Archive for the ‘culinary travel’ Category

4-Star Villa le Barone, Chianti, Italy, Features Wine-Tasting & Cooking Lessons

July 31, 2014
The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.

Villa le Barone, the four-star luxury hotel in Panzano, Chianti, in the heart of Italy’s scenic region of Tuscany, offers guests the chance to enjoy a day of wine tasting and cooking lessons while vacationing in one of the most glorious and scenic regions of Tuscany.

What better place to enjoy a Chianti wine than in Italy’s own Chianti Region? Villa le Barone offers a memorable “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy) package which includes a welcome bottle of Prosecco and fresh flowers in the guestroom, an itinerary with or without a driver to explore the Chianti region, a large buffet breakfast, Tuscan dinner and a complimentary bottle of Chianti Classico or a free bottle of local grown extra virgin olive oil (agroqualità) as well as an option to take a local cooking class.

“When Villa le Barone was a farm at the beginning of the 20th century, it produced Vin Santo, and the grapes were hung in what is now the Garden House,” explains Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, proprietor and descendent of the generation of family who have owned the historic hotel since the 1600s. “The traditional dessert wine possesses a beautiful amber color and touched with a lovely smell of dried fruit, apricot, honey and acacia flowers.”

“A good meal in Tuscany concludes with Vin Santo (Holy Wine) and Cantucci (sweet almond cookies) and is quite a treat,” adds Corso Aloisi de Larderel, co-proprietor of the 28-room historic villa. “Dinner under the chandeliers of our restaurant or on the terrace of our hotel is the right time to dip the cantucci into the Vin Santo in the Tuscan tradition.”

Set in the heart of Tuscany, between the historic cities of Siena and Florence, Chianti is noted for its wine, food, landscape, culture, and its inspiration for poets and painters, with its rolling hills of vineyards, olive trees, woods, farmhouses, and castles. Individual churches are surrounded by dark cypresses and impressive monuments throughout the quaint villages of the area.

From July 15- August 31, 2014 and October 1 – October 13, 2014, the Villa le Barone’s Gastronomy di Tuscany (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) ranges from €960 (approximately $US 1,305/$CA 1,340) for a classic room to €1160 (approximately $US 1,580/$CA 1,680) for a Historic Room or Junior Suite, for two people for three nights.

From September 1-30, 2014, prices range from €1000 (approximately $1,360) for a classic room, to €1210 (approximately $1,645) for a historic room or junior suite for two persons for three nights.

The cooking course is an additional €100 Euros (approximately $136) and includes two hours with a Tuscan cook, a souvenir apron and the meal that you have actually prepared to enjoy. Car and driver for a day trip through Chianti is an additional €380 (approximately $517).

Rich History

Villa Le Barone was built as a tower in the middle ages and was the seat of a Baronetcy, hence the name “Le Barone.” During the Renaissance, the tower was torn down and converted to a Villa, surrounded by its agricultural estate, where the renowned Della Robbia family spent summers.

After the World War I, Marchesa Maria Bianca Viviani Della Robbia managed Villa le Barone as a wine and olive oil estate. Maria Bianca was the granddaughter of François de Larderel, a French 18th century industrialist, who discovered and developed the use of geothermal energy in Tuscany.

Marie Bianca’s daughter, Duchess Franca Visconti, converted the Villa into a charming boutique hotel, keeping the refined and elegant atmosphere of a private house, while offering all the contemporary comforts and amenities.  Villa le Barone is now the property of Duchess Franca Visconti’s heirs, whom you will meet when you stay at Villa le Barone.

The charming 28-room hotel Villa le Barone is set amongst the timeless landscape of Chianti, and has been in the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century. The swimming pool, tennis court, fitness trail, fitness room and terraces are set amongst large rose gardens, with views over the surrounding countryside, olive groves and the vineyards of Chianti Classico. In the old winery, the restaurant serves traditional Tuscan food and of course, the world-renowned local Chianti wines.

For more information about the “Gastronomia Toscana” (Enjoy Wines and Tuscan Gastronomy package) or to simply learn more about the local wines in the area, to book a reservation, or to learn more about the variety of recreational activities one can enjoy at Villa le Barone, visit www.villalebarone.com.

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Southern Living Taste of Charleston & Charleston Restaurant Week Events Set for September

July 24, 2014

Charleston, SC, known for being a culinary mecca, is hosting two of the city’s most highly-anticipated culinary events this September.

Charleston Restaurant Week is set to take place from September 3-14, 2014. The city-wide event features nearly 150 casual and fine-dining restaurants offering specially-priced menus and offers. As the event draws nearer, more participating restaurants will be added and the September Restaurant Week menus will be added and updated. Reservations are strongly suggested where accepted. (Participating restaurants can be viewed on the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association’s website.)

The 34th annual Southern Living Taste of Charleston will take place September 26-28, 2014. The weekend features a variety of events including: Taste: Iron Chef, where local chefs compete at the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Palmer Campus in a heated head-to-head battle; Taste: Sweet & Southern, an upscale event on Historic Charleston Harbor at Harborside East; and Taste: The Main Event, a showcase of samplings from more than 50 local restaurants that takes place at picturesque Boone Hall Plantation. During the Main Event, guests will enjoy demonstrations and vignettes from Southern Living, live music, a children’s area, the legendary waiters’ race, and much more.

The Southern Living Taste of Charleston is a charity event and raises money for local charities including The Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Hospitality Heroes, Shriners Hospitals for Children and Charleston County Schools Science Materials Resource Center. Tickets for all Taste of Charleston events are now on sale and can be purchased online through the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association’s website, or in person at the Downtown Charleston or Mt. Pleasant Visitor Centers, Boone Hall Farms or any Southcoast Community Bank.

The GCRA will host two more foodie events in January 2015. Charleston Restaurant Week will take place January 7-18, followed by the Lowcountry Oyster Festival coined the “World’s Largest Oyster Roast,” which will take place on January 25. For more information about these and other events orchestrated by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, visit CharlestonRestaurantAssociation.com.

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O.A.R.S. Pairs Wine, Gourmet Dining With Multi-Day Rafting Expeditions

July 24, 2014
O.A.R.S.’ Wine on the River Series pairs vineyards and gourmet presentations with multi-day rafting expeditions.

O.A.R.S.’ Wine on the River Series pairs vineyards and gourmet presentations with multi-day rafting expeditions.

Due to popular demand, veteran outfitter O.A.R.S. has announced a second departure of their six-day gourmet wine tasting trip on Idaho’s Middle Fork of the Salmon River Sept. 5–10.

After selling out the company’s scheduled departure on Aug. 27, this brand-new trip combines world-class scenery and renowned whitewater with chef-prepared gourmet meals, award-winning Idaho wines from Ste. Chapelle Winery and blue-ribbon trout fishing.

Chef Eric Conte from Gnosh restaurant in Moscow, ID, will return for his second trip of the season with O.A.R.S. with a locally focused and seasonally minded menu. Conte is Idaho-raised and takes pride in using the ingredients and products that grow in his own backyard.

The Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho is the flagship program in the company’s season-long Wine on the River Series. The per person price for this trip is $2,282 and includes a scenic flight to the river, six days of rafting and five nights of comfortable camping, professional river guides and fishing guides, all rafting and expedition equipment, dry bags for personal gear, fresh and healthy breakfasts and lunches plus chef-prepared gourmet dinners and an assortment of Idaho wines. The trip begins and ends in Salmon, ID.

Guests from San Diego wrote about their experience on this trip from last fall, “We booked the Wine on the River trip down the Middle Fork thinking it would be a little more relaxing (late-season water levels, wine tasting each night). Our expectations were exceeded in every way!”

They were blown away by entrees of grilled Idaho trout with wild blackberry/nectarine salsa, Rocky Mountain Elk steaks with zinfandel demi glaze and caramelized shallots and more complemented with appetizers, side dishes and desserts such as Dutch Oven apple crisp with cheddar cheese and crème anglaise.

