The New York Times has a terrific story today on "food sherpas" who can bring travelers to hidden culinary gems in cities throughout the world.
Food sherpas, the story explains, offer "an experience that gives small groups of visitors (sometimes as few as 2 and rarely more than 12) an intimate encounter with what's off the eaten path."
For example, Rome-based food blogger Elizabeth Minchilli offers day-long tours through the Eternal City that can include wine walks, cooking classes or tours of the historic Jewish ghettoes. She also offers two-hour cooking workshops that can focus on anything from olive oil to mozzarella to cocktails, customized tours and food-focused itineraries (including where to stop for a quick drink or snack).
And while the article notes that searching for restaurants online is easier than ever, it's hard to know where the locals really go or how to search under-the-radar. A good sherpa, however, will not only know where to go, but what to order and how it should best be eaten.
Have you used a food sherpa? How do you make sure that all meals are memorable and (perhaps most important of all) authentic? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook!