Archive for the ‘culinary travel’ Category

Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival is Savored at Mount Snow Resort, September 21-23

August 24, 2012

Mount Snow is an enviable scenic location at any given time of year, but pair its 3,600’ alpine advantage with a three day epicurean fête; queue up the vibrancy of fall foliage and it’s no wonder the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival, September 21-23, is a perennial favorite for oenophiles along the Eastern seaboard.

Seventeen diverse winemakers, plus distillers, brewers, specialty food producers, musicians and local artisans are staged within the Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival’s main tents. The event annually welcomes more than 2,500 visitors for a long weekend of tastings, culinary demonstrations and entertainment that stretches beyond the resort and into nearby towns.

On Friday, there’s a festival preview tasting and a Village Stroll, featuring live entertainment and the Vermont Soup Tasting Contest in the heart of Wilmington. On Saturday and Sunday, tastings, exhibitors and entertainment are located at Mount Snow Resort. In the evening, festival dinners are held in two of West Dover’s most popular restaurants, Dover Forge Restaurant and Matterhorn Inn; the Haystack Golf Club is host to an elegant evening of wine and cheese pairings.

The Vermont Life Wine and Harvest Festival has earned designation as a Vermont Chamber of Commerce Top Ten Fall Event and is listed as a U.S. Top 100 Event by the American Bus Association. “The accolades indicate the caliber of this event and the efforts we have made to continuously surpass guests’ expectations,” Adam Grinold, Executive Director of Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce said. “The recognition as a ‘U.S. Top 100’ event attracts American and Canadian motorcoach tour operators to the Mount Snow Valley and it’s our every intention for this festival to grow, and like a fine wine, get better with age.”

Chairlift rides, hiking trails, and nearby fishing and kayaking sites encourage festival goers to partake in Vermont’s outdoors. Lodging packages are available at several locations within walking distance of the festival and free shuttle bus service on “the MOOver” is available.

“We are privileged to experience such a fine festival within a stone’s throw of equally acclaimed outdoor recreation, historic sites and beautiful villages,” Megan Smith, Commissioner of Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing said.

For tickets and more Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival information, visit

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Access Trips Introduces 9-Day Thailand-Flavors and Culture of Exotic Siam Culinary Expedition

August 8, 2012

Access Trips’ will offer the brand new, nine-day culinary expedition, Thailand – Flavors and Culture of Exotic Siam for the first time in November of 2012.

Access Trips’ will offer the brand new, nine-day culinary expedition, Thailand – Flavors and Culture of Exotic Siam for the first time in November of 2012.

Guests on this journey will experience the depth of Thai culture from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and beyond.

From a morning visit to Wat Po, where monks gather for a morning chant, to an elephant ride through the Thai jungle, the captivating cultural highlights delight the senses. Master the art of preparing your favorite Thai specialties during intimate cooking courses featuring everything from phad thai and curries to spring rolls and hot and sour soup. No detail has been spared in crafting a tour that masterfully captures the diverse landscape, distinct customs and rich flavors of the “Land of the Free.”

Access Trips is a leading travel company specializing in exotic and edgy learning vacations to 13 countries worldwide. This new Thai culinary adventure features the perfect balance of “must sees” and magical secret spots.

Discover the Flavors and Culture of Exotic Siam

The new Thailand – Flavors and Culture of Exotic Siam tour  provides a full Thai immersion Highlights of the nine-day, eight-night journey include:

• Home-Style Cooking Courses – From tangy salads, to rich, hearty soups and delectable curries, enjoy three extended cooking classes featuring some of Thailand’s most exotically spicy and delicious meals. Savor a traditional long-tail boat ride up the Chao Phraya River to Chef Tam’s home for your first cooking course in Bangkok. After a tour of the herb gardens, head to an open air kitchen overlooking the breathtaking landscape where you will learn to prepare Phad Thai, coconut chicken soup, coconut pancakes and sumptuous wok fried ground chicken with basil.

With two additional cooking courses in Chiang Mai, you will master the art behind everything from Thai-style banana fritters to steamed fish with curry custard.

• Morning Visit to Wat Po – During an excursion to one of Bangkok’s oldest temples, witness the magnificent hum of the monks early morning chant. View the famous reclining Buddha before heading to the Grand Palace in an open air taxi.

• Private Dinner in Bangkok’s Chinatown – Venture through the bustling Bangkok marketplace to an unmarked door where culinary dreams come true. Pass through the door into an old Chinese shop house, where a private dining room with one circular banquet table awaits guests. Enjoy a multi-course banquet dinner prepared by Chef Jok using only the freshest ingredients of the day.

• Explore the Golden Triangle – Witness the infamous Golden Triangle, renowned for centuries as the center of the opium trade. From a hilltop view, marvel at the splendor of the mighty Mekong joining with the Ruak to form the actual “triangle” where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet.