“That the chefs were able to produce this kind of food in the middle of nowhere is astonishing to say the least, and we are pretty accomplished foodies. Five stars in every way!” they added.

Other Wine on the River trips pairing choice vintages with river adventure and remarkable cuisine include a three-day/two-night Aug. 12 departure on California’s Tuolumne River featuring Boyle MacDonald Wines and Chef Chip Roberts at $949 per person; and a five-day/four-night departure on Sept. 14 on Idaho’s Snake River through Hells Canyon (the deepest gorge in North America) with Foppiano Wines and Chef Aaron Woo. The per person rate is $1,695 and this trip also includes a scenic flight from Lewiston, ID, to Halfway, OR, with spectacular views of Hells Canyon below.

O.A.R.S. has been providing whitewater rafting vacations since 1969, handling some 500,000 guests. Over the decades, the company has set the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventure, with destinations and unparalleled experiences on over 35 rivers and coastlines around the world. O.A.R.S. caters to active travelers of all ages and abilities with more than 75 itineraries, including one-day and weekend escapes. In 2013, for the seventh consecutive year, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Mindy Gleason, O.A.R.S. Reservation Manager and International Adventure Travel Consultant, as Condé Nast Traveler’s standalone Top Travel Specialist in the River Rafting category. In 2013 Outside, America’s leading multimedia active-lifestyle brand, named O.A.R.S. one of the top two outfitters in the world in its annual Active Travel Awards recognition program.

 

For more information, availability, reservations and a copy of the 2014 O.A.R.S. Adventures catalog call 209-736-4677 or 800-346-6277, email info@oars.com, or visit: http://www.oars.com/.

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CellarPass Offers New Online Search for Tasting Room, Food and Wine Events, Reservation and Ticketing Service

June 19, 2014

You know “you have arrived” when you show up at a trendy winery or artisanal distillery tasting room and your name is listed on the plaque out front.

That’s the “cherry on top” of a great vacation, and it’s one of the fringe benefits of an innovative web-and app-based service called CellarPass, the first online tasting room and food and wine events search, reservation and ticketing service.

Visitors need never again be turned away or forced to wait to taste at the most in-demand wineries, breweries and distilleries. The CellarPass service allows users to book their own experiences when it suits them, right from a computer, tablet or Smartphone in advance or even on-the-go. CellarPass member destinations greet their reservation guests in their own special way, too: some offer a special bottling with a tasting flight, add chocolates to a tasting, or announce their visit on a plaque out front. CellarPass gives visitors an instant “in,” and they love it.

The best part – the service is free to travelers.

How CellarPass works: With just a few simple clicks or swipes of a finger, wine, beer and spirits lovers can search the venues they want to visit, consult actual visitor reviews, reserve tasting and tour times, map locations, and even navigate directly to the destination with turn-by-turn directions delivered right to their devices. More of a last minute planner? With CellarPass’ “Nearby” function, iPhone and iPad users can view offerings within a specified distance from their exact location and book on the go.

With the recent launch of CellarPass’ ticket service, users also have access to a menu of special tastings, pairing dinners and other exclusive wine country events – all in one place.

CellarPass helps make a dream food and wine vacation hassle-free. Check it out at www.cellarpass.com.

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Tuscany Wine and Bike 2014 Wine & Culinary Tours Lets You Savor Wine, Land & History at the Pace of a Bicycle

April 23, 2014
Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike itineraries offer a triple helping of understanding the wine, land and history of Tuscany while experiencing the beauty of an outdoor excursion © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tuscany Wine and Bike (TWB) announced their new 2014 Wine Tasting & Culinary Biking Tour Itineraries effective April 26, 2014 through September 27, 2014. Led by local freelance oenologist and Winemaker Carlo Travagli and cycling enthusiast Luca Casini, TWB tours trek on mountain bikes across the provinces of Siena, Firenze, Pisa and Pistoia through the scenic, historic Chianti Wine Region of Tuscany.

