Those that know me will almost certainly have been subjected to passionate rants about subjects that are important to me and none more so than respecting the planet and its people as best we can.
Also on my passionate rant list: equality, travelling responsibly, animal welfare, and of course food!
Working with companies that share those values is extremely important to me, which is where Intrepid come into the picture. Their dedication and adventure-filled itineraries never fail to impress me.
They have been taking like-minded travellers on small group tours and changing the way people see the world for over 30 years now and they do it well.
Leading the way in responsible, ethical adventures with a focus on actively sustaining communities, they work with a range of local partners to support the development of new experiences and offer tourists the opportunity to connect with the local people and make a positive impact.
Their authentic food-focused tours range from bite-sized to gastronomic odysseys, designed to suit any appetite, pairing their classic grassroots style with a focus to bring alive the world's most exciting food cultures and get you munching, crunching, sipping and slurping just like the locals.
Picking one to highlight has been no mean feat, but I settled on a country I love, that offers endless beaches, fascinating culture, beautiful people and exquisite cuisine: Sri Lanka.
Starting in Negombo and concluding in Colombo, this 12-day small group food exploration tour provides an adventure for all the senses.
We get to lie back on the coast, cool down in the highlands and weave through the streets of the buzzing capital, tasting melt-in-the mouth desserts, cooking seafood straight out of the hands of fishermen, uncovering flavour-filled curries, treating our eyes to banquets of rainbow spices, vibrant vegetables and colourful sambol and spending time with welcoming locals keen to share the mysteries of Sri Lankan cuisine.
There is also time to explore the rich culture of the country’s elaborate temples, ancient fortresses and wildlife-filled countryside.
This trip aims to give you an exciting, diverse and well-rounded experience of Sri Lanka's cuisine.
Sri Lanka is a great food destination for vegetarians, with a large amount of the nation’s favourite dishes meat free – vegetable curries, hoppers, string hoppers, vegetable roti and, of course, the incredible selection of fruit on offer.
Many of the cooking experiences are in local homes because as every foodie knows, this is where the best food is found. While you'll have the chance to get involved in the preparations in the kitchen, learning will be in a more informal environment.
There are a few things to be aware of when deciding if this is for you, mainly a couple of lengthy journeys by train and road. Although I assure you, you will always be taking the scenic route.
If you're not comfortable with heights, you may also want to sit out the climb of Lion Rock at Sigiriya.
As always, I will be on hand to run through all considerations and answer any questions you may have upon enquiry.
Trip Highlights include:
Negombo fish market renowned for lobsters, crabs and prawns
Visit to a coconut plantation to discover why this ‘super food’ is so central to life in Sri Lanka
Dambulla home to vibrantly decorated cave-temples and base to explore an array of natural wonders and historic sites
‘Lion Rock’ at Sigiriya
The renowned spice-growing region of Matale
Kandy including the Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth), the Central Market, a working tea factory and botanical gardens
Join a Sinhalese family for a Kandyan sweet-filled Sri Lankan dinner and cooking class
Scenic journey to Bandarawela where you will visit a tea plantation and a local home for a traditional meal
Haputale for a home-cooked lunch with a Tamil family
Yala or Udawalawe National Park to see an impressive array of wildlife, including sloth bears and lots of birds plus an evening safari to search for leopards, crocodiles and wild elephants
The beautiful beach village of Mirissa
The golden sands and calm waters of the southern coastline where whales and dolphins can be spotted along with special sunsets
Meeting with local fishermen to learn about their craft before enjoying the freshest seafood lunch possible with a fisherman's family
Galle and its blend of European architecture including the Royal Dutch Fort and South Asian traditions
Colombo, the capital, a cosmopolitan mix of vibrant street markets, colonial buildings, interesting museums, fine restaurants and great shopping opportunities.
When it comes to unforgettable experiences, it really is all about the people, and the food.
End of passionate rant. For now.
If you can see yourself on an epic adventure through Sri Lanka, eating your bodyweight in seafood and meeting the world's largest land animals, get in touch and let's talk food and travel.