There’s nothing quite like the taste of homegrown food, so why not choose a holiday that offers just that?
Set on a 300-year-old working farm in South Africa’s magnificent Drakenstein Valley, food is taken very seriously at Babylonstoren. At the heart of the 200-hectare farm is a beautifully landscaped eight-acre garden, with over 300 varieties of edible plants. It’s quite unlike any other – and the result is servings of simple, honest food, with little-to-no fuss, that can be enjoyed at the wonderful Babel restaurant. Here you’ll find colour-coded salads, while the menu itself changes with the seasons. In summer, feast on an Orange Salad of pumpkin, oranges and carrots – and in winter, warm up with a slow-cooked leg of lamb. If you’re looking for a meal to remember, the organic oasis of Babylonstoren awaits.
From sunset cruises to snorkeling excursions, Six Senses Zighy Bay offers a wealth of unique experiences – but the local food has to be one of its finest. Explore the tastes of Arabia at Spice Market, a 68-seater restaurant that takes guests into an era of rustic simplicity or dine at the elevated restaurant Sense on the Edge, which boasts a mountain-top setting and most notably, wonderful ingredients from the hotel’s organic kitchen garden. Mocktails and cocktails gain local herbal inspiration from the garden too, while the hotel even makes its own mineral water with a crystal plants, and donates one rial from each sale to its social responsibility fund.
New York City might not sound like your average location for a kitchen garden, but situated on a quiet cobbled street at the heart of New York’s vibrant SoHo neighbourhood, Crosby Street Hotel, has just that. Sitting on an unused space on the hotel’s 12th floor rooftop is an urban vegetable patch managed by the hotel’s head chef, Anthony Paris, and it supplies the hotel with much of the summer produce, such as melons, blueberries, tomatoes and herb, while the flowers go to fill vases around the 86-room hotel. But that’s not all – pecking their way around the garden are 4 Araucana chickens in a Tudor-style chicken coop, which produce unique pale blue eggs. This is a city hotel with a difference – and the food is nothing if not sensational.
Once a crumbling 19th-century relic, The Godfather director, Francis Ford Coppola, pledged to restore the decaying building to its former glory and the result is a spectacularly intimate nine-room resort – that feels like the grandest of Italian homes. The villa offers delicious and authentic regional cuisine, using locally-sourced organic ingredients in its meals and some are grown in the stunning gardens. Deceptively simple dishes such as sausage with rocket, grilled pork rib, or a home-fired pizza can be enjoyed in the large eat-in kitchen, while the resort’s wine cellar features the best vintages from the local Magna Grecia area. Plus, if you want to try your hand at some of the recipes, the Palazzo’s own chefs teach complimentary daily cookery classes in the state-of-the-art kitchen.
A rustic oasis at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Fellah Hotel has a real commitment to the eco-future of Morocco, with its food locally sourced, organic and Fairtrade. It even has its own working mini-farm bursting with mint, verbena, tomatoes and other edible plants – and with resident donkey and goat. If you set your alarm early enough, you can collect eggs with kitchen staff from the chicken coop, which supply Fellah’s two restaurants, one of which is run by locals. You can also milk the goats, groom the donkeys, shear the sheep – and stroke the rabbits! The hotel’s adventurous dishes range from lobster tagine, cactus-spiked panna cotta and mint tea blasted with liquid nitrogen.
Nestled among vineyards and adjoining a 12th century Benedictine Abbey, L’Hostellerie de l’Abbaye de la Celle, is a haven of relaxation that promises to serve up an unforgettable gourmet experience. The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant is run by Benoit Witz, whose philosophy is “real ingredients, simple cooking and authentic tastes.” While most of the restaurants produce comes from its gardens, everything else hails from a 30km radius and much of Witz’s menu evolves with the seasons, featuring tasty pleasures from zucchini flower and crispy bacon risotto to fresh duck and foie gras. Guests can also spend a day helping the chef prepare lunch – starting with a trip to the gardens to pick ingredients!
The third in the soon-to-be four-strong group of charming English hotels is full of The Pig’s signature shabby chic charm. The very first of their hotels in New Forest, Hampshire, was created around the ethos of bringing the kitchen garden to the forefront of the dinner table. The then shabby hotel was bought by owner Robin Hutson who made the hotel’s restaurant almost self sufficient, developing its overgrown walled garden for the restaurant and ensuring all other ingredients be sourced locally. So it’s no surprise that the crowing glory of Hutson’s latest offering is the fabulous kitchen garden, where everything from tender asparagus to zingy rhubarb is grown. Head chef, Kamil Oseka, sources everything within a 25-mile radius, creating feasts including lake-fresh crayfish, smoke-house kippers and foraged wild onion. With a stay here, you can truly live and breathe the good life.
The stylish Phoenicia Hotel is idyllically situated by the historic city gates of Malta’s capital Valetta, but unlike most city centre hotels it has almost eight acres of mature landscaped gardens within the grounds, including a kitchen garden. Guests can wander around the lush garden, with stunning views of the nearby harbor, and see exactly where their meal has come from. The vegetable garden supplies 80% of the hotel’s Pegasus restaurant with its dishes, and almost all other ingredients are sourced from the wonderful local produce. The island is renowned for its fish and seafood; swordfish, red mullet, calamari and giant prawns are just some of the prized local catch. The chic restaurant specialises in delicious and healthy Mediterranean cuisine and gives some traditional Maltese dishes modern flair – the red Maltese prawns with Gran Marnier emulsion and the trilogy or Valhrona chocolate from the menu get our vote!