The Ultimate Foodie Getaway Guide

If you’ve got a passion for romance as well as haute cuisine, why not combine the two on your next vacation? Whether you’re single or taken, one of these 10 ideas is bound to hit the spot.

By Dana Robinson

avoring decadent culinary creations and traveling to exotic locales are perhaps two of mankind’s greatest methods for living life to the fullest. So when it’s time to break away from the office, why not combine your dream cuisine and all of those
To make sure you don’t get lost in an ocean of attendees, be sure check out some of the smaller cooking demonstrations.
bonus travel miles to create a trip that you’ll never forget?

To make planning your vacation a little easier, I’ve compiled five of the best food and wine events happening around the country where singles can meet, greet, and most importantly… eat! But let’s not discriminate against readers who have already found their one true love. Below, you’ll also find a list of romantic getaway destinations for two that are nothing short of a food-lover’s paradise.

Singular sensations to please more than just your palate:
1. Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival (September 6-9, 2012). Venture to the island of O’ahu for the four-day Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival. This culinary nirvana offers events like champagne tasting as well as hikes around the island’s lush agricultural sites — the perfect environment for a blossoming romance.

2. Food Network’s New York City Wine & Food Festival (Oct. 11-14, 2012). All makes and models of glorious food are available for devouring at the annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival. While rubbing elbows with your favorite Food Network personalities, you just might bump into the man or woman of your dreams as you sample your way through gourmet burgers and decadent cupcakes. Even better, 100% of the net proceeds from the festival support New York-based charities fighting hunger in the community.

3. Take a traveling food tour abroad. Take your love of food to an international level by booking a food tour while visiting your dream destination. Hungry Passport Culinary Adventures are for those who are interested in “eating their way through Ireland and other destinations as requested,” says CEO Carol Penn-Romine. Or if you prefer the spicy, savory flavors of Southeast Asia, try booking a Global Taste tour through countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

4. California Wine Festival event series (Santa Barbara, July 19-21, 2012; California Wine Harvest Festival in Monterey County, Oct. 5-6, 2012; Winter Wine Classic, January 20, 2013; Orange County, April 2013). People have spent hours debating which foods pair best with which wines, but you have to admit: vino tastes pretty darn amazing on its own. And for three straight days this July, you can sample the variety of vintages available at the California Wine Festival in the casually luxurious city of Santa Barbara. Afternoons spent sipping the world’s best wines give way to cool, beachside evenings, where romance may just tap you on the shoulder. Can’t make this one? No problem — additional events in this series are scheduled through spring of 2013 in gorgeous locales along the California coastline.

5. Taste of Chicago (July 11-15, 2012). Founded in 1980, the Taste of Chicago is the nation’s self-proclaimed premier outdoor food festival. Every summer, about 2.5 million people make a
There’s more to Vegas than just bachelor parties and mid-grade hotel buffets.
pilgrimage to Chicago’s Grant Park to meet, mingle, and sample some serious flavors while enjoying music performances from acts like Jennifer Hudson and Death Cab for Cutie. To make sure you don’t get lost in an ocean of attendees, be sure check out some of the smaller cooking demonstrations and ticketed events; you’re more likely to make an intimate connection with a fellow foodie that way.

Romantic weekend getaway destinations for foodie couples to visit:
1. New Orleans, Louisiana. The Big Easy is where jazz, romance, and culinary delights merge at the mouth of the Mississippi River. You can start the day strolling around the historic French Quarter, where sweet, messy bites of decadent beignets at the historic Café du Monde await you. And once the dinner hour draws near, you can head straight to the Bombay Club for spicy, signature dishes that evoke the city’s multicultural heritage, like eggplant-stuffed shrimp Creole and Cajun prime rib.

2. San Diego, California. A perfect weekend in San Diego starts off with sleeping in at The Bristol Hotel and leisurely making your way to The Mission for a world-renowned breakfast of granola banana pancakes, stuffed croissants, or chilaquiles. Then after spending a day at the beach, head out to The Steakhouse at Azul in nearby La Jolla for some prime aged or Wagyu beef. Or if your wine cellar needs restocking, skip the food entirely and take a scenic road trip to visit any of the area’s notable wineries, including the Bernardo Winery and the Fallbrook Winery.

3. Ogunquit, Maine. The name may not sound familiar to you, but everyone on the East Coast knows that Ogunquit, Maine is the place for seafood. This coastal community is dotted with beachfront hotels and resorts (like Anchorage by the Sea), along with restaurants that offer such regional favorites as lobster tails, lobster rolls, and steamers (steamed clams). But a trip to southern Maine isn’t solely about the seafood during the summertime. You’ll also want to take advantage of the area’s legendary ice cream shops — like the Scoop Deck in Wells and Brown’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in nearby York — both of which offer their frozen delights only during the warmer months of the year. (Just be sure to take cash, as these seasonally operated shops don’t accept credit cards.)

4. Las Vegas, Nevada. There’s more to Vegas than just bachelor parties and mid-grade hotel buffets, you know. In fact, the city’s legendary casinos and hotels provide some of the world’s most luxurious accommodations as well as top restaurants from internationally renowned chefs. After indulging in contemporary French cuisine at Le Cirque in the Bellagio or sampling dishes that will leave you speechless at Mix inside THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, you might be inclined to stretch your weekend stay together out by an extra day or two to nibble on.

5. Ojai, California. Ojai — home to the famed Ojai Valley Inn & Spa — is an area that’s rich in Southern California history. Couples can enjoy being pampered during an indulgent “together massage” in the same room, then dine on some of the best steaks and seafood the area has to offer in the resort’s restaurant, Maravilla, afterward (book your table here). If you prefer something a bit more international to nosh on, indulge in fresh Mediterranean and Spanish dishes at Azu Restaurant & Tapas Bar or try an eclectic blend of Asian, Mexican, and French flavors from Suzanne’s Cuisine.

Dana Robinson is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer whose work has appeared on and and in the culinary publication, Edible Los Angeles.
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