Hyatt Ziva Cancun: An All Inclusive Culinary Escape

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Hyatt Ziva Cancún, which debuted in November 2015 as the newest addition to a distinguished collection of Hyatt all inclusive resorts for guests of all ages, has thoroughly re-imagined the all inclusive experience from the ground up. From its unrivaled location at the tip of the Yucatan peninsula to its luxurious Ziva Sky Swim-up Suites, Hyatt Ziva Cancún stands apart from the rest. Unquestionably, the resort’s greatest distinction from other all inclusive properties lies in its cuisine. Hyatt Ziva Cancún is fully committed to authentic gourmet dining, seasonal flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Guests can curate their own gastronomic journey at Hyatt all inclusive resorts – one might start the day with a pastry from Casa Café, try fresh ceviche for lunch by the beach, reminisce over a private candlelit dinner in the sand and cap the day with a sweet treat from our fantastical, sugar-themed dessert parlor, Pasteles. Best of all, it’s entirely unlimited and fully at the guest’s discretion.

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Pasteles – A Sugar Themed Heaven

Redefining the all inclusive resort by satisfying every age, taste and style, whether traveling as a family, couple or group, Hyatt Ziva Cancún provides the typical All You Can Eat bonanza and a world of à la carte options to suit every palate. Nine distinct restaurants offer full menus to ensure that guests’ taste buds never tire:

· La Bastille, presenting timeless French cuisine in an elegant, yet relaxed setting for adults only
· El Mercado, a bountiful buffet of gourmet international cuisine with both indoor and outdoor seating
· The Moongate, offering a variety of Asian specialties, from dim sum to an interactive teppanyaki table
· Tradewinds, a casual oceanfront grill by day and a classic steakhouse by night
· Lorenzo’s, serving Trattoria-style favorites for lunch and elegant Italian traditions for dinner, including brick oven pizza
· Habaneros, featuring tacos and fresh ceviche beachside
· Chevy’s, a classic all-American diner with burgers and milkshakes, and even a ’57 Chevy convertible that guests can dine in
· Pasteles, a delightful dessert parlor
· Casa Café, specializing in all things coffee, plus scrumptious pastries and snacks

In addition to the restaurants, mobile food carts roam the pool and beach areas with tacos, burgers, fresh fruit, sweet crepes, and cool refreshments. Plus, in-suite dining, is available 24-hours a day. This is something appealing to families because other all inclusive resorts like Club Med Cancun don’t offer this.

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Tres Cerveza’s – Onsite Microbrewery

Choices abound at Hyatt Ziva Cancún, not only for dining but also for nightlife and libations. Adults can enjoy unlimited signature cocktails and a wide selection of beer, wine, tequila, and premium spirits at seven distinct watering holes:

· Juana Margarita, a tequila tasting bar offering local tequila varieties and an onsite tequila sommelier
· Tres Cervezas, a sports bar and microbrewery featuring handcrafted microbrews and an onsite brewmaster
· Sassil Bar, a contemporary lobby bar inspired by the region’s Mayan heritage, featuring both indoor and ocean-view outdoor seating
· Punta Vista, a rooftop lounge with panoramic views by the adults-only pool
· Dips & Sips, featuring both outdoor and in-pool seating at the swim-up bar
· 24 Horas, a lively 24-hour lounge
· Bar del Mar, the exclusive Hyatt Club Level lounge overlooking the infinity pool, offering both indoor and outdoor seating

http://www.playaresorts.com/Hyatt-Ziva-Cancun

New Orleans: Jazzcats, Black Marble, and Oysters Bienville

Arnaud’s Restaurant

Enjoy the joie de vivre New Orleans is so well known for by focusing on the sinfully, decadent aspects of New Orleans that are as excessive and exotic as the melting pot of cultures that fuel the city’s eclectic mythos.

From music and food to hotels and shopping, New Orleans never strays from its mantra – “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”  In fact, the streets of New Orleans mimic a heartbeat as they vibrate to the sounds of jazz, and the air swirls about filled with scents of Creole dishes now so widely popular they are as familiar as the city itself.

