The 6 Best Foodie Vacations On Earth

Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain.
Whether you want to take the mystery out of the mystery meat speared on your chopsticks in Bangkok, trek through Italy’s countryside hunting for wild asparagus (to mount on your fork, if not over your fireplace), or learn to make some dough from, well, making dough, we’ve got the mouth-watering vacation to satiate your craving.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chiesa del Carmine.
Experience Farm-to-Table Freshness, Italian-Style
Chiesa del Carmine: Umbria, Italy

There’s a reason they call it “Eataly.” No one does food quite like the Italians. At Chiesa del Carmine, a country estate offering cozy accommodations in a converted 11th century church and an 18th century farmhouse, you can get a behind-the-scenes (and on the plate) look at how key ingredients of Italian cuisine are grown, produced, and prepared.

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Photo: Courtesy of Chiesa del Carmine.
Depending on the season, guests can go ferreting for truffles in the forest, accompanied by a guide and specially trained dogs, or hunt for wild asparagus. (Fear not; however “wild” it may be, asparagus has never been known to attack unprovoked.) You can also learn about the winemaking process in the estate’s own vineyards, and discover how olive oil is made while strolling through the olive groves.
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Photo: Courtesy of Chiesa del Carmine.
Guests can even forage in the vegetable garden and feast on ripe fruit from the apricot, peach, and apple trees. There’s probably a tree of knowledge, too, considering Chiesa del Carmine’s uncanny resemblance to the Garden of Eden. You definitely don’t want to be banished for grabbing a snack from that tree — at least not until you’ve had a swim in the heated pool.
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Play the Foodie Version of Follow the Leader
Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa: Bangkok, Thailand

You know the old song: “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.” It can also make your stomach, um…grumble — especially if you have no idea where to nosh.
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Because, let’s face it, Thailand’s capital can be an incredibly fast-paced, intimidating city, filled with unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells…and tastes. But, now, Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa — an 11-acre oasis of calm within this manic metropolis — has a solution. It’s Streetwise Guru to the rescue!
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In keeping with his motto, “great food, great place, great company,” Anantara’s chief concierge and resident “guru” Chettha Khambunditkul helps hotel guests navigate Bangkok’s complex culinary scene. First, he'll offer restaurant recommendations — whether you’re jonesin’ for a Western fusion fix or game to try a local gem hidden away in a maze of streets. But, Chettha will also go the extra mile (literally), accompanying you around bustling food markets and leading the way to the best roadside “sois,” where street vendors prepare traditional dishes like tom yum soup, roasted duck, BBQ pork, and fish ball noodles before your eyes.

And, if you want the lowdown on the most entertaining dinner shows and the craziest karaoke hangouts after dark, Chettha’s got your back, baby.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain.
Unleash Your Inner Oompa Loompa
Jade Mountain: St. Lucia

When you hear “chocolate lab,” you probably think of a big, floppy-eared dog. Adorable? Yes. Delicious? Well, we really wouldn’t know. But, Jade Mountain resort is introducing guests to a different sort of chocolate lab that will have you going cuckoo for cocoa beans.

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Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain.
Jade Mountain is the only “bean to bar” organic, single-estate boutique chocolate-maker on St. Lucia, producing hand-crafted Emerald Estate Chocolate from more than 1,000 cocoa trees farmed on-site.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jade Mountain.
With the recent launch of its new “Chocolate Lab,” guests can now sign up for a variety of lip-smacking experiences. These include a “Chocolate Sensory Tasting” and “The Emerald Estate Tree to Bar Tour,” featuring a stroll among the cocoa trees, a lesson in chocolate production, and, of course, chocolates to sample. But, perhaps the tastiest offering is a hands-on “Discover Chocolate” class, where you’ll learn to temper chocolate, create your own fudge, and craft a personalized chocolate bar.
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Photo: Courtesy Peter Island Resort & Spa.
Heat Things Up With a Smokin’ Hot Caribbean Getaway
Peter Island Resort & Spa: British Virgin Islands

Become your own Bobby Flay with a weekly cooking class at Peter Island Resort & Spa. You’ll learn how to get your grill on, Caribbean-style, and discover both hot and cold smoking techniques (we’re talking food, folks, not cigarettes) that you can recreate at home in your own backyard.

Using fresh local ingredients, Peter Island’s chef will teach you how to fillet fish (possibly even without gagging), clean an Anegada lobster (when they’re in season), and prepare the perfect, juicy steak (as opposed to your usual charcoaled hockey puck). He’ll also reveal the secret to whipping up tasty homemade rubs and marinades as your meal sizzles on an oil drum grill beside the surf.

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Photo: Courtesy Peter Island Resort & Spa.
The best part, though, is sitting down to the meal you’ve helped prepare, gathered on the beach around a big ol’ family-style table, as a bartender shows you how to mix a kickin’ cocktail. So, go on, throw back a rum punch or two. You’ve earned it.
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Photo: Courtesy of Conrad Algarve.
Learn the “Marsh”ial Art of Clamming
Conrad Algarve: Algarve, Portugal

Clammy palms can be a good thing — at least when you sign up for a hands-on excursion to the clam-picking marshes in Portugal’s Ria Formosa National Park, available to guests of the five-star Conrad Algarve hotel.

Accompanied by the Conrad’s head chef, you’ll rise at dawn, lured from your bed by the promise of breakfast pastries, for a drive to the fishing villages of Olhão or Faro Marina. There, you’ll hop aboard a catamaran to join local fisherman, who will teach you a thing or two about coaxing stubborn clams out of their comfortable berth in the sand. (You’ll find it’s a bit trickier than shaking a box of Friskies and squealing “treats!”)
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Photo: Courtesy of Conrad Algarve.
Clutching your catch, you’ll head back to the Conrad Algarve, which is built in the style of an ooh-la-la 18th century palace. There, the chef will show you how to prepare his special Conrad Algarve Rio Formosa Spaghetti Clams recipe, washed down with a glass of local white wine.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vic North Cookery School.
Just Do(ugh) It!
Vic North Cookery School: Pembrokeshire, Wales

Aspiring bakers should tie one on (an apron, that is) and head to Wales for Vicky North’s bakery and cooking school. Nestled in the scenic countryside of North Pembrokeshire near a little market town, the school offers one-day classes, as well as weekend courses with overnight accommodation in a quaint two-bedroom stone cottage.
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Photo: Courtesy of Nick Hand.
Full and half-day offerings range from beginners' bread-making to gluten-free baking, pastry master classes, children’s pasta workshops, and “Mastering the Macaroon.” More intense multi-day courses tackle such ambitious subjects as learning to make a wood-fired oven and acquiring the skills to set up your own micro-bakery business.
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Photo: Courtesy of Vic North Cookery School.
Recently, Vicky even brought in a yoga teacher for a “yoga bake” weekend, offering a bit of downward dog in the morning with bread-baking after breakfast — giving rise (we hope) to at least one “lotus flour” pun.

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