Fave Five Culinary Tourism Experiences

TAW Editors talk about their favorite culinary journeys

Culinary Travel

Read our cover story on culinary travel for more ideas when working with your foodie clients.

Waterford Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Janeen Christoff, Managing Editor

Stellenbosch, South Africa, offers a variety of foodie experiences, but one, in particular, the wine and chocolate experience at the Waterford Estate, was most memorable. The Chocolate and Wine Tasting is a unique flavor experience. Kevin Arnold and chocolatier Richard von Geusau have crafted a series of dark and milk chocolates that, when paired with the estate’s Shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and natural sweet wines, give guests a unique taste sensation. Visitors first sample the wine, then they take a bite of the chocolate. Afterward, they taste the wine again and reflect on how the flavors have transformed. Apart from simply being delicious, the experience really opens the mind to how wine can alter the palate.

Also at the Waterford Estate, clients can do a wine drive that takes guests on a safari-like experience through the vineyard to sample grapes, smell the soil and, at the end, taste the wine. Apart from its unique wine-inspired experiences, Waterford prides itself on its sustainable growing practices and its environmental friendliness.

Read my Stellenbosch itinerary to learn more about what to do and where to dine in this foodie destination. 

Halekulani, Waikiki, Hawaii
Kenneth Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief

My best foodie experience took place at The Premier Suites at Halekulani, Waikiki’s iconic luxury hotel. As part of the Halekulani's Art of Living program, executive chef Vikram Garg and an assistant cooked my wife and I an incredible feast in the kitchen of the hotel’s stunning Orchid Suite. Garg, an innovative and masterful chef, relied primarily on local seafood, produce and other ingredients, and created one of the best dinners either of us had ever had — complemented by surprising wine pairings determined by Garg and the hotel’s sommelier. My wife and I still talk about the flavors in his seafood stew and how he made edible “mango paper.”

This meal — served under the stars on our own private lanai in the heart of Waikiki and with the sound of the surf just yards away — truly gave us a travel memory we will keep with us forever.

Seattle, Washington
Mindy Poder, Assistant Editor

From the French fry-filled falafel sandwich I battled in a busy Sabbath shuk in Jerusalem to the Japanese-style vegetarian hotdog I devoured while exploring the Seattle food scene, some of my fvorite travel memories revolve around the great food. And for good reason — breakfast, lunch, dinner and, of course, late-night snacks serve up not only new flavors, but a taste for each destination’s culture, values and people. For me, among the most enriching aspects of travel is the discovery of each destination’s food traditions.

Somma WineSpa, Los Cabos, Mexico
Deborah Dimond, Art Director

Culinary travel takes a path less traveled when you begin experiencing food with your feet. One of my favorite foodie thrills involved a visit to Fiesta Americana Los Cabos’ Somma WineSpa. Their Barefoot Dining Experience is a decadent treatment that blends grape stomping, reflexology and a lavish multicourse dinner served on the beach and under the stars.

Taste of Kapolei, Ko Olina, Hawaii
Skye Mayring, Associate Editor

Having just returned from the Big Island, perhaps a few pounds heavier, I have no doubt that the Hawaiian Islands offer some of the freshest and most unique dishes on U.S. soil. My mom and I first came to this realization on our trip to Oahu last fall when we ate our way through the 11th annual Taste of Kapolei at Ko Olina festival.

During this sold-out culinary event on West Oahu, 24 of the island’s top chefs and restaurants offered all-you-can-eat tastings of some of their most popular dishes. A few of our favorites were teriyaki beef sliders on taro buns from Hapa Grill, cheesy grits topped with shrimp from Soul Patrol and poke — a popular Hawaiian dish made with cubed ahi tuna, green onions, sesame oil, soy sauce and spices — from Da Pokemon Fish Market. The event also included a VIP tent with celebrity chefs, live music, dance performances and an impressive fireworks display over the Pacific Ocean.