Sure, you can experience a new city by taking in its sight and sounds. But let’s face it: Eating your way through a destination is way more fun. Whether you’re sipping on a perfectly aged glass of Merlot in France or grabbing a heaping spoonful of paella in Spain, you’re poised to learn about flavors, customs and cultural elements, all in one dish.
So it’s no surprise food tourism is on the rise. And with so many people traveling just to eat, a number of hotels and tour groups have decided to up the ante with chef-led tours. Here are some of the best—and most delicious!—ones on earth.
① Participate in a Top Chef Retreat
The Resort at Paws Up in Montana may be a ranch, but its luxury bent means that traditional campfire meals simply won't do. That’s why the resort has enlisted Top Chef season 14 winner Brooke Williamson to lead its Bounty on the Blackfoot program on August 19. Over the course of a full day, Williamson will lead a tour of the Missoula farmers' market, where participants can source the best local ingredients. Then, she’ll head up a cooking lesson to help spin that bounty into dinner.
② Explore the Finger Lakes with Danny Boome
Danny Boome, chef and host of Food Network’s Rescue Chef, has taken his passion for the culinary arts to the Finger Lakes region in Upstate New York. At Gastronauts Academy, his Rochester teaching kitchen, he leads Devour Day: FLX tours, during which you’ll visit two of the region's wineries, enjoy lunch and take a cooking class using local and seasonal ingredients with Boome himself at the New York Wine & Culinary Center.
③ Firelight Foraging with Food Network's Emma Frisch
Take a designer canvas tent, add a forest-to-table experience and top it off with a Food Network star, and what do you have? Why, the ultimate vacation for the adventurous foodie. At Firelight Camps, a 70-acre glamping retreat in Ithaca, New York, foraging fanatic Sarah Kelsen leads a hike through Buttermilk Falls State Park, where participants can learn about the region’s wild edible flowers, berries, nuts, mushroom and leaves. After that, Food Network star Emma Frisch teaches the newfound foragers how to turn their finds into a meal.
The @dewars clan also enjoyed a cooking demo with @emmafrisch. Everyone tried their hand at a delicious treat- homemade pigs in a blanket! Rolling out puff pastry with @farmergroundflour, filling it with pig dogs from @thepiggery, and roasted pie pumpkin from stick and stone farm then cooking them over a campfire! Homemade Dewar's infused ketchup and honey mustard to top it off. YUM!
④ Surf with Park Hyatt Aviara's Chef
That thing about Southern California is true: Everyone surfs, even chefs. At the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa in Carlsbad, you can enroll in a Surfing with the Chef package, and executive chef Pierre Albaladejo will teach you to cook a gourmet breakfast before leading a surf lesson at one of the local beaches. The day concludes with a meal right on the beach.
⑤ Bike with a Chef on DuVine Tour's Chef on Wheels Cycling Journeys
Seamus Mullen, the chef and restaurateur behind Tertulia in NYC, leads two experiential cycling trips through Italy—one through Sicily, the other from sea (Adriatic) to shining sea (Mediterranean). The bike tours last between five and seven days, and Mullen, along with local support guides, bikes the entire route, stopping at local markets, quaint towns and farmhouses. All the cooking lessons are included as well.
⑥ Tour New York's Top Restaurants with Michael White
The Langham Place, New York has tapped James Beard Award–winning chef Michael White for its New York City Culinary Tour, launching this summer. Along with chefs at each of his restaurants, White will help teach a crudo and fish-butchering class at Marea, his upscale Italian restaurant on Central Park South, followed by a pasta-making class at Ristorante Morini, a kitchen tour at Ai Fiori and a cocktail class at Bar Fiori.
⑦ Take a Tsukiji Fish Market Tour
Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest wholesale seafood market on the planet, is a must-see in Tokyo; after all, this is the home to 500-pound tuna and some of the world’s most expensive caviar. To help its guests navigate the nearly 2.5 million-square-foot market, Aman Tokyo has enlisted its renowned sushi chef, Tsutomu Oba, to lead a tour through the dizzying rows of stalls. You’ll watch a skilled vendor skillfully cut tuna and help Oba choose the fish that will be prepared for dinner at the hotel.
300kg Pacific Bluefin tuna (maguro) is butchered by fishmongers using a two-man pull saw at the Tsukiji fish market. Tuna is just one of 400 different types of seafood the market handles. The market has been in operation at the same location since 1935, and will move to a new location later this year. : @dahlmakr #tsukijifishmarket #tokyo #maguro #tuna #sushi
Pack your passport—and an appetite—as we hit the world's hottest culinary destinations on and off the grid all month long. Now Boarding: your next trip to paradise.
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