• Elephant Ride through the Jungle – On the way to Chiang Mai stop by an elephant camp to witness the elephants take their morning bath in the river. Climb aboard an elephant for an hour-long trek along the Ping river through the lush jungle.

• Chiang Mai’s Most Mesmerizing Sites – Discover the principal religious center in northern Thailand during a trip to Wat Prathat, Chiang Mai’s most important and visible landmark. Built some 600 years ago, this iconic site is located near the summit of Doi Suthep, at 3,250 above sea level. Climb the magnificent 306-step Naga (dragon-headed serpent) staircase and reward yourself with a superb panoramic view of the city.

• Boutique Accommodations – Enjoy boutique luxury accommodations that blend the best of Thai style and hospitality to create a peaceful respite from your busy days. From a five-star riverfront hotel featuring views of the legendary “River of Kings” to a small hotel inspired by the traditional wooden architecture of Chiang Mai, all accommodations feature comfortable and stylish rooms.

Rates start at $3,490 per person and include accommodations, most meals, ground transportation in a deluxe van, airport transfers and domestic airfare. International airfare is not included. Groups are limited to 12 travelers, who are accompanied by a multilingual local guide. For more information please visit or call (650) 492-4778.

About Access Trips

Access Trips is a leading adventure tour operator specializing in exotic learning vacations to 13 countries worldwide. This company offers a wide range of small-group outdoor sports and culinary-focused trips that are expertly designed to allow guests to experience a new culture, learn new skills or fine-tune existing ones, and revel in the splendor of their destination. Based in San Francisco, California and launched in 2001, Access Trips’ portfolio includes cooking, surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, and multisport itineraries. Regardless of the focus of the activity, Access Trips caters to a variety of skill levels, serving the novice as well as the expert in a relaxed, non-intimidating setting with the help of world-class instructors and multilingual guides. For more information about Access Trips and the tours available, visit

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Surf City USA Publishes New Dining Guidebook

April 25, 2012

Surf City USA – the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau (HBMVB) announces publication of their all-new, all-inclusive Dining Guide for the city of Huntington Beach.

“This dining guide is very unique in the sense that it reflects the funky, and eclectic nature of Surf City USA and offers the reader an insider’s look into HB dining,” explains HBMVB Board Chair and Shorebreak Hotel General Manager Marco Perry. “This mini-magazine reads as if your good friend were referring you to their favorite place to enjoy a meal – unlike most dining guides that read more as paid restaurant listings accompanied by ads.”

Insider scoops on favorite diners and restaurants come from Huntington Beach locals in the “Meet the Locals” section, and from Surf City chefs (who even share some of their favorite recipes) in “Compliments of the Chefs.” Readers will get “Grab and Go” ideas for the perfect picnic, and find inspiration on – “Setting the Scene” for an Old School, Surfside, Cool & Contemporary, or Romantic experience.

With multiple new and trendy restaurants arriving on the dining landscape, Huntington Beach is on the fast track to dining acclaim. From high-end steak, seafood and martinis, to hidden gems popular for their burritos or sandwiches, Surf City dining satisfies discerning “foodie” palates.

The first ever Huntington Beach Dining Guide, including a list of over 275 Surf City USA restaurants, is available at the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitor Bureau office, the HB Visitor Information Center (located at the base of the Huntington Beach Pier), and at various restaurants and hotels throughout the city. An online searchable page-turning version is also available at

The Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of Huntington Beach, Surf City USA®. One of Southern California’s premier coastal destinations, Huntington Beach is the ideal location for a California family vacation, or relaxing weekend getaway.

With 10 miles of wide-open white sand California beaches, Huntington Beach is a destination of choice for vacationers and business travelers alike. To plan your Surf City USA® vacation, or to learn more about Huntington Beach, visit the Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau website at or call 800-729-6232 for a free Visitors Guide.

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Italiaoutdoors Offers ‘Chefs on Bikes’ Cycling Tour in Northern Italy, June 24-30

March 16, 2012

Italiaoutdoors, a provider of small-group, personalized recreational vacations in Northeastern Italy, announces their 2012 “Chefs on Bikes” tour, a guided cultural and cycling exploration of the culture, foods and wines of Northeastern Italy.

Scheduled for June 24-30, the 7-day/6-night tour invites cyclists to learn from the culinary expertise of Chef Kathy Bechtel and is priced at $3895 per person, based on double occupancy. With a route covering 20-35 miles per day, the tour travels through the Veneto at the foot of the Dolomite mountains and along the shores of the Adriatic Sea. Recognizing the different riding levels of participants, the small-group size (maximum 8) allows for daily customization, including longer rides, and an immersive culinary and cultural experience.

