Supporting Tunisian Tourism SMEs: Press Familiarization Trip Highlighting Culinary and Cultural Experiences with 5 International Journalists/Bloggers.

Articles / 24-05-2024
Supporting Tunisian Tourism SMEs: Press Familiarization Trip Highlighting Culinary and Cultural Experiences with 5 International Journalists/Bloggers.
Tunisian Culinary Experiences Through Dr. Nadine C. Duncan Lens. PHOTO © Nadine C. Duncan @TheTravelingBlackWomen

Through a grant award to SAWA Taste of Tunisia, USAID supported a 5-day familiarization trip (known as ‘Fam Trip’ in the industry) with 5 international journalists/bloggers who traveled to Tunisia to experience firsthand, and promote, a diverse array of cultural and culinary tourism offerings in the country.   

The objective of the activity is not only to support SAWA and the other SMEs with increasing their sales by 10%, but also to provide wide publicity and press coverage of Tunisia’s culinary and cultural tourism offerings to the European and North American markets as part of a wider destination marketing effort.

 This [street food tour in the Medina guided by Emily Sarsam (@3am3ali)] was such a good tour!” — wrote Nadine C. Duncan to USAID Visit Tunisia after her visit. 

Tunisian Culinary Experiences Through Dr. Nadine C. Duncan Lens. PHOTO © Nadine C. Duncan @TheTravelingBlackWomen

“Thank you for having me in Tunisia, I loved the trip and I already want to go back!” — wrote Luli Monteleone to USAID Visit Tunisia after her visit. 

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Tunisian Culinary Experiences Through Luli Monteleone Lens. PHOTO ©Luli Monteleone 


USAID Supports Tunisian Tourism SMEs Through a Press ‘Familiarization Trip’ to over 10 Culinary and Cultural Experiences  

SAWA Taste of Tunisia is a Tunisian-owned small business offering curated and comprehensive 5-to-10-day tours of Tunisia focused on culinary and cultural immersion with other small Tunisian-owned businesses and targeting European and North American travelers.  

 With USAID’s grant support, SAWA organized a press Fam Trip from April 17 to 21, where the 5 journalists/bloggers visited over 10 different SMEs offering tourism experiences in cultural and culinary tourism, such as floral waters and Harissa making workshops in Cap Bon, a ceramic workshop in Nabeul, tours of the Tunis’ Central Market and medina, wine tasting in Montfleury, and a historical tour of the Ennejma Ezzahra (Palace of the Baron d’Erlanger) in Sidi Bousaid. Gastronomy, culture, history, and nature were the main themes.  

 Check here and here to see all the Instagram stories and captured experiences in real-time by the journalists during the Fam trip! More editorial and multimedia content is expected to be developed and released on the journalists' platforms and other outlets in the next weeks. 




Released “Tunisia” story highlight  


Editorial platform 

Dr. Nadine C. Duncan 


Here and here! 


The traveling black blog 

Larch Gauld 




The Silver Nomad travel blog 

Luli Monteleone 


Here and Here! 


Luli Monteleone Blog 

Kacie Morgan 


Check it out here! 


The Rare Welsh Bit 

Luisa Ruocco* 




Freelance writer & Instagrammer  


*Watch the videos released by Luli Monteleone with English subtitles and read her blog post (in Portuguese)! 




 Culinary and Cultural Immersion: 5-Day Itinerary 

Experience the same route as the journalists through a re-creation of the same 5-day itinerary exploring the food, culture, history, and landscape of Tunisia.  

 Day 1—Welcome to Tunisia! 

Your journey begins with a one and a half hour drive out of the capital city, Tunis, to SAWA’s guest house, a beautiful and rural homestead in the Cap Bon, where you’ll find comfortable accommodations as well as ducks, geese, chickens, pigeons, a donkey, and snails. Enjoy traditional Tunisian dishes at SAWA’s dinner table and watch the sunset over the hills of Cap Bon. 

 Day 2— Cap Bon: Land of Harissa and Floral Waters 

Begin the morning by making your own Mlawi, a flaky flatbread often eaten for breakfast in Tunisia, and cooked in a frying pan. 

