A SKY TO SEA CULINARY EXPERIENCE
Alaska beckons you to her snow-capped mountains as far as the eye can see, ice-blue glaciers, and abundant wildlife roaming free in pristine, wide open spaces. Alaskan culture is a charismatic combination of pioneers and native people, mushers and fishermen, all drawn to this rugged, untamed terrain. Join our Alaska food tour and feast your eyes on jaw-dropping vistas along with hand-curated, truly Alaskan experiences that you will never forget.
8-Day Alaska Culinary Tour
On this one-of-a-kind Alaska food tour, you’ll explore Alaskan culture through its cuisine as you journey from magnificent Denali to the pristine waters of the Kenai peninsula. Along the way, you’ll cook in exclusive classes with award-winning chefs, board a chartered boat for a wildlife tour and oyster tasting on Kachemak Bay, and visit small family farms whose incredible bounty is making Alaskan produce increasingly local. You will even have an optional morning of glacier adventures that you access by helicopter, raft or on foot. Your incredible journey through Alaska will be shared with an intimate group of no more than 12 guests and an expert local guide.
- Alaskan cooking class with James Beard-nominated chef, Laura Cole
- Taste oysters fresh from Kachemak Bay
- Cooking class at a wilderness cooking school
- Sample birch tree syrup and other birch sap treats
- Dine at a 100-year-old roadhouse
Alaska’s unique geography, climate, and history all simmer together to create the delectable Alaskan cuisine of today. Rich oceans, flowing streams, and crystal-clear lakes are homes to the freshest fish and shellfish, while the still pristine wilderness offers an abundance of wild game including moose, caribou, ptarmigan, and even porcupine! In the summer months, up to 20 hours of warm sunlight shines down on impressive greenhouses and gardens that bestow some of the best (and biggest) produce in the world. The relatively cool climate of Alaska year-round also creates the perfect environment for the sweetest berries you will have ever eaten – such as blueberries, raspberries, lingonberries, red currants, and salmonberries.
These local, sustainable ingredients all have their place on the table in modern Alaskan cuisine. Talented chefs influenced by traditional recipes from the early Russian settlers and gold miners, as well as dozens of ethnicities that make up multi-cultural Alaska today, create delectable and innovative dishes you are sure to savor on your Alaska cooking tour. You will have the opportunity to taste many traditional Alaskan foods, like birch sap brittle, oysters, and freshly smoked salmon.
DAY 1: Our Alaska Culinary Tours Begin in Fairbanks
Welcome to Alaska! Your tour begins in Fairbanks, where your driver/guide will pick you up at the airport. Perched on the bank of the Chena River, Fairbanks is Alaska’s second-largest city and serves as a great launching point for Denali National Park, the first stop on all of our Alaska culinary tours!
Meals included: Dinner
DAY 2: Cooking Class at Denali
This morning we hop in the van and drive to Denali National Park. Just outside the park entrance, in the middle of the wilderness, awaits a true culinary surprise – 229 Parks Restaurant and Tavern. One of Alaska’s most innovative and exciting restaurants, 229 Parks is owned and run by three-time James Beard nominated chef, Laura Cole. With wild blueberries, world-class salmon, and gardens made rich by the midnight sun, Laura is constantly experimenting with, creating, and redefining Alaskan cuisine. We could think of no one better to help us explore Alaska’s culture through its cuisine, and we are thrilled that she agreed to offer Alaskan cooking classes exclusively for our guests! Learn how to create a taste of Alaska as Laura regales you with tales of cooking in the Alaskan outback.
After enjoying the delicious lunch you have created with Chef Laura, we’ll check into our Denali hotel and then the afternoon is free for you to explore. Transportation is available for any guests wishing to participate in optional activities, such as flight-seeing over majestic Denali, or a walk on one of the accessible trails inside the park.
Drive time: Approximately 2 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 3: Talkeetna & Beyond
Our Alaska culinary tour continues this morning as we head to Talkeetna, set on the banks of the braided Susitna River. Its proximity to the rugged Alaska Range adds to the ambiance of this rustic town which is well known for its arts community and as the launching point for climbers wishing to summit Denali. Our first stop is a family-style brunch at the quaint Talkeetna Roadhouse, built in 1917, with history steeped in the early mining and fur trade activities that lured settlers into the new Alaska Territory. The pancakes are made from a 1902 sourdough starter and are delicious smothered in local birch syrup.
