Whether it’s an aphrodisiac dinner served on plush floor pillows to put you in the mood or a luxury truffle hunting experience outside of Florence, Italy, here are some of the best foodie experiences across the world.
Aphrodisiac Dinner / Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica
Nothing is bland at Hedonism II - that includes the cocktails, the lively guests, and certainly the food. Located on the white sand beach of Negril, Jamaica, this clothing-optional Caribbean oasis knows how to turn up the heat and turn on the guests. Beginning in August, the steamy, adults-only playground invites guests to an aphrodisiac dinner - a dining experience like none other. Plush floor pillows, soft music and dim lighting sets the mood for a romantic evening, complete with a selection of menus featuring all aphrodisiac-filled recipes, crafted with passion and pleasure in mind. Feed your mate fresh oysters and fruit dipped in assorted chocolates, before feasting on jumbo shrimp and Louis crab cake paired with a calypso sauce. Go ahead, play with your food!
Art-Inspired Picnic in the Park / Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis, MN
Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis offers an upscale, art deco-inspired escape in the heart of one of Minneapolis’ most iconic neighborhoods. Having recently opened the new Mercy Bar and Dining Room in April, the hotel’s offering travelers a chance to experience their in-house restaurant’s diverse menu while soaking up some sunshine and the allure of summer in the city. The “Picnic in the Park” package provides all the essentials for an upscale picnic rendezvous, with accommodations, a picnic backpack/basket packed with delectable bites from a pre-fixed menu from Mercy (think gourmet sandwiches, coleslaw, drinks, and more), and coloring books and pencils for when guests get inspired by the city’s booming art scene. Pro tip: Grab a couple of the hotel’s complimentary bikes and a map of the many parks that dot the local area — it's the best way to see the city and find your perfect picnic spot.
Searching for Truffle / Il Salviatino, Fiesole, Italy
Il Salviatino knows that the best way to experience a hotel’s restaurant, is to be part of the sourcing experience! A certified truffle hunter and his adorable shaggy dog lead a truffle hunt around the grounds of Il Salviatino, a hand-restored 15th century villa turned luxury hotel that overlooks the city of Florence. The truffle hunting experience begins with the hunter teaching guests the basics about the coveted ingredient, including the origin of the truffle, the different varieties and the process of training his pup to find them in the wild. After the hunt through the fertile grounds of Il Salviatino, guests enjoy a truffle tasting meal with the day’s finds, courtesy of the chef at La Cucina del Salviatino restaurant. The ricotta chief ravioli with brunoise of vegetables and truffle are a favorite!
Ceviche with Your Toes in the Sand / W Punta de Mita, Mexico
It doesn’t get more authentic Mexico than eating fresh ceviche while lounging beachside and watching the waves roll in and surfers in the distance. At the new W Punta de Mita on Mexico’s stunning Riviera Nayarit, guests can grab a barstool at Chevycheria -- a vintage 1950’s Chevy truck that’s been converted into a bar from which ceviches are served made to order along with craft beers and locally inspired cocktails. Travelers can select options from the skull-shaped menu that include the Ceviche Punta de Mita, made with green apple, onion, mint, coconut milk and a habanero chile emulsion, or Ceviche Atun Nayarita, made with fresh tuna, soy sauce, avocado, grapefruit, red onion and radish. Cocktails such as the signature Piwiwi, made with tequila, grapefruit syrup, agave, honey, fresh lime juice and worm salt, are the perfect complement along with the ocean breeze, palm trees overhead and that feeling of eating with your toes in the sand.
Southern Safari Lunch / Barnsley Resort, Georgia
Guests at Barnsley Resort, in the foothills of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, just an hour outside of Atlanta, can now experience a Southern safari, complete with gourmet lunch. Those looking for an afternoon of adventure with a touch of luxury can head to the adjacent SpringBank Plantation, an 1,800-acre hunting preserve located less than five miles from the resort. There they will take an open-air jeep ride through the beautiful wooded rolling hills, keeping an eye out for wildlife along the way. The ride ends at a scenic spot, overlooking a lake and forest, where guests can sit down to a beautiful, elevated picnic lunch, expertly prepared by the executive chef. Lunch includes Southern favorites such as a basket of freshly fried chicken, an assortment of coleslaw, pasta and potato salads, and pickled vegetables, accompanied by wine and ending on a sweet note with red velvet cake.
Picnic in Paradise / Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida
Offering guests a tasty way to enjoy a day or evening out, Sandpearl Resort recently launched a “Picnic in Paradise” experience. The chefs at Sandpearl Resort’s AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, Caretta on the Gulf specially created two innovative menus - Shorely Delicious starring turkey and ham ciabatta sandwiches and Island Antipasto featuring charcuterie, cheese, fruit, and nut platters. For a daytime or sunset getaway, these baskets come complete with all the essentials and can be taken to go to many nearby spots, such as Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island, or on a private boat charter. An advance notice of 24 hours is required and Picnic in Paradise can be booked through room service.
Dining Under the Stars / Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
The only thing better than eating on the beach is having your own private VIP set-up! Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is known for its toes-in-the-sand, pop-up sunset restaurant, Atardi, and has taken its beach eating experience to the next level with a new 'Dining Under the Stars' option. With front row seats to magnificent sunsets, guests can now celebrate special occasions while dining under the stars in a private gazebo, complete with a chicly-decorated table and beach blanket set-up. Created by Atardi’s chefs, there are two indulgent, multi-course menu choices available - 'Aruban Sunset' and 'Love is in the Air' - which include a selection of Atardi favorites of both land and sea dishes. Perfect for honeymooners, those celebrating an anniversary, or anyone looking for a memorable meal, this experience will dazzle guests just like the stars above them.
Become a Chef for Day / Renaissance Tuscany II Ciocco Resort & Spa
Fall is one of Italy’s best kept secrets – particularly so in the Tuscany region where the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa overlooks the ever-changing colors of the mountainous Serchio Valley. As Fall advances and the crowds lessen, Tuscany becomes an ideal place to immerse in the historical culture of Italy. This is also the time when Italy’s signature flavors begin to blossom: the porcini mushrooms, earthy truffles and fresh new olive oil, adding a unique signature touch to local dishes and breads. To create an experience where guests can understand the local culture found throughout the surrounding medieval villages and the food of the seasons, the hotel launched the ‘Chef for a Day’ experience, which offers an opportunity to cook side by side with one of the resort’s chefs for an authentic taste of Italy. The experience begins with a trip to a local food market in Barga — a medieval village tucked deep in the Tuscan hills — where travelers will hand pick their favorite fresh ingredients which are the inspiration for the day’s menu. Back on property, the chef leads you back into the kitchen where it’s time to grab an apron and roll up your sleeves. You’ll learn how to hand-make Tuscan staples such as fresh pasta (the shape of your choice), ravioli, fresh caprese salad, and sauces like authentic bolognese. Once the hard work is done, travelers will enjoy their three-course meal outdoors in the crisp autumn air on a private veranda overlooking the spectacular colors of the mountainous region.