The Daily Telegraph - Travel

Fine dining breaks

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For a restaurant to be truly memorable, I believe it has to have a combinatio­n of passion and beauty. The places that make a lasting impression on me when I’m travelling are those where you feel the energy that has gone not only into the food, but also into the ambience. What makes a restaurant great is its ability to appeal to more than one of the senses. The 10 I have chosen here are some of the most beautiful I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, not only for their cuisine but also for their locations. For me, being in such picturesqu­e surroundin­gs heightens the gastronomi­c experience in indescriba­ble ways.

Nahm – Bangkok

This is one of my favourite restaurant­s in the world, and it’s run by one of my favourite chefs, David Thompson. It is a once-in-a-lifetime place. I came here with my wife and can honestly say it was the best dinner of my life. Of course, the country itself is an attraction, but Nahm is worth a trip on its own.

Audley (01993 838100; audleytrav­el. com) is offering a 14-day tour of Thailand, including a tasting menu for two at Nahm in Bangkok, starting from £2,695 b&b and including a cooking class and flights.

Osteria Francescan­a – Modena, Italy

This is the “must visit” restaurant in Italy at the moment – Massimo Bottura beautifull­y combines art and food, making it a force to be reckoned with. His dishes do a lot of justice to Italy by telling stories about our country. It is also the only restaurant ever to have achieved 20/20 in Le Guide de L’Espresso during its entire 38-year history.

Abercrombi­e & Kent (01242 547703; abercrombi­ekent.co.uk) is offering a fourday break in Bologna, staying at Grand Hotel Majestic Gia Baglioni. It costs from £539 per person including flights and reservatio­ns at Osteria Francescan­a (made at time of booking).

Uliassi – Senigallia, Italy

Mauro Uliassi is without doubt one of the most talented Italian chefs. You can tell from just a forkful of his food that he takes real pleasure and pride in seeing people enjoy his creations. When you combine this with the serenity of the location by the beach, it’s what you dream of for a relaxing meal – and all this makes it a pretty difficult place to leave.

A four-night stay at the four-star Terrazza Marconi Hotel (0039 0717 927988; terrazzama­rconi.it), a five-minute walk from Uliassi, starts at £600 b&b.

Da Vittorio – Menfi, Italy

Here I have spent some wonderful times with my family. In our culture, dinner is more than just a time to eat; it is the most important time in daily life, and it brings everyone together. At Da Vittorio, we have had the pleasure of creating some fantastic family memories that we will forever treasure.

A four-night holiday on the Amalfi Coast with Abercrombi­e & Kent (01242 547703; abercrombi­ekent.co.uk), staying at Casa Angelina, costs from £1,850 per person. This does not include flights but does include guaranteed reservatio­ns at Da Vittorio (made at time of booking).

Nobu – Atlantis, Dubai

The kitchen at Nobu Dubai is back-to-back with ours at Ronda Locatelli, so we have a great relationsh­ip. We have a mutual respect and passion for each other’s work, surroundin­gs and creations, while sharing the same enthusiasm and excitement for our ingredient­s.

Scott Dunn (020 8682 5055; scottdunn. com) runs a 10-day Dubai and Desert itinerary from £3,200, including flights and a reservatio­n at Nobu Dubai (guaranteed at time of booking).

Torre del Saracino – Marina d’Aequa, Vico Equense, Italy

This place has a beautiful historic setting below the seventh-century Tower of Caporivo and right by the sea (which makes it definitely worth getting a table next to the window). Larger than life, Gennaro Esposito, with whom I created a menu in the spring, has a very clean, neat style. He never over-elaborates anything, but just allows the food to do the talking.

A four-night stay at the nearby four-star Grand Hotel Santa Lucia (0039 081 764 0666; santalucia.it) starts from £480 b&b.

La Ciau del Tornavento – Treiso, Italy

If you want breathtaki­ng views, teamed with fantastic food, then you need to visit this place. It’s sophistica­ted and contempora­ry, nestled among hills that stretch as far as the eye can see – another one for a window table.

Giorgio Locatelli, chef A selection of my favourite restaurant­s from around theworld – with Telegraph Travel’s pick of the perfect short breaks to complement them

Laurent – Paris, France

I worked here in the Eighties and it gave me a very good grounding in the French classics. It was known as “the canteen for millionair­es” in the gardens at the Champs Elysées – and having a dinner there is the most fantastic way to absorb the atmosphere of central Paris.

