Vermont: The Artisan Tour
Pack It On: Middlebury's white-clapboard Swift House Inn, once the governor's mansion, is your campus for this four-day tutorial in farm-fresh regional cooking. Mixed with 16 hours of class time are field trips to the local dairy farms and artisan food producers that make up the Vermont Fresh Network (try cheesemaker Grafton Village's Sage Cheddar).
Burn It Off: There's hiking aplenty in the Green Mountains, sailing on Lake Champlain, and birdwatching at Dead Creek Wildlife Preserve.
When to Go: May, October
Price: $2,000 per person
Contact: A Vermont Culinary Vacation; 802-388-9925, www.henrysheldonmuseum.org
Mexico: La Cocina de Oaxaca
Pack It On: Oaxacan cuisine is arguably Mexico's finest, with treats including moles, tamales, rich chocolateand mescal to wash it all down. For seven fiesta-like days, Mexican cookbook author Susana Trilling will enlighten you with a mix of innovative and tradition-steeped techniqueslike how to finesse sopa de ajo (garlic soup) with squash blossoms.
Burn It Off: Fetch ingredients at local markets; visit a chocolate molino, or mill; walk to the archaeological ruins at Mitla; and visit mescal distilleries, where you can sample the product.
Base Camp: Sleep off the hangover in quaint bed-and-breakfasts like the vibrant Posada de Chencho.
When to Go: March, April
Price: $1,575 per person
Contact: Epiculinary; 888-380-9010, www.epiculinary.com
Pack It On: During this ten-day land-and-sea tour along the southeastern coast, your private chef, Luis Ricardo Rossi, will introduce you to regional culinary highlights like Brazilian barbecue (churrasco), featuring prime cuts of beef, and Bahian cooking's key ingredients: coconut milk, malagueta peppers, and palm oil. You'll also stop at a cachaça factory, where the most potent ingredient of the lethal caipirinha, Brazil's national drink, is distilled.
Burn It Off: Pit-stop at oceanside villas along the Angra dos Reis, a dreamy archipelago of 365 islands and 2,000 beaches, 90 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, where you'll swim, snorkel, boat to deserted stretches of sand, and explore a former pirate colony at the end of the only road on Ilha Grande.
Base Camp: A plush private residence, plus two nights at Rio's legendary Copacabana Palace.
When to Go: Year-round
Price: From $4,000 per person
Contact: VIP Brazil; 800-772-9188, www.viptourbrazil.com