The Lucifer Room at The Saint Hotel

Define your New Orleans stay as you select one of two mega suites to dwell in at The Saint Hotel.  The Archangel Lucifer Suite or the Archangel Michael Suite are startlingly different atmospheres.  The 2,000-square-foot Lucifer Suite is full of luxurious red velvet, black marble and Victorian antiques.  But, if you want to be center stage, that’s no problem as the suite features a private stage with dance pole, lighting and sound system.  Completely opposite is the Michael Suite which is equally as spacious, but gives you the ultimate “heaven on earth” experience.  Full of natural light with 10 floor-to-ceiling windows, the blues, whites and contemporary finishes make you feel as if you’ve ascended into the sky.

www.thesainthotelneworleans.com

Even music in New Orleans has its unique way of warming your soul and inspiring decadent experiences.  Sure the French Quarter is full of great places to hear music, but don’t overlook Frenchman Street.  Iconic jazz clubs such as Snug Harbor, The Spotted Cat and The Maison feature both emerging and notable jazz artists.  Take some Louisiana music home with you and plan a stop to the Louisiana Music Factory, an independent music store specializing in local music.

Windsor Court Spa

Windsor Court Spa

But, don’t forget to relax in true New Orleans’ style.  You no longer have to dream about what it would be like to enjoy a Sommelier’s selection of sparkling wine or champagne inside of a 6,500 square-foot private spa, the Spa at Windsor Court can deliver this experience for a mere $12,500. You don’t have to worry about being pampered alone; you can invite 8-10 of your friends as well.  The expansive space includes two relaxation rooms to sip on hot tea and cucumber water, seven service rooms with your choice of New Orleans best esthetic treatments, body treatments, massage, and nail services. Also, don’t forget the heated outdoor salt water pool where pool attendants will wait on you hand & foot.

No matter how you experience New Orleans, you must indulge in the city’s Creole cuisine.  Since 1918, Arnaud’s is one of New Orleans’ most historic restaurants serving Creole creations such as their signature dish, Shrimp Arnaud, and their original Oysters Bienville, prepared with fresh gulf oysters, shrimp, mushrooms, green onions, herbs and seasonings in a white wine sauce.  While there, be sure to slip upstairs for a glimpse into Mardi Gras history at Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum.  Wells reigned as queen of more Mardi Gras balls than anyone in history, and the display of opulent gowns and memorabilia showcase a unique sliver of local history.

So stop looking for a destination that sets the standard for luxury travel and look to New Orleans who has redefined luxury travel.  Somehow, just like the cultures that blend together creating the city’s vibrant atmosphere, New Orleans combines its history and modern amenities to create a one-of-a-kind hedonistic experience you won’t soon forget.

Mother’s Day Getaways To Bond For…

Pasta picture frames don’t quite make the grade as a Mother’s Day gift once darling daughter’s grown, but time together – especially when it takes the form of a weekend getaway – is something Mom will always treasure. We’ve gathered a few ideas to appeal to mothers and daughters of all interests, from luxury spa retreats to scuba diving adventures, each with plenty of opportunities to raise a glass (or tea cup) to the woman who made it all possible.

Take a look:

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1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

A Thousand Thanks: Treat Mom to an epicurean Thousand Islands getaway at AAA Four Diamond-rated 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in Clayton, N.Y. The hotel’s Wine Tasting package offers tastings at two nearby vineyards, including the award-winning Coyote Moon; a selection of locally made River Rat Cheese; and breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant, Seaway Grille.

www.1000islandsharborhotel.com

Umstead Spa

The Umstead Hotel and Spa – Cary, NC

Two for Tea: The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C.) has all the makings of a classic mother-daughter day combining spa treatments with the hotel’s coveted Afternoon Tea. Unwind and bond in the Umstead Spa’s two-story relaxation lounges, complete with heated open-roof current pool and indoor Jacuzzi. After a rejuvenating treatment, it’s a short stroll to the hotel’s art-adorned lobby lounge for Afternoon Tea. There, guests enjoy a traditional presentation of teas and treats, from tea sandwiches to scones, accompanied by live harp music.