“Each itinerary is actually a ‘triple itinerary’ that provides our guests with an understanding of the wine & cuisine, area & geography, and the culture & history of the places we will explore,” says Travagli. “I created these tours to give people an intimate look at my home — this extraordinarily beautiful, dynamic agricultural and world renown wine growing region.”

On the TWB TOUR, participants will awaken their senses through the vibrant colors, intoxicating scents, and breathtaking sights as Tuscany’s most robust seasons dramatically unfold before them. Cycling through fragrant olive groves, rolling vineyards, vibrant sunflowers fields, majestic woods, and other fascinating scenic spots, participants will uncover the most authentic aspects of Tuscany, often missed and overlooked by visitors using conventional means of transportation.

Additionally they will:  

Discover the Pearls of Tuscany, the historical points of interests, churches and buildings rich with art, centuries-old villages and towns as they follow paths and ancient roads like the “via Francigena.”

Experience Tuscan life, people, culture and places traveling through towns and farmlands, with opportunities to stay overnight.

Learn about one of the world’s most famous winemaking regions, the microclimates, viticultural areas and revered varietals, and the role of its landscape and history.

Savor the distinct flavors of the countryside including the local harvests, cherished honey, succulent olives & oils, sumptuous salumi, handcrafted cheeses, and enjoy the regional artisan products and cuisine of TWB select regional partners.

Taste regional wines among the vineyards and cellars while visiting local estates, receiving both lessons and guided tastings by Travagli, an award-winning winemaker of Chianti, Chianti Classico (Gallo Nero Black Rooster), Sangiovese, and IGT Super Tuscan wines.

No rigorous physical conditioning is required for the majority of the TWB itineraries.

“Most of our itineraries are designed for tourists without extensive athletic training.” Travagli stresses. “It’s for pure enjoyment and we try very hard to match each itinerary with the interests, comfort level, and ability of our guests.”

However, for both intermediate and advanced cyclists, Travalgi and Casini have designed several challenging itineraries including the 7-day Bio Week Tour.  The Bio Week Tours have additional activities such as cooking lessons, donkey treks, and urban bike tours. Customized Tours are also available.  For more information, visit the Tuscany Wine and Bike website, Email TWB or call (+39)333 9206700.

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Savory Affair Introduces Behind-the-Scenes Food-Wine Tours of Napa Valley and Tuscany

February 14, 2014

The Savory Affair, a New England-based boutique event planning and design firm, is offering two extraordinary food and wine travel experiences for 2014. Combining the service of The Savory Affair with the vineyard connections and wine knowledge of sister-company, The Savory Grape, each trip offers a personalized, behind-the-scenes look at the epicurean worlds of Napa Valley, California and the Tuscany region of Italy.

The Napa Valley trip is August 1 – 6, 2014, a perfect time of year to escape the heat of the East Coast and enjoy the comfortable temperatures of Northern California. In order to provide a more tailored, individualized experience, this trip will host only 10 guests and be personally guided by The Savory Affair and The Savory Grape proprietor, Jessica Granatiero.

“This will be an amazing opportunity to go behind the scenes to meet the families and vintners, while learning more about the intricate process of winemaking,” stated Granatiero.   “From the accommodations to the daily itineraries, we have designed a first-class experience and will show you Napa in a way few experience.”

Accommodations will be provided by Andaz, a luxury boutique hotel in downtown Napa and walking distance to many great shopping and restaurants.

The Napa trip includes:

  • 5 night, 6-day stay in the Andaz Napa
  • Breakfast daily in the Andaz Farmer’s Table Restaurant
  • Lunch daily, except travel days
  • 2 organized group dinners-welcome dinner at Carpe Diem and closing dinner at the home of Rob & Kat MacDonald
  • Hands-on, interactive pesto-making demonstration and class with wine, at the Culinary Institute of America
  • Insider visits, tours and tastings at six different vineyards
  • Transport to and from all vineyard activities and dinner

Then in October, Granatiero is partnering with Chef Kaitlyn Roberts, founder & owner of Easy Entertaining Inc. for Savorying Italy tour of Tuscany that promises to be an insider’s guide to the best vineyards and dining in Italy.  Guests will experience an epicurean education with cooking classes and wine tours lead by Chef Roberts and Granatiero.

