Culinary Vacations Not ‘Cookie-Cutter’ With Destination Discoveries

cooking classAs we’ve continued to report at Gadling, a new generation of culinary tours is on the rise. Food-loving travelers want more than generic cooking classes that teach how to make pad thai in Thailand or risotto in Tuscany. And a few companies – such as Destination Hotels & Resorts, North America’s fourth largest hotel management company – are complying by offering tours and classes that focus more on culture, locality and experiential elements.

With the launch of Destination Discoveries, hotel guests can tour the on-site apiary at Kirkland, Washington’s, The Woodmark, before taking a honey-themed cooking class with Chef Dylan Giordan. On Maui, personalized farm tours enable participants to harvest ingredients for a private class in their accommodation, as well as visit producers and sample handcrafted foods from the island.

The adventures aren’t just limited to food. There are also art, literature and active themes that reflect a sense of place; fly-fishing lessons in Lake Tahoe; nordic pursuits in Vail; art classes in Santa Fe; or a cultural and historic tour of Walden Pond via the Bedford Glen property in Boston. Here’s to more hotel groups doing away with homogenous travel.

[Photo credit: Destination Hotels & Resorts]

6 art classes to try in Bali

art classes bali

There’s no better place in Indonesia to take art classes than in Bali, an island known around the world for its artistic tradition. Indeed, it seems that everywhere you look, you find traces of man-made beauty. From the ornamentation on the temples to the etchings on the sidewalks to the attention and care given to daily offerings set out on the street, art oozes from every crack.

When you’re surrounded by so much beauty, it’s natural that you’ll want to flex your own creative muscles. Thankfully, Bali has an array of art classes intended to give visitors an introduction to traditional craft.

1. Batik making
The Indonesian art of batik involves a complex process of wax application and painting on fabric. Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud holds private courses for Rp. 450,000 (about $50). Create your own work from scratch, or choose from a number of traditional templates. All materials are included, as well as a delicious Balinese lunch and entrance to the museum, which houses a collection of contemporary art.2. Silversmithing
Learn how to pierce, solder, and shape your own silver ring or pendant at Studio Perak, one of Ubud’s most popular jewelry workshops. Your masterpiece may not turn out as polished as the pieces on display, but they’ll certainly come with a great story. A half-day workshop costs Rp. 350,000 (about $39) and includes 5 grams of silver to play with.

3. Textile appreciation
It’s pretty impossible to be in Bali longer than five minutes and not have have an appreciation for Indonesian textiles. But if you want to dive deeper, try the lectures at Threads of Life, an Ubud non-profit that works to revive traditional textile traditions throughout Indonesia. “Introducing the Textiles of Bali and Indonesia” will teach you about various batik, ikat, and traditional weaving techniques, while “Textiles & Their Place in Indonesian Culture” explores the history and traditional uses of textiles in the region.


4. Life model drawing
All artists are welcome to Ubud Life Model Sessions, held at Pranato’s Art Gallery in Ubud. For just Rp. 20,000 (about $2), you can join Pranato, his Australian wife Kerry, and a mixed group of ex-pats and visitors for three-hour sketching sessions twice a week. The gallery also features rotating exhibitions and an impressive array of Indonesian and international art.

5. Ceramics
Live out your Ghost fantasy — we know you have one — at Sari Api Ceramics Studio, just outside Ubud. A beautiful open-air space run by a Swiss ex-pat, Sari Api offers half day private ceramics workshops for Rp. 450,000 (about $50) or a more intensive eight-session course for Rp. 1,750,000 (about $192).

6. Painting
The Bali Center for Artistic Creativity in Ubud offers individual art classes as well as longer custom-tailored courses. A single class will run you Rp. 450,000 (about $50) for three hours of instruction and basic materials. The Center also runs university credit courses and art therapy programs.