Any traveler worth their salt knows that food is an integral part of a destination’s identity. Meals taken in those hidden away, hard-to-get-to places can often give you more insight into a destination than any museum ever could. Meeting with the people who shape the land, the farmers who grow the ingredients, and the chefs who turn said produce into something mouthwateringly delicious, and you’re not just satiating your hunger or thirst; you’re delving into the essence of a place.
Although the term “farm-to-table” has become something of a buzzword recently, there is still a lot to be said for experiential travel excursions that encompass seasonal ingredients from local farmers. These foodie experiences are far more than just three-course dinners in a lovely, open-air dining room. They’re opportunities to trace the origins of your meal to meet the artisans and farmers whose passion and dedication breathe life into every ingredient. Whether you find yourself dining under the shade of century-old olive trees in Tuscany or savoring wood-fired cuisine in the heart of Greece, each bite becomes a thread in the rich tapestry of the land’s heritage.
So, if you truly wish to get to know the authentic side of a place, get ready to enjoy the most delicious tales of all.
1. Farm-to-Table Experience & Wine Tasting in Livorno, Tuscany, Italy
Italy is world-famous for its food, but there is perhaps no greater region than Tuscany. Think big bowls of hearty soups, crisp local wines, and light Cantucci biscotti for breakfast. This experience in Livorno takes you back to the roots of cucina povera, just one hour from your ship. After a horse carriage for a tour of the property, meet the family and learn about the products grown on the farm and in the region. Enjoy strolling through the truffle plantation and olive trees before tasting a slice of freshly made Focaccia paired with tasty Italian antipasti. Don’t forget you’re in wine country here, so expect to wash it all down with some crisp, local reds and whites.
2. Hiking from Portofino to Santa Margherita with an Organic Lunch
Portofino has one of the most beautiful and recognizable coasts in Italy. So why not pair stunning views with a multi-course certified organic lunch? But you’ll need to work up an appetite first, as this foodie experience comes with a hike to a restored olive oil mill in lovely Nozarego, less than an hour away. Don’t forget your camera (as well as your appetite) to capture the breathtaking sea views that come and go with the turn of the path.
3. Farm-to-Table Cooking Experience in Spetses, Greece
For those who prefer a traditional approach when it comes to farm-to-table dining experiences, then this cooking class with Executive Chef Theologos Amiras ticks all the boxes. Chef Amiras is well known for his organic farm, and the seasonal produce from his farm, including fruits, herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, etc... is used for this cooking class that sees you preparing traditional Greek recipes. The experience concludes with a mouthwatering meal where you will enjoy the dishes you have prepared and cooked, along with a bottle of local wine, plus dessert and dessert wine.
4. Family Lunch at Ballymaloe House & Farm Gardens in Cobh, Ireland
Although you may not think of Ireland as one of the world’s top gastronomic destinations, this tour promises to prove you wrong. In fact, Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shangarry is home to one of Ireland’s most esteemed cooking schools and culinary estates. An interactive exploration of the grounds, vegetable and herb gardens, and greenhouses helps you to understand why this cookery school has been producing Michelin-star standard farm-to-table dinners for 40 years and why it regularly ranks highly on various listings of the world’s Top 10 Cookery Schools, such as The Guardian and Forbes.
5. Exclusive Farm to Table with Celebrity Chef Sophie Michell in Bridgetown, Barbados
From leaving school at 14 to work in a gastropub in the UK to being one of the Caribbean’s most sought-after chefs, Sophie Michell has come a long way. Her farm-to-table cooking is, quite literally, a moveable feast. Her tasting menu is constantly evolving, totally governed by what the local farmers can grow, which in turn is governed by the weather and the conditions on the island. This experience teaches you how to prepare a farm-to-table dish while learning about ninety percent of the produce and ingredients that are from Barbados and neighboring islands while enjoying views of the majestic Caribbean Sea.