Bucket List Culinary Trips to Take This Year

Tuscan Wine Tasting at Grand Universe Lucca

The charming city of Lucca remains one of Tuscany’s best kept secrets, where Grand Universe Lucca is bringing the region’s best wines front and center. The hotel features three immersive Tuscan wine tasting experiences – the Montalcino, Montecarlo, and Super Tuscan and Chianiti Classico. The Tuscan Wine & Olive Oil’s experience includes guests’ selection of two of these wine tastings based on their personal preference, as well as an olive oil tasting experience. This culinary experience dives into the production of local wines and olive oils, detailing the connection and elements of the Tuscan region and how they come together to create quintessential Tuscan wines and oils. Afterwards, guests are invited to enjoy the resort’s masterful rotation of wine and bites at the awe-inspiring Sommitá rooftop bar that overlooks the walled city, or the hotel’s ancient Eterno Wine Cellar that features remnants of an ancient wall and an extensive collection of Tuscan wines. Book the “Tuscan Wine & Olive Oil Experience” package at www.granduniverselucca.com using code ES1. Valid for stays through January 2, 2023.

Clam ‘Chowdah’ Cook Off at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club

Calling all want-to-be master chefs! Cape Cod’s award-winning Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club recently launched its Clam “Chowdah” Cook Off offering for a quintessential Cape Cod culinary experience. The resort invites guests to put on their cooking aprons and hats – literally – to create one of New England’s most signature dishes, clam “chowdah”. The chef will guide guests on how to make a classic New England clam chowder, step by step. Guests can replicate the recipe, or put their own spin on it by adding in a selection of vegetables of their choosing, such as corn, tomatoes, carrots, leeks, sweet potato and more. To cook up a bit of friendly competition, at the end chef will sample each of the clam chowders and select a winner, who receives a dining credit to put towards another delectable meal on property (ahem, their lobster roll is not to be missed!). The experience is exclusive to overnight guests and is available for families and groups up to ten persons. To book, email activities@oceanedge.com.

Mesa1 at W Punta de Mita

A chic, beach resort located on Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, W Punta de Mita  offers an edgy, yet laid-back escape brimming with local and international culinary experiences in every corner. Reserve the incredibly unique Mesa1 experience — an exclusive al fresco dining setting that offers just one nightly seating for an intimate dinner under the stars. The 100-year-old Parota tree table is located on its own private island and only accessible by stones suspended over the water that disappear once the group has been seated. Guests can indulge in an unforgettable, customizable seven-course tasting menu that caters to any palette making this private, yet luxurious venue a perfect spot for a romantic evening with your partner or a night to enjoy with your best friends and family.

La Experienca Maiz at Villa Bokeh

Located in the lush outskirts of Antigua, the newly opened Villa Bokeh is a celebration of Guatemalan culture, craftsmanship and conviviality, overlooking the lush, volcano-laden landscape that surrounds the historic, colorful town. With a keen focus on supporting and uplifting the endearing local Mayan community, Villa Bokeh’s approach to sustainability extends into its kitchen, helmed by newly appointed executive chef Marcos Saenz. Keen on recovering the lost art of cooking with indigenous products, Saenz has forever been fascinated with growing and buying local and the entire process that entails. Pulling from the earth, working with your hands. This is what inspired him to pursue a career as a chef. Saenz’s menus seek to bring back to the forefront the ingredients unique to this part of Central America. Ingredients like chipilin — a perennial legume that is native to Central America — and loroco, a seasonal delicacy which can be found mostly in Chiapas, Guatemala. Also native herbs like hierba mora – amaranth seed. Don’t miss the  “Experiencia Maiz” — a tea time-like experience inspired by one of the country’s most coveted ingredients.. Corn, or “elote”, is a superfood in Guatemala and the way it is cultivated and cooked is akin to textile weaving. It’s an artisanship. The experience is meant to celebrate the farmers, the process and the ingredient’s many uses, via a selection of bite-size pieces made with different varieties of elote.

Vittle Art Experience in Willemstad, Curaçao

The vibrant and colorful Dutch-Caribbean island of Curaçao is recognized worldwide for its natural beauty, stunning beaches and year-round tropical weather. But the island is also beaming with culinary talent and a thriving cultural arts scene. Travelers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime, curated, private dinner can book a workshop experience with Vittle Art. Ran by local Curaçaoan Kris Sling, the farm-to-table dinner features fresh, authentic and locally-inspired dishes from his eclectic farm in the countryside. Enjoy a personalized menu of 9-10 courses, all prepared with ingredients from the land and local ancestral cooking techniques. Plates are served in an al fresco terrace around sunset, offering sweeping golden views of the island’s cacti-filled, rugged terrain. Many say it feels like you’re in Tuscany.

Learn to Sip Tequila Like A Pro at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa offers guests the opportunity to learn the art of sipping fine tequila as the locals do. The resort offers an insider’s perspective on one of the destination’s most intriguing traditions — tequila. Fun fact: Marriott Puerto Vallarta is one of only a few resorts in the world with a proprietary brand of tequila. Its five varieties include: blanco, joven, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. Guests can learn the history of this popular Mexican spirit with a proper (and private) tasting led by Audrey Formisano, the hotel’s resident tequilera or tequila sommelier, who guides participants in identifying each variety’s distinctive notes. The tasting includes food pairings for each type of tequila and are hosted in La Cava, the resort’s private exhibition tequila cellar, in the herb garden, or at the brand new Ceviche & Tequila Bar for larger parties.

