As culinary tourism increases in popularity, more destinations around the world are offering options that pair food and travel, whether you’re craving an agro-tourism experience in a pastoral setting or a bustling city walking tour. From aspirational Italian adventures to close-to-home gems in Newfoundland, here are some of the world’s best culinary travel experiences to consider for your next foodie vacation.
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Calabria Food and Wine Tour, Calabria, Italy
When it comes to culinary vacations, Italy is one of the top destinations. If you’re seeking something off the beaten path, look no further than My Bella Vita Travel’s 2023 Calabria Food and Wine Tour.
This woman-owned company creates bespoke small group tours and private heritage tours throughout the breathtaking Southern Italian region. In this special 12-day tour, you’ll discover Calabria’s culinary treasures while taking part in cooking classes, meeting farmers and locals and indulging in one memorable meal after another.
Highlights include Diamante’s Citron Riviera and their famous chili peppers, the delicious potatoes of the La Sila mountains along with a gnocchi-making class, a hunt for black truffles, a visit to a vineyard and a meal at a Michelin restaurant. Pricing begins at $5,500 USD (excluding airfare), and includes transportation to and from the Lamezia Terme airport, accommodations, meals and group excursions/experiences.
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Montreal Food Tour, Montreal, Quebec
Montreal has a reputation for gastronomic delights, and this Montreal Food Tour will take you into the heart of its foodie scene, the Jean Talon Market and several adjacent areas that showcase the culinary diversity in the city. At the market, you’ll sample regional delicacies and meet the people who embody the farm-to-table movement. Italian, Vietnamese, Salvadoran and North African cuisine await you, plus you’ll walk through the exciting Mile-Ex district.
Word of advice: bring some comfortable shoes and your appetite!
Tours cost around $95 CDN plus tax, and include all food and drink tastings, and a customized list of recommendations for the rest of your stay in Montreal.
If you need a place to stay, try the Hôtel Monville. It has nightly rates starting at $215 CDN and offers its guests a 15 per cent discount on the tour.
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La Villa Bonita, Tepoztlan, Mexico
For Mexico’s top culinary vacation destination, visit Chef Ana Garcia at La Villa Bonita in Tepoztlan, a breathtaking mountain village about 90 minutes south of Mexico City.
This cooking school offers several different experiences, but their most popular is the Award-Winning Culinary Vacation. Over seven days, you’ll walk the cobblestone streets and take in the local scenery, shop from local producers at the market and cook alongside Chef Ana in their impressive open-air kitchen. Learn how to make homemade tortillas, pozole and traditional Tepozteco-style cuisine including green mole with salt tamales and chayotes filled with chorizo and cheese.
Rates begin at around $350 USD per person per night and vary depending on the experience you book.
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Ananda in the Himalayas, Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
A luxury spa resort located at the Himalayan foothills in Northern India, Ananda in the Himalayas offers plant-based cooking classes in its state-of-the-art show kitchen to all of its guests.
Focusing on Ayurvedic cuisine, cooking lessons take place twice a week using organic and biodynamically grown foods from providers in the surrounding area along with foraged items and Himalayan herbs grown in the resort’s garden. Guests are given the full recipes with detailed nutritional information after each session so they can prepare the dishes when they return home. Private culinary lessons are also available by request.
Room-only rates are available from around $770 USD per night or choose one of their many wellness packages.
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Victoria Food Tour, Victoria, British Columbia
If you live in the Vancouver area – or are planning a trip to Canada’s West Coast – consider this Victoria Food Tour offered by BC Ferries and Off the Eaten Track Food Tours.
A ferry will whisk you through the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island, where you’ll spend two nights at the Chateau Victoria Hotel & Suites. On your second day, choose from a Downtown Food and City Tour, the Churches and Chocolate Tour or a Modern Chinatown Food & History Tour. In addition to world-class dining, you can also explore the breweries along the BC Ale Trail.
Tours begin from $324 CDN plus taxes and fees, and include accommodations, return ferry between Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island for two adults and one vehicle, the guided culinary tour of your choice and free parking.
