The contest itself consists of a series of questions designed to identify your travel personality. I wasn’t surprised at all to see I’m pegged as a Foodie – someone who doesn’t just seek to travel but likes to devour the world.
But then they asked me to write about my most memorable food trip and that was tough, how do I choose between discovering tacos in Mexico and eating reindeer in Finland? But finally I realized it was the most surprising trip, eating on Maui.
Now they’ve asked me a really tough question: how would I spend 20k on my ultimate dream trip?
I started to think that I’d go back down to Latin America or maybe I’d jetset through New York, London and Hong Kong. I then realized there is a region I really want to explore but it’s the fear of going bankrupt that holds me back.
The region hadn’t really interested me at all until I went to Finland last year. Helsinki surprised me and I realized that despite people telling me Finns were unfriendly, that wasn’t really true. I ate reindeer almost every day and really loved the traditional food of Finland. The food there is so beautiful and Nordic cuisine is influencing the world. What’s my holdup? Scandinavia is expensive. Winning $20K would be my opportunity to really do it justice in Scandinavian restaurants.
On a $20,000 food trip I wouldn’t go alone, especially a food-focused trip I’d invite Chef Rouge. Sure it means I’d be halving my budget but food isn’t just about taste, but also about sharing. In Finland I had an incredible meal at Restaurant Ask and was conflicted about eating it alone. An experience like this needs to be shared.
I would start in Denmark the home of gravlax, danish pastries and pickled eggs. Pulling in favours,first and top of my list would be Noma. While it’s no longer rated the #1 restaurant in the world, Rene Redzepi’s food is beautiful and his last book A Work in Progress is fascinating.
But Copenhagen isn’t just about Redzepi, and so I’d also want to visit other restaurants as well. Geranium is the other two star Michelin restaurant in the city; the chef believes thoughtfulness can be tasted and so his meals involve all of the senses. The focus is on Nordic terroir and while the $600 Totale Universe Tasting Menu isn’t cheap, I’m sure it’s a memorable experience.
Onto Sweden, if this is a dream trip I’d dream big and head to Fäviken, I started reading Magnus Nilsson’s cookbook this year and it’s incredible. The restaurant is hyper local on an isolated estate in the North and Nilsson forages and only uses local produce that is hunted, farmed or raised – except for vinegar, sugar and salt.
Sweden has also become an interest after follow Martin Nordin on Instagram. I thought he was a chef but later learned he works in the creative department in Ikea. His food is beautiful and I adore following his meals so I asked him where to dine and he suggested in the southern parts of Sweden:
Bastard for dinner in Malmö, which is chefs favourite place to go, which also hosted the final dinner to the last MAD symposium in Copenhagen. He also suggested B.a.r. in Malmö and to have lunch at Saltimporten.
Finally in Norway there’s no shortage of amazing restaurants. My first choice would be Maaemo, which focuses on farm to table, all organic cuisine. The food is beautiful and you can only order from a seasonal tasting menu. Next I’d want to visit Ylajali in Oslo, which is an old apartment that was turned into a restaurant with a focus of modern techniques with classic Norwegian flavours. Duck and reindeer are on the menu so it’s sure to be delicious. And if I had any room left in my stomach I’d head to Alex Sushi, which rivals sushi in Tokyo, sip coffee at Tim Wendelboe and try a cinnamon bun at Åpent Bakeri.
This is the ultimate food holiday; but let’s face it, I’m likely not having a 20K holiday any time soon. But….I could probably break it up into a few smaller food holidays with a little bit of planning.
Scotiabank’s You’re Richer Than You Think campaign is a great way to think about going somewhere more expensive but an incredible experience – like Scandinavia. The Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card can help you fulfill your travel aspirations up to four times faster. It’s about making meaningful travel – the kind that fills your life with personal richness – possible.
With the Scotiabank®* Gold American Express® Card you can earn 4x the points at eligible gas stations, grocery stores and on dining and entertainment. Right now they are waiving the $99 annual fee (waived for the ﬁrst year) and you earn 15,000 bonus points with the first purchase, which actually amounts to $150 in travel.
Consider entering the “Around the World in $20K” contest, because 20k could go pretty far in places like Scandinavia or on your dream holiday. Go to Scotiabank.com/AroundtheWorld to identify your travel personality. Each answer earns you ﬁve entries toward the $20,000 grand prize to go on a dream trip. The grand prize winner is drawn on April 4, 2014.
For product details, please visit Scotiabank.com/TravelFreedom
Disclosure: This is a paid programming series with Scotiabank but as with all partnerships I only choose the best – because who doesn’t need 20k toward a dream vacation. Actually I could really use it, because now I’m thinking Scandinavia needs to happen soon!
IMAGE CREDITS: citronsoju, faviken, Martin Nordin, Christian Christensen.