Kirker Holidays (020 7593 2283; kirkerholi­days.com) offers a four-day Paris trip, with guaranteed reservatio­ns at Laurent (made at time of booking) and three nights at the four-star Astor St Honoré, from £678 b&b including Eurostar travel and a Seine river cruise.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – Great Milton, England

This is a place for a really special occasion. I took my wife here on a big birthday and it was the best night we ever had. Some of their ingredient­s could not get any fresher because they are grown onsite, taken straight from the earth to the kitchen and put together so elegantly.

Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (01844 278 881; belmond.com) has a Dining Experience starting at £950 on a b&b basis. The price includes one night’s stay and a five or seven-course dinner for two selected from either the tasting or the à la carte menu.

Il Buco – New York, US

This place is absolutely fantastic. It feels just like being in Italy – the warmth and passion make it feel so homely. The food is hearty and honest and they do an amazing hog roast on Sundays, right on the street, which makes it very inviting.

Carrier (0161 492 1356; carrier. co.uk) offers a six-day trip to New York, including reservatio­ns at Il Buco (guaranteed at time of booking), flights and accommodat­ion at the five-star Trump SoHo – a 15-minute walk from the restaurant – starting at £1,980.

If you’re after a healthy, relaxing gourmet break, there are plenty of options, from a truffle-hunting holiday in Alba to an Ayurvedic adventure in Kerala. The ideal holiday should improve your health and wellbeing, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenate­d – rather than in need of another break – on your return. Being close to nature goes hand in hand with nourishing our bodies, so I’ve selected breaks that take the air at some remarkable destinatio­ns, from Majorca to Bali.

Vegan fare in Majorca

This island has plenty on offer beyond sun, sea and nightlife. It’s also a marvellous place to unwind, with relatively untouched areas, such as the small coastal village of Deià. In recent years, several health-focused restaurant­s and retreats have opened up. There is even a vegan cooking school in Palma called Sabor Vegan Culinary Academy, which teaches guests how to create tasty dishes against the backdrop of one of the Mediterran­ean’s most glorious islands.

Book Culinary Vacations (001 415 789 6978; bookculina­ryvacation­s.com) offers a seven-day Cooking Holiday in Majorca, with lessons held at Sabor Vegan Culinary Academy. Departs June 27, from £1, 068, including some meals, but excluding flights.

German spa break

Nestled in the mountains of southern Germany, Lanserhof Tegernsee is a sleek and modern spa. It’s touted as a “medical facility” – there are doctors, dietitians and personal trainers on hand – but it’s also a wonderful retreat, a stone’s throw from Fresh fare at Seminyak in Bali, main picture; and the Real Coconut in Tulum, Mexico, combines a healthy menu with beach views, below Lake Tegern, where cycling routes and walking trails abound. A team of nutritioni­sts will put together a menu featuring dishes that are organic, locally sourced and, best of all, tasty.

Healing Holidays (020 3372 6945; healinghol­idays.co.uk) runs a seven-day Lans Med Basic Programme in Lanserhof Tegernsee. Depart any time from £2,815 full-board, including the full programme.

Detoxify in Tulum, Mexico

From yoga sessions to swimming in the detoxifyin­g Mayan cenotes, it’s difficult to go wrong with Tulum if it’s rest and relaxation you’re after. Many vegan, vegetarian and paleo options are available in restaurant­s in the area, such as the Real Coconut, Raw Love Tulum and Hartwood. End your trip with a Mayan temazcal steam bath at a “sweat lodge” to improve blood circulatio­n and clear the digestive tract.

The Healthy Holiday Company (020 8968 0501; thehealthy­holidaycom­pany. co.uk) offers a seven-day package based at the five-star Banyan Tree Mayakoba, from £2,350 b&b, including flights. Excursions to nearby Tulum can be arranged.

Rural life in Switzerlan­d

Switzerlan­d produces some of the most amazing produce and what better way to try it than with a local Swiss farmer who will invite you to her home to sample traditiona­l Swiss cuisine she has prepared with produce from her own farm. You can choose from more than 35 farms around the country.

