Beach getaways always seem like a great idea to me—especially come February when the never-ending snow fall has beaten me down. But here’s the ugly truth for me: once I’ve lounged for two days poolside sipping Pina Coladas, I’m bored. Really bored. Since I’m not a water sports kind of guy, I’m always looking for adventure of the cultural variety. Lucky me, several warm weather getaways have taken notice and are offering foodies a chance to step away from the pool and into a professional experience with their chef. Here’s a few of my top picks for great culinary experiences that come with a side order of warm weather.
Belize: Machaca Hill Rainforest Canopy Lodge. This Condé Nast Traveler Hot List property has 12-luxury suites surrounded by 12,000 acres of natural habitat. Guest can participate in all sorts of culinary activities—from picking and roasting coffee beans, to harvesting cocoa. Plans also include lessons on bottling your own rum—in a week. Talk about taking the drink of the island home with you!
Nevis: Montpelier Plantation & Beach. At this Relais & Chateau property, guests can sign up for a cooking class every Tuesday and Saturday when the island markets are open and the best produce is available. The hotel’s Chef Lenny accompanies guests to the market where he points out unique fruits and vegetables (believe me when I tell you fresh mangoes grown on island are out of this world). Of course, he’ll also introduce you to locals—including his mom who has a stand at the market. After collecting groceries, guests work under Chef Lenny’s tutelage to prepare a gourmet lunch.
Bermuda: The Fairmont Southampton. Dream of being a restaurant chef? Get your feet wet with the hotel’s Chef for a Day Package. Choose to spend a day with the chef at any of their restaurants—from an Asian-inspired seafood restaurant to a steakhouse to an Italian joint. After laboring in the kitchen, guests enjoy a special dinner for two in the restaurant—cooked by the real professionals, of course.
For more of Jon Paul’s writing check out his blog Poptimistic.com.