by Nancy Dorrans
Where are the latest fermentation destinations? Answer is almost anywhere! Although fermentation has been gaining ground and is “hotter” than ever, turning rotting meat, vegetables and fruit into a sacred, life-giving food has been around since the dawn of civilization.
I’ve been told there are numerous health benefits to eating fermented or cultured foods. Rich in friendly bacteria that our gut loves, these bacteria help our bodies get more nutrients out of the food we eat and make the food easier to digest. I don’t need another reason to travel but, the healthy benefits of fermented food have me dreaming of more adventures in faraway lands!
All the world’s cultures (play on words) create and have always enjoyed some type of fermented food and drink, and however exquisite and tasty to some, they are often disgusting and intolerable to others.
So here are my suggestions for a few adventure travel fermentation destination mash ups.
HAWAII – Poi & Waterfalls. A traditional Hawaiian food, Poi is a pale purplish paste made of taro and is full of “sustaining living beneficial organisms that transform the nutrients contained in taro into a higher form of energy to nourish the human heart and soul.” Combine that with some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the world and you’ve got one healthy breathtaking adventure!
ICELAND – Volcanos & Hákarl. Known as the land of Fire and Ice, Iceland is home to 130 active and extinct volcanic mountains and the national dish Hákarl or cured, rotten, fermented shark! After a day of hiking through the vast lava fields or mossy covered valleys why not try some fermented shark? The meat is poisonous when eaten fresh so burying it in the ground is the traditional Viking method of curing.
JAPAN – Geisha and Miso. Your Japanese adventure may take you cycling through rice fields, hiking the Japanese Alps or to Kyoto and Tokyo to be entertained by Geishas and all along the way, you’ll benefit from the healing qualities of Miso, used in many Japanese dishes. This fermented paste of soybeans is known for its dense concentration of nutrients and its remarkable disease-fighting properties.
DENMARK – Amber & Raest. Nordic Gold or small amber gems can be sometimes found along Denmark’s coastline, washed up from the sea floor and likely millions of years old. You’ll be hungry after a day of Amber hunting and you might like to try Raest, a fermented mutton dish that is a local delicacy of the Faroe Islands. Though isolated, these Islands off Denmark are a short flight from Copenhagen and Reykjavik.
INDIA – Dosa & Whitewater. An adventure tour of India should start with whitewater rafting in the foothills of the Himalayas and a visit to the Taj Mahal. You’ll witness the moving burial ceremonies at the ghats of Varanasi and camp out along the shores of the mighty Ganges itself.
India is a huge, wonderful, brightly-colored tasty nutshell and you’ll undoubtedly taste the Dosa, a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice batter and black lentils a staple food in many parts of India.
Cheers to your fermented health!