Get a true taste for the Indian Ocean with these flavour-filled activities, writes Katie McGonagle.

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Learn to cook in Sri Lanka

Indian food might be better known in the UK, but Sri Lanka’s spicy sambals, veg-packed curries and breakfast-time hoppers are just as distinctive – and even better if you can bring the know-how back home with you. At Rosyth Estate House, set on a tea plantation near Kegalle, guests can see the process from start to finish, beginning with a tour of the organic garden, a cooking lesson in the kitchen led by the friendly chef, and finally, the chance to dine on their creations over lunch.

Book it: Daily cooking classes cost £40 (£20 for children), with a cookbook to take home. Classic rooms start at £155 until Christmas, then £260 per night half-board from January, for bookings through Travel Gallery.

Go veggie in the Maldives

If your vegetarian clients feel hard done by for fun foodie activities, fear not – Atmosphere Kanifushi Maldives is embracing all things meat-free with its first Just Veg Week in January. Italian Michelin-starred chef Fabrizio Marino will join head chef Pankaj Walia to host free dining experiences focusing on Maldivian dishes such as cucumber salad and almond curry.

Book it: The Just Veg Week runs from January 20-26, 2020. If Only offers a week in a Sunset Beach Villa at Atmosphere Kanifushi from £2,799 per person, including Platinum Plus All Inclusive Resort Plan, Emirates flights from Heathrow and seaplane transfers departing May 4, 2020.

Eat dinner with a local family

Mauritian resort Salt of Palmar made a big deal of ditching buffet-style dining in favour of fresh, local dishes, and there’s no shortage of foodie experiences here – whether guests want to cook, bake, grow fruit in the new hydroponic farm, or join a three-day Cycling Safari to explore the island’s markets and street stalls in areas tourists rarely see. But one of the most interesting experiences has to be Dinner with Mirella, a chance to dine in a local home, try homemade Mauritian rum, and chat with Mirella and her family over chicken curry or caramelised pineapple, ending the night with some sega music.

Book it: Dinner with Mirella costs £43 per person; double rooms are from $200 per night on a bed-and-breakfast basis.


Sunset dining in your private pool

The Seychelles is core couples’ territory, and what could be more romantic than a bottle of champagne and some light bites to enjoy à deux? That’s exactly what Kuoni offers newlyweds at Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa. Product and purchasing executive Sarah Gatt says: “Honeymooners can enjoy The Floating Aperitivo in their own private pool, with delicious Italian canapes and a bottle of bubbles – perfect to enjoy as the sun sets over the horizon.”

Book it: Kuoni offers seven nights in a Grand Ocean View Pool Villa, with breakfast, Etihad Airways flights and transfers, starting at £3,299 in May or June 2020, booked by November 30. Honeymooners receive a complimentary private candlelit dinner and champagne and canapes in their villa.


Stroll through a Seychellois bazaar

Few visitors to the Seychelles take the time to explore its capital, but a stroll through the heady streets of Mahé’s main market – officially known as the Sir Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke Market, but Victoria Market to everyone in the know – is the quickest way to get a window on local life. Expect piles of bananas, papayas, pomegranates, jackfruits, melons, mangoes and more, alongside stalls heaped up with fresh fish, saffron, cinnamon sticks and other spices.

Book it: The market is open Monday to Saturday next to Victoria’s clock tower.

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