Swiss Tavolata (0041 52 232 66 88; swisstavol­ata.ch) offers a dining experience with Swiss farmers from 96 Swiss francs (£70), including food and wine.

Go Ayurvedic in Kerala

This south Indian state boasts 370 miles of magnificen­t Arabian Sea coast and beaches; the “backwaters”, a network of lakes, rivers and canals; and emerald tea plantation­s. It is also the land of Ayurveda, an alternativ­e form of medicine based on 5,000 years of ancient Indian tradition, which features vegetarian food and medicinal plants native to Kerala. Enjoy pampering Ayurvedic treatments before heading on a backwaters cruise followed by an Ayurvedic picnic on the beach.

The Healthy Holiday Company (020 8968 0501; thehealthy­holidaycom­pany. co.uk) runs an eight-day trip based in Surya Samudra from £1,795 full-board, including flights and 90 minutes of Ayurvedic treatments each day.

Healthy eating in Bali

While it may not be as traditiona­lly “Balinese” as neighbouri­ng Ubud, Seminyak in Bali offers some of the most incredible food I’ve ever had.

Lily Cole, actress and model

‘I am vegetarian, so I enjoy trying small restaurant­s in Thailand and India. Italy probably has the best food, though, especially along the Amalfi Coast’

Hunt for white truffles in Alba, above, before enjoying the spoils at a rustic lunch Earth café, Sisterfiel­ds, Sarong and Revolver are some of the best healthy restaurant­s I’ve come across. The place is lined with arty shops and galleries, and has a wide, sandy beach where you can go riding or simply bask in the sun.

Truffle hunting in Alba

Home to the “slow food” movement, Piedmont is the only region in the world where tartufo bianco, the coveted white truffle, grows. Meet a truffle hunter to learn more about its history before venturing into the Alba woods with truffle dogs leading the way. After your hunt, enjoy a rustic lunch of home-made pasta, local cheese, meat and some truffle paired with wines produced in the surroundin­g vineyards. A one-day White Truffle Hunting and Wine Tour from Piedmont Food and Wine (020 7193 0706; piedmontfo­odandwine.com) costs £150, based on two to four people, and includes transport and tastings. Available April to September (summer black truffle), and mid-September to December (white truffle).

Peace on the French Riviera

Close, easy to reach and absolutely breathtaki­ng, Roquebrune-CapMartin is set against a clifftop and offers wonderful views of the Mediterran­ean Sea. It’s a relaxed option for a food and wellbeing holiday, especially in the summer months when the south of France is heaving. Close to great running and cycling trails, the commune is also just a 10-minute drive to the beach. Walk through the old village with its 10th-century fort, stepped streets and farmers’ markets.

Headwater (01606 369409; headwater.com) offers an eight-day Undiscover­ed French Riviera Walk, which departs on selected Saturdays from April 2016 to June 2017. From £999 b&b, including flights.

The Good Life Eatery Cookbook by Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros is published by Ebury Press (£20). To order your copy, visit books.telegraph.co.uk.

 ??  ?? Arblaster & Clarke (01730 263111; winetours.co.uk) is offering a three-night stay in a four-star hotel in the historic town of Alba – with visits to regional wineries and vineyards, some meals and a three-course lunch with wines at La Ciau del Tornavento – from £1,395 including flights.
Arblaster & Clarke (01730 263111; winetours.co.uk) is offering a three-night stay in a four-star hotel in the historic town of Alba – with visits to regional wineries and vineyards, some meals and a three-course lunch with wines at La Ciau del Tornavento – from £1,395 including flights.
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 ??  ?? Masterpiec­es in miniature at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshir­e, above; and Nahm in Bangkok, below
Masterpiec­es in miniature at Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshir­e, above; and Nahm in Bangkok, below
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 ??  ?? Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762456; hayesandja­rvis.co.uk) is offering a seven-night holiday to Bali, staying at the five-star Oberoi Bali, with prices from £1,849 b&b. Departing June 12, including flights.
Hayes & Jarvis (01293 762456; hayesandja­rvis.co.uk) is offering a seven-night holiday to Bali, staying at the five-star Oberoi Bali, with prices from £1,849 b&b. Departing June 12, including flights.
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