After breakfast, hit the road for a 30-min drive to the city of Nabeul where you’ll spend the day making, tasting and learning about harissa, an accompaniment made of hot peppers that is indispensable to Tunisian food and gastronomy, so much so that it was officially designated as Tunisian intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in December 2022. You will also make your own floral waters, such as rose, orange-flower, and geranium, which are used in savory and sweet cooking, to flavor coffee, and in homes and cosmetics for their pleasant smell and benefits. The experiences are provided by Terroirs de Tunisie and Ezemnia, respectively.  

Visit a pottery workshop and design your own ceramic designs with Arceram. Nabeul is famous for its decorated ceramics. 

Dine at Villa Maamoura, a rural table and guest house, owned by creative female chef who prepares innovative Tunisian-influenced vegetarian food.  

  Day 3—Tunis’s Central Market, Old City, and Wine Tasting 

Depart for Tunis to plunge into the hustle-and-bustle of the central market, with a tour led by a chef Sadri Smoali and owner of a well-known, Medina-based family restaurant (Dar Slah) who has bought his produce here at 6 am every day for twenty years. This is truly one of (if not the) great fish markets of the Mediterranean! You will be blown away by the colors, smells, and variety of fresh seafood and fish. The SAWA Taste of Tunisia tour takes you through sections devoted to seasonal vegetables and fruits, cheeses, foraged products from the forest, a hidden lunch stand where the sellers and workers of the market often grab a quick bite.  

Head to Dar Slah, a small restaurant run by Sadri and his family, where you can have a peek in the kitchen and enjoy a traditional Tunisian lunch. 

After lunch, you’ll make a short foray through the labyrinthine streets of the old city (‘Medina’) and do a short “treasure hunt” activity discovering aromatic plants and herbs.  

In the afternoon, visit Tunisia’s oldest and still largest winery (Les Celliers de Montfleury). In addition to producing over 18 million bottles of table wine per year, a dynamic young Tunisian sommelier, trained in France and passionate about his home country, has developed an innovative new series of blends and variations on classic Tunisian and French varietals that you can taste and savor. 

Dine in La Goulette (Restaurant La Siréne A La Goulette), a now-faded seaside neighborhood famed as a melting pot of Jewish, Italian and Maltese Catholics, and Muslims, where the actress Claudia Cardinale grew up, before retiring to the picturesque village of Sidi Bou Said for the night. 

  Day 4—Street food of Sidi Bou Said 

Enjoy a Tunis street food tour with SAWA to discover what Tunisians grab for a quick bite on their way to work or school, or when taking a lunch break. It is a fun way to wander some parts of the “new”/colonial city, and to step into people’s experience of food in daily life, when constraints on time and budget are often major drivers of what one chooses.  

Discover olive oil tasting (Olea Kotti) and enjoy lunch in a beautiful hilltop restaurant (Villa Didon Carthage) that overlooks the ancient Punic Port and city of Carthage, with the mountainous skyline to the south of the bay and Tunis in the backdrop. 

After lunch, visit Sidi Bou Said, with a tour of the exquisite orientalist Palace of the Baron d’Erlanger, and a tea at a “moorish café” (Café des Nattes), as the Orientalists would have called it, accompanied by a Bambalouni—a fried pastry which a cross between a donut, croissant, and beignet and whose name is an Italian loan.  

End the day with an upscale dinner at an exquisitely restored restaurant in the Medina (Dar El Jeld) that will give you a sense of the splendor that lies behind the often-unassuming facades of historic buildings in Tunis. 

  Day 5— Departure Day          

Head to the airport to begin your journey home or onward, or better yet, continue exploring the country! After Cap bon and Tunis, here’s a travel guide to explore Southern Tunisia! 


This trip was an absolute pleasure.” — wrote Luisa Ruocco to USAID Visit Tunisia after her visit. 


Tunisian Culinary Experiences Through PHOTO/VIDEO ©Luisa Ruocco @luisainsta 





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