Honeymoons for foodies
Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., cuts a bluefin tuna at Sushi Zanmai, a restaurant near Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market. (Shizuo Kambayashi/Associated Press)
Discovering new dishes with the one you love can be one of the most intimate parts of a honeymoon, especially for gourmands. Whether you want to travel on a budget or can splurge a little, these post-wedding destinations require you to pack a serious appetite.
Europe high budget: Reims, France
Your honeymoon calls for a toast… or several! And no destination is more appropriate for such an occasion than Reims (pronounced somewhere between “Rance” and “Rence”), in the Champagne region of France. For a true luxury chateaux experience, check into Les Crayeres, an elegant hotel that was built in 1904 and is set on 17 acres of park-like grounds. The tangerine colour of the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin label has become the bubbly equivalent of Tiffany blue, a signifier of something costly and covetable. Their cellar tours and tastings are by appointment only — and its doors close between December and March, the coldest months of the year. Fancy a smaller operation? The Cris-Event company offers vineyard bike tours that are private or semi-private. Spend at least four days in Reims, perhaps as a side trip from Paris, which is two hours away.
Europe low budget: Valls, Spain
Just more than an hour’s drive southwest of Barcelona, Valls is a Catalan countryside town steeped in Spanish culinary tradition. In fact it is the birthplace of the calcotada (pronounced kahl-so-TAH-dah), a traditional Spanish feast, often served alfresco, that celebrates the spring harvest of oversized leek-like onions called calcots. Do not to knock it ‘til you taste it — especially when charred and dipped in salvitxada sauce alongside a spread of meats, beans and fresh bread, and washed down with Catalan wine from a porron, a glass pitcher with a spout. Be warned, you drink the wine from a distance, so wear dark clothing. The whole experience is debauched, messy and unforgettable. Stay at the Felix Hotel for its restaurant’s calcotada, plus the tennis court and swimming pool. If you prefer a city honeymoon, make Valls a daytrip during a weeklong stay in nearby Barcelona.
Americas high budget: Sonoma, California
For a divine honeymoon in northern California’s wine country, skip high-traffic Napa Valley for its lower-key neighbour, Sonoma. Reserve a room at the cosy El Pueblo Inn and sample the bistro fare (best when paired with a wine-tasting flight) at The Girl and the Fig, a charming restaurant on the town’s plaza. For the days spent touring the nearby wineries, be sure to hire a designated driver: join a group wine shuttle or splurge on a private tour . Devote at least a long weekend to Sonoma during spring, summer or, best of all, autumn, when many of the local vineyards are in the middle of harvest.
Americas low budget: Palisade, Colorado
For oenophiles who have already been to many of the well-known wine regions, it is time to cover some uncommon ground. The area around Palisade in western Colorado is home to more than a quarter of the state’s wineries. Wine lovers converge on Palisade every autumn for the Colorado Mountain Winefest. Pick up a few bottles during your long weekend here, and open one on the wrap-around porch at DiVine Thyme B&B, where breakfast is served by candlelight.
Caribbean high budget: West End, Anguilla
For the foodiest of all the Caribbean islands, Anguilla takes the cake. Pimms, a restaurant on the bay at the elite Cap Juluca resort, the local cuisine is called “Eurobbean” – European-Caribbean fusion — and high-rolling honeymooners pay the price to try their five-course tasting menu with wine pairings. The Hibernia restaurant in Island Harbour, with its art gallery and a chef trained at the Ecole Hoteliere of Strasbourg, France, is another favourite — and has been since it opened in 1987 (note: they go on holiday from mid-July until November). You will only need a long weekend in tropical Anguilla, and hurricane risk exists between June and November.