Unique Woodfire Grilling on the Beach at Thompson Zihuatanajo

Enjoy the unique experience of an Argentine-style asado by Thompson Zihuatanejo’s talented resident chef Javier Garcia Cerrillo on the beautiful white sandy beach of Playa La Ropa. Having lived and worked in many different countries, including Argentina, Greece, and Spain, Cerrillo has mastered unique cooking techniques, namely becoming an expert in the art of open fire grilling. Experience his mastery firsthand at Thompson Zihuatanejo’s “Humo” experience, where he works with smoke to give a very distinct and delectable flavor to his cooking. Enjoy a variety of meats at “Humo”, from roasted beef tenderloin, to grilled pork ribs with chimichurri sauce, and “pollo al gancho”, chicken specially grilled with herbs in its own juice. Accompanied by grilled vegetables, rustic blue cheese mashed potatoes, and even smoked cheesecake for dessert, this will undoubtedly be an unforgettable meal. Bonus it’s only 45 dollars a person.

Chef’s Table Private Dining in Sint Maarten

The Flavor Academy in Sint Maarten takes private dining to the next level with an exquisite chef’s table experience for a group of eight to 12 guests to enjoy. It boasts a rustic, intimate venue that is perfect for any special occasion or romantic evening set to exceed all expectations. Offering only one seating per night, Flavor Academy became the island’s hottest and most sought-after dining experience in a short time since opening in 2020. A prix fixe menu (fully-customizable upon request) includes anything from crispy crab cakes to braised short rib to innovative vegan dishes —ensuring there’s something to satisfy everyone’s palette. The multi-course menu is thoughtfully curated by chef Kristin Joseph, while her award-winning and Caribbean-renowned mixologist husband Paul Peterson stirs up elegant cocktails and provides a custom list of fine wines based on the group’s favorite flavors. The dynamic couple opened Flavor Academy with their main goal being to closely interact with guests while simultaneously sharing their passion for the culinary arts. Anyone interested in participating in the experience is recommended to secure reservations a few weeks in advance, at the very least. Learn more at www.theflavoracademy.com

Six in Your Sanctuary at Jade Mountain

Travelers who want to fully immerse themselves in a gorgeous tropical environment can’t miss St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain  Resort. The property’s cliffside, three-walled open-air ’Sanctuaries’ feature touches like private infinity pools, 24/7 butler service, giant four-poster canopy beds and sweeping views of the twin Piton mountains and Caribbean Sea. The resort has taken room service to a new and exciting level with its ‘Six in Your Sanctuary’ six course chef’s tasting menu served in the privacy of your guest room. The experience features a sensational six course menu with wine pairing created by Jade Mountain Sommelier. Top it off with a serenade by an acoustic guitarist during dinner for a truly intimate experience that’s worthy of any bucket-list.

Bruts, Blancs & Beaches … by Private Jet at Quintessence Anguilla

Anguilla’s coveted Quintessence hotel, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Tropical Grand Mansion,’ houses one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive wine collections in a  2,000-bottle cellar that was designed and curated by Hotel Owner Geoffrey Fieger. Hand built out of stone, brick and red cedar, the state-of-the-art Tuscan wine cellar offers an intimate atmosphere for guests to dine, snack, and explore some of the finest wines from around the world. Ask the resident sommelier for access to the Fieger Private Wine Collection, which features bottles that include SALON Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil- Oger, 2004 Champagne, Château Latour, Premier Grand Cru, Pauillac, 1982 and Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, 2000. Book the hotel’s Bruts, Blancs & Beaches package and you’ll be whisked away on a private jet to enjoy world-class wines with stunning ocean views. The package comes with round-trip flights via Tradewind Aviation, penthouse accommodations, and a special vintage to savor for a truly unforgettable escape. www.qhotelanguilla.com

Delicious Bites & Sensational Sights at this Water Table Dining Experience at Playa Largo Resort & Spa

Situated on 14.5 secluded beachfront acres in the Florida Keys, Playa Largo Resort & Spa is a chic, tropical oasis and has all the makings for the ultimate island vacation. The award-winning resort recently unveiled a unique and exclusive Water Table Dining Experience at the resort’s signature beachside restaurant, Sol by the Sea. Set at a table in the calm bay waters, the Water Table Dining Experience offers guests an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience with delicious bites and sensational sights. Guests can kick off their shoes, dip their toes (more like knees!) in the water, and have front row seats to the stunning, cotton candy sunsets while enjoying fresh, coastal culinary creations under the soft glow of string lights. For more information, visit www.playalargoresort.com

You Hook, We Cook at Aleta at Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa

Perfectly perched along the sparkling Sea of Cortez, Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa is ideally situated for guests to experience the best of everything that Cabo has to offer. From the natural beauty of the ocean to the lively Cabo restaurants and nightlife within walking distance, the prime location caters to the adventurer and angler in everyone. The resort’s restaurant Aleta features dazzling destination inspired dishes. From a sushi and raw bar offering an array of made-to-order sashimi, rolls, delicious oysters, local clams, ceviche, and the best of local farmers’ organic vegetables, the menu features ocean-to-table inspired cuisine with everything from seafood platters to daily-caught seafood. The restaurant has a “You Hook, We Cook” option, where guests can bring the fish they reeled in that day, and bring it to the restaurant for them to prepare however they prefer. People travel from around the world for the world-class deep sea fishing in Cabo, from massive marlin, sailfish, and a plethora of mahi mahi, anglers are guaranteed to dine in on the freshest local seafood that they hooked themselves. The resort is situated right next to the marina, just a 5-minute car ride away and about a 15 minute walk, so right after a day of catching world-class seafood, guests can head over to the restaurant and dine in on their fresh catch. From sea to table, this one-of-a-kind dining experience is a delectable way to end that day. For more information, visit https://www.corazoncabo.com