Now that you have tried the birch syrup, we’re off to the Kahiltna Birchworks factory, a family run business and the world’s largest producer of pure organic birch syrup. We will get to see a tree tapping demonstration, visit the evaporator where the syrups are processed, and of course, check out the tasting room!
In the afternoon, we drive to the Knik River Valley and check into our wilderness lodge where we’ll stay for the next two nights. Our charming cabins overlook the Knik River, surrounded by the towering Chugach Mountains. The setting couldn’t be more spectacular or more perfectly Alaskan. Perhaps enjoy dinner tonight at the lodge’s gourmet restaurant where you can watch wildlife wander by and feast your eyes on the stunning scenery. This magnificent location is truly a highlight on our Alaska culinary tours.
Drive time: Approximately 5 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Brunch/Lunch, Snacks
Day 4: Optional Glacier Adventures & Afternoon Farm Tour
This morning you’ll have a chance to explore the glaciers of the Chugach range. You might choose helicopter flightseeing that includes a landing on the Knik Glacier, guided dog sledding with a six-time Iditarod musher on the Colony Glacier, or a scenic float on Class II rapids at the face of the Matanuska Glacier. Or, you might just choose to relax at the lodge and enjoy the scenery. Our team can help you pre-book your glacier adventure.
In the afternoon we’ll head to the nearby community of Palmer whose farmers are bringing fresh, local produce to Alaska. We’ll meet local producers and learn about the unique challenges of tilling the soil in the Alaskan frontier, with frigid winters and endless daylight in the summer. Our visit helps support their efforts to develop more local farming in the Last Frontier.
Drive time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 5: Homer & The Kenai Peninsula
Now that you’ve experienced Alaska’s rugged interior, it’s time to head to the coast. Today we drive across the stunning Kenai Peninsula to the fun, artsy town of Homer, located on Kachemak Bay. Along the way we’ll stop for views of volcanoes and an informal visit to a historic Russian-era Orthodox Church. For the next two nights we’ll stay in a hotel at the end of the 5-mile long Homer Spit, surrounded by Kachemak Bay. Sit on your deck or walk the beach and you’ll see eagles, otters and seals (and possibly even whales!) frolicking in the bay against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.
Drive time: Approximately 6 hours
Meals included: Breakfast
Day 6: Kachemak Bay
Today we’ll board a small boat for a scenic journey through Kachemak Bay. On the way watch for marine life such as sea otters, sea lions, porpoises, whales, and numerous species of bird, all of which inhabit the rich waters of Kachemak Bay. Our first destination will be the cooking school at Tutka Bay Lodge. Located on a repurposed crabbing boat which was originally a World War II-era troop carrier, the cooking school is led by renowned Cordon Bleu chef and cookbook author, Kirsten Dixon. Classes will feature local Alaskan seafood including halibut, salmon, crab, and famous Kachemak Bay oysters and will incorporate Alaska’s seasonal ingredients, such as homegrown vegetables, berries, mushrooms, and Alaskan honey. Enjoy a seaside luncheon made by the group.
Next, we’ll head to a local oyster farm where we will learn about Alaska’s unique environment and have the chance to try some of the freshly harvested oysters before heading back to Homer by boat.
This evening is free to explore Homer.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
Day 7: Girdwood
The morning is yours free to explore, perhaps to visit the Bear Creek Winery for a taste of their locally produced fruit wines or to enjoy some optional outdoor adventures.
This afternoon we’ll return north along the scenic Sterling and Seward Highways. Along the way we’ll stop to visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, a non-profit organization which helps rehabilitate and release injured wildlife. You’ll get to view iconic Alaskan wildlife up close including bears, moose, caribou, musk-ox, and wolves.
We’ll spend our final night at the Alyeska Resort in the small town of Girdwood. This charming community is surrounded by seven glaciers and offers unique alpine and coastal views. Tonight, we’ll celebrate all we have seen and done in Alaska with a farewell dinner at a local eatery.
Drive time: Approximately 4 hours
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Our Alaska Culinary Tour Ends
Our Alaska culinary tour comes to an end after breakfast with transfer to Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage.
Drive time: Approximately 1 hour
Meals included: Breakfast
Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during your Alaska food travel experiences but is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and can be tailored to the interests of the group.
Note: This itinerary and package inclusions might be changed in time, subject to availability.