21 April, 2024, 09:23

Toast of the Town

Are you one of the 70% of travelers influenced by food and drink when booking a vacation? If so, you don’t have to let excitement be your only buzz. Benchmark Resorts and Hotels’ properties have experiences for the wine drinkers, the beer lovers, and everyone in between. And they all pair best with a little sense of adventure.


Jill Daniels: the Women in Whiskey series at La Cantera Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX.

In partnership with Culinaria, a non-profit that invests in San Antonio’s culinary community, La Cantera hosts a monthly Women in Whiskey seminar. The series is a spirited take on the role of women in whiskey distilling—with guest speakers who manage everything from branding to business. A ticket to the three-hour event comes with complimentary whiskey tastings, small appetizer pairings, and a keynote presentation. Even better: a portion of each ticket goes back to funding Culinaria’s work.

The best-kept secret: the Secret Supper Club at Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA.

Just outside metro Seattle, Woodinville’s Willows Lodge sits in a thicket of Pacific pines. While it’s known for breathtaking views and sophisticated accommodations, the Lodge is also a culinary attraction.  Onsite restaurant Barking Frog boasts an expansive wine selection and a menu designed by Executive Chef Dylan Herrick. But Chef Herrick’s creations have gone beyond dinner service—he runs the resort’s Secret Supper Club, too. Partnering with winemakers for invitation-only dinners, the Club’s diners are an intimate experience that give diners an inside view into the food and wine pairings they’ll enjoy. Interested? The Club doesn’t publicize events, so you’ll have to request more information via BarkingFrogEvents@willowslodge.com.

Around the bend: the Bend Ale Trail at Riverhouse on the Deschutes in Bend, OR.

You don’t have to come to Bend, Oregon with a hiking path in mind—the Bend Ale Trail is already mapped for you. Taste some of the best craft beers the Pacific Northwest has to offer and collect digital stamps on the Trail’s passport app, which charts the seven territories you’ll explore. Riverhouse on the Deschutes is within walking distance to the downtown breweries, so you won’t need to worry about scheduling an Uber. Sip your way through lagers, stouts, and ales, and earn a different reward for each territory you complete. No hiking boots required.

Savor (and saber) at the Mountain Shadows Resort in Paradise, AZ.

Scottsdale’s upscale Mountain Shadows resort blends mid-century modern style with scenic charm—but best of all, it offers a three-step, two-day culinary experience that’s perfect for celebrating something special (or just celebrating your stay). You’ll start with a Champagne sabering, sipping a bottle of Veuve Yellow Label as you listen to the brand’s history. It’s a perfect precursor to Food for Thought, a private cooking demonstration with Executive Chef Charles Wiley. Chef Wiley will guide you through his cooking process while you sample two wines that pair perfectly with your entree—and you’ll take the recipe, tailored to your tastes, to go. Lastly, settle in for the Spirited Sipping Seminar, led by Director of Food and Beverage Jim Gallen. The one-hour lesson ties its tastings to the history of each drink and is recommended the day before or after your Food for Thought experience.