“Chefs on Bikes” follows one of the former trade routes that distributed spices and goods from the East throughout Western Europe, meandering through flat farmland, by 16th and 17th-century villas, around volcanic hills, and into the foothills of the Pre-Alps. Days begin with gentle, scenic bike rides, followed by a culinary exploration with cooking lessons and wine tastings led by Chef Bechtel. Accommodations are in elegant four-star villa hotels in Mira, Vicenza and Asolo. The program includes all transfers, all breakfasts and snacks, five dinners with wine, plus entry fees to museums and other venues. The program can also be scheduled as a private group trip of 4-12 cyclists.

Highlights of the trip are:

  • · A ride along the Brenta River, touring Palladian estates and the summer villas of the Venetian aristocracy
  • · A visit to Vicenza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city most closely associated with Andrea Palladio, noted Venetian architect of the 16th century
  • · Rides through the picturesque Berici Hills (Colli Berici) Wine Zone
  • · A visit to the medieval walled cities of Treviso, Castelfranco, and Cittadella
  • · Two nights in Asolo, a striking hilltop village with winding streets and a graceful piazza overlooking the valley
  • · A visit to Villa Cipriani, with a Bellini reception in the garden
  • · Six nights at opulent villas and hotels
  • · Two hands-on cooking classes, one with local chefs, and one with Chef and Italiaoutdoors Culinary Director Kathy Bechtel
  • · Daily wine tastings of Prosecco and the best of regional Veneto wines
  • · Tastings of regional culinary specialties at local trattorias featuring olive oils, risotto, polenta, Venetian frutti di mare, and spicy pasta dishes

Italiaoutdoors is an owner-operated specialty guide service, offering individualized programs for small groups seeking to explore the beauty and diverse culture of Northern Italy. Hiking, biking and skiing programs are offered in combination with a culinary and culture immersion in the area. Participants share a passion for a healthy lifestyle and an appreciation for the region’s history, beauty, culture, wines and culinary delights. Because of their small size, tours are adaptable to the fitness levels and interests of individual guests. Daily recreation is balanced with cooking lessons, wine tastings, fine meals and cultural explorations.

Programs Focus on Biking, Skiing and Hiking

Italiaoutdoors offers bike routes for the more relaxed cyclist or more challenging rides for the stronger rider wanting aggressive hill climbs and longer days in the saddle. Ski itineraries include lessons for all levels of skier or snowboarder, guided resort skiing or backcountry explorations, and alternate activities for the non-skier. Hikers can enjoy hut-to-hut treks across the spectacular Dolomites, or more leisurely day hikes with four-star accommodations. All tours include daily free time to discover and enjoy the culture and foods and wines that have made Italy a favorite destination.

For more information and reservations, visit

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Tickets Go on Sale Jan. 30 for Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Cooking for Solutions 2012” with All-Star Chefs

January 8, 2012

Guest enjoying wine at Cooking For Solutions gala. © Monterey Bay Aquarium photo by Randy Wilder

Renowned chefs from across North America will share their passion for fine dining and environmentally sustainable living when they’re honored at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Cooking for Solutions 2012” on May 18-20, 2012.

The aquarium’s 11th celebration of sustainable gourmet cuisine offers a full weekend of spectacular events: from a festive Friday night gala tasting with celebrity chefs, 75 restaurants and nearly 70 wineries and breweries, to a weekend of lively presentations by culinary TV celebrities, ocean-view breakfasts with celebrity chefs, and daylong programs and food adventures.

Tickets go on sale to aquarium members on January 30 and to the general public on February 13 and will be available online at, or by calling the aquarium at 866-963-9645.

The nonprofit aquarium and its acclaimed Seafood Watch program will honor Michel Nischan of the Dressing Room restaurant in Westport, CT as Chef of the Year for a commitment that has grown from a single restaurant created with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, into the nationwide Wholesome Wave – a foundation connecting low-income families with healthy, nutritious food from local farmers.

The aquarium welcomes as Special Celebrity Guests television all-stars Alton Brown and Alexandra Guarnaschelli of the Food Network, Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew, chef, vintner and TV host Michael Chiarello and Rick Bayless, the nation’s foremost advocate of Mexican regional cuisine and a two-time honoree at Cooking for Solutions.

They and the other invited celebrity chefs have been selected and recognized by the Monterey Bay Aquarium ( for their leadership in promoting practices that protect the health of the ocean and the soil.

Cooking for Solutions supports the aquarium’s Seafood Watch program,, the nation’s leading source of information to help transform the seafood market in ways that preserve healthy ecosystems and sustain ocean wildlife.

