First Whole Foods changed the way you eat by putting rows of immaculately organized organic produce and better-for-you-foods within reach; now they want to change the way you travel. The mega-food-market company recently launched a travel outfitter, based on the inspiring sourcing locations that provide many of its products. And this summer, it’s teaming up with leading spa destination Miraval Resort to launch “Whole Journeys with Miraval,” basically dream trips to Tuscany and Peru, with a mind-body—and foodie—twist.
Travel expert Kathy Dragon came to Whole Foods with the idea of creating experiences, rather than vacations, that “tell a deeper story”—that is, the experience and traditions behind the food you see in the grocery aisles.
That means handpicking wild truffles or porcini mushrooms with Italian farmers before a cooking class, or touring an organic farming center in Peru with the villagers who staff it, and then visiting their homes. “It’s a deeper understanding of culture and understanding food,” Dragon explains. “It’s not about Michelin dining. This is not the tourist experience.”
The Peru trip also focuses on hiking through the Andes, exploring sacred Incan ruins, and ascending Machu Pichu. And in Italy, did we mention that you’ll be strolling through the vineyards and tasting wine on Sting’s magnificent estate outside of Florence? (Sadly, no guarantees he will be there to serenade you.)
The Miraval partnership means that you won’t have to leave your wellness practices behind. Mary Grace Naughton, Miraval’s resident yoga and meditation specialist, will lead daily sessions in both so you can “stay connected and learn more about yourself,” she says. (The first thing you may learn? Meditating in Tuscany is awesome.) Also expect mindful meals where you’ll learn “to smell to be fully present by engaging all senses while you eat,” says Naughton.
The “meticulously curated departures,” as these lifestyle experts are marketing them, will be small and intimate–maximum group size is 14, and the resorts you’ll stay along the way are “local luxe” (four or five stars—think eco lodge with fancy sheets). In other words, these trips fit into the category of “super-special vacation,” not budget getaway.
While the excursions will undoubtedly appeal to Miraval spa-goers looking to get their R&R farther afield, the trips are suited to “active foodies,” which makes sense considering that pretty much describes a lot of Whole Foods shoppers, too. —Amanda Benchley
Pachamama’s Peru: Hiking and Wellness with Miraval: August 17–25, 2014, from $5,495 per person
Mindful Exploration in Tuscany with Miraval: October 7–11, 2014 , from $4,000 per person