Michelin-Star Restaurants: An Unbelievable Cooking Vacation Experience
Ask any foodie, and they'll know that a Michelin-starred restaurant offers a culinary experience, and in some cases a cooking vacation, unlike any other, whether you're dining at 1-star, 2-star, or 3-star establishment (or even a bib gourmand). And today, Michelin Guides listing these extraordinary dining establishments are published around the world, including a handful for big cities in the U.S.
The Michelin Guide though got its start in France in 1900 with a very different purpose; namely, it was a way for the Michelin tire company to build its brand and to encourage the few automobiles there were to hit the road. The guide detailed where to find auto garages and where to fill up on gas, as well as where to stay and where to dine. It wasn't until the 1920s that the Guide branched out into reviewing fine dining establishments using their star-system that foodies around the world are familiar with today. The guide also started expanding with editions detailing the best restaurants throughout the rest of Europe, not just France.
Today, the reviewers are still anonymous, and the reviews are focused all on the food -- with grading criteria like quality dishes, consistent food, and mastery of technique -- rather than ambiance and decor. And not surprisingly, chefs around the world take great pride in receiving stars -- and are often heartbroken should they lose that rating in a subsequent year. The Michelin Guide has also expanded in scope over the years, covering more than 20 countries, including some in Asia.
But no matter where you go for a Michelin restaurant? Chances are, you're in for an unforgettable experience, even more so -- dare we say -- when it's included as part of a cooking vacation. After all, why not learn about how to make the award-winning food as well as enjoying every last morsel?
The International Kitchen offers a handful of culinary getaways that either take place in a Michelin-rated restaurant, include dining out at the award-winning establishments, or simply just provide a learning experience with a Michelin chef (although there's nothing simple about that!) For starters, in the vibrant country of Italy, guests can experience the unparalleled property of Don Alfonso; not only do they have a unique wine cellar, but many of the products used in their acclaimed restaurant come from their extensive gardens. The Campania region is also home to one our newer offerings, Amazing Coastal Adventure with Michelin Restaurant Chefs.
Up in Tuscany, savor the wines of Antinori's Noble Tuscany, and dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria di Passignano. And a discussion of Michelin restaurants isn't complete without mentioning Cooking Under The Tuscan Sun, a trip that was featured recently on NBC's Mansions & Millionaires. Lastly, but certainly not least, The International Kitchen also offers a Michelin-star experience in Emilia-Romagna with the trip, Flavors of the Real Italian Countryside; the castle, Antica Corte Pallavicina, is not only home to Chef Massimo -- known around the world for his culatelli -- but also his 1-star restaurant.
And then there is France, where the Michelin Guide first began. The restaurant of Cooking Passport to Provence was first awarded with one star back in 2006, where the kitchen has been led by both father and son. To the west, there's the region of Bearn, which is known for its artisan food production, which is, perhaps, one reason why the number of Michelin-rated restaurants in the area are so numerous. During Chateau Cooking in Bearn, dine at not one, but two, 3-star Michelin restaurants: Les Prés d’Eugénie in France, and then Martin Berasategui's restaurant in nearby San Sebastian, Spain!
Dining at a Michelin restaurant is one thing , but learning from the chefs behind these award-winning restaurants? Now that's the makings of an out-of-this-world once-in-a-lifetime experience. To discover more about these trips and Michelin dining experiences, stay tuned on our social media sites this week. Or just start packing your bags for the adventure of a lifetime.
By Liz Hall