Once upon a time, dining promised a moment of vicarious travel to the hills of Tuscany, the sushi bars of Tokyo or whichever far-flung destination was represented on the plate. But these days, the magic lies not in recreating someplace else but in celebrating exactly where you are. And the best way to achieve such authenticity is often with locally sourced, sustainable cuisine.
If you happen to live or dine in one of the world’s most desirable locations, so much the better. At The Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Florida, for example, guests not only enjoy white-sand beaches and renowned golf; they also benefit from executive chef George Fistrovich’s approach to cuisine. In addition to launching Alley Kitchen, an intimate outdoor venue where visiting chefs can host pop-up dinners, Fistrovich implemented a portable grow house where he cultivates microgreens for restaurant salads. He also systematically transformed the resort’s approach to food by entrusting his 100-plus team with preparing items such as bread, pasta, pickles, pastries and ice cream in-house for a more handcrafted experience. The effect is decidedly enticing. When you dine at the resort, every one of your senses is engaged with the destination.
There is no faster way to fully immerse yourself in a destination than through dining. Our chefs are focused on sourcing regional and sustainable products across all properties for the most authentic experience possible.”
Rainer Zinngrebe, Global Vice President Culinary with Marriott International Luxury Brands.
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples is only the beginning, however. This commitment to sustainability extends to The Ritz-Carlton around the world, starting with your morning coffee. Known as First Drop® Reserve, the coffee served at hotels and resorts is sourced entirely from Rainforest Alliance Certified® farms, which are required to protect the soil, local water supplies and surrounding wildlife. The certification criteria also protect workers, requiring that they enjoy access to housing, healthcare, fair wages, clean water and education for their children.
Equally impressive is First Drop Reserve’s flavor, which features notes of black cherry, raisins and chocolate. Produced from the world’s top three percent of Arabica beans, the coffee is sourced from East Africa and Central and South America. Each origin is then roasted separately to maintain the integrity of the flavor profile.
Other delicacies at The Ritz-Carlton enjoy similar attention to social and environmental responsibility. The Imperial Osetra Caviar, for example, features sustainably farmed pearls of medium to large size, which guests can enjoy at hotel restaurants or at home thanks to beautifully packaged gift options.
Cake and Caviar
For guests who prefer to celebrate special occasions with something sweet instead of savory, there is The Cake. Developed by pastry chef Yusuke Aoki of The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, The Cake can trace its pedigree to the 19th century, when Louis-Alexandre Marnier developed The Cake’s signature ingredient: Grand Marnier liqueur. Marnier would go on to assist Cesar Ritz in purchasing the Parisian mansion destined to become The Ritz Paris, thus bringing The Cake’s lineage full circle for a true taste of luxury.
Of course, such history may well slip to the back of your mind as your fork slips into the moist, fudge-like confection. Crafted with Valrhona chocolate, ribbons of caramel and orange ganache prepared with Grand Marnier, the layered sponge cake captures both the spirit of The Ritz-Carlton and the essence of modern indulgence.
Elegantly boxed, The Cake is a work of art, and artistic innovation is deliciously present throughout many hotel dining experiences. At The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin, guests can order a cocktail not from a menu of drinks per se but from a menu of 18 fragrances. (Each scent corresponds with a perfectly crafted drink.) At P41 Coctelarium, located in the Hotel Arts Barcelona, every cocktail is a theatrical presentation with the resulting libation a drinkable expression of both art and architecture. And for guests looking to take a piece of this design-minded spirit home, there are chocolates by Norman Love.
The confections also speak to Love’s disciplined demand for the finest, a quality honed by his time spent as executive pastry chef for The Ritz-Carlton. Although he left his position to pursue a different career, his success as a chocolatier brought him back to The Ritz-Carlton where his artistry and training have found a natural home. Eschewing preservatives and using only premium cacao sourced from around the world, Love and his team of artisan chefs create flavors and pairings that enjoy near-mythical regard. (Think dark chocolate-and-jalapeño or yuzu-citrus jam with white chocolate ganache.)
From sustainable coffee to artistic confections and locally sourced ingredients to experiential cocktails, dining at The Ritz-Carlton not only honors modern concepts of craft and responsibility. It redefines them.