www.theumstead.com 

Pampering in Lake Placid: The 98-suite Whiteface Lodge (Lake Placid, N.Y.) has everything daughters need to treat mom to a luxury getaway surrounded by the beauty of the Adirondacks. The Pamper Yourself Spa Package for Two includes two 50-minute massages plus access to health and wellness classes, cedar wood saunas, eucalyptus-infused steam room, indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub. Also included are breakfast and suite accommodations with cast-iron gas fireplace, jetted spa tub and private balcony. Package rates start at $410

www.thewhitefacelodge.com 

Marriott Singer Island Pool

Marriott Singer Island Pool – Palm Beach

Palm Beach Spa Retreat: With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other, the all-suite beachfront Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa in Florida offers sweeping views and palm-fringed sands. The resort’s Ultimate Spa Retreat pampers mothers and daughters with a 50-minute spa treatment at SiSpa and access to all spa facilities, including steam room, heated marble beds, relaxation room with hot tea bar, private whirlpool, and waterfall showers. Rates start at $504.

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Sanctuary – Camelback Mountain

Martinis and Mountain Hikes: Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, one of Scottsdale, Arizona’s premier resorts, provides the perfect backdrop for a sun-soaked mother-daughter luxury adventure. The BFF Retreat package includes three nights’ accommodations; a martini kit in-room upon arrival; daily breakfast; a guided hike up Camelback Mountain; and a Bento box lunch to be enjoyed by the sparkling infinity pool.

www.sanctuaryaz.com 

Classic Martha’s Vineyard Vacation: Kelley House, in the heart of Edgartown, offers prime access to shops and restaurants, the town’s harbor and lighthouse. The inn’s historic Newes of America Pub is the perfect place to toast Mom with a pint of craft beer paired with classic pub-style fare, while the outdoor Wave Bar serves creative cocktails and small plates by the pool. Active mothers and daughters can hop on the Kelley House’s branded bikes to explore the island’s trails and streets.

www.kelley-house.com

Sea Crest Beach Hotel

Sea Crest Beach Hotel – Falmouth, MA

Double (or Triple) the Fun on the Cape: Make it a three-generational mother-daughter retreat, or add a sister or two by booking the three-bed, three-bath cottage at Sea Crest Beach Hotel (North Falmouth, Mass.). This quintessential Cape Cod retreat on the private sands of Old Silver Beach is home to Red’s restaurant, an indoor pool, and water-view rooms decorated in classic Cape style. The hotel’s private cottage features a private deck and back yard, fire pit, kitchenette, and large fireplace, perfect for family bonding.

www.seacrestbeachhotel.com 
A Carefree Cottage in Nantucket: Harborview Nantucket’s charming compound of 11 luxurious vacation cottages – each utterly distinct, offers rare harborfront access just steps from the attractions of Main Street. A range of cottage sizes, from one to four bedrooms, accommodate everyone from mothers and daughters to grandmothers and girlfriends. Cottage amenities include a full kitchen, spacious living and dining areas, a washer and dryer, and complimentary Cisco Brewery assorted beers and local wine upon arrival. Exceptional guest services and an attentive staff make planning the ultimate Mother’ Day celebration a worry-free treat.

www.harborviewnantucket.com 

True Wine Lovers Sleep Right In The Vineyard

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The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

You think you are a serious wine drinker? Maybe you have a few glasses each week, swirl it around your glass rejoicing in the “body” and “tannins” and even can taste the differences between a California and a French Pinot, but have you ever slept in a vineyard? Well, we have… and let’s just say that there’s no substitute from drinking from the vine, resting your deliciously weary head, and then rising in the morning to drink/eat/repeat.

One of our top picks is Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel + Spa in Mendoza, Argentina. This luxury boutique hotel and member of Small Luxury Hotels lets you sleep amongst their eight acres of Malbec grapes in a Limited Edition Vineyard Loft. The pod-like designed loft rises 30 feet above the vines making oenophiles feel like they are growing in the vineyard themselves.

