10 tasty culinary trips to book now

Digest

March 17, 2017 | BY Sanjay Surana

Leave your dining table to revel in gastronomic experiences where the journey is the destination. Passports, a sense of adventure, and a big appetite required.


A toast to South America

Jacada Travel
What’s not to love about Jacada Travel’s bespoke private trips, which celebrate the food and wine of South America? The route takes you to Argentina’s Mendoza—the most popular wine region on the continent, with vineyards backed by the snow-capped Andes—the rolling fields of Chile and art-focused hotels such as Viña Vik, just outside Santiago. Special experiences include a private wine-blending class with Alejandro Vigil (one of Argentina’s leading vintners), VIP access to winemakers’ homes and vineyards, and hobnobbing with local wine celebrities. [jacadatravel.com]


Taking in Tasmania

Photo by Henry Jones

Southern crossings
At the forefront of Australia’s luxury tourism industry, Tasmania has a wealth of products that showcase the bounties of nature, from fabulous fish, cheese and berries to outstanding wine, cider and whisky. A trip to explore this island with Southern Crossings might feature shucking oysters straight from the sea, a heli-tour to visit wineries and distilleries, and a full-day paddock-to-plate cooking experience including foraging, harvesting, cooking and eating Tasmanian produce. Active gourmands can also embark on a three-day guided walk of Bruny Island to eat local products (from seafood to free-range pork) direct from the source before retiring each night to a luxury camp. [southerncrossings.com]


All aboard Indochina

Aqua Mekong
With acclaimed Australian chef David Thompson as its executive chef, and featuring Khmer and Vietnamese-influenced meals using sustainable Mekong ingredients, the 20-suite luxury riverboat Aqua Mekong has become renowned for its high-end food—such as grilled river prawns with peanut relish—and for its gorgeous itinerary between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City. The plush, spacious suites all face outward and have floor-to-ceiling windows; the boat also features a spa, fitness centre, dining room and observation deck with a swimming pool and lounge bar. Since the boat has private tenders, guests can explore the remote tributaries of the river, getting right up close and personal with the local Mekong wildlife. [aquaexpeditions.com]


France’s wine region by rail

Belmond Pivoine
This summer, the London-based luxury hotel, train and boat company Belmond will debut trips between Champagne and Alsace aboard the new river barge Belmond Pivoine. With four double en-suite cabins featuring full bathtubs, the boat serves as a floating boutique hotel that comes with a chef, hostess, guide and matelot. The itinerary along the river Marne passes undulating vine-filled hills and pretty riverside villages, and features private tastings, visits to champagne houses and access to stately chateaux at times when they are not open to the public. [belmond.com]


Northern India escape

Maharajas Express
Crossing northwest India and stopping at cities including Agra and Jaipur, the Maharajas’ Express has become the country’s premier rail journey. With two dining cars and a dedicated bar car, guests will never lack for fine food or drink, with meals inspired by the areas visited, including regional classics such as Ajmeri dal and butter chicken masala. Off the train, unique experiences include dinner in the compound of the royal family residence in Jaipur, visiting a village chief in Gujarat, and sundowners and folk music in the Thar Desert. In September, the train will begin South India itineraries. [the-maharajas.com]


Exploring Emilia Romagna

Whole Journeys
Founded in 2012 by gourmet supermarket Whole Foods, tour operator Whole Journeys focuses, as you might expect, on great food. During the Emilia Romagna trip, travellers will eat at a slow-food restaurant that has a zero-kilometre purchasing philosophy (how’s that for the ultimate locavore meal?), visit a farm to try succulent Parma ham and spend time with honey-makers outside Bologna. The landscapes vary from flat, marshy areas to wide-open fields that grow potatoes, wheat, fruits and vegetables. Meals take full advantage of the regionally grown fennel, tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini, apricots, cherries and plums, the locally reared beef and pork, and the Lambrusco and Sangiovese wines from the area. [wholejourneys.com]


Japan’s countryside on foot

Walk Japan
In the vein of the slow-food movement, Walk Japan offers off-the-beaten-path walking tours that get to the heart of this island nation. Journeys incorporate food that is locally sourced, such as rainbow trout fished from the crystal-clear mountain streams and sansai (mountain vegetables) foraged from the forests. Meals are coupled with experiences that connect to the environment and culture, such as hand-picking sencha (green tea) from organic plantations in Aichi Prefecture or learning to make soba (buckwheat noodles) with a master in the Kyushu countryside. Accommodations are comfortable and, like the rest of the trip, offer insights into the traditional and regional ways of life. [walkjapan.com]


A Peruvian odyssey

Aracari
Heralded as one of the great global cuisines, Peruvian food is a product of the country’s diverse microclimates and its deep history of immigration. Aracari’s 10-day Peru with Flavour trip begins in Lima, the country’s gastronomic capital, to eat at some of the world’s top restaurants. Next, travellers explore Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas with a private driver and guide, visiting archaeological ruins, market villages and weaving communities, before returning to Lima for some more haute cuisine. During the trip, guests will eat a traditional pachamanca (in-the-earth cooking with hot stones) lunch at an organic farm in the Sacred Valley and will get the inside scoop on Peruvian cooking at the home of a top chef. [aracari.com]


Western Cape wanderlust

A2A Journeys
One of the most scenic parts of the world, the Western Cape is also blessed with fine, fertile land that generates fabulous wine and produce. A2A Safaris, which has an office in Singapore, maps out trips that bring together the highlights of the region. A classic sojourn covers the three main wine areas near Cape Town—Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch—and includes properties like the magnificent working farm Babylonstoren. Travellers will get the chance to blend, bottle, name and design the label for their own personal wine at boutique vintners, or participate in grape-picking and barefoot grape-stomping during harvest season. [a2asafaris.com]


Into Napa and Sonoma

Photo by Fred Ackerman

Butterfield & Robinson
Learn to make cheese from an artisanal producer, perfect your shucking technique at an oyster farm, see how olive oil is produced and infused, and enjoy the spoils of your labour—these are just a few of the experiences to look forward to during a holiday to northern California’s Napa and Sonoma with luxury cycling tour operator Butterfield & Robinson. Wine, of course, also features heavily in the country’s most famous wine-producing region, which serves up a heart-stirring slice of the world with rolling landscapes of tidy, small-scale vineyards and winding roads through tiny towns. [butterfield.com]


 This article appears in the Singapore Tatler Dining, distributed with the March issue of Singapore Tatler.

If you've got the hankering for Japanese food, head over to Isetan The Japan Store in Bukit Bintang.