Seasonal, farm-to-fork, and plant-based menus are on the rise, bringing with them the uniqueness of offering a menu only one specific region can provide.
The hospitality industry is beginning to recognize the importance of offering sustainably sourced food, and how such offerings can create an endemic and experiential selection for travelers. For the sake of responsible dining, no longer should we be ordering avocado toast in Scotland, consuming produce flown thousands of miles cross-continentally, with huge water footprints, carbon emissions, and ties to corruption. Instead, we should be looking at our surroundings, sampling nutritious foods that nature has made available on any terrain with minimal impact on the environment itself.
Here are six Regenerative Travel™ member hotels who are revolutionizing sustainable, plant-based, and local menus:
1. Craveiral Farmhouse: Promoting farm-to-fork cuisine in Southern Portugal
In rural Southern Portugal, Craveiral Farmhouse sits in the crevice of the Odamiran hills and favors a farm-to-fork approach with their dining. The Farmhouse uses many products from the region, as well as their own home-grown organic produce from their farm. Guests can experience the contemporary luxury of crisp white sheets and walking barefoot on wooden floors, while also immersing themselves in the landscape and witnessing a true farm-to-fork experience. They also strive to reduce waste as best as they can by composting and recycling materials and wastage from the restaurant and hotel.
Craveiral have their own orchard and permaculture farm, and so are able to provide fresh, seasonal produce. Their restaurant, FarmTable, sources 70% of the ingredients from their property. Creative seasonal menus keep the offerings in flux and available, so guests are always in for a pleasant surprise in keeping with the time of year. Their outdoor tables and rustic ambience add to the fully immersive experience in the rural farmland.
2. Playa Viva: Redesigning permaculture for hospitality in rural Mexico
Playa Viva are redesigning permaculture for hospitality with their in-house garden and reforestation scheme. The hotel, in Juluchuca, Mexico, focuses on the production of nutrient-dense crops on their farm such as ‘dark greens, nuts and seeds, fresh fruits, and most recently, farm and forest raised animal products’. They value knowing where and when food was produced; such intention allows us to better appreciate what is on our plates.
They prioritize local ingredients in their meals, and the farm-to-fork experience allows guests to immerse themselves deeper into Mexican culture and the Playa Viva experience. Their reforestation and research team work to understand more about the natural environment and how to best preserve it. Guests are also able to take a tour through the property gardens with the Permaculture Farm Manager, experiencing regenerative agriculture techniques and learning more about the native flora and fauna.
3. Fogo Island Inn: Exploring endemic delicacies in remote Newfoundland
In a far-flung corner of Newfoundland, Fogo Island Inn is a haven for lovers of the rugged outdoors, a characteristic seen not only in the surroundings of the hotel but also in their food. On Fogo Island, guests can forage for berries in wildflower-dotted meadows, as well as heading to the Inn’s kitchen for dining options that include edible plants from nearby shorelines and woodlands, or vegetables and rhubarb freshly picked from their gardens.
Fogo Island Inn employs a zero-waste approach in their kitchens, using methods of pickling, bottling and fermentation to ensure long-term storage of ingredients and minimal wastage. With the breathtaking background of the ruthless Atlantic Ocean, explore Fogo Island’s local endemic delicacies with a deep understanding of where the food originates as well as their sustainability and zero-waste practices. In focusing on local and plant-based options to make up their menu, Fogo Island Inn has created a culinary experience that not only inflicts minimal harm on its surroundings, but cannot be found anywhere else on earth.
4. Ngalung Kalla: Promoting regenerative agriculture in Sumba, Indonesia
At Ngalung Kalla, guests can dine under the stars in the central common area, listening to the waves crash softly on the untouched beach nearby, all while being served locally sourced, authentic, fresh Indonesian food from their female chefs. The menu is primarily vegetarian, with seafood caught from the surrounding ocean—always locally sourced and freshly prepared. The hotel, on Sumba, Indonesia’s ‘forgotten island’, prioritizes leaving the island untouched, minimizing their footprint while drawing from the rich lands to promote holistic health and wellness.
Ngalung Kalla offers sustainability and regenerative agriculture tours, as well as permaculture tours, where guests can learn invaluable information about how the hotel grows its food, deals with waste, composting, energy systems, and all else needed to ensure they can benefit from their pristine surroundings without causing harm. With fresh morning smoothies, sustainable and plant-based healthy meals, and surfing at sunrise, Ngalung Kalla provides the perfect environment to reconnect with nature and with oneself.
5. Emboo River Camp: Cultivating organic produce in the Maasai Mara, Kenya
Deep in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Emboo River Camp offers guests gourmet Farm-To-Fork meals consisting of fresh ingredients from their on-site organic vegetable and herb garden. The garden, called a ‘Shamba’ in Kenya, contains produce such as bell peppers, squash, rosemary, basil, and more all under a monkey-proof cover. They have a second garden outside the reserve in which vegetables, fruit, and honey are produced with organic natural fertilizers. Their garden covers two acres, and employs the best in hydroponic technology, vertical gardens, irrigation, and composting.
In line with local traditions, Emboo promises to be a custodian of nature; to give back and guard the beautiful and rugged surroundings, as well as promoting sustainable and regenerative practices. Their chefs are experienced in both locally and internationally inspired dishes, making use of less meat and more local vegetables to reduce their footprint. Guests can learn about and enjoy the finest local Kenyan cuisine in the company of giraffes or hornbills along the river bend, on the privacy of their terrace, or deep in the savannah, for a regenerative experience like no other.
6. Bliss & Stars: Creating seasonal menus for clean eating in rural South Africa
In the midst of the serenity of the Cederberg Mountains, Bliss & Stars provides the ultimate antidote to burnout, and provide holistic healing and regeneration for their guests. The South African retreat believes not only in the environmental aspects of food consumption, but the health benefits that consuming organic, plant-based, homegrown food can bring. With a focus on a seasonal menu sourced from their own gardens and local farmers, guests can experience carefully curated menu selections that focus on gut health, clean eating, and overall health and wellbeing.
Bliss & Stars also offers guests the chance to forage for their own edible plants in the flora-dense surroundings, creating an interactive culinary learning experience. They base their menus around the natural environment, rotating offerings depending on the season, emphasizing the benefits of a plant-based diet. The satisfaction of tucking into a freshly picked salad, coupled with the local knowledge of all ingredients and their healthy and energizing benefits creates an experience that cannot be missed.
Plant-based and farm-to-fork tourism paves the road to a sustainable future for hospitality, and with advances in accessibility of permaculture practices, local knowledge, and the distinctive nature of regional flora and fauna, such an approach to dining abroad benefits all parties involved.
Ensure your own consumption while traveling is sustainable and minimally invasive, while enjoying fresh, organic and gourmet meals, with unique local insight and produce, and a lessened impact on the surroundings.