Harvest Holiday Ideas
In this article about taking a harvest break, some interesting holiday ideas are considered:
Grapes and olives in Tuscany
Guests at Fattoria La Vialla, an organic farm and wine estate, can join the grape and olive harvests when the weather permits. Reward yourself after a morning’s work with a sumptuous lunch of traditional Tuscan dishes made from the fattoria’s own produce, served on tables in the vineyard or orchard. The grape harvest is from mid-September to early October. Olives are picked from mid-October to November. Guests stay in simple self-catering accommodation in converted stone buildings.
Details Poggiolo Vecchio and Scampata di Sopra, lavialla.it
Carobs in Cyprus
Carob is best known to us as a low-fat chocolate substitute but in Cyprus it is made into delicious sticky pastelli sweets that are covered in sesame seeds. During harvest in October visitors can spend a day on a carob farm in Skarinou, starting with a breakfast of fresh bread, yoghurt and carob syrup. After picking carobs you’ll make the syrup and cook local dishes with it, before a leisurely lunch.
Stay at Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows, near Larnaca, which will organise your harvest day.
Truffle hunting in Piedmont, Italy
Foraging in the woods for truffles and a chance to enjoy lunch in the truffle capital of Alba are only some elements of a high-spec Gastronomic Piedmont tour. In one week in this epicentre of epicure you’ll visit a nougat-maker and a sausage butcher and see the production of Castelmagno cheese. Wine tastings of robust reds are complemented by the sparkling white of moscato d’asti. Two dinners in Michelin-starred restaurants are included.
Grape picking by moonlight in Portugal
At the hilltop winery of Encostas de Estremoz, in Alentejo, grapes are picked at night as the cooler temperature minimises fermentation. So during September diners at its glass-walled restaurant overlooking the vineyards are invited to join the picking after dinner. Stay for three nights at the Pousada Rainha Santa Isabel in the 14th-century castle in Estremoz, then spend four nights at the Malhadinha Nova estate near Beja, which produces award-winning wine. Learn to sort grapes and trample them with your feet, Roman-style, and relax by the pool overlooking the vineyards.
The Vendage in Alsace
Lovers of Alsatian wines can get to the root of their favourite tipples on a two-night tour with Grape Escapes, a specialist wine travel company. In the tiny village of Riquewihr the harvest starts on September 15. With a small group, escorted by an English-speaking guide, you will visit the great wine estate of Dopff & Irion and also a family-run producer to join the annual grape harvest. You will have a meal in a typical Alsatian winstub and the chance to try local specialities such as baeckaoffa (pork, lamb and beef). Accommodation is at the Hôtel de la Couronne, in Riquewihr.
Pomegranate harvest in Andalusia
Pick pomegranates and discover the trick of deseeding them quickly to prepare dishes rich in their antioxidant juice.
You will use them in dishes such as Moroccan spiced monkfish on a four-day cookery course at Annie B’s Spanish Kitchen in the attractive “white town” of Vejer de la Frontera. There will also be the chance to pick, preserve and cook with green olives. Classes, followed by lunch, are in the mornings; the afternoons are for relaxing, going to the beach or sightseeing.
Olives in Puglia
On an olive harvest break at Masseria Torre Coccaro you won’t only pick and nibble the juicy olives — you will be slathered in them too. A spa treatment using fresh paste made from olives. Your stay includes a gourmet bicycle tour to a farm producing cheeses, and on to a fishing village to choose ingredients for a cooking lesson at the hotel.