Gone are the days when spa cuisine meant plain broiled fish and steamed vegetables. Modern Destination Spas are known for cuisine that is fresh, delicious, flavorful and healthy. Guests come back time and again for the recipes that are often handed down for generations. To showcase the talents of their chef’s along with the experiences and beliefs of their founders, a number of spas from the Destination Spa Group have published cookbooks so guests can take home a little bit of the magic and learn the techniques in their own kitchens. These are more than cookbooks – you can read them cover to cover to get a little bit of history on the spa itself and some wellness advice; along with unique recipes and general kitchen techniques. You just might get some inspiration to begin planning your next destination spa vacation!
Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta, by Deborah Szekely and Deborah M. Schneider, with Chef Jesus Gonzalez, Chef of Cocina Que Canta. Photographs by Robert Holmes
The cookbook is aptly named because it’s organized by the four seasons. Within each seasonal section, you’ll find themed menus that incorporate appetizers, main dishes and desserts that are light and healthy but satisfying. Rancho La Puerta‘s founder Deborah Szekely remembers personal food and cooking related moments from throughout her 86 years. Buying organic, local and seasonal food is deeply ingrained in the reader’s mind.
A section on basic ingredient notes and cooking techniques teach readers the foundations of healthy cooking. The final chapter, The Spa, offers a primer on spa treatments; skin care and body treatment recipes that readers can make at home sound good enough to eat – but readers are warned that they’re for external use only.
Golden Door Cooks At Home, by Dean Rucker with Marah Stets
This cookbook is a standout for its sharp, full page, full-color photography that’s so vivid you can see the individual grains of sea salt in the photos. Images from the Golden Door Spa, its blooming gardens, and fresh fruits and vegetables can be found on almost every page. Each recipe has a forward, with tips on ingredient selection, cooking techniques or the story of how the recipe came to be part of Golden Door’s celebrated menu.
Interspersed throughout the recipes are “Tips from the Golden Door” – lifestyle tips about incorporating healthy practices into your daily life such as meditation, the benefits of keeping a food diary, and fitness.
To read my blog post on the Destination Spa Group, click here.