Incredible Epicurean Vacations Slideshow

Cultures & Cuisines | TCS and Starquest

For those with a hefty vacation budget and three weeks to disappear off the grid, TCS & Starquest Expeditions presents the jet-set extended version of a progressive meal. Only, instead of lasting for several hours, this itinerary goes on for 19 delicious days. Beginning and ending in Reykjavik, Iceland, (pictured) this culinary expedition offers one incredible (and in-depth) experience after another.

Cultures & Cuisines | TCS and Starquest

Travelers will press olive oil and tour ancient monuments in Crete, enjoy an Arabian Nights feast in Muscat, Oman (one of the worlds oldest wine regions, pictured), and learn about Punjabi cooking in Amritsar, India. Art historian Charles Doherty and Gastronomicaeditor-in-chief Darra Goldstein join as expert lecturers.
Dates: Sept. 17 to Oct. 5, 2012. Rates start at $59,950 per person, double occupancy.

Michelin Helicopter Lunches | Hotel Arts Barcelona

This offering is all about convenience, in an over-the-top fashion. Catalonia, the region where Barcelona is situated, contains multiple famous Michelin-starred restaurants that may be too far away for a day’s drive, but are easily accessible by helicopter. So for guests staying in the hotel’s lavish Arts Suite, helicopter service is provided to any of three Michelin restaurants in the region: Les Cols in Olot, El Cellar Can Roca in Girona, or Miramar in Llança.

Michelin Helicopter Lunches | Hotel Arts Barcelona

This is a lunch outing with a hefty price tag: rates for the Art Suite start at €7,000 per night, while the heli luncheon is an additional €4,000 per couple. However, for travelers who want to be sure of a good table — and who enjoy making a flashy entrance — this is the way to go.

Buyer Trips | Sickles Market to Sicily

Not every experience ascends to such lofty heights, though. People who prefer a more involved, slow-paced experience should look into the "buyer trip" organized by Sickles Market. This family-owned New Jersey gourmet grocer has been in business for more than a century, and current owner Bob Sickles regularly travels back to Italy to procure Old World foods and wines. In October, he’ll lead the first Sickles Market On the Road Tour to Sicily.

Buyer Trips | Sickles Market to Sicily

This is amateur foodies' opportunity to go way behind-the-scenes in Sicily's culinary scene. Guests will visit artisan producers, have lunch at family farms, taste wines not distributed in the U.S., and discover all the other delicious secrets that F+B industry people usually keep to themselves. If you ever wondered why someone would want to go into the restaurant business, tag along and see for yourself. The first-ever Sickles Market On the Road Tour will take place Oct. 1 to 10, 2012.

Culinary Cruising | Lindblad Expeditions

Though all cruise ships claim to have a culinary focus, too many of them confuse quantity with quality. Lindblad is another story. The expedition cruise operator is tapping into its knowledge base gained over 20 years of Pacific Northwest river cruising to launch a new cultural/natural/culinary itinerary this September. It will follow the Lewis & Clark Corps of Discovery Expedition route, on a seven-day/six-night small-ship journey aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird.

Culinary Cruising | Lindblad Expeditions

The itinerary, entitled Columbia & Snake Rivers Journey: Harvests, History, and Landscapes, relies on land activities and excursions as much as onboard program. Guests will get to go on farm tours, winetasting afternoons, and hikes through parks and preserves of the Pacific Northwest. For those who become engaged in the sustainable/eco-friendly ethos of the region, there is ample opportunity back onboard the ship to learn about regional producers and farms, thanks to Lindblad's close collaboration with Food Alliance, a Portland-based, sustainability-focused non-profit.

Columbia & Snake Rivers Journey: Harvests, History, and Landscapes has 10 weekly departures slated for fall 2012.

Luxury Farm Stays | Foxglove Farm

British Columbia’s the home of the 100-Mile Diet, and also a haven for small farmers. Fertile lands, temperate climate, and natural abundance make this a great place to dabble in living off the land. At Foxglove Farm, a working organic farm on Salt Spring Island, "farm- and field-to-table" retreats introduce guests to every aspect of the small-farmer lifestyle.

Luxury Farm Stays | Foxglove Farm

Guests get lessons in beekeeping, making preserves, basic butchery, cheesemaking, and "soups, sauces, and stocks." It’s almost like Little House in the Big Woods, but with electricity, modern appliances and support staff. One of the highlights is a foraging outing with French chef and wild mushroom expert Bill Jones. Guests spend half a day foraging, then come back and have a mid-day mushroom feast.