woman's hands heart-shaped Indian bracelets holding green cardamom pods

About Tasteful Traveler

More than just another travel blog, Tasteful Traveler focuses on exploring – and understanding – destinations through food culture and from the people who create and live it. It focuses on comfortable, often luxurious, authentic travel in order to experience food cultures, both in the US and around the world.

This website is a culinary and food tourism travel blog as well as a travel and food resource. Here you’ll find not just travel recommendations and tips, but also insider interviews with chefs, authentic recipes you can cook at home, and glossaries and resources to help you learn too — how I come to know a place through its food. The purpose of TT is to inspire you not just to travel, but to go beyond the typical tourist boundaries, to discover, experience and learn about authentic places and people the best way I know how — through food — by tasting, eating, cooking.

and about Lee Blackwood

I’m a professional chef, food and travel writer, yachtie, and cruise lecturer. I worked in professional kitchens as a pastry chef (including the White House!), had my own designer cake business, ran a bakery, wrote for food magazines and was a restaurant critic.

People always ask me food questions, especially when I travel. Emails home to family and friends, giving advice to fellow travelers, leading tours and lecturing on cruises — all these things led me to start this blog. Now, I can share my knowledge and stories with everyone!

I want to eat authentic food and I want to know the story behind it.

So I travel. I learn about a place by eating everything along the way. And I learn to make those dishes so I can enjoy them at home.

When I travel, as a chef who loves to eat, it’s no surprise that I plan my itinerary around food. But, it’s not just what to order or the best place to find it. I want to know what specific dish to taste and why; I want to visit the market, farm or producer where the ingredients come from; and hopefully learn how to make it (IF the secret will be shared with me!). Also importantly, I want to understand the traditions surrounding the cuisine. And, I want to meet the personalities behind the food and hear their tales. Maybe even cook with them!
That’s what fascinates me, and makes me ultimately “get” that taste, that dish, that place, those people, that culture, wherever I am.

Indian food and rice in copper bowl


That’s what I want to share with you.

I want you to “get it” too. When I dig deep and discover the local foods, I end up understanding and appreciating the place I’ve traveled to soooo much more. And that makes the experience, the journey, soooo much sweeter.

What I urge you, my reader, to do, is to really open up all your senses—and your mind– to food, not just the food you think you know or eat every day, but foods, flavors, and cuisines from around the world….

Not just the What, but the Why

… behind them. Taste these new or different ingredients, the dishes prepared, and watch the techniques to create them; learn about the regions they originate from, the explorers and history that determined and influenced these foods; witness the traditions and celebrations behind them and understand what they now signify, and of course, I want you to meet the people that produce these foods.

Paella with beach in background

Paella on the beach in Barcelona, Spain

When I travel, people always compliment me on my style, how I carry myself. So that’s how I became known as the Tasteful Traveler.

Where ever I go, it’s in comfort. I don’t backpack, I don’t do hostels, I’m not a budget traveler.

You could say I’m a luxury traveler, because I am particular when I travel, and expect certain standards. I like to indulge myself both at home and on the road. I have it pretty nice at home, so why should I travel with less than comparable accommodations?

I do have some good stories….

I might entertain you with great stories about my long, hot, crazy days working in professional kitchens….

Or maybe how I used to travel the red carpet and lecture for the Smithsonian Institution….

Or, how about my life working on boats?  When I was working hundreds of miles offshore in 20’-30’ seas aboard research vessels, or shopping for food on tropical islands, catering to high maintenance celebrities whose-names-I-cannot-divulge…aboard a mega-yacht?

What interests me most, and what I want to encourage YOU to discover when you travel, is food, or more specifically (or broadly, depending on how you look at it)food culture.

Mega Yacht in Montenegro

Mega-yacht in marina at sunset. Tivat, Montenegro

Follow my Chronicles as a Food Adventurer…

Come with me — I’ll share my stories, impart what I already know, and reveal what I learn, with the hopes that you’ll use me as your guide.
You can follow behind me — literally trace my footsteps using my travel advice to recreate my experience. You can learn where to go, how to get there, who to ask for, what to do, and what to eat, — or else you can follow along as an armchair traveler. I must warn you, however, the first way is lot more fun and tastes good, too!

If you like to cook… try the recipes you’ll find here. You can  also get an appreciation for other cultures through their cuisines, if you try your hand at making some of the authentic recipes that I share here on this website as well.

Whether you are a traveler, or perhaps an enthusiastic and curious home cook, or even one of my chef colleagues, (or maybe you just really love to eat!), I hope this blog will persuade you that one of the best ways to experience and learn about the world, is the way I do, through food and its culture. So, let’s go TASTE THE WORLD.

Come with me. I can take you Behind the Kitchen Door…

while we EAT, TRAVEL, and COOK.