Ireland? Weirdly the Tapas Trail is an actual walking tour offered in the Irish capital, billed as a way to discover Dublin’s “most popular and hidden tapas restaurants.” Dublin has so many tapas bars, in fact, they merit a dedicated section on this website. The trail takes you to three different restaurants, kept secret beforehand, stopping for wine and food at each. For those with a motive beyond filling up on tasty Spanish snacks, there’s also a Tapas Trail Singles Night.

6. THE BLUE MOUNTAINS APPLE PIE TRAIL

 

While this trail sounds as American as apple pie, it actually belongs to our neighbors to the north. Ontario’s Apple Pie Trail takes you along the quiet country roads and around the charming villages of the Georgian Bay and the Niagara Escarpment. Marked out spots along the way offer apple pies, yes, but also apples in many other incarnations, including apple cider, applewood smoked pork back ribs, apple ice pops, and even apple doggy biscuits for furry travel companions.

7. COLUMBUS, OHIO’S TACO TRUCK TOUR

Ohio may not be the state that immediately comes to mind when you think of great Mexican food. Bear with us, though: Columbus Food Adventures is the brainchild of a British ex-pat who lives in the Ohioan capital and really knows its (perhaps surprisingly) great food scene inside out. The taco truck tour is one of several themed food adventures offered, lasting three hours and taking visitors to the many trucks on Columbus’ west side, sampling specialties at each.

8. THE MT. KILIMANJARO COCA-COLA ROUTE

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Officially named the Marangu Route, this route to the summit of Africa’s highest mountain gets its unofficial name from the days when, in the words of Henry Stedman, author of Kilimanjaro: The Trekking Guide to Africa’s Highest Mountain, “local wardens and rangers stationed at the campsites along the way would supplement their income by selling bottles of Coke to thirsty trekkers.” Like its namesake beverage, the Coca-Cola route has mass appeal—with about 40 percent of climbers opting for this route—and is said to be the easiest. The Coca-Cola route is perhaps the least satisfying, however, as it is reportedly less scenic than the other ways up. Basically, it’s the fast food of mountain summits.

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environment
London Grocery Chain Encourages Shoppers to Bring Their Own Tupperware
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Why stop at bringing your own grocery bags to the store? One London grocery wants you to BYO-Tupperware. The London Evening Standard reports that a UK chain called Planet Organic has partnered with Unpackaged—a company dedicated to sustainable packaging—to install self-serve bulk-food dispensers where customers can fill their own reusable containers with dry goods, cutting down on plastic packaging waste.

To use the system, customers walk up and weigh their empty container at a self-serve station, printing and attaching a label with its tare weight. Then, they can fill it with flour, nuts, or other kinds of dry goods, weigh it again, and print the price tag before taking it up to the check out. (Regular customers only have to weigh their containers once, since they can save the peel-off label to use again next time.)

Planet Organic is offering cereals, legumes, grains, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, and even some cleaning products in bulk as part of this program, significantly reducing the amount of waste shoppers would otherwise be taking home on each grocery trip.

Zero-waste grocery stores have been popping up in Europe for several years. These shops, like Berlin's Original Unverpackt, don't offer any bags or containers, asking customers bring their own instead. This strategy also encourages people to buy only what they need, which eliminates food waste—there's no need to buy a full 5-pound bag of flour if you only want to make one cake.

The concept is also gaining traction in North America. The no-packaging grocery store in.gredients opened in Austin, Texas in 2011. The Brooklyn store Package Free, opened in 2017, takes the idea even further, marketing itself as a one-stop shop for "everything that you'd need to transition to a low waste lifestyle." It sells everything from tote bags to laundry detergent to dental floss.

[h/t London Evening Standard]

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Jellyfish Chips Might Be Your Next Snack Obsession
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When it comes to processed foods, the palate of the average American isn't very adventurous. A bag of pickle-flavored Lay's chips might be a radical snack option. But if researchers in Denmark are on the right track, we may soon be crunching a very different kind of treat: jellyfish chips, as Futurism reports.

The ethereal-looking marine animals are usually recognized for their squishy frames and sometimes as a threat due to their venomous sting. They're often prepared for human consumption in Asian cultures, with the body being marinated in salt and potassium for weeks to create a crunchy delicacy. Recently, Danish scientists at the University of Southern Denmark were able to expedite this process, using ethanol to create a crispy jellyfish chip in a matter of days.

A jellyfish chip is made from a jellyfish being dried out in ethanol
Mie T. Pedersen

Why bother? Due to overfishing, more popular seafoods are experiencing shortages. The jellyfish, however, have a flourishing population and are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Right now, researchers are focused on the microscopic changes that take place when processing a jellyfish from its gooey natural state to a hardened, crunchy form. It could be a while before any serious product development is conducted. And as far as taste goes, it might need a bit of seasoning. The current process for making jellyfish consumable results in a taste that some have compared to eating a salty rubber band.

[h/t Futurism]

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