The six night, six-city tour will start on October 5, 2014, with guests arriving at the Villa Daniella Grossi, a restored 17th century luxury villa located in the hills of Lucca, on the morning of October 6. The trip includes an elaborate breakfast each morning prepared by Chef Roberts, followed by a tour and tasting at top Tuscan vineyard lead by Granatiero. Each afternoon, guests will return to Villa Daniella Grossito enjoy hands-on cooking and wine pairing lessons from Chef Roberts and Granatiero.  At night, guests will dine on five gourmet dinners, including three at the villa with custom wine pairings, two off-site in the city of Lucca and one in the beautiful city of Florence.

The Savory Affair has been organizing and hosting unique local, national and international travel experiences for two years.

To view a downloadable brochure for either trip, visit www.thesavoryaffair.com/vineyards.

To book, contact Ann Petronio, at Annie’s Escapes Custom Travel Planning at 401-270-4834.

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Sugartooth Tours Offers Special Valentine’s Day Programs in February Made Sweeter Still for Donation to Local Charity

February 4, 2014

What could be sweeter than spending the day with your Valentine and tasting a variety of New York City’s finest decadent treats? And how about giving back to a great cause? Do both this February with Sugartooth Tours’ Valentine’s Day tour. This annual seasonal tour features a plethora of tasty treats, as well as an equally sweet donation to House of the Roses, a local non-profit that offers homeless and at-risk children free weekly on-site dance workshops at partner outreach facilities, such as homeless shelters and community centers throughout New York City, as well as performance opportunities at outside locations. For each tour ticket sold in the month of February, $1 will be donated to the charity.

“We’re very excited to include a charity contribution with the Valentine’s Day Tour,” said Allyson Tolbert, co-founder of Sugartooth Tours. “February and Valentine’s Day is all about showing love, so this is the perfect opportunity to tie-in a charity aspect for House of the Roses, which makes a significant contribution to local youth. Also, myself and Sarah are both trained actresses and dancers, so this non-profit hits close to home.”

Featured on this year’s tour are six tastings, including chocolate truffles, hot chocolate, cupcakes, cookies and more. Also included is the option to add a wine/beer paring at the tour’s final destination to allow for more one-on-one time with a special someone.

The tour, which starts in the trendy Chelsea neighborhood, lasts approximately 2- 2 ½ hours and covers 1.5 miles of walking with stops along the way. Guests walk down the High Line, and end in the West Village. In addition to scrumptious sweets, guests will also learn culinary and cultural history at each stop, and a few tidbits and facts about Valentine’s Day and it’s history.

To keep it fresh, Sugartooth Tours has changed the route completely from last year’s Valentine’s Day tour to keep the selections, and the experience new. Last year’s tour featured the company’s Hell’s Kitchen route, and this year is an entirely new neighborhood!

“At Sugartooth Tours our goal is to create experiences that allow customers to come back for more than just one tour. We frequently change up our tours to feature new neighborhoods and desserts. This keeps the experience fresh and evolving,” said Sarah Rolleston, co-owner of Sugartooth Tours. “Plus, with New York being so large, there are always hidden gems that we discover when researching for our tours.”

This year’s Valentine’s Day tours are scheduled for February 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th. Tours run at 5:30pm. Tickets are $50 without the pairing, or $70 with the pairing and can be purchased by visiting www.sugartoothtours.com.

Sugartooth Tours specializes in dessert tasting food tours in New York City. A perfect excursion for all ages, and for locals and visitors to the Big Apple alike! The company’s tours are small in size with no more than 16 people per group for an intimate experience. Sugartooth Tours are dedicated to appealing to the sweet tooth in everyone, providing high quality tastings, superior customer service, and friendly and informed licensed tour guides.

