They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but for die-hard foodies it certainly goes both ways. There’s no better time to indulge—like, really indulge—than in the days after you’ve taken off the perfectly-fitted gown and corset or Spanx. Because as much as a beach vacation is what you want after agonizing over all the little details for months, it’s also important during this time to eat and drink all the things you’ve been withholding from yourself—and discover delicious new obsessions.
These destinations celebrate the culinary arts in a serious way, and many come with the opportunity to pick up some skills to take home as the ultimate souvenir, that way your man has no excuse for not cooking you a fabulous dinner on a moment’s notice.
Culinary travel at its finest is available at this 313-acre estate that houses a 42-acre USDA-certified farm (growing not only 32 varieties of potatoes but producing honey, housemade yogurt and cured oranges) and the only Forbes five-star restaurant in Texas. Let Farmer Steve teach you how to start your own produce garden, or take a private cooking class with chef Zachary Ladwig, who will help you pick ingredients from the farm to use in seasonal veggie–centric menus with Texas flair.
One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius
Immerse yourselves in authentic island life with the One&Only Le Saint Géran’s Catch, Cook, Cocktail experience, which includes a three-night stay in an oceanfront suite. You’ll get out on the water for a private half-day fishing trip aboard a 55’ luxury fishing boat in pursuit of blue and black marlin, tuna and wahoo before learning to prepare it island-style—grilled on firewood or coconut—in a hands-on cooking class. Of course, you’ll need a beverage to wash it down, so a mixologist shares secrets of blending local Mauritian rum into delectable concoctions.
From the clifftop luxury lodge on Kangaroo Island comes a weeklong Food Safari that would entice any couple bonded by all things edible. Pack your boots because it gets messy: The hands-on itinerary includes special wine-paired dinners, cooking demos, an expedition to a sheep dairy, long winery lunches, and an experience at the Aquaculture Skills Center, which produces sustainable barramundi and herbs.
If you love magic as much as you love food you can’t miss the opportunity to experience JOYÀ at Vidanta, a Cirque du Soleil show that incorporates gastronomy. The multi-course meal that accompanies the theatrical presentation includes edible paper menus, bonsai tree bread, smoking appetizers that emit smoke from your nose, and storybook desserts.
From just May through September, newlyweds can embark on a truly memorable edible experience in Alaska, on the southern end of Kachemak Bay. A cooking school at Tutka Bay Lodge—set inside an old crabbing boat that transported troops in WWII—teaches them to make three-course meals from eight global menus, as well as private classes.
The new Cabo Road Trips offered by this beachfront resort give lovers all the tools to enjoy cocktail- or culinary-focused self-drive tours of the area. Curated by their mixologist and chef, these experiences include things like rose-infused cognac cocktails, grilled octopus and cocninita pibil at insiders’ favorite go-tos.
Couples staying at Kauai’s the Lodge at Kukui’ula gain special access to members-only excursions including crabbing, octopus hunting (called He’e Hunt in Hawaii, available October through December) and lobster pulls. There are gardening lessons, or pick-your-own-produce, along with peacock bass fishing, farm-to-fork dinners under the stars and even opportunities to learn the ancient art of throw net fishing or try hunting for wild boar.
The Cooking Academy at this dreamy Hoi An beach resort is no standard order cooking demo: Chef Tran Thi Hong customizes day- and weeklong programs that are not only incredibly hands-on in the kitchen but start with fun, evocative experiences off campus such as walks through vegetable or fishing villages or riding a water buffalo—for real!—through a verdant paddy. The food of Hoi An is unique from the rest of Vietnam, and blending French influences and bright, fresh herbs for amazingly bold, savory results that you’ll want to take home.
Month after month, this idyllic Montana ranch resort hosts multi-day culinary events that involve celebrity chefs, James Beard winners and Top Chef stars. They’re beyond immersive, from fly fishing on the river before elegant dinners on the shore to the secrets of pizza making, all set in an enchanting place with five-star glamping-style accommodations.
Birkenhead House and La Residence, South Africa
A one-two punch is available at this pair of related South African boutique properties, opulent in design and culinary offerings. Start at your dream beach house in Hermanus, where Southern Right and Humpback Whales breach, surfers carve and couples can engage in a mussel-picking class before slurping them up prepared with garlic, cream and white wine. An hour and a half drive away at La Residence, indulge in the interactive Chef’s Table experience, prepared in front of you as the chef chats through ingredients, techniques and flavor development.
At this Renaissance villa in Fiesole—not far from Florence—the culinary delights are indulgent, to say the least. First off is the relaxation: have a Chocolate Fountain bath (which comes with fresh fruit for dipping) or a $10,000 (and up) Ultimate Bubble Bath, in which your private tub is filled to the brim with Prosecco, Spumante or French Champagne. There’s truffle hunting around the property’s private park, led by a lake dog, culminating in a truffle tasting menu using the score. And of course, Chianti region tastings and wine-paired lunches are a must-do at private wineries organized by a Service Ambassador.
The Riviera Maya eco resort is home to El Pueblito Cooking School, where a Mayan cook instructs wannabe chefs in preparing traditional regional dishes like relleno negro, cooked in an authentic underground oven, and how to make tortillas by hand. Newlyweds can also go on market shopping trips with the chef, and to meet artisanal producers in Playa del Carmen. At Banyan Tree Mayakoba specifically, there are Thai, Mexican and now Italian cooking classes as well as an interactive dining experience called HAAB, in which guests are escorted into the jungle for an immersive cultural dinner by decorated Mayan warriors.
Ambitious husband-wife chefs should head to one of the country’s most acclaimed properties, The Inn at Little Washington, to take part in its stagiaire program, which allows for prime opportunities to learn from chef Patrick O’Connell’s award-winning team in what’s been called the “world’s most beautiful kitchen.” Your next dinner party is sure to be a success after graduating from this gorgeous place.
Go local in Paris with this luxury apartment rental and concierge service. Book one of the Left Bank pads with views of the Eiffel Tower along with a class—in your luxe apartment or the chef’s own—that starts with a chef-guided shopping trip at a local French market for the ingredients to make a full meal back at home. Chef Philippe Excoffier is also available to teach you how to master the perfect French soufflé—an impressive feat.
The new Palate to Plate package (from $2,839) is for discerning and dedicated epicureans. Tailored to each couple, it comprises a customized journey through the historic hotel and iconic SF food destinations that are tailored to your food preferences based on a pre-arrival palate profiling experience with the chef. There’s also a wine tasting featuring pours from legendary winemaker Jean-Charles Boisset’s rare reserve collection, Cristal champagne toast, and a private personalized Chef’s Table dinner in Parallel 37.