There are certain experiences that are a must for anyone food-obsessed. You know those unforgettable moments when you take a bite of something, taste the abundance of flavors dancing around your palate, and savor each bite as if it could last forever? It’s the kind of moment when nothing could be better. This bucket list is all about those moments and the beautiful destinations they take place in.
Each location is key to truly appreciating those special bites. You can’t have the same dish anywhere else in the world!
1. Truffle Hunting in San Miniato, Italy
Truffle hunting in San Miniato, a town famous for its truffles, will definitely take the number one spot on your list. Visit a 15th century villa that is owned by a local family who also organizes a truffle hunting tour. Walk through a beautiful forest and even if starts raining, don’t let that stop you from searching for the famous “white gold” truffle.
Pay attention to the tour guide’s dog to see what he’ll dig up. It truly feels like a treasure hunt. Rare, very large, white gold truffles have been found here that can fetch up to $8,000 online – “white gold” indeed!
After the hunt, return to the villa where the mother of the house will greet you with fresh gnocchi. Hand over your finds and sip homemade Chianti wine while your dishes are served, gently shaving your discovered truffles over the fresh gnocchi. Heaven…
Plan your own Tuscan hunt HERE.
2. Eat the “Best Pizza in the World” in Caiazzo, Italy
Caiazzo, an ancient Roman town about one hour northeast of Naples, is easily where you will taste the best pizza in the world. The specific pizzeria is called ‘Pepe in Grani’ and Franco Pepe is a true “Master Pizzaiolo.” He holds the title of “Best Pizza Maker in the World,” so you know this isn’t an exaggeration!
Franco’s produce is all local, bought from farmers just down the road. Farm to table doesn’t get any better than this!
Watch him do his magic while he adds the ingredients on top of that delicious dough and pushes his legendary pizzas into the brick oven. The results? It’ll be the best thing you’ve ever tasted in your life! Ever! Order a bunch of different dishes and, regardless of what you try, everything will seem unbelievably delicious. From the tomato sauce to the olive oil (best olive oil you’ll taste), oregano and mozzarella, all of ingredients come together to add another dimension to the flavor.
Plan your visit to Franco’s HERE.
3. Explore the Glenburn Tea Plantation in Darjeeling, India
Next on this list is a tea estate nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, looking out over brilliant green terraces of tea bushes. If you arrive at this place at night, then you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between the land and the sky. The land will look like it’s twinkling from candles of the thousands of tiny houses that the tea gardeners live in. As you drive by, you’ll think these are stars twinkling in the sky and feel like you’re floating in the universe. It will be unimaginable, yet so quiet and spiritual…
The next morning, wake early to admire the sublime views as the plantation is situated above the banks of the Rungeet River, overlooked by the Kanchenjunga mountains. Let the peace settle in as you watch mist rise from the fields combined with the memory of the lights from the previous night. This place is a real paradise on earth.
Later during the day, get a real feel for India’s tea tradition by participating in the estate’s tea tour, walking through tea bushes and joining the gardeners as they pick the leaves. You’ll have a chance to taste their teas, and you’ll be amazed by the beautiful aromas and tastes — delicate and fruity to floral, smokey and chocolaty. There is a reason Darjeeling tea is known as the “champagne” of teas; the main focus is quality, not quantity.
This region is also rich in history with Tibetan influence; the energy that you’ll feel here will be unlike anything you’ve ever felt before. As you leave Darjeeling on your way to Delhi, you may even catch a glimpse of Everest! Escape the craziness of city life and put the Darjeeling and the Glenburn Tea Estate on your list.
Plan your own Indian adventure HERE.
4. Cook with Mamma Agata in Ravello, Italy
Ravello is known as the jewel of the Amalfi Coast, and it’s here that you’ll find Mamma Agata and her infamous cooking school.
Mamma Agata began cooking at a very young age, and has cooked for some pretty famous people including heads of state, celebrities, and more. Humphrey Bogart even nicknamed her “Baby Agata.” She doesn’t speak English but that didn’t stop her from gaining world renowned fame with the help of her daughter, Chiara. Her cookbook won 2nd to one of Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks at the Paris Gourmand cookbook awards.
Your day here will be filled with cooking demonstrations, tastings, wine offerings and learning the secrets of the Campania cuisine from the master herself. Her lemon cake is legendary, Amalfi Coast is known for its lemons, and you won’t be able to forget her Farmer’s Spaghetti, Lemon Chicken, Sausage, Peppers & Pappardelle Pasta and various appetizers with homemade sun-dried tomatoes. Don’t forget to try those! Did I mention you’ll have lunch from 1 to 6 p.m.? It’ll easily become your favorite part of the day!
If you’re wondering, yes, you’ll also learn how to replicate these dishes at home. You’ll leave with recipes, an apron, and precious new cooking skills. If you’re lucky enough to have a great local market in your neighborhood, then take the time to get those fresh ingredients and test your cooking skills at home. Treat your family or friends to an Italian night!
Cook with Mamma HERE.
5. Feast on Paella in Andalucia, Spain
Andalucian cuisine is, hands down, a level above the rest, mostly due to the many influences in the region. From the Moors to the Christians and Jews to the Romans, Andalucia’s deep roots and history has left a mark on its cuisine. The food and flavors that we experience here today is a result of its mixture of cultures.
Regardless if you’ve been to Michelin star restaurants all over the world, the cuisine in this area is just unreal. The talent of the chefs, combined with their unique creations and the freshness of ingredients, will leave you speechless. This area is famous for paella; it’s a go-to for many locals.
Stay at the beautiful villa El Carligto; it’s a stunning, renovated Cortijo (farmhouse) where hopefully your private chef will whip up a delicious gazpacho and a seafood paella. Drink Spanish wine while the sun sets and overlook the Mediterranean Sea with the Moroccan landscape in the distance. You’ll make a memory that you will never forget. Sometimes, life really is that simple and that delicious.