Travel & Leisure Travel, Food & Drink

Gastronomy Tour: The Perfect Combination of Food and Location

With borders open again and travel feasible once more, why not combine a wonderful location with the finest food? Luxury Defined rounds up some enticing options

Food is a delicious way to get to know a new place. Now that international travel is an option again, Luxury Defined rounds up some very different holiday options that all share a common theme: offering guests the finest dining options. Now you’ve just got to decide whether a beach break in the Maldives, slow living in Greece, or a trip to the Cotswolds suits you best.

Relax in the Maldives

A table for two positioned above the water to enjoy the sunset
Positioned above the lagoon, experience a fusion of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors at Zeytoun. The lounge on the upper deck is perfect for a pre-dinner drink, and it claims to house the biggest collection of gin and whiskey in the Maldives.

Set on a private island and with just 26 villas, The Nautilus Maldives has a team of house masters—precisely trained butlers—dedicated to “co-creating highly bespoke experiences with guests, specially curated to their own natural rhythm.” Fancy a romantic dinner à deux on a secluded sandbank? No problem. A spa treatment followed by a screening of your favorite movie under the night sky? What time suits?

There are no timetables on the island—guests do everything at their own pace and eat when hungry, with food overseen by executive chef Michael Pataran. Take a look at the menu and you may find local spiny lobster-filled beet “culurgiones” dumplings, enhanced with celeriac, saffron, oyster foam, shaved bottarga, fennel pollen, and toasted egg yolk, or Kagoshima beef A5 striploin tartare with imperial caviar, shaved black truffles, and quail egg.

Take a Journey Inspired by Agatha Christie

New York City seen from the bridge at sunrise
Agatha Christie’s father was originally from New York. Just like her, you’ll experience the city like a local. You’ll explore the city’s delis and restaurants, as well as visit art galleries and enjoy live music according to your interests and preferences.

It is 100 years since Agatha Christie, then 31 years old, embarked on a 10-month journey around the world, which she documented in weekly letters that became the Grand Tour. To coincide with the anniversary, Black Tomato is collaborating with Christie’s great-grandson, James Prichard, to curate a series of journeys inspired by the author’s travels.

The voyages start in the United Kingdom and continue through Africa, Australasia, and North America, taking in a steam train ride through the Dandenong Ranges on the Australian leg and a food tour of New York in the North American segment. Each itinerary can be booked independently or woven together.

Chapter 1, London, for example, kicks off with high tea with Pritchard or historian Lucy Worsley; Chapter 3, Australia and New Zealand, includes a steam train ride through the Dandenong Ranges, guided forest walks to stunning waterfalls, and the chance to try the same culinary highlights Agatha would have enjoyed. Chapter 4, North America, takes in a private surf lesson on Waikiki Beach, a private flight to Niagara Falls, and a food tour in New York. If you’re tempted, maybe follow Christie’s advice: “If you can’t take the risk of doing something you want, life isn’t worth living.”

Enjoy the Cotswolds Charm

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Dormy House offers many dining experiences, from a romantic picnic hamper to a meal in The Back Garden restaurant. For something different try MO, a chef’s table experience for just 12 guests, which showcases creative cooking. Credit: Jake Eastham

If you fancy a break in the heart of the English countryside, try The Nook, a self-catering cottage at the Farncombe Estate, one of its new Hillside Hangouts. As well as spacious living areas, The Nook has a disco room with a mirrorball, guitars, a set of electric drums, and a turntable and vinyl collection that provides the perfect soundtrack to supper preparations.

You can bring your own supplies or order in from the estate. Choices include a generous vegetarian mezze box or a whole (live) lobster to dispatch, prepare, and grill. You’ll find milk and orange juice in the fridge, along with a massive fruit crumble ready to be put in the oven for dessert. Cooked and continental breakfasts can also be ordered in.

After all of that, if you’re not too full, there’s an alfresco hot tub to enjoy. The Nook is very comfortable, well equipped and made for relaxing. It feels secluded but is just a two-minute drive from Dormy House hotel, with its spa, pool, and dining options, which guests can use, and it is pet friendly too. The 17th-century farmhouse was recently overhauled by design studio Todhunter Earle Interiors, and blends Scandi-style furniture with bold geometric textiles.

There’s an adventure team who’ll oversee knife- and axe-throwing, as well as clay-pigeon shooting and falconry. Duck herding, which sounds marvelous, is at the planning stages. After that kind of activity, try the Dormy House restaurant, which offers rich buratta with leeks, black trumpet, pine nuts, and truffle dressing, or try the baby squid with piquillo peppers and ‘nduja sausage. Mains include truffle gnocchi and cod kiev.

Embrace Slow Living in Greece 

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The Rooster offers guests indoor-outdoor dining, combining high-quality raw ingredients with local produce, in a restaurant featuring uninterrupted views. If you’re after privacy, book a tailor-made wooden tipi and settle down to enjoy the sunset. Credit: Yannis Rizomarkos

Athanasia Comninos is passionate about the Greek island of Antiparos and safeguarding for the future. Comninos has recently opened The Rooster, an “under-the-radar retreat” for travelers keen to incorporate “slow living” into their vacation, through sustainability, organic food, wellness, and learning.

With just 16 individual suites, villas, and houses, each with stunning views of the Aegean Sea and private gardens, The Rooster sits on 30 acres (12 ha) and has its own pool. Nearby, the unspoilt Lividia beach is the perfect place for a dip, to sunbathe, or catch the sunrise or sunset.

Food comes the hotel’s “magical garden,” where fruits and vegetables are handpicked daily, and from a nearby farm, which guests are welcome to visit. There’s also a “secret garden”, which is perfect for intimate dinners under the stars with signature, seasonal culinary creations on offer.

Indulge in London’s Urban Oasis

External view of handsome red brick 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel in Chelsea, London
Private dining is available at Hans' Bar & Grill. Head chef Rowen Babe will create a feast for you and your guests. There are also twice-weekly wine sessions, hosted in the restaurant's wine room.

Book a stay at The Apartments by 11 Cadogan Gardens and enjoy access to a private garden. Located within a Victorian townhouse, the apartments are equipped with Bosch kitchens and spacious living areas, making them ideal for longer stays.

“The apartments are ideally located to explore Chelsea and its surroundings,” says Ian Richardson, general manager of 11 Cadogan Gardens. “Our guests can opt for complete privacy or take advantage of our full hotel services.” These services include housekeeping and room service, concierge, and a gym.

Guests can also dine at Hans’ Bar & Grill, where the menu includes spiced Korean cauliflower wings, Shetland mussels, a rich artichoke pappardelle, and pan-fried hake. If you fancy some culture, the V&A Museum is a pleasant stroll from the apartments. 

Banner image: The Nautilus in the Maldives