The Gastronomic Tour n Parma is available to guests at the Four Seasons Hotel Milano. Photo: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Hotel food and beverage programs reflect the increasing importance of culinary experiences to travelers. Whether it's tasting wine in a vineyard in Tuscany or meeting the chef who created the meal, travelers love immersive food and beverage programs being offered at hotels across the globe. Here are the big trends for the New Year.
1. Local sourcing
Having food and beverage options sourced and inspired by the local community gives guests a taste of the local cuisine. Bars are stocking regional crafted beer and local estate wines; menus are being built around home-grown and seasonal produce.
The Taste of Place initiative at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, for example, is a collection of immersive culinary and beverage offerings through partnerships with local food vendors, farmers, butchers, distillers and mixologists. The experiences range from private tours of regional breweries and vineyards to deep sea fishing excursions and farm-to-bar mixology classes. In Italy, the Gastronomic Tour n Parma is available to guests at the Four Seasons Hotel Milano, while The CoCoRum Experience is offered at the Four Seasons Resort Koh Samui in Thailand.
2. Artisan cocktails
Hotels are putting a bigger focus on cocktail culture, with mixologists crafting distinct signature drinks.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has added a wide range of new artisan cocktails to its menus. The luxury hotel chain asked award-winning bartenders to collaborate on recipes, and offers the creations at its properties.
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, meanwhile, is using Unique ingredients like roasted grapes, salt-roasted plantains, puréed red pepper, snap peas and corn to create either sweet or savory culinary cocktails. And Kimpton’s bartenders are developing cocktails out of fermented beverages like Kombucha, ginger beer and coconut kefir.
3. Breakfast is the new brunch
Hotels are ramping up traditional breakfast items, like an egg sandwich made with braised pork shoulder or chimichurri, according to Baum + Whiteman, a global food, restaurant and hotel consultancy firm. Fried chicken and breakfast tacos will make their way on to more breakfast menus come 2017.
4. Meeting the chef
For travelers who want an exclusive experience while dining, many hotels now are taking a lesson from the cruise lines and offering options to meet the chef.
Guests can dine with executive chef Yann Michel Cozic at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun. The Chef’s Table experience provides a behind the scenes look as Chef Cozic prepares a multi-course meal and an autographed copy of the menu.
At the The Restaurant at Winvian Farm, a Relais & Chateaux resort in Connecticut, diners are invited to tour the on-site organic farm and pick their own fruits and vegetables from the garden for the chef to use in their meals.
And the Gwen hotel in Chicago offers a personal Prohibition Porter to serve drinks in antique glasses. Guests have the bartender on reserve for 30 minutes to make up to four drinks of their choice.
5. Hands-on learning
Many hotels are offering diners a hands-on experience to learn the culture and tradition of the destination’s cuisine.
The Costa Rica Marriott San Jose, located on a 30-acre coffee plantation, lets guests make coffee the traditional Costa Rican way, through a chorreador. The property also features an on-site coffee curator who hosts latte design classes and demonstrates how to harvest coffee at home.