Hunting for Truffles with a Canine Guide at Adler Spa Resort Thermae
Repeat visitors to Adler Spa Resort Thermae, Tuscany already know the pleasures of activities like luxuriating in the hotel’s thermal pools, enjoying treatments at the five-star spa, and signing up for excursions like gravel biking, e-biking, wine tasting, and even Gregorian-style choral singing. But mid-October is the best time of year for an especially delicious pursuit: Foraging for truffles, specifically the prized white ones of San Giovanni d’Asso.
Guests spend time with Gino, a passionate truffle hunter with more than two decades of experience. He owns a private, riverside truffière and looks for the fabulous fungi with the help of a very special canine companion: Willy, his sharp-nosed Lagotto Romagnolo (an Italian breed that’s sometimes called a water retriever). Guests join the pair for one of their weekly four-mile walks. Here’s how one guest describes her recent experience:
We hop in the hotel’s mini-van and drive to the village of San Giovanni d’Asso, a hamlet near Montalcino, with a population of around one thousand people. We meet Gino and his four-legged friend, Willy, an adorable dog with infallible sniffing skills, who is already chomping at the bit. We make our way along the route following Willy’s busy nose—the terrain isn’t too challenging, but sturdy footwear is essential.
Truffle hunting can require quite a lot of patience. Rummaging among trees and bushes, Willy combs the undergrowth for the telltale scent. Then he starts digging frantically—that’s the signal that he has finally located a ripe truffle. Sometimes the pungent fungi are just hidden under a thin layer of leaves, but they might also be growing more than a foot deep into the earth. As soon as Willy starts his excited pawing, Gino has to rush over and stop him from swallowing the delectable treasure! He attracts Willy’s attention by calling his name; then he rewards his friend with a treat.
Foraging for truffles is a fascinating experience that brings us into close contact with nature. But there is more to it than just that. It is also a wonderful occasion to observe from up close the perfect synergy between man and dog, and their shared joy when the precious fungus is finally found. According to Gino, for truffle hunting, 2018 was an exceptional year. He would come back from every trip with truffles that weighed close to half a pound each, and once even found one that clocked in at three quarters of a pound.
Our day out ends with—what else?—a truffle tasting. Gino’s wife, Serenella, welcomes us to Agriturismo La Canonica, serving us pasta sprinkled with fresh truffle shavings, pairing it with a tasty local red wine. As we enjoy our meal, we can’t help but reflect on how truffles are a gift from nature, and their unpredictability is part of their unique charm.
Halekulani Focuses on Food and Brain Power
Saturday, October 5th in the Executive Conference Room, guests will learn how foods and lifestyle habits can optimize brain health, as well as enhance your memory. This Halekulani Spa presentation starts at 9:00 am and will be followed by a “bonus round” workshop empowering participants to apply the information into everyday life. Lectures are $25 per person and include complimentary valet parking.
Coffee for a Cause & Cooking Classes at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay
Further strengthening its connections with the local community, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay has partnered with a UN-recognized environmental organization to fight climate change at a grassroots level. Su-re.co, a Bali-based organization, was recognized at the UN Climate Change Conference for its work helping coffee farmers affected by climate change. This includes European Commission projects on clean energy and the implementation of renewable biogas for roasting beans and cooking, a climate change field school backed by the Indonesian Government, and negotiating fair trade-based contracts for farmers.
Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay is now serving su-re.co coffee and raising awareness about climate-smart farming through coffee demonstrations for all guests who join a class at Jala Cooking Academy. The experience is available for both private and group bookings, with all coffee proceeds going back to the farmers’ cooperative.
“There’s a lot that happens behind-the-scenes in terms of our sustainability and community programs, and we are proud to be a responsible tourism operator. We are now able to offer guests an interactive opportunity to experience sustainable coffee farming as part of a cooking class,” said Nicolas Senes, Director of Food & Beverage at the resort. The coffee farming partnership is the latest enhancement to Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay’s robust Corporate Social Responsibility program.
Meadowood Napa Valley & The Battery Offer Curated Winery Itinerary
Take in the city and the country with a new package by Meadowood Napa Valley and The Battery in San Francisco. The four-night getaway includes a two-night stay at each property, a curated winery itinerary throughout the Napa Valley and a personalized styling appointment at Tory Burch Union Square.
Rancho La Puerta and La Cocina Que Canta
Guests at Rancho La Puerta have access to not only some of the finest and freshest spa cuisine available, but to its magical cooking school, La Cocina Que Canta. Executive Chef Denise Roa strives to incorporate fresh produce into her cooking, creating seasonal specific menus that tie to her advocacy of the organic farming movement. Chef Roa’s culinary career was spurred studying Culinary Arts at the world-renowned Johnson & Wales University in Miami, and holding positions at some of San Diego’s best known and respected restaurants, including her own restaurant, La Trattoria before venturing to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate. Through sustainable operations and weekly signature cooking classes, Roa’s approach fuses the culinary and cultural heritages of her own life with the nutritious “spa cuisine” precepts pioneered by Rancho La Puerta co-founder Deborah Szekely.
The Lodge at Blue Sky: Dining Inspired by the Land & Tradition
Guests and locals will be delighted by the new dining experience at The Lodge at Blue Sky’s signature restaurant, Yuta, which offers a modern interpretation of refined Western cuisine utilizing sustainably sourced seasonal heirloom ingredients, some of which is sourced from Gracie’s Farm, Blue Sky’s on-site organic farm. The restaurant is helmed by James Beard Foundation Award-winning Executive Chef Galen Zamarra, who joins the resort from the highly regarded Mas (farmhouse) and Mas (la grillade) restaurants in New York City. Dinner at Yuta features signature dishes such as Trout Piscator with watercress mousse, horseradish and pickled ramps, and Clay Pigeons featuring squab baked in clay with hay. Many dishes are prepared on a wood-burning grill that adds a distinctive flavor. The rustic-contemporary dining room includes a patio, with all indoor and outdoor seating arranged to take in views of Lewis Peak.
The name Yuta is inspired by what the Ute Indians called the area and themselves, meaning “mountain top” or “people who live high in the mountains.” Culinary offerings are matched by the resort’s outstanding selection of wine, local whiskey from High West Distillery and artisanal cocktails.
Mary Bemis is Founder & Editorial Director of InsidersGuidetoSpas.com. She is a pioneering spa journalist, most recently honored as one of the "Top 30 Influential Voices Transforming Wellness." She is an inaugural recipient of Folio's Top Women in Media Award, and was honored by ISPA with its distinguished ISPA Dedicated Contributor Award. In 1997, she launched American Spa magazine, and in 2007, Mary co-founded Organic Spa magazine. A pioneer in the sustainable spa and beauty worlds, Mary is co-curator of Cosmoprof North America's Discover Green Pavilion. She is a Global Wellness Day Advisor, and a co-founder of the Washington Spa Alliance.
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