After a year of lockdown, people are eager to get outside and reconnect with nature, and one way to do it is to go on a foraging adventure. Foodies who want the ultimate of locally sourced ingredients, those who want to learn more about edible plants, and families looking to get their hands dirty together and immerse themselves in a location, will enjoy the experience of gathering food items from wild places.
Don't worry, you don't have to head into the woods alone with a bucket and a plant identification book. We've picked some top hotels offering foraging experiences from New England to Europe to Africa. Whenever and whereever you choose to travel, we know the foraging experience will truly be an adventure to remember.
Dromoland Castle is currently welcoming American travelers to it's five star accomodations in County Clare, Ireland. The hotel has recently launched a foraging experience with local expert Oonagh O’Dwyer, who will take guests down forgotten country lanes to learn about edible types of roots, herbs, flowers, fruits, and nuts (such as St. John’s Wort, Elderflower and pig nuts) followed by a feast of a wild food picnic in a wildflower meadow.
Dromoland Castle's guests can also take a trip to a nearby beach for a seaweed walk and a lesson in harvesting seaweed in the traditional way along with rock samphire and pepper dulse (called the truffle of the sea), among a backdrop of seals and sea birds. At the end of the day, Oonagh leads a cooking class showing how to prepare and preserve wild food and seaweed (along with tips on how to identify and use wild food at home and recipes to bring back).
andBeyond's 29 luxury lodges and camps showcase the very best of Africa’s iconic safari and island destinations. These "camps are tents" are beyond glamping and offer eco-friendly luxury. At the Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp, expert guides on the Masai Mara share their knowledge about the traditional uses for the various flora growing wild on the plains. There’s a bush that’s branches make an excellent toothbrush and a flower that numbs one’s gums to soothe a toothache.
The Fife Arms is situated in the historic village of Braemar, in some of the most beautiful landscapes of Scotland. The hotel's in-house forager, Natasha Lloyd, is passionate about sharing her expert knowledge of local plants with guests. She leads tours of the area identifying, explaining, and sharing the taste of plants that can be transformed into teas, tinctures, condiments, or cosmetics.
The stunning UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa in Trancoso, Brazil, half of the cottages date back 500-years to the village's founding, lovingly restored by designer Wilbert Das in collaboration with local artisans using traditional techniques and reclaimed materials. UXUA's medical nutrologist Dr. Jullian takes guests on completely bespoke foraging expeditions through the areas four different biomes. In addition to his medical background, he uses knowledge shared from the indigenous Pataxo people.
Depending on what adventure they prefer, guests can forage for different fruits and herbs and then take a class on mixing juices, or hunt for certain plants that can be distilled into essential oils to use in cooking or spa treatments, and or dig up oots that make especially delicious ice cream.
Formerly known as Nantucket Island Resorts, the White Elephant Resorts are a collection of luxury boutique hotels along the Nantucket Bay and Massachusetts's Atlantic seashore. There Captain Rob McMullen, licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, leads excursions aboard the Wauwinet Lady, The Wauwinet’s boat. A typical day cruising the Nantucket Bay with Captain Rob consists of hauling in lobster traps, taking in the sights of Nantucket Island, surfcasting, or checking out an oyster bed farm, where Retsyo Oysters are cultivated just 300 yards away from The Wauwinet. Added bonus? Captain Rob will give a tutorial on how to shuck an oyster before his passengers taste the fresh catch.