Unique Culinary Travel Experiences

As the leaves begin to turn and the crisp autumn breeze sets in, we might find ourselves longing for a post-summer adventure to spice things up. What better way to do so than indulging our taste buds with the most unique and incredibly delicious culinary experiences offered by luxurious resorts and destinations. From a corn experience in Guatemala to making clam chowder in the Cape, these gastronomic sensations need to be added to your travel bucket list.
Mesa1 Tequila Experience at W Punta de Mita

A bohemian, yet chic beach resort located on Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, W Punta de Mita offers majestic oceanic views, complete luxury and an elevated gastronomy scene. The resort offers unique culinary options from a converted vintage Chevy truck that serves fresh beachside ceviche and Jean Georges’ critically acclaimed Spice Market to Mesa1 – an alfresco chef’s table experience located on its own private island. Only accessible by stepping stones, guests at Mesa1 are seated at a 100-year-old Parota tree table, situated in the heart of the resort. With only one nightly seating, Mesa1 is said to be the world’s most exclusive dining experience, but now, the restaurant has taken it up a notch to offer a special five course dinner pairing with Clase Azul Tequila. For this intimate dinner, Chef Ismael Gonzalez blends local ingredients and products to create dishes that highlight the rich flavors of the region, complemented with a carefully selected Clase Azul Tequila. The pairing starts at $1,061 USD per person.

La Experiencia 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.

Secret Vegan Menu at Caribe Hilton

One of Puerto Rico’s most beloved resorts, the iconic Caribe Hilton is located in the heart of Old San Juan where travelers can enjoy a gorgeous beachfront oasis with just a short plane ride from most major US cities. Serving as Hilton’s first international hotel in 1949, it’s no question the historic resort is known for its exceptional service, oceanfront swimming pools, hand-crafted cocktails (including the original Piña Colada), and vast array of cuisine with 11 different restaurants and bars available on-site. From the only beachfront Morton’s Steakhouse and local Puerto Rican fusion at Lola’s to tapas at Caribar, Caribe Hilton has something delicious for everyone– including vegan eaters, but shh…this new menu is top secret! Now offered at Caribar, guests who use the code word, “homegrown,” upon ordering will have access to a full vegan menu made with the freshest and locally sourced ingredients, providing a special “farm-to-table” experience. With whole food recipes like butternut squash risotto and grilled portabello, truffle essence soup and a decadent flourless chocolate cake, all guests (vegan or not) will be opting for this hush-hush “homegrown” cuisine.

Hook & Cook at Southernmost Beach Resort

Situated along the southern limit of the famed Duval Street, the award- winning Southernmost Beach Resort features a modern sleek design and classic coastal charm, while ocean views abound. Boasting three palm-fringed pools with private cabanas, a secluded tanning pier, a signature restaurant, and four bars, this oceanfront oasis sets the tone for a memorable stay in Key West’s Historic District. While all of the offerings on-property will leave you longing to stay, ocean enthusiasts and foodies alike can also revel in experiencing the sporting fishing capital of the world with the resort’s “Hook and Cook” option. The experience allows guests to bring the fish they reeled in that day for the chef to personally prepare it to their preference. People travel from around the world for the world-class deep sea fishing in Key West, from massive marlin, sailfish, and mahi mahi, anglers are guaranteed to dine in on the freshest local seafood that they hooked themselves. Let the resort’s concierge set it all up. From sea to table, this one-of-a-kind dining experience is a delectable way to end that day.

Tuscan Wine and Olive Oil 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 at the hotel’s ancient Eterno Wine Cellar, which 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.

