18 Food Experiences to Give as Gifts
Their kitchen? Well stocked, with all of the essential gadgets, and then some. The pantry, the wine cellar—overflowing with the best of everything, from all around the world. Clearly, it's time to think outside the subscription box, the seasonal hamper, beyond that something-of-the-month club. Instead, why not give them the gift of a memory that could end up lasting a lifetime, or, at the very least, make for a fun day out? We've curated a selection of experiences—both the epic kind, and the just plain fun kind—to choose from, as you shop for the hard-to-shop-for.
A Luxury Cycling Weekend in The Smokies
One of the most popular itineraries offered by cycling specialist Trek Travel is this four-day, all-levels adventure in Tennessee's Smoky Mountains, featuring the exclusive Blackberry Farm resort as a one-of-a-kind home base ($4,599 per person, trektravel.com).
Go Truffle Hunting in Tuscany
This multi-day adventure with a certified truffle hunter takes place both in and around Florence; it's one of the most popular experiences offered by Airbnb to date ($222, airbnb.com).
An Epic Evening at Eleven Madison Park in New York
With a growing number of top-rated restaurants moving to the ticketed reservation model, picking up the tab at dinner is easier than ever ($295 for 8-10 courses, tocktix.com).
Take a Daycation to Baja California
Mexico's premier wine region, the Valle de Guadalupe, is a short drive from anywhere in Southern California—the bilingual food and drink specialists at Club Tengo Hambre lead popular tasting tours, beginning right at the border ($175, clubtengohambre.com).
A Food & Wine Weekend With the CIA
Two powerhouse brands come together February 16-18 for an immersive, interactive, three-day experience at the Culinary Institute of America's Copia campus in California's Napa Valley ($895, enthusiasts.ciachef.edu).
Get Pampered at The Chocolate Spa
It's the Hotel Hershey, as in Hershey, Pennsylvania, so you'd expect at least a little chocolate—the hotel's award-winning spa puts chocolate front and center, creating some truly unusual treatments (day packages from $215, chocolatespa.com).
Spend the Weekend With Dogfish Head
One of America's most popular craft brewers opened a hotel—The Dogfish Inn—near the pilgrimage-worthy Delaware brewery; guests are offered access to exclusive experiences at the brewery for a nominal fee (from $159, dogfish.com).
Take a Walk in Burgundy With Butterfield & Robinson
Explore one of the most storied wine regions in France on your own two feet with this self-guided walking and tasting tour that includes top-flight hotels, meals, transfers and much more (from $2,995 per person, butterfield.com).
Get Exclusive At Universal Orlando
Send them to see Harry Potter in style with Universal's VIP Experience, which includes a personal guide to escort you through the parks, line-skipping at top attractions, complimentary continental breakfast and two sit-down meals (from $189 per person, park admission not included, universalorlando.com).
Give the Gift of Civilized Dining With Relais & Chateaux
Some of the world's best independent hotels and restaurants claim membership in this global association known for exacting standards—introduce someone special to something very special indeed with R&C's curated Gift Boxes (packages starting at $209, relaischateaux.com).
Go Foraging in Los Angeles With Urban Outdoor Adventures
The popular Wild Food Tasting and Plant Walk adventure includes a foraging trip into the nearby wilds, plus a cooking class where you prepare a simple dish with your findings ($40, urbanoutdoorskills.com).
Eat Your Way Through Portugal With Kensington Tours
The Gastronomic Lisbon & Porto itinerary offers a stylish immersion in Portuguese food and wine, with a private cooking class, tastings, gastronomic walking tours and luxury hotel accommodations (7 days from $5,621 per person, kensingtontours.com).
Upgrade The Disney World Character Breakfast Experience
Get goofy with Goofy & His Pals while eating one of the best breakfasts at Walt Disney World with the Four Seasons Resort Orlando's epic character meal, available Saturday and Thursday mornings and open to all. Resort guests can arrange private sessions, for an added fee. ($46 for adults, $24 for children, reserve at (407) 313-7777, fourseasons.com).
Tour the Napa Valley by Bike
The private guided cycling adventures offered by Napa Valley Bike Tours are a unique way to experience the iconic wine region ($425 per person for two guests, napavalleybiketours.com).
Make Chocolate at Jacques Torres
One of the most acclaimed chocolate makers in the country offers regularly scheduled chocolate making classes and behind-the-scenes tours of its New York headquarters—this is a great surprise add-on to any Big Apple itinerary ($45 class and tour, mrchocolate.com).
Go Salmon Fishing in Alaska
The best fish is the fish you catch yourself, and the best fish you can catch—well, pretty much—are probably somewhere up in Alaska. While those remote fishing lodges do have their charm, a day trip from Anchorage with Rust's Flying Service offers a great quick immersion (from $585, May-September, flyrusts.com).
Brush Up Those Skills at Sur La Table
From knife skills to the art of the croissant to Thai favorites you can easily whip up at home, your local Sur La Table offers an array of cooking classes that make great gifts for those looking to level up in their own kitchens (surlatable.com).
Eat Your Way Through Rome With an Expert
Experience the very best of edible (and drinkable) Rome with Katie Parla, a writer and cookbook author offering in-depth private tours that can be customized to your tastes (get quotes and information at katieparla.com).