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The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

The one of a kind “suite” has an outdoor terrace complete with jacuzzi and unobstructed views of the vineyard and snow-capped mountains off in the distance. Although the views during the day are incredible, the ones at night are just as awesome. The loft has numerous skylights allowing you to stargaze right from the comfort of your bed.

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The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

Located in one of the largest wine regions in Latin America, often recognized as the second home of the Malbec grape, the 16-room Entre Cielos sits on 20 acres in the Mendoza countryside and is a modern day retreat with ultra-modern architecture, sculpture and zen garden, two restaurants and the only six-stage circuit Hamam in Latin America.

Don’t worry, wine reigns supreme in the spa to with Vinotherapy treatments. Where else can you  – detox and retox – at the same time? We highly recommend the Hamam circuit combined with a Grape Seed Exfoliation and Wine Bath. Imagine soaking in a bubble bath infused with red grapes while drinking the hotel’s very own “Young” 100% Malbec Rose? Magical.

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The Pool at Entre Cielos – Mendoza, Argentina

As the property does have their own vineyard, they produce their own three labels of Malbec- Marantal Young, Marantal Classic and Gran Marantal (voted one of the 20 best Malbecs in 2013 by Descorchados). They also, of course, coordinate onsite tastings of their wines, as well as others. If you want to venture out on a tasting mission, the hotel can also arrange tastings at an array of nearby wineries. Bring your wooden leg… you’ll need it.

If drinking all day seems like overkill, there is definitely plenty of other activities nearby. You can horseback ride through vineyards, hot sir balloon over vineyards… ok, fine, it all still revolves around winemaking but hey, when in Mendoza!

The Limited Edition Vineyard Loft starts at $700 per night but there are other rooms in the main building that start at $315 per night.

www.entrecielos.com

What’s New in Napa

News from the Vines: What’s Cropping up in the Napa Valley this Season 

Meadowood Napa

An Arial View of Meadowood Napa

SLEEP

1.       Just Completed: Five new Harvest Suites in the Harvest Cottage were just completed in September at The Carneros Inn. The new suites make for a total of 800 square feet of indoor living space, as well as 400 additional square feet of private outdoor patio space, which includes an outdoor soaking tub and fire pit. www.thecarnerosinn.com

2.       Just Opened: Meadowood Napa Valley just debuted their new 14,000 square-foot, all-suite spa on November 2, 2015, with eight treatment suites, each offering forest views and a private environment for relaxation. Each spa suite features a private bathroom, steam shower and daybed. www.meadowood.com

3.       Just Completed: Calistoga Hot Springs finished its extensive renovation project in June 2015, including a redesign of the guest rooms with spa-inspired bedding, pebble and Italian porcelain tile showers, kitchenette upgrades and High Definition LED televisions. The focal point, though, are the four geothermal heated mineral pools, with travertine tiles, new pool furniture and vine covered arbor niches. www.calistogaspa.com

EAT

1.       Just Opened: The team from Ca’ Momi debuted their new Osteria on October 13, 2015, with a full bar of Ca’ Momi wines, house-made spirits and beer and a menu of authentic Italian specialties like their certified Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) and Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani pizza. Ca’ Momi Osteria; 1141 First St., downtown Napa; www.camomiosteria.com.

2.       Just Opened: Launched by AvroKO and chef Matthew Lightner (who received two Michelin stars when he oversaw the kitchen at Atera in NYC), NINEBARK opened in October 2015 in downtown Napa with California-focused, market-forward cuisine using innovative techniques like smoking with local hardwood and shrubs and marinating in herbal, fruit and floral broths. 813 Main St.; www.ninebark-napa.com.

