Food Finds: The Ultimate Farm Stay Experience
The Ultimate Farm Stay Experience
Since the Agritourismo trend kicked off in Italy, it has spread around the world from England, through most of Europe and to the US. Demand for ‘authentic experiences’ in travel is constantly growing, with quality, local food and homegrown produce high on today’s travellers’ lists.
In line with this trend, the number of properties offering heartwarming hospitality, experiential stays and locally-grown produce is on the rise.
In a survey of 34,000 respondents across 18 different global markets, Booking.com can reveal that when it comes to food and travel, the Chinese and Brazilians were the most likely to go on a farm or agricultural trip in 2016, followed by the Italians and Spaniards.
Almost half (45%) of global travellers also believed that ‘experiencing local cuisine’ was a very important factor in feeling connected to the local culture.
Using review score data, Booking.com has selected six of its most fulfilling farm stay accommodations, many with unusual and delightful stories behind them.
This beautiful Balearic retreat, with its own vegetable garden and orchard places great importance on local, homegrown food. In an irresistible rustic setting, the house dates back to the 19th century, with typical Ibizan stone floors and thick, whitewashed walls which stand out beautifully against the dark green hills. The surrounding countryside is covered with ancient twisted olive, almond and fig trees, while the property’s garden is a vibrant oasis, fragrant from the many herbs grown here to garnish the home-cooked meals. Expect fresh, homemade bread and smoothies at breakfast alongside many other traditional local goods.
Mad Cow Manor is a truly remote rural property 7km from Hanmer Springs, a town built around a hot spring discovered in the 19th century. The Manor itself has a cosy, farm-like feel with its fireplace, cows roaming around the paddocks and a large 10-seater table to encourage socialising. Though the majestic mountain views are a major attraction, the manor also excels in local food and drink, offering freshly-baked goods, home-brewed beer and locally-grown wines to guests.
There’s nothing quite like a full English breakfast cooked on an Aga. And staying in the splendid Georgian farmhouse of New House Farm Bed & Breakfast you’ll get just that, with home reared sausages, bacon and free-range eggs. A visit here is a real English countryside experience, with log fires, onsite clay pigeon shooting and a multitude of walking trails nearby, taking in the nearby Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley. But it’s the little touches that make it so authentic, like the homemade biscuits left by your four-poster bed.
A low-key accommodation on a 15-acre farm, Casa de la Pradera offers an authentic local food experience. Guests are welcome to feed the chickens, help collect eggs and pull vegetables from the gardens, where afternoon tea is also served. Even the bedrooms are decorated with fresh flowers and seasonal fruit, while the linen is scented with the farm’s own sun-dried lavender and herbs.
This charmingly converted farmhouse deep in the Apulian countryside still produces olives and wheat, while now inviting guests to stay in its beautiful vaulted ceiling rooms. Many of Italy’s most famous foods come from the sunny Apulia region, such as Orecchiette (ear-shaped) pasta, and it is still revered all over the world for its culinary offering. Breakfast at Arco di Sole is served in the hall, which was once an olive mill, and the beautiful gardens are peppered with olive trees.
Sitting pretty in the gorgeous Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region of Southern France with astonishing mountain views, you can’t miss farm stay Les Framboiseilles. Painted in stripes of pastel hues, this traditional farm house dates back to the 17th century and still grows its own fruit. Offering guests the chance to taste and buy produce grown on site, the accommodation shows an appreciation for good, honest food and is also perfectly located for a spot of fishing in the turquoise Provencal waters.
 Respondents had to be 18 years of age or older, had to have travelled at least once in 2015 and be planning at least one trip for 2016. All respondents had to be at least part of the decision-making process when planning most of their trips. Data was collected in October 2015. Research was written and designed by Booking.com and then fielded via an independent company (Lightspeed GMI).