Every foodie knows that food tours are heaven on earth. Traipsing around through a carefully planned itinerary (someone else’s!) that takes in boutique growers, producers and chefs; hearing their stories; viewing gorgeous countryside through farm gates and kitchen doors; nibbling and sipping away…Pure bliss!

After years of traipsing around markets, we have picked up a few tips (trial and error!). Here is our list of absolute must-haves for the ultimate food tour experience:

1.    Practical footwear

Picture yourself in the middle of a country paddock tasting the local produce. Now picture yourself wearing high heels. You see what we’re saying here?

2.    Sunglasses, hat and suncreen

Sunshine is a wonderful thing but not when it’s beating down on your delicate skin or scorching your retinas. Keep cool with proper sun protection.

3.    Cooler bags

It might seem like a brilliant idea to buy a kilo of Camembert until you are in the bus in 40 degree heat on the way home. Cooler bags are a must on any food tour. We are currently in love with the Single Bottle Beverage Fridge from Fridge-to-go that is RRP $29.95 and can be purchased online at www.fridge-to-go.net.au. Big enough for a wine bottle or a decent amount of cheese, meat and seafood; small enough to carry in a shoulder bag (without needing to see an osteopath afterwards).

4.    Disposable rain poncho

Nobody wants to leave the cake out in the rain but what’s worse is when YOU and the cake are caught in a torrential downpour. Damp, cold people are unhappy people. And umbrellas are really just one more thing to hold onto.

5.    Disinfectant wipes

Everybody loves to cuddle lambs and touch leafy greens plucked straight from the earth. The downside of communing with nature is the simple fact that nature is a bit grotty. Disinfectant wipes will ensure your mitts are ready to receive whatever tasty morsels are handed in your direction. We prefer these to gels as the gels tend to leave a very heavy flavoured residue on the fingers.

6.    Water

Think of yourself as an early explorer heading out on an expedition. Water is your friend (especially when you’ve had your third coffee, your 20th wine tasting or you just choked down some grappa).

7.    Pen and paper

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to remember a recipe, the species of mushroom, the address of a farm or the specific details of how to order a delicious and rare foodstuff. The pen is mightier than the memory – write it down!

8.    Camera

If you are as tragically obsessed with food as we are, you will want to document all the unusual or interesting demonstrations or processes you see along the way. You might also want to take pervy pictures of all the hot farmers and Chefs. Just sayin’…

9.    Spirit of adventure

An absolute must in everything you do in life but never more so than on a food tour. If someone hands you some blowfish, hey, you’ve had a good life … give it a go!

Is there anything you thing we should add?

VictorsFood is running Regional Flavours food tours to the Picton area.

There are places available for 9 October, 18 October, 20 November and 11 December tours.

Full details here: http://www.victorsfood.com.au/food-domestictours-itinerary.shtml