3.       Upcoming: Opening late 2015, Tannery Bend Beerworks will brew and serve their own beers, born from a unique collaboration between a brewer (Matthew Cromwell) and a chef (Tyler Rodde) within blocks of downtown Napa. An upcoming crowdfunding campaign be established to engage members of the community. www.tannerybendbeerworks.com

4.       Upcoming: Miminashi, Napa Valley’s first and only “Izakaya-style” (Japanese pub) in downtown Napa, is set to open this month by chef and owner Curtis Di Fede. The menu will feature classics like Kara-age (Japanese-style fried chicken), binchotan grilled porterhouse with uni shiso butter and the space will focus around an open binchotan grill.

DRINK

1.       Just Opened: In the center of Yountville, K. LAZ WINE COLLECTION opened on October 7, 2015 by former Dean & Deluca Wine Director, Kerrin Laz. The 12-seat tasting room and retail shop features a curated wine collection, local Napa Valley landscape photography shot by Kerrin and fresh flowers and terrariums from nearby Evermore Flowers. www.klazwine.com.

2.       Upcoming: JaM Cellars is coming to downtown Napa this winter, with wine flights, by the glass and by the bottle programs available for Butter Chardonnay, JaM Cab and Toast Sparkling, plus several guest wines and special releases only available at the downtown tasting room. Designer Richard Vonsaal is creating a unique space with reclaimed materials and contemporary twists. www.jamcellars.com

CELEBRATE

1.       Flavor! Napa Valley – March 16 – 20, 2016: A five-day celebration featuring farm-to-table cuisine, world-class wines and culinary star talent, with local and celebrity chef demonstrations, intimate winemaker workshops, Grand Tastings and exclusive experiences that bring out the best flavors of Napa Valley. www.flavornapavalley.com

2.       Superbowl 50 – February 7, 2016: In celebration of the Bay Area’s hosting of Superbowl 50, Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, is offering a “GAMETIME” package for Superbowl weekend. The package includes a one-night stay in a Maison king room, GAMETIME welcome party snacks paired with a bottle of former pro Dick Vermeil’s Proprietary Red, wine tasting for two at Vermeil Wines in Calistoga or Napa, a GAMETIME sampler in the Bistro & Bar, a $100 resort credit and a 10 percent discount on any 60 minute service at Auberge Spa (including the GAMETIME sports massage and “heat-to-toe” treatment). The package starts at $898 and is valid through Feb. 12, 2016.

Italy’s Emilia Romagna

Lambrusco Grapes

Lambrusco Grapes

The region of Emilia Romagna always reminds me of a beautiful woman nestled in the arms of her sultry Italian love. So, as a tribute to a region we hold dear, we wanted to share a few A, B, C’s to get you started dreaming about wandering through cobblestone streets, sipping Lambrusco, and dipping fresh bread into their version of black gold… also known as balsamic vinegar.

Without further ado… the first five letters of the alphabet of Emilia from the top!

  • A for Art: The regions of Emilia Romagna, Tuscany, Le Marche and Umbria are celebrating the one year anniversary of their collaboration on the Terre di Piero, a unique trail following the work of 15th century painter Piero della Francesca visiting the four regions that inspired his work. The new year will bring two updates to the route. The first is a new exhibit at the San Domenico Museum Complex comparing the works of painters who came after Piero and were inspired by his work. The second will be that restorations to The Resurrection, which has been called the most beautiful painting in the world, are scheduled to be completed in August 2016. The process is currently in progress in a way that allows visitors to still view the masterpiece.
  • B for Black Gold: While balsamic vinegar is often thought of as a dressing, traditional balsamic vinegar is far too rich in flavor with a production process that is time-intensive to use it on salads. In order to receive recognition as a maker of traditional balsamic, the producer must follow a strict set of guidelines and practices. Visitors to the Modena area will find a number of tradition balsamic vinegar producers who are happy to share their knowledge and passion.
  • C for Competition: This year, Emilia Romagna’s Lambrusco Wine Competition showcased over 90 Lambrusco wine producers. Special to Emilia-Romagna, Lambrusco grapes create a semi-sweet, fresh and light wine that has been produced since the Roman period. This wine can be found in most Emilian kitchens and consistently enhancing the flavors of any traditional meal. When Lambrusco is not being used to enhance the meal it can be ideal in making a Sangria or Spritz.
  • D for Delicious: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has been a culinary staple for ages to enhance flavor and, of course, top-off our favorite pasta dishes. The process of boiling, stirring and shaping the cow’s milk requires deep concentration to form the perfect block before aging to form the “King of Cheese.” Travelers visiting the Parma area will come across numerous Parmigiano Reggiano farms where they can see first-hand the steps that go into creating this beloved food.
  • E for Eat Up: Emilia Romagna boasts itself as the “breadbasket” of Italy. It is here that many pasta varieties we have all come to know, love and crave were created. From lasagna to tortellini, tagliatelle to ravioli, gnocci and more – Emilian’s throughout history have perfected the art of pasta-making. While visiting the region, sign up for an authentic Italian cooking class and toast these new-found skills!

