Some travelers seek out history, arts and culture—the Fontana di Trevi in Rome, Warkworth Castle in Northumberland or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Others dot their tourist maps with Michelin-starred restaurants, famous food carts and wine-country stops.
What’s the Amalfi Coast without mouthwatering pasta dishes next to the crashing waves of the Tyrrhenian Sea? Or the neon lights of Tokyo without handcrafted sushi? If you’d like to give your grand adventures a gourmet spin, here’s where to head for full self- or tour-guided culinary flavor.
Pasta and Fine Wine in Tuscany, Italy
You really can’t go wrong with any region of Italy, but Tuscany is a true vacation paradise. When in Chianti, stay at the charming boutique garden hotel Villa Sassolini. Or try the Food and Wine Lovers two-night stay and tour at Il Falconiere, where a classic Italian setting and locally-sourced ingredients collide in Michelin-starred dining. A vineyard and cellar showing is capped off with a three-course lunch.
Fresh Seafood in the Northeastern United States
You’ll never find a disappointed foodie who flew into New York. Relax in true luxury after you set up home base at Big Apple institution the Ritz Carlton, Central Park—but be sure to venture to the outer boroughs. Nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge, the River Café serves up supple monkfish sourced from nearby Rhode Island, and oysters from both coasts.
Artisanal Wine and Cheese in Napa and Sonoma, California
California wine country is a gourmet paradise and an oenophile’s dream. Start with a rest on the grounds of Sonoma’s contemporary California classic Hotel Healdsburg. Then embark on a four-hour wine and food pairing walking tour through Healdsburg’s downtown. The tour includes wines from three cellars, artisan cheeses and charcuterie and fresh local produce. Afterward, head to Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch in St. Helena for wood grilled pork chop and beignets in a bourbon caramel sauce.
Waterfront and Cooking Clubs in Basque Country, Spain
Butterfield & Robinson’s six-day tour of San Sebastian explores the shining coastal region that includes views of the Bay of Biscay, waterfront walks and beach stops. The Hotel Maria Cristina is where you will retire after full days of gastronomic exploration that include participating in “vermouth hour.” This is a cooking workshop in a txoko (a members-only cooking club) and frequent winery stops.
Sake and Sushi in Kanto, Japan
Situated on Japan’s eastern coast, the Kanto region includes the bright lights of Tokyo and the coastal beauty of Kanagawa. Take in sweeping views of the country’s capital at the Mandarin Oriental hotel before heading out into the city to try out the three-Michelin-starred Ginza Kojyu, with its Shizouka brewed sake and rotating seasonal menu, or minimalist Kanda for the anago sushi. When venturing out of the city save your taste buds for monjayaki (pan-fried batter) and yakitori (grilled chicken skewers).
Wherever your tastebuds take you, be sure to bring some flavor back home, too. Truffle oils, smoky sea salt and Moroccan spices are not just mementos of a trip well taken, but a stirring reminder to whet your wanderlust again soon.
Looking for more ideas for flavor-driven travel? Book a trip to one of the top wine regions in the world, or make a reservation at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris. While you’re awaiting your next trip, treat yourself to one of our top gift picks for home chefs.