vl-november-180Some years ago when I was the editor of an airline magazine, we surveyed our readers, predominantly business travelers, about their habits on the road. One of the questions: When choosing a restaurant in a new city, do you (a) seek out local establishments, or (b) stick with tried-and-true chains? In my mind, the answer is obvious, because dining is one of the highlights of any travel experience – even (or especially) a mundane business trip. But the results were split evenly; although about half of the respondents shared my belief that dining discoveries are part of the joys of travel, the other half sang the praises of a reliable, no-surprises meal.

Virtuoso Life is dedicated to helping travelers plan their leisure time, and we’re pretty sure we know how you’d answer that question – which is why this issue focuses on wining and dining around the world. Now more than ever, food is reason enough to travel, as destinations showcase their culinary offerings and tour operators, cruise lines, and hotels become ever more creative in the types of food and dining experiences they offer.

Italy is perhaps the original – even ultimate – dining destination, but as writer Ingrid K. Williams points out, there really is no such thing as a singular “Italian food.” Our primer on Italian dining (page 90) takes you on a north-to-south tour of several regions, with tips on where to eat and what to order in each. Elsewhere in the issue, we check out Santiago’s dining scene, take a bite out of a different borough of the Big Apple with a roundup of Brooklyn’s best restaurants, and learn the art of entertaining at several Relais & Châteaux hotels (complete with recipes).

elaine-300You’re probably aware that your travel advisor has connections around the world to organize market visits, cooking classes, or even invitations to private homes for locally prepared family meals. But your advisor can also attend to daily dining details, offering restaurant recommendations, securing hard-to-get reservations, or simply suggesting where to stop for coffee, cocktails, or snacks on your itinerary.

After all, you don’t want to miss (or risk) a meal. Food is so much more than mere sustenance – it’s the recipe for truly connecting with a place. Cheers!

Elaine Srnka
Editorial Director, Virtuoso