Road Food: Essentials for the Suitcase

We never travel without this kit.

Sampling local specialties is the best - and certainly the tastiest - part of travel. One of the easiest ways to do this is to visit a farm market. With that in mind, my husband and I usually travel with two string bags, both purchased 30 years ago at Tellus Mater in Madison, Wis.

We routinely travel with a few other essential items, including two Opinel folding knives purchased from La Vaissellerie in Paris, and a corkscrew from The Main Course in Fish Creek, Wis.

A cutting board, two small plates and a few spoons and forks round out our traveling food kit. We look for hotel rooms with microwaves and refrigerators; a wet bar is a bonus. Checking out a few local restaurants is fun, but dining en suite is cost-effective and after a long day, relaxing.

We not only enjoy outdoor and indoor markets, but also local grocery stores, especially Italian markets, like Fraboni's, and cheese shops, like Fromagination, both in Madison, Wis.

Many locally-owned specialty shops offer sandwiches or deli fare; this option is usually affordable and offers some imaginative pairings. One of my favorite places for sandwiches in Wisconsin is the Fish Creek Market in Door County.

When traveling in France, we often buy a sandwiche jambon (ham sandwich) and share it. Desperate once on a stormy night, we stumbled upon a wonderful veggie sandwich at Boulangerie Versavel (never mind the brusque counter staff), near the Bastille in Paris. We cut it in half and enjoyed it in our minuscule but charming hotel room a half block away.

I suppose a Swiss Army knife and a cutting board would offer us the same convenience when we travel, but this is the approach we've taken. It has enabled us to eat like locals and save money for more travels.


A small cutting board and a knife is a great idea. I haven't thought of that but I do have corkscrew in every single piece of luggage I own. You know - just in case....
M.D. Johns said…
I do know! We have about a half dozen corkscrews, each purchased on a trip (when we'd forgotten to bring one). So we now keep one in our suitcase.

Thanks for posting, Andrea. Nice to hear from you!
Ice said…
Hi! I will definitely keep the tools in mind! I would love to bring them on my next travel. I'd love it if you'd comment back
Christine said…
Mr CC and I pack, travel and eat much the same way you do. A special restaurant can be fun, but doing it yourself is very satisfying. We both have our France-purchased Opinels, a corkscrew, and a cutting board wherever we go. Great post.
M.D. Johns said…
Thanks, Christine. We do think alike many times, don't we?

I posted this when my stepdaughter was home and I'm just getting around to responding now. I loved having more people to feed, and loved the other company that followed, so I am not complaining!

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