Pastechi Cooking Class at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and learn how to make one of Aruba’s most traditional dishes – pastechi. Looking similar to an empanada, this half-moon shaped dish is a staple of Aruban culture. While it can be customized to include a variety of fillings and sauces, the traditional pastechi is filled with gouda cheese, a nod to the island’s Dutch roots. The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is inviting friends and families to come together, put on a specialty Aruba Marriott chef’s apron (which, of course they get to keep!), and learn how to cook the signature dish from a private cooking class with the executive chef. Chef will show the group how to make a traditional pastechi, and then everyone will be able to mix and match the various fillings to create their own pastechis, and, of course, enjoy the fruits of their labor! Filling options include ham, chicken, fish, potato & spinach, feta, tomatoes, vegetables, gouda cheese, and a variety of sauces, including pica di papaya, pica de papaya aioli, sambal pica, madame jeanette hot sauce and more.

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.

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 Kierindongo, 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.

Exclusive Culinary Speakeasy Experience at Hyatt Centric Las Olas

Disappear into the past with the Prohibition-era liquor haven Nine01 (aka Room 901), beguilingly tucked away in a guest room, of all places. This secret (shhhh) roaring 1920s old-world speakeasy at Hyatt Centric Las Olas is decked out with vintage art, crushed velvet furnishings and retro-lighting — certain to throw you into a dizzying time machine, thrusting you back into the Jazz Age. To further the mood at this dog-friendly slice of paradise just steps from the Riverwalk, award-winning executive chef Gregory McGowan offers a “Smoke and Mirrors” cocktail and upscale bites like Wagyu Beef Katsu Sando and Pan Roasted Octopus. Psst: To enter the elusive speakeasy, you don’t have to be a hotel guest but you absolutely need to secure reservations in advance.

Private Wine and Food Pairing at Quintessence Hotel

Anguilla is an Eastern Caribbean island known for its friendly vibes, 33 picturesque beaches and fresh, local flavors. The five-star boutique resort, Quintessence, is a must-visit for gourmet dining with menus by Executive Chef Dominique Thevenet that feature bold, vibrant dishes with French-Caribbean flair. The hotel’s award-winning private wine cellar is home to more than 2,000 labels hand-selected by Owner Geoffrey Fieger. Wine aficionados can enjoy expert pairings — think: a bottle of Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé served with brunch on the penthouse balcony or Besserat de Bellefon paired with Beluga caviar and a bottle of Château Latour levied served with dinner on the beach. For the ultimate splurge, visitors can book the property’s Bruts, Blancs & Beaches package, which includes round-trip flights from the U.S. aboard a Tradewind Aviation private jet, penthouse accommodations, and special vintages to savor during the visit. www.qhotelanguilla.com

Baja Brewing at Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa

Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa’s Baja Brewing is the first and only microbrewery in the city, offering a spectacular view, numerous award-winning craft beers, and famous beer pizza crusts. Guests will enjoy an eclectic menu filled with delicious pub and international fare, live music with classic rock, funk and salsa, sports events to rally around, and a private terrace if a more romantic setting is preferred. Their seasonal beers include “Suculenta” for spring, “Mango Wheat” for summer, “Lolobrije” for autumn, and “Burro Winter” for winter. Year-round options include a “Cabotella” blonde ale, “Por Favor” IPA, “Escorpion Negro” black ale, and “La Surfa” Baja Lager.

“La Parota” Dinner in the Wild at Thompson Zihuatanejo

Located on the fringe of the charming and relaxing fishing village of Zihuatanejo along the crystal clear waters of Mexico’s Pacific Coast lies the sophisticated beachfront boutique hotel Thompson Zihuatanejo. Here hotel guests can indulge in a one-of-a-kind resort setting with an ocean view and seasonally inspired culinary experiences. Under the watchful eye of Executive Chef Javier Garcia Cerrillo, the resort is home to two critically-acclaimed restaurants, Ceniza and HAO, and their newest can’t-miss culinary experience – “La Parota” Dinner in the Wild. “La Parota” is a space created to reconnect, coexist and blend in with nature. Dinner in the Wild takes guests on a journey through Latin America and highlights one of the most primitive cooking techniques – smoke. The menu is ever-changing, depending on what the season provides and what the Thompson Zihua garden is offering at the time.