Globe-trotting foodies looking to improve their culinary credentials are looking for unique and interactive experiences where they can roll up their sleeves and work towards their meal.
A growing number of luxury resorts, award-winning restaurants and innovative tour operators allow enthusiasts to try their hand at activities such as white-knuckle sport fishing, traditional truffle hunting and the search for giant clams, with the added benefit of being able to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
Whether it’s an immersive challenge or a hands-on educational experience, these next-level adventures deserve to be added to the epicurean bucket list of the most discerning foodies. Many of these experiences require advance booking, so be sure to check the latest travel requirements and restrictions.
Located along the Seto Inland Sea is Kagawa, also known as Japan’s udon capital. This coastal prefecture has perfected the art of softness, Sanukihas been udon-style noodles for centuries and is home to over 600 udon restaurants, the highest concentration in the country.
In Mitoyo City, Udon House is an udon-themed hotel where guests learn the art of udon-making from local specialists, visit a nearby farm to learn about native agriculture, and pick fresh udon toppings, and embark on udon-hopping journeys in which their guide directs them to the best udon restaurants in the neighborhood.
Lobster lovers come from all over the world to sample Maine’s most famous crustacean. At the legendary White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection in the charming town of Kennebunk, enthusiasts take their lobster knowledge to a new level by making lobster with a local expert.
A private tour along the coast includes education about the lobster fishing industry and its sustainable future, and the main event comes when first-timers try their hand at emptying lobster traps. Once back on dry land, participants meet the resort chef and select which lobsters to cook, then proceed to a lobster cooking class with the chef to earn their lunch.
Some of the most notable resorts in the Maldives tempt with fun, food-focused activities. In the South Malé Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island allows guests to try their hand at the traditional local sunset pastime of reef bottom fishing for humpback snapper and grouper. Visitors can also board the resort’s sport fishing boat for big game fishing adventures, with the guaranteed excitement of battling red trevally, snapper and dogtooth tuna. After these activities, the fresh catch can be cooked by the resort’s chefs for lunch or dinner the next day.
Soneva Fushi, a luxury resort hidden among dense foliage within the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve, offers a unique dining experience at its Shades of Green, a 20-seat plant-based restaurant located in the garden biology of the complex. To begin the experience, visitors are led through the garden and encouraged to examine, pick and taste the herbs, vegetables and fruits grown on the land, ultimately choosing the ingredients to use in their meal.
Minaret Station Alpine Lodge’s helicopter fishing and seafood adventure is a must for any thrill-seeking epicurean visiting New Zealand’s rugged west coast. After a scenic helicopter ride, the crew retrieves crayfish traps from the freezing waters using the helicopter while participants wait on the beach; the bounty is then prepared into a gourmet picnic with a spectacular mountain backdrop.
One of the country’s most sought-after luxury resorts, Kauri Cliffs is perhaps best known for its breathtaking ocean views and championship golf course, but it also impresses with its foodie pursuits like than land fishing. Guests join a local guide at one of the property’s private beaches to test their skill at hooking snapper or kahawai; the fresh catch can be taken back to the lodge, where the chef will prepare it for dinner.
Hidden among 2,500 acres of native forest in Rotorua, Treetops Lodge & Estate offers a Maori food trail where guests wander into nature in search of native plants and herbs, while learning about the nutritional and medicinal properties, as well as the links with the Maori culture. traditions. Attendees taste what they find, fresh from the land, and harvest it for the chefs to use at the resort.
The most acclaimed luxury resort on the island of Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, offers a sustainable fishing experience exclusively for its guests. After a private tour led by a marine biologist from a state-of-the-art Kanpachi farm, participants board the resort’s Ribcraft boat to see the open-sea enclosures and watch a fish-feeding session. On the way back to the resort, adventurers work up an appetite by snorkeling with Hawaiian marine life, then finally settle down for a five-course custom wine dinner in which Kanpachi is prepared in a variety of ways.
Over on Kauai, The Lodge at Kukui’ula, a Destination by Hyatt hotel, features the Mahealani, a 35-foot fishing boat used for expeditions in Kauai’s well-populated waters. Ahi, mahi and marlin are the typical catch of the day for guests, many of whom are all too happy to unload their bounty on the resort’s culinary team, who then turn the fish into a delicious feast. There is also a kayak fishing adventure in which participants cast a line in the water and bring in the fresh catch to prepare it at the resort.
Canada’s Maritime Provinces are the source of fresh, world-class seafood all year round. Foodies exploring the heart of central Newfoundland are advised to visit Indian Falls Chalets, which offers salmon fly-fishing and smoking workshops. Guests spend a day on the Indian River mastering the art of fly fishing for Atlantic salmon and brook trout, then participate in a smoking workshop where they learn a technique perfected in the time to prepare and smoke the local salmon from start to finish.
In New Brunswick, Cielo Glamping Maritime invites active people to harvest their own oysters on a stand-up paddle board in Saint-Simon Bay. After harvesting and shucking, attendees can taste the difference between those harvested at water temperature, served over ice, and grilled to perfection.
Prince Edward Island’s Tranquility Cove Adventures delights bivalve enthusiasts with its clam-digging trips to deserted Boughton Island. All necessary equipment is provided, allowing beginners to safely dig in sandbanks for giant clams. Once enough clams have been harvested, the party moves to the beach, where the clams are steamed in salt water. The experience also includes the ability to carry a lobster trap, crab trap, and mussel sock, as well as a crash course in each fishery.
Midway between the tourist magnets of Phuket and Krabi is the less populated island of Koh Yao Noi, home to the chic Cape Kudu Hotel. A must for any seafood lover, the hotel supports its local community by joining local fishermen to search for shellfish, the types of which vary with the tides and seasons. After taking a soothing boat trip around the island, during which guests can scour the beaches for seashells, their loot can then be taken back to the hotel for the culinary team to prepare a delicious meal. .
Set along Phang Nga Bay, one of Thailand’s most spectacular seascapes, travelers will find the serene Six Senses Koh Yao Noi, a luxury wellness retreat offering diverse dining experiences. Participants take a classic long-tail boat to visit a local floating fish farm and select their own fresh catch for the chefs to prepare at the resort. Thai cooking classes offer an interactive tour of the resort’s organic vegetable garden.
Foodies have flocked to Istria, the westernmost region of Croatia, to try their hand at truffle hunting. The specific smell that comes from truffles in damp ground, mostly in oak woods, is impossible for humans to discern, so trained dogs are used to help in the hunt. Karlić Tartufi, Pietro & Pietro and Prodan Tartufi, a trio of family businesses, share their traditions while allowing visitors to take on the challenge of finding truffles in the wild, preparing said truffles and tasting a range truffle-based products and delicacies.