Unveiling the essence of Asia

The Travel Trend of the Future: From Farm-to-Secret Tables and Secret Retreats (Part 2)

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Sustainable Gardening in our Curated Resorts and Restaurants (Part 2)

As we mentioned in part 1, sustainable gardening projects are on the rise around the world, with the reasons to start a garden manifold. Whether it’s the challenges faced by communities regards sufficient and sustainable usage of resources, the growing awareness of the negative effects on health from mass produced and processed food, or the need to keep it local to ensure healthy seasonal dining with less impact on the environment too without the need to ship food great distances; there are many good reasons for keeping it local and growing it local in a farm to table style.

It’s not just chefs and hoteliers working closely with their community to ensure great produce, many of our guests, you guys, are also sourcing local and when travelling appreciate the benefits of dining local, on the freshest organic produce possible. Working closely with local farmers and growers, or where possible growing your own, more and more of our hoteliers and chefs are creating gardens and small farms to grow fruit, herbs and vegetables, and keep bees for honey, ensuring access to fresh food and most importantly to serve their guests dishes with guaranteed the best possible quality. According to Pew Research about four-in-ten adults seek to eat organic food. And dining can be both healthy and luxurious!

The result of this increased awareness of the benefits of growing your own and sourcing locally, is a delicious and conscious ‘farm to fork’ approach, which is both better for us and the earth. With that in mind, in this week’s edition we highlight 5 more beautiful hotels and restaurants with kitchen gardens, from an elegant fine dining restaurant in Bali to a truly unmissable Ayurvedic Hermitage retreat in Kerala. Forks at the ready, let’s tuck in!

Inle Heritage, Inle Lake-Myanmar

Comprising ten wonderfully designed bungalows built on stilts over the water, enjoy living within the ambience of a traditional Burmese village community in the middle of Inle Lake. Surrounded by the hotel’s organic vegetable gardens and Inle’s famed floating gardens, guests can relax on their private deck to watch the spectacular sunsets from their personal retreat. Inle Heritage’s gardens grow a large variety of produce, such as cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, cabbage and an aromatic medley of herbs.

The in-house garden supplies their restaurant and provides the fresh produce as used in the hotel’s cooking classes, where guests can also enjoy the experience of picking their own vegetables directly from the gardens. Inle Heritage is also a vocational school providing opportunities for local youth to learn the range of skills required in the hospitality industry but not only that, they also teach the importance of working in harmony with your environment, essential for anyone living over a lake where the lake provides so much of life’s essentials from fresh fish, to the fowl reared and produce grown on Inle’s unique floating gardens.

Jampa, Phuket-Thailand

What began for the team behind Jampa as a passion for real food and a desire to feed their children better, has grown into JAMPA, a new concept of farm to fork creative dining with a sophisticated menu of tasty and nutritious dishes that changes daily. Dishes are based on produce both from the sea and the land, making the best of what is seasonally available and only selecting the sustainably sourced harvests of each day.

By necessity, the restaurant considers sustainability first and foremost in all of their work and in every decision at the restaurant. The goal for the team at Jampa is to exert the absolute minimal impact upon the earth, including achieving a zero-carbon footprint through practices such as creating organic compost from the kitchen waste that is used in the farm. JAMPA was also voted as one of Thailand’s Top Plant-Based Menus in Asia’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure this year (2022).

Neeleshwar Hermitage, Kerala-India

Set in a secluded palm grove beside the Arabian Sea in Northern Kerala, Neeleshwar Hermitage inspires tranquility in all who stay. Built according to Kerala Vastu’s traditional architectural principles, the cottages are a mix of wood and thatch architecture with contemporary touches. The resort features 2 restaurants, a large swimming pool facing the sea, a spa/yoga centre, Ayurvedic clinic, and an unspoilt white sand beach that looks out onto the Arabian Sea.

A day well spent in The Hermitage is selecting fresh herbs and vegetables and cooking them expertly guided by the team and ancient Ayurvedic principles. The Annapurna restaurant at Neeleshwar is dedicated to the Goddess of Nourishment, and specializes in authentic, predominantly vegetarian food, honed by Ayurvedic teaching on the importance of attending to the appearance, balance, flavour, enjoyment and nutritional effects of any dish. And the dining adventures continue at Meenakshi, the beachside restaurant, where superb fresh fish caught from the Arabian Sea by the local long boats are created into healthy lunchtime salads and delicious light meals with the fresh produce from Neeleshwar’s own organic farm.

Apéritif Restaurant & Bar, Bali-Indonesia

Apéritif Restaurant and Bar is designed to be an enchanting and unique dining experience in a not-to-be-rushed atmosphere. Fine dining with style and with no compromise on produce quality or taste.

You will start your culinary journey there by enjoying a pre-dinner drink and canapés. Included in the dining experience, the pre-dinner drink allows you to immerse yourself in the design and concept of a bygone era, transported back to the roaring twenties by the décor and design. Chic, stylish and comfortable, the team at Aperitif have really perfected the mix, this is a MUST DINE destination when you are next on Bali.

The degustation journey explores the world through modern global cuisine. Exquisitely crafted dishes, the plates are as stylish as the experience at Aperitif, works of art both for the eyes and the palate. Menus can also be paired with wine from the restaurants carefully curated and extensive wine list. And while Aperitif do source some produce globally, the kitchen team have also sought out rare flavours and ingredients off the beaten path of Indonesian cuisine. Additionally, the restaurant’s own greenhouse garden supplies the kitchen with more than 30 different vegetables.

Be sure to end your dining on a sweet note in their luxury bar, where the dessert and petit fours might entice you to continue your evening at their pool table for a game of pool and a few expertly mixed nightcaps.

Maisons Wat Kor, Battambang-Cambodia

Located in the heart of a Khmer Village close to Battambang with beautifully preserved traditional wooden homes on stilts, this boutique hotel is set amidst an authentic atmosphere in the Cambodian countryside. Eco-friendly, Maisons Wat Kor features 15 guestrooms within 3 wooden houses, a restaurant-bar and saltwater swimming pool, replete with Khmer cooking classes and classic Khmer traditional massage services available for guests too.

The restaurant, La Terrasse de Lotus, is located on the ground floor of the main house of Maisons Wat Kor and enjoys views over the water-lily pond, garden and under the shade of ivy leaves. The Waterlily Lounge is an open-air wooden platform that is built on stilts over the pond, the ideal location to enjoy a cocktail in the evening and for private dining and romantic dinners. The restaurant serves authentic Khmer cuisine with daily set menus. All the dishes are created with the freshest produce, nearly all of it grown in the hotel’s own organic garden. Using traditional and exclusively local recipes, some dishes cannot be found anywhere else in the country, such as a local favourite, deep fried frangipani flowers. Guests can also discover some of Battambang’s secret recipes by joining the Khmer Cooking classes and cooking up more of that delicious and nutritious home grown produce straight from Maisons Wat Kor’s organic garden.

Take your tongues on tour! And excite your palates and invigorate your Chi (Qi) with some of the most creative, authentic and wholesome dining in Asia. Don’t miss out, contact the Secret Retreats Concierges now and start planning your next Asian holidays!

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