Eating is a physical necessity, but catering services and food image are also very important ingredients of cultural tourism. Food and tourism are increasingly being combined, e.g. in agri-tourism, wine tours and the sale of food products as souvenirs. However, as this paper illustrates, the development and standards of food for tourists are determined not by tourism policies, but by national economic, agricultural and food policies. A comparison between Denmark and Italy illustrates core elements in food cultures. Particularly in Denmark, food production is a major economic activity, and the power of the agricultural and food processing industries has in many cases severely compromised the quality image. In Italy, on the other hand, food policies and traditions, which give a high priority to freshness, allow consumers to stay in control of food quality to a much larger extent than in Denmark. In both countries, a concentration of tourists in space and time tends to result in a decline of food quality. The paper concludes that only residents are in a position to put a more permanent pressure on food suppliers, and only if they are given the appropriate instruments. Further improvement of the food heritage in both countries (but especially in Denmark) will have to include a reconsideration, and probably changes, in food policies in more global terms.