Related: These 8 Vancouver restaurants were just awarded a Michelin Star
Santarena Hotel, Las Catalinas, Costa Rica
Las Catalinas is a captivating beach town located on the Guanacaste Coast of Costa Rica, gaining a reputation for a healthy, sustainable and fun experience in a car-free, highly walkable setting.
Santarena Hotel offers a range of culinary experiences, including the Ponciana Bar’s mixology classes that are available to guests and other visitors taught by an award-winning mixologist. Learn to make three different artisanal cocktails using local ingredients, and each one is paired with a specific dish created by the hotel chef. The hands-on classes are $35 USD per person and room rates at Santarena Hotel start around $250 USD per night.
Once you’re in Las Catalinas, you can also arrange a wine tasting and private chef dinner at the Copper & Stone Gourmet Market, or an organic cooking class at The Center of Joy.
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Japan Real Food Adventure, Japan
Take a 12-day journey through one of the world’s top culinary travel destinations with the Japan Real Food Adventure, taking you from Tokyo to Kyoto. In addition to learning how to make sushi, you’ll take part in an Obanzai cooking class that will teach you about the ancient multi-course feast that focuses on locally grown, seasonal produce while aiming to reduce waste. Along the way, you’ll walk through seafood and produce markets, experience the shinkansen bullet train, take part in a private tea ceremony and stay in a ryokan.
There’s a lot of walking on this tour, so pack lightly and don’t forget your comfiest shoes.
The cost for this one begins at $6,715 CDN (excluding airfare), and includes meals, accommodations and transportation via bus or train.
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From Ceviche to Pachamanca, Peru
An eight-day, seven-night tour that will take you to Lima, Callao, Machu Picchu and more, Peru Well Served’s From Ceviche to Pachamanca will teach you about traditional Peruvian and Andean cuisine along with history and culture.
A must-visit for seafood lovers, the tour offers the perfect mix of fine dining and quaint eateries. Some of the culinary treats that await you are learning how to make ceviche and Peru’s signature cocktail, the Pisco Sour, an elaborate Nikkei meal that fuses Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, and a pachamanca prepared in an underground stone oven. Stops also include the Maras salt mines and a brewery tour in the Sacred Valley.
Prices for the tour start from $2,563 USD per person (excluding your flight to Peru), and includes accommodations, food, transportation and domestic flights.
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Stush in the Bush, St. Ann, Jamaica
Located in verdant St. Ann on the north coast, Stush in the Bush is Jamaica’s ultimate farm-to-table experience, focusing on ital cuisine, the vegetarian way of eating that Bob Marley subscribed to.
First, enjoy an assortment of Jamaican mezze on the Fig Tree Deck, then take a tour of the 15-acre organic farm as you learn about its ancestral origins and plant medicine traditions, breathing in the herbs, spices and fruits grown in the area and watching colourful birds fly by. Your tour concludes with a memorable vegetarian meal featuring seasonal, hand-picked produce (or opt for a creative pescatarian feast) and savour a cup of coffee made with hand-roasted Blue Mountain beans.
The five-hour tour is $165 USD and if you’re looking for a place to rest your head, indulge in a stay at the luxurious Half Moon Resort in Ocho Rios from about $500 USD per night.
Upper Humber Settlement, Cormack, Newfoundland and Labrador
Upper Humber Settlement in the Deer Lake area offers a memorable three-day FarmStay for Foodies experience that incorporates Newfoundland and Indigenous cuisine and traditions.
You’ll take part in a Medicine Wheel Fire Circle, which includes a guided meditation, and an opportunity to cook and sample homemade Bannock. For the ultimate farm-to-table getaway, join in the harvesting of vegetables and greens for a sumptuous four-course meal that you and other guests will enjoy along with local craft beers and immersive stories about the farm’s original founders. Cap the visit with a farm and forage nature walk followed by a wild cook up in the farm’s repurposed glass greenhouse.
Rates for the experience begin at $660 CDN and include accommodations at the farm B&B.
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