“I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food” - W.C. Fields
Fewer things bring people together than food and drink. When we travel to different countries, we are all curious about trying the dishes that are unique to that region. Somehow, eating the local fare immediately transports us into the moment and makes us feel like we understand the people on a more personal level. Of course, there is so much we can learn about a people through their food, but we all know well that the real bonding takes places through the local drinking rituals.
For the record, we are not only speaking about alcohol. Anybody who has been to the U.K or to Argentina, can attest to the warm welcoming of a nice cup of tea, or the bitter but obligatory sharing of a mate. It is indeed in these rituals where we are given a chance to slow down and just enjoy the company we are with, as well as the magical juices of the local nation. Although these are daily occurrences for most of us, what we drink in our country plays an important role on so many aspects of the culture.
It is for these reasons, we encourage the simple pursuit of taste testing when traveling. We are not referring to binge taste tasting, but simply seeking out the local drinks where ever you go. It may be one of the easiest ways to fit into to your new environment and also one of the best ice breakers you can find. When it comes to drinks, there is a certain pride people have that shines through. Everyone is proud of the local drinking habits and are more than happy to tell you the story of their drink. It is amazing how many times we have been offered “the best” wine in the world.
Drinking rituals usually have been passed down through the ages and help form traditions. There is often reasons why they exist that we may not be aware of. Jaegermeister in Germany and Guinness in Ireland used to be consumed for their health purposes. And that seems to be a pretty common theme cross-culturally. Drinking in moderation usually was thought of a method to prevent illness. Aside from their magical medicinal qualities, a lot of drinks obviously serve as aids to our digestion. The classic aperetivo in Italy and France allows us to socialize while preparing our digestive systems for a later dinner. Missing out on this aspect of that culture while traveling, is missing out on an essential component to daily life. The Lifestyle Project facilitates these cultural adventures so that we can improve upon our own way of living.
Something that almost all cultures have is the ritual of “cheers”. In many countries, rather than cheers, people toast to one another’s health. Getting this ritual right gets you instant local points, getting it wrong can frighten your new friends because there is a lot of superstition behind drinking. The Germans are insistent that you look each other in the eyes when you clink glasses. In China, as a guest it is respectable to toast and say thanks to each individual at the table. In Spain, it is good luck to touch the table with the glass before drinking. Every country has their thing, and the quicker you learn the local customs, the quicker you feel less like a customer.
So what ever it is you fancy, enjoy a nice beverage while abroad because it is an essential component to culture.
Cheers to your health.
Let’s change the way we travel, together.
The Lifestyle Project