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Japan Restaurant Week in NYC, Feb 17-Mar. 16 Evokes Century-Old Culinary Tradition

February 4, 2014
Thirty participating Japanese restaurants will transport diners 100 years back with special traditional dishes during Japan Restaurant Week in New York City, Feb 17-March 16.

Thirty participating Japanese restaurants will transport diners 100 years back with special traditional dishes during Japan Restaurant Week in New York City, Feb 17-March 16.

Thirty participating Japanese restaurants will transport diners 100 years back to Japan with special traditional dishes during Japan Restaurant Week; a sweepstakes tied to the event can win trip to Japan

Japan Week, a public-private partnership that promotes Japanese culture, food, and travel to Japan, announces today that Japanese Restaurant Week 2014 will begin in New York City from February 17 – March 16, 2014 with nearly thirty participating restaurants. The special dishes served will evoke the “100-Year-Old Flavors of Japan” theme, with a focus on the regional cuisines of Japan.

The event is being tied to a sweepstakes to win a free round-trip ticket to Japan.

Highlights of Japan Week include creations that showcase the popularity of Japanese meat from a century ago, such as Wagyu beef and Bluefin tuna sushi from Megu New York, and sukiyaki from Restaurant Nippon. Regional cuisines such as Kanazawa-style curry, sweet-and-sour fried chicken from Miyazaki, mizutaki hot pot from Kyushu, Edo-mae (Tokyo-style) sushi platters, and more.

Some of these dishes will be available for purchase at the Japan Week festival in Grand Central Terminal during March 6-8, 2014.

The participating restaurants are: Go Go Curry, Hakata Tonton, Hakubai, Hatsuhana, Ichie, Inakaya, Izakaya Ariyoshi, Izakaya MEW, Izakaya on Smith, Jado Sushi, Katsuno, Koi SoHo at Trump SoHo NYC, Kuboya, Megu New York, Mira Sushi & Izakaya, Misoya, Ni Japanese Deli, Ramen-Ya West Village, Restaurant Nippon, SakaMai, Sobakoh, Sunrise Mart, Sushi Ann, Sushi Azabu, Sushiden, Torishin, Wasan and Yuba Restaurant.

Additional Japan tourism information and cuisine history will be available at each participating restaurant and on www.japanweek.us/restaurantweek. On this website, you can enter a sweepstakes to win a free round-trip Delta ticket to Japan and taste these unique foods in their regions of origin.

Founded in 2012, Japan Week is a promotional tourism event aiming to encourage travel to Japan. It is a cooperative effort between the Japan Tourism Agency, diverse businesses, and local Japanese governments. The multi-dimensional event is open to the general public and promotes Japanese tourism through culture, food and beverages. For more information about Japan Week, visit japanweek.us, Facebook at www.facebook.com/JapanWeekNY and follow on Twitter at @JapanWeekNY.

For more information about travel to Japan, visit www.japantravelinfo.com.

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Gift of Travel: Food & Wine Trails Offers ’12 Trips of Christmas’

December 18, 2013

Looking for the ultimate holiday gift for the food & wine lover who has everything? Food & Wine Trails, a 29 year-old culinary travel company based in Sonoma County, is offering 12 food and wine focused vacations as gift-giving ideas. Each of the “Twelve Trips of Christmas” include culinary activities or extra amenities, such as a free wine tour, cash to spend on culinary shore tours, a private car and driver shore excursion, or even a free hotel night.

“Culinary travel is more than just eating and drinking on vacation. It’s about immersing yourself in the culture, cuisine, and traditions of a particular region,” says Food & Wine Trails President Larry Martin, “Each experience is unique: you could take a private cooking class with a local chef, dine on food prepared by Michelin-starred chefs, have a guided tour and tasting at the region’s best wine estates…the possibilities are endless.”

Food & Wine Trails “Twelve Trips of Christmas” list features both cruise and land tours all over the world. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a sophisticated home chef or wine collector, we have a vacation that any food and wine lover would love.” promises Martin.

