The best food sourcing experiences

Fishing, foraging and farming experiences are cropping up all over the world, finds Laura French.

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Local, organic, farm-to-fork, freshly picked… call it what you will, there’s a clear trend sweeping across the globe, and it’s all about knowing where your food comes from, and how it got on your plate.

So how does that impact you? Well for a start, you can use it to boost your sales. Resorts across the globe are going green, offering farming experiences that give guests the chance to try everything from truffle hunting to trout fishing, olive pressing to cheese making, while tour operators are adding in foraging walks, rice farming and other food-sourcing experiences designed to give a glimpse into authentic rural life.

We’ve cherry-picked some of the best from across the world to get you feeling inspired.

Be a farmer for the day in Greece

For clients keen to roll up their sleeves, pull on their wellies and get stuck in, look no further than Crete’s Agreco Farm. This sprawling estate is a shrine to all things self-sufficient with an olive press, watermill, wine cellar and farmyard – complete with deer, rabbits, chickens and bees – among its offerings.

Olive oil, cheese, honey and wine are produced here, but for customers interested in doing more than just eating them, recommend the Farmer for the Day experience. Guests taste their way around the farm, picking vine leaves, baking bread, milking goats and making local dishes – from kalitsounia (cheese pastries) to dolmadakia (stuffed vine leaves) – before tucking into a hearty lunch under a shady pergola, with lush olive groves and the ocean for a backdrop.

Book it: From €55 including lunch. Rates at the nearby Lux Me Grecotel White Palace start at €252 per night, based on a Double Room with Garden View.


Fish for crab in Norway

If your clients are seeking a rugged, at-sea adventure, Hurtigruten has the answer – its King Crab Expedition, which takes passengers out to catch, prepare and eat these giant creatures in the heart of Norway’s Barents Sea.

On the three-hour excursion, wannabe fishermen cruise the fjord looking for a spot to anchor, before hauling in the cages to get their catch. It’s then served up at a restaurant right on the fjord, where mirror-like waters and soaring peaks combine to make something of an idyllic side.

Book it: The three-hour excursion (£195) is available on Hurtigruten itineraries including the Classic Round Voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes, which starts at £1,008.

Learn bushcraft in Australia

Australia is becoming a hotspot for culinary enthusiasts, and not just in the cities; the bush has its own menu of delights for those daring enough to sample them, with experts taking adventurous palates out to learn more amid its wild landscapes.

Among the pros is bush-tucker guru and conservationist Jake Cassar, who specialises in edible and medicinal plants. He offers bushcraft courses teaching guests sustainable foraging skills in a private, rural location close to Mangrove Mountain (just north of Sydney), with survival courses that range from three-hour walks to overnight stays.

Book it: The five-hour Plant-Based Survival Crash Course starts at £35.


Hunt for truffles in Italy

Europe has its own share of foraging treasures, and at its heart is Tuscany, land of the truffle.

You’ll find a string of resorts offering truffle-hunting experiences here, but for one of the most immersive, look to the Four Seasons Firenze in the heart of Florence.

The lavish, Renaissance-style hotel offers a half-day trip to a family-run farm in the Tuscan hills, where guests go out on a two-hour walk in the woods with the owners to learn about their hunting techniques, including how to train the dogs that detect these treasures. It’s followed by a truffle tasting menu that features truffle honey, truffle-infused pecorino cheese, truffle tagliolini and a truffle dessert.

Book it: From €90 per person. Elegant Resorts offers a week’s B&B at the Four Seasons Firenze from £3,455 per person on certain dates from October to December, including flights, UK lounge passes and private transfers.

Go fishing in Canada 

Canada’s wild, rugged landscapes and wide, open ocean make it a hotspot for outdoor foodie adventures, with a plethora of eco-conscious resorts on hand. Among the best is Elmhirst’s Resort, which offers fishing and farming experiences in undulating, emerald-green surrounds, about 90 minutes from Toronto.

“Guests can book on to a fishing tour on the neighbouring Rice Lake, and feed the chickens and collect fresh eggs at the resort’s farm,” says Ross Sinclair, Canada assistant product manager for Gold Medal.

But for those who want to home in on fishing, suggest Nova Scotia’s Trout Point Lodge. Named one of the world’s top-10 fishing spots by the Guardian, this luxury, back-to-nature resort offers catch-and-release fishing outings plus weekly foraging walks in the woods, where guests seek out the edible treats that populate this Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

Book it: Rooms at Trout Point Lodge start at £311 per night with Small Luxury Hotels.

Forage for your dinner in Sweden

Nowhere does foraging quite like Scandinavia, and the queen of the scene is Sweden, where the ancient allemansrätten law gives people the right to forage for wild food in any wood, meadow or field, as long as they don’t cut down trees or break twigs.

That makes the country a haven for nature lovers, with lingonberries, cloudberries, porcini mushrooms and more flavouring its forests in autumn.

Various tour packages offer guided walks; on Sunvil’s four-night Active Autumn Break in Swedish Lapland, a foraging stroll around the woods is followed by an outdoor cooking class, where guests prepare a three-course dinner with a local chef in wild surroundings overlooking the frozen sea.

Meanwhile in Finland, The Aurora Zone offers a similar experience on its Autumn in the Sami Heartlands trip, with a guided berry and mushroom-picking walk followed by a freshly foraged lunch served around an open fire.

Book it:Sunvil’s Active Autumn Break costs from £1,728 per person, including flights, full-board accommodation at Brändön Lodge, transfers and excursions.


Best of the rest

Wild ride: On Trafalgar’s Irish Experience, guests go foraging for ingredients with a local on the Wild Atlantic Way, ready for a special Be My Guest lunch overlooking the coastline.

Lobster lasso: At the Four Seasons Resort in Nevis, certified divers can catch their own lobster with a lasso, then have a chef prepare it for dinner. Caribtours can include this in packages.

Mushroom mania: Direct mushroom lovers to Greece’s picturesque Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas, which offers mushroom-hunting tours led by an expert guide.

Pearl of the ocean: At the Jyllandsakvariet aquarium in Jutland, Denmark, visitors go into the fjord in waders to collect oysters, before cooking them on a barbecue.

Plant power:PGA Catalunya Resort in Spain offers NatureWalks tours to learn about edible wild plants and flowers, with a cookery demonstration afterwards

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