Rosewood London. Photo by John Carey
When in Maine, feasting on lobster and whoopie pie is a must—in the same way you cannot travel to New Orleans without tasting beignets or skip indulging in some poutine while in Montreal. For many, the best part of traveling is the food. Eating your way through a destination and sampling new ingredients and flavors helps give a better understanding of place and culture, not to mention tradition. But if you want to dive deeper than just ticking off Michelin-starred restaurants, consider a culinary-themed trip. These hotels and tour companies offer much more than just a visit to a local market and cooking demonstration. These tours take guests on a deep dive into the history and culture of food in a hands-on, authentic way—all in style.
THE WORLD IS YOUR TASMANIAN OYSTER
Does life get any better than slurping oysters and sipping sparkling wine? It does if you do it knee-deep in an oyster farm. Australian-based Touring Treasures offers the chance to learn how to raise, farm, and collect oysters at Freycinet Marine Oyster Farm in Tasmania. An agricultural lesson is followed by feasting on fresh oysters and local Australian wine while standing in the waters of the farm—in waders of course. Check into the five-star Saffire Freycinet in the Freycinet Peninsula region.
THE MAINE EVENT
The new Portland-based Maine Food for Thought is designed to expand the culinary palate as well as the mind. The tours tell the story of the state’s food system and its impact near and far. It’s divided into “chapters,” and six food-tasting stops, and covers everything from the impact of climate change to the growth of aquaculture. The food stops include some of Portland’s buzziest and award-winning restaurants and chefs, including the James Beard Award-nominated Piccolo, UNION, and Evo Kitchen + Bar. Many of the tasting dishes on the tour have been created specifically for Maine Food for Thought for their local ingredients, taste and ability to help tell a different piece of Maine’s culinary story.
Photo by John Carey
Photo by John Carey
TIME FOR PIE IN LONDON
It’s hard to think of a more iconic British dish than pie—and accompanying it with a pint of beer is also a must. To learn more about this British staple, sign up for a Pie Making Masterclass at the Rosewood London. Executive Head Chef and pastry expert Calum Franklin teaches visitors how to make and decorate a classic pork pie from scratch. Once the masterpiece is complete, guests can tuck into a G&T at the hotel’s Gin Bar followed by a candlelit three-course dinner in The Pie Room restaurant.
Guests of the luxurious Sheldon Chalet in Denali National Park can take a deep dive into Alaska’s bounty with the “Glacier Gourmet” experience. Guests can forage for berries, fiddlehead ferns, and other vegetables with chef Dave Thorne, who has cooked for the Obamas as well as the band Kings of Leon. Want to sample Alaska’s famous salmon? Heli-fish to a secret lake to try your luck fishing for salmon. Guests can bring back their catch to cook, or go glacier-trekking to an igloo and enjoy a picnic inside with Champagne, wine and local charcuterie board featuring elk salami and pickled fiddlehead ferns.
HEALTH & SUSTAINABILITY IN PORTUGAL
Most visitors travel to the Douro Valley to sample Portugal’s wines, but guests of the Six Senses Douro Valley can also learn about food and sustainability, and how easy it is to create sustainable and healthy food habits. The Pickles, Yogurts and Teas workshop teaches guests how to pickle organic produce from the hotel’s garden, and learn how yogurts can be produced without using electricity. They also learn how to dehydrate herbs to make tea. The Shrubs, Fire Cider, Kombucha and Kefir class is all about the power of probiotics, and guests will learn how to prepare these fermented and nutritious beverages that help improve gut health.
CLAMS AND WINE IN NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand’s Marlborough region in the South Island is known for its wine as well as its fresh seafood, and guests of the luxurious Marlborough Lodge can experience both with its “Taste of Cloudy Bay Sand Clams & Sauvignon Blanc” tour. Guests will see how the clams are harvested and learn about the four types of surf clams, including Diamond Shell and Tua Tua. Guests will bring their clams back to The Marlborough Lodge, where head chef Sam Webb will bring them on a tour of the herb garden to sample and select the herbs required for the dish. Then, Webb will lead an interactive cooking session and the clams are served up for lunch with crusty home baked sourdough bread—along with Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.