#1 Trip 12-Night New Zealand wine cruise hosted by three top Oregon wineries with airfare, complementary gratuities and a $100 shipboard credit.
#2 Trip 7-Night cruise on Portugal’s Douro River with a $400 shipboard credit.
#3 Trip 9-Night “Flavors of Italy” land tour with first class hotel accommodations.
#4 Trip 14-Night Trans-Atlantic “Golf, Wine & Food” theme cruise from London to Boston with $500 shore excursion credit .
#5 Trip 10-Night F&WT’s President’s cruise with winery host Rochioli Vineyards with up to $440 in free benefits.
#6 Trip 5-Night biking tour through Northern California wine country on custom titanium bikes.
#7 Trip 8-Night Southern Spain cruise with daily wine tastings and two free wine tours.
#8 Trip 6-Night land tour discovering the delicacies of the Spanish region of Andalusia that includes wine with meals and a hands-on cooking class.
#9 Trip 7-Night Bordeaux wine cruise hosted by a Napa Valley’s Conn Valley Vineyards with up to $308 in free benefits.
#10 Trip Travel package to 2014 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival with free hotel nights.
#11 Trip 11-Night South African Winelands tour with special visits to former homes of Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.
#12 Trip 10-Night “Pearls of China” wine themed cruise with free private car and driver shore tour.

For more information about F&WT’s “Twelve Trips of Christmas,” call 800-367-5348 or visit http://www.foodandwinetrails.com. Please note some offers are time sensitive.

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Handpicked Adventures Tour Company Offers Artisan Cuisine and Culture Trip to Piedmont, Italy

July 19, 2013

Handpicked Adventures, a San Francisco, California-based, artisan food-focused travel company, is offering a one-of-a-kind trip to Piedmont, Italy, September 18 – 25, 2013. Anchored by the popular Bra Slow Food Cheese Festival, the Piemonte and the Bra Slow Food Cheese Festival trip promises an intimate immersion into the region’s unique culture via the food, drink and artisans that define it.

The agricultural tour offers travelers the rare opportunity to sample and taste the area’s wealth of foods while interacting with the farmers and artisans who lovingly produced them. Trip highlights include:

  • Visiting with chocolatiers in their Torino-based salons – yes, there will be ample tastings;
  • Tasting vast arrays of handcrafted cheeses at the festival, which brings together hundreds of Italian and foreign cheese producers;
  • Lodging and dining on a working farm and vineyard in Sinio;
  • Participating in a hands-on cooking class with a classically trained chef – in his own restaurant; and
  • Sipping and savoring at exclusive meetings with winemakers.

Handpicked Adventures’ trip also includes a farm dinner at a local truffle ground, a visit to a snail farm in Cherasco, an Italian brewpub tasting – yes, there’s beer in those hills, too – and a daytrip to the base of the Italian Alps to visit a working dairy farm where the famous Castelmagno cheese is made (FYI: Castelmagno dates back to the 12th century).

For Handpicked Adventures co-founder Heather England, a food-centric tour is the perfect way to learn about a new place. “So often people head to a new destination with an itinerary packed with landmarks and historic sites,” she says. “We approach travel a bit differently at Handpicked Adventures. We believe that the best way to experience a culture is to slow down, savor local foods and engage in worthy conversations.”

Her business partner, Terry Cosola-August agrees. “The history of a place really comes alive when you start talking with the people who have worked on or drawn from the land for generations. Getting up close and personal with regional foods and local cuisine is truly the best way to experience another culture.”

Cost is $2,500 U.S., double occupancy (excluding airfare), if deposit is received by July 31, 2013. After July 31, the cost is $2,750 U.S. (excluding airfare). Package includes all lodging, private motor coach transport, activities translated in English by a multilingual guide, seven breakfasts, festival entry, all group events listed above, plus one additional group dinner. All group dinners include wine and gratuity. The trip is limited to 12 participants. For more information, visit www.handpickedadventures.com.

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