Everyone aspires to eat well on vacation. For serious epicures, however, the best gourmet experiences often involve rolling up one’s sleeves and playing a role in the preparation—whether that means digging for truffles in Italy or learning to select the best lobsters in coastal Maine.
The new definition of luxury may actually involve getting your hands dirty, and an increasing number of hotels let guests do just that. Guests at Peru’s Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, for instance, can learn about the local tea by picking leaves, grinding them on stones and bagging them before sipping the fruits of their labors in the hotel’s cozy lobby. In Istanbul, you can go on an insider’s tour with the hotel chef to the city’s famed bazaars, then return to the hotel for a cooking lesson and a classic Turkish meal. In Kenya, you can pick fresh produce from the organic garden at a luxury tent camp, then assist in creating an alfresco lunch, surrounded by the Masai Mara game reserve.
While these hands-on experiences often culminate in over-the-top feasts, they may also send you home with gourmet souvenirs—as well as some culinary savvy that will last well beyond your trip. Read on for 11 fabulously indulgent food-focused experiences.