Okay, it’s January, and we know you’ve made resolutions to eat better this year. But “better” doesn’t mean going on an extreme diet, does it? And if it does, we give you permission to have a cheat session for these four fantastic foodie events from some of our favorite resorts. Designed to be intimate and accessible, these food-focused packages and weekends put you in prime positions to talk to top chefs and restaurateurs, as well as to learn hands-on skills that they can apply in their own kitchens.
WinterFest, Greenough, Montana
The Resort at Paws Up, a luxury property and glamping experience in southwestern Montana, is already well known for its culinary programming — we love the Master Grillers event in the summer and dessert-focused Upper Crust in the fall. Now it’s rolled out the first WinterFest, another awesome gourmet getaway (January 21 to 24) that features interactive opportunities with top toques (including James Beard Award winner Colby Garrelts) from across the country preparing winter-themed meals, wine pairings, demos, seminars and even a special coffee program. The resort’s WinterFest package is stuffed with a three-night stay, daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, a five-course meal prepped by featured chefs and access to many fest functions.
Amelia Island Restaurant Week, Amelia Island
Fans of Top Chef will love this special package from The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property. In celebration of the island’s eighth annual Restaurant Week (January 22 through 31), the hotel is offering a special Salt & Savor package from January 21 to 24 that includes an exclusive cooking demonstration at the hotel with Top Chef judge and A New Turn in the South author Hugh Acheson, two tickets to the Restaurant Week kickoff dinner at Coast, a private Moët Hennessy cocktail hour mixology session and more. Other highlights: Creating your own salt infusions and having the chance to visit with the hotel’s resident beekeeper.
Calistoga Food and Wine, Calistoga, California
Oenophiles near Napa, take note. Solage Calistoga is returning with its third annual Calistoga Food and Wine (April 22 to 24), taking you through an exclusive series of wine tastings and dining experiences in one of the country’s most beloved dining destinations. Nearly 40 wineries will participate, along with acclaimed chefs (Gustavo Rios, Top Chef: Just Dessert’s Sally Camacho) throughout California, offering a series of winemaker dinners, tastings and an epic brunch with seven chefs cooking at live action stations with cocktail pairings.
Key West Food & Wine Festival
How do five days of fine dining in and around Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort sound? With more than 40 culinary happenings scheduled across Key West, astute foodies flock to the festival (January 27 to 31) for tastings, chef collaborations and local neighborhood restaurant tours. At Casa Marina, hobby mixologists will love the liquor-centered events, such as the Whiskey Bazaar sampling or the Hemingway-inspired absinthe cocktail lesson, Death in the Afternoon.