For more information on places to stay, have a look at: http://www.emiliaromagnaturismo.it/en/where-to-stay

5 Top U.S. Culinary Adventures

Mirbeau Inn and Spa

Mirbeau Inn and Spa at The Pinehills – Plymouth, Massachusetts 

These days, we in the mood for easy luxury. Perhaps we’re getting accustomed to comfort, perhaps we need to be waited on hand and foot, perhaps… we just won’t settle for mediocre. We want more!

So here are five properties in the US that promise to tickle your taste buds and treat you well:

1.      Mirbeau Inn & Spa at The Pinehills (Plymouth, Mass.): Guests with a penchant for foraging can join Executive Chef Stephen Coe at nearby Plymouth Rock Oyster Farm for a tutorial on picking and shucking oysters. Groups of up to 12 are privy to a farm dinner thereafter including oysters, scallops, lobster, saltwater corn and prosecco ($75 per person). The program launches today and continues through early autumn.

1,000 Islands Harbor

1,000 Islands Harbor Hotel – Clayton, New York

2.      1000 Islands Harbor Hotel (Clayton, N.Y.): Another off-site adventure awaits in upstate N.Y., where guests head out on the St. Lawrence River to fish with Captain Jeff Garnsey.  The day’s haul is then cooked over a hardwood campfire for a traditional Shore Dinner (a Clayton staple since 1872). In a single cast iron skillet, Captain prepares salt pork sandwiches and fried fish, followed by French toast, served with local maple syrup.

Chatham Bars Inn

Chatham Bars Inn- Chatham, Mass.

3.      Chatham Bars Inn (Chatham, Mass., on Cape Cod): Not every culinary moment can or should be planned. The oceanfront resort’s luxury fleet stands ready to whisk guests to sea for big game sport fishing, among other leisure pursuits. (The biggest guest catch was a 350 lb. blue fin tuna.) When opportunity strikes, Executive Chef Anthony Cole will greet boats at shore and immediately filet fish for fresh sashimi, served gratis to guests on the beach with the fisherman’s OK.

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes

The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Kaiseki Canapes – Cary, North Carolina

4.      The Umstead Hotel and Spa (Cary, N.C., outside Raleigh): Herons’ seven course Kaiseki dinner by Executive Chef Steven Greene begins with a spectacular tableside tea ceremony (this video captures the wow-factor of the process). The drink is served in custom dishware by potter Ben Owen, whose large-scale works are showcased throughout the art-centric Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond hotel. This unexpected start to the dinner experience is a perfect complement to the “source local” mentality at The Umstead, which relies heavily on N.C. products and produce from its own garden and nearby farm.

Sanctuary

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain – Scottsdale, Arizona

5.      Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (Scottsdale, Ariz.): The “Mi Casa, Mi Chef” package takes the relationship between diner and chef to new dimensions. From the arresting vantage point of Sanctuary’s Mountainside Estates, guests work hand-in-hand with a Sanctuary chef (like Food Network star Beau MacMillan) to plan and execute their customized dining experience, letting the day’s best fruits, vegetables, fish and meat dictate the menu.  They join the chef in the kitchen of their private home, working side-by-side to prepare the feast. In-home spa treatments take the package over-the-top.