Every time I go back to visit friends in England there seems to be a new Gastro Pub or some form of trendy new hangout for foodies, and it seems the Brits are becoming more European when it comes to mixing food with being sociable.
According to trend analysts Lost In Catering the UK food scene is becoming more about socializing and enjoying a sense of ‘togetherness’ in much the way we do here on the continent.
Diners are now much happier sharing their experience with other guests and staff and in doing so are satisfying their need for community, friendship and gaining a much stronger engagement with the whole experience… In comes counter-dining across the spectrum from quick-casual to Michelin star along with huge share tables and cuisine to match. And sharing, grazing and people eating late is up.
Another trend is the fusion of gastronomy with other areas of your lifestyle. They call it “blurring of occasion”. Places like Pizzateca in Madrid (half book store, half pizza place) and Look Mum no Hands in London (a cycle workshop come café-bar) are using food to enrich and enhance other experiences, in this case enjoying a good read or learning a spot of bicycle maintenance!
The foodie scene is also being shaped by the demand for healthy, authentic and above all local food, and in return those very same ingredients are being used as tools to promote the regions they belong to, in sustainability drives all over the country.
It stands to reason then that gastronomy has a huge role to play in enriching the whole holiday and travel experience, and can present a real opportunity to tap into a niche market if done properly.
So this week I wanted to bring you case study on someone operating her own gourmet holiday business, and reveal some of the secret sauce behind what makes it work.
Q: Please can you tell us a little about your business
A: My name is Lynsey Drake. I am a passionate ‘Foodie’ and I love to share, create & entertain. We moved to rural Andalucia 8 years ago to our wonderful mountainside home La Rosilla, and I wanted to create a business from my hobby that would fuse lifestyle & food for others to enjoy.
Q: Why did you choose this area?
A: In this rural area of Spain I felt there was a lack of promotion of the wonderful fresh and ever changing seasonal produce. The Montes de Malaga are a popular get away from it all, holiday destination, and visitors want to experience the real Spain through traditional cooking, flavours and the outstanding beauty there is to offer.
As a ‘local’ I believe I can help them experience the real Spain through my cooking, and create memory moments guests will have for many a year to come.
Q: So what can visitors to the area enjoy from La Rosilla?
A: At La Rosilla I offer various different ‘Gourmet’ options, from Cookery & Culture tours, tasting, creating, cooking and eating with guests in my idyllic location, with views to die for.
I also do event & party catering and run a ‘Luxury Meals on Wheels’ holiday dining service for guests to enjoy in the comfort of their own holiday villa. But I am perhaps best known for my ‘Supperclub’ which is a unique and delicious alternative to dining in a restaurant.
Q: What kind of person do your gourmet experiences attract?
A: My guests (many of whom have become friends) travel from worldwide locations, eager to experience something that little bit different. We have single travellers who are made to feel welcome and secure, groups of friends taking a break from the ‘Costa’, people celebrating a special occasion, and even families with children who want to feel relaxed whilst dining together. In-fact anyone who wants a taste of ‘The Good life’ in a Real Spain setting!
Q: As well as writing a regular blog, you are very active on Twitter and your Facebook page really appeals to a foodie audience. Do you think this all helps the success of your business?
A: Yes, many guests keep in touch, we share recipes, places we’ve visited, restaurant reviews, and blog writings. People follow my blog, and then become customers because they want to see it in real life. Spreading the word, or spreading the ‘Foodie love’ as I like to call it, often comes from word of mouth. I write regularly for many blogs and magazines & share recipes. My own blog encompasses my life on the mountain, with my family & menagerie, warts & all 😉
Q: Why do you think Gourmet breaks are suddenly becoming so popular?
A: Like me, often people remember a place by its food, or a certain special meal they enjoyed somewhere. At La Rosilla our guests can to learn how to cook the dishes we serve, and learning how to create that tapa or traditional meal allows them to re-visit their memories & tastes on their return home. I have had clients having arrived back home, host a ‘Tastes of Spain’ dinner for friends. They sent me their photos to show off their new found culinary skills and that to me that is just so rewarding.
Q: What would you say to anyone wanting to start a similar niche holidays business?
A: My advice for anyone wanting to start a ‘gourmet’ holiday retreat or ‘supperclub’ is go for it! Research the local produce available through the seasons, celebrate what’s on offer in your area, start small, and as your confidence grows your business will too. Most of all be passionate, it is as much a hobby & pleasure.
Lynsey’s blog can be found at www.larosilla.info
And her main website at www.larosilla-catering.com
So what do you think of this trend for gourmet breaks? Do you run a similar business, or have you found success in a different kind of holiday niche? We would love to hear from you and maybe your business could be featured in a future interview.