By Don Douloff, May 22, 2008
Planners looking for gastronomically-themed group tours, classes and tastings may want to keep Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in mind, since the luxury hotel chain is offering a variety of food-related activities at its hotels. Wherever possible, Fairmont emphasizes the best of local, organic and sustainable foods, making their culinary progammes as enviro-friendly as they are delicious.
For instance, groups can go to market, thanks to Shop with Chef excursions offered at The Fairmont Chicago and The Fairmont Royal York, in Toronto. Led by the hotels’ chefs, participants sample the goods of local purveyors at Chicago’s Green City Market and Toronto’s historic St. Lawrence Market. On top of that, Chicago groups will view cooking demonstrations from some of the city’s more celebrated chefs and Toronto guests will take a tour highlighting the St. Lawrence market’s 200-year-old history. Capping the Shop with Chef outings is a gourmet lunch.
In Bermuda, the Fairmont Hamilton Princess offers tastes of two local specialties: Gosling’s Rum (which has been made in Bermuda since the 1840s) and Gombey Jam, a line of pepper jellies – ranging from mild and sweet to mouth-searingly hot – served with cream cheese, blue cheese and crackers. The hotel can also organize a customized rum-pairing dinner or lunch, featuring a Gosling’s tasting, and can arrange a menu prepared primarily with Bermudian ingredients.
Looking for some ’shroom service? The Fairmont Chateau Whistler’s executive chef, Vincent Stufano, leads a tasting of British Columbia’s indigenous wild mushrooms. Participants learn about mushroom picking and cultivation and get to try their hand at some of the chef’s favourite mushroom recipes.
Speaking of hands-on cooking, the chefs at The Fairmont Copley Plaza, in Boston, can set-up custom-designed cooking classes highlighting the best local and organic ingredients and incorporating herbs grown on the hotel’s rooftop garden. Held in the Copley Plaza’s fully-equipped show kitchen, the session includes a complete set of recipes, allowing attendees to replicate what they’ve learned in their home kitchens.