The national lineup of 17 honored celebrity chefs who share the aquarium’s commitment to sustainably delicious cuisine includes:

  • Cooking for Solutions founding chef John Ash of Santa Rosa and host celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn, who shapes the culinary direction at the aquarium and at her three Napa Valley restaurants: Mustards Grill, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen and Brassica.
  • First-time honorees as Celebrity Chef Ambassadors – Sean Baker (Gather Restaurant, Berkeley); Clayton Chapman (The Grey Plume, Omaha, NE); Paula DaSilva (1500° at Eden Roc Renaissance, Miami Beach, FL); Ben Sargent (chef and host of the Cooking Channel’s Hook, Line & Dinner, Brooklyn, NY); Michael Schwartz (Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, FL); Becky Selengut (chef, instructor and author, Seattle, WA); and Sam Talbot (chef, restaurateur and author, New York City, NY).
  • Returning Special Guest Chefs – Floyd Cardoz (North End Grill, New York, NY); Sam Choy (Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Kailua-Kona, HI); Jesse Ziff Cool (Flea Street Café, Menlo Park); Kevin Gillespie (Woodfire Grill, Atlanta, GA); Charles Phan (The Slanted Door, San Francisco); Susan Spicer, (Bayona, New Orleans, LA); and Allen Susser (chef and author, Hollywood, FL).

The Friday-night gala on May 18 – the signature event at Cooking for Solutions and a sell-out every year – offers gourmet dishes from appetizers to desserts, created by the celebrity chefs, local host celebrity chefs and 75 exceptional regional restaurants. In addition, 60 premium vintners from California and the western U.S. will pour organic and sustainable wines.

Other highlights:

  • A Friday-night pre-gala special event with Michel Nischan and Rick Bayless (aquarium members only).
  • A Premium Access Lounge throughout the evening with live music, special treats and celebrity chef hosts (aquarium members only).
  • Saturday and Sunday daytime “Celebrity Chefs LIVE!” programs cooking demonstrations and book-signings by television celebrities Alton Brown, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Rick Bayless, Michael Chiarello and Cindy Pawlcyn; and intimate culinary “Salons” featuring tastings of premium California olive oil, artisan bacon and cheeses and gourmet chocolate; and tips on working with sustainable seafood and grass-fed beef.
  • Saturday culinary outings with celebrity chefs that range from visits to wineries in the highlands overlooking the Salinas Valley, to spectacular homes in the Carmel Highlands and ocean view destinations on the Big Sur coast.
  • Saturday evening’s exciting Sustainable Seafood Challenge, an “Iron Chef”-like event in which four Cooking for Solutions celebrity chefs prepare tasty seafood dishes from the same sustainable ingredients in a tournament-style kitchen set-up. A celebrity chef judging panel will recognize the chefs in four fun categories as The Chew’s Carla Hall provides lively commentary.
  • Two breakfasts: Saturday’s “Savor the Gulf Coast” buffet with chefs Allen Susser, Paula DaSilva, Michael Schwartz and Susan Spicer, plus live music with a Cajun flair; and Sunday’s “The Morning Chew” buffet with Carla Hall.
  • A weekend-long Sustainable Foods Celebration for all aquarium visitors, with tastings, talks and information, including the Whole Foods Market and Kids’ Zone, and Clover Stornetta Fun & Learning Area.

Tickets for Cooking for Solutions 2012 events go on sale January 30 for aquarium members and February 13 for the general public. They will be available online at, or by calling the Monterey Bay Aquarium toll-free at 866-963-9645.

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans. To learn more, visit

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Contest for Children Who Dream of a Day Learning Locovore Cooking from Award-Winning Chef

December 21, 2011

Overnight accommodations at the historic St. Francis Inn in historic St Augustine and a day with Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard at Bistro de Leon is the grand prize for the winning child cook © 2011 Karen Rubin/

If your child’s dream has been to spend a day in the kitchen of a chef’s restaurant learning about nutritious cooking and how to protect our planet’s future from the farm to the table, encourage them to enter Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard’s competition to win ‘My Day in a Chef’s Kitchen’.

The contest celebrates chef’s restaurant, Bistro de Leon, on its 4th Anniversary. The Bistro de Leon opened summer, 2008 in historic St. Augustine and has become one of the city’s most popular casual Bistros serving authentic cuisine from Chef’s hometown of Lyon, France.

Chef Poinard himself dreams of building a healthier next generation, nurturing children and students by educating them in the kitchen. “Local garden programs are a great way to introduce healthful eating to children and start the conversation between parents and their kids. Cooking together is the first step in fighting obesity and diabetes”.

Recently honored in New York City (November 18, 2011) by the James Beard Foundation for creating a 70-guest dinner celebrating Beaujolais Nouveau, Poinard’s style is ‘classic & contemporary’ – comfort food prepared with authentic French flair. Bistro de Leon is a restaurant that fits into its neighborhood. It’s a small cozy café in a cozy and family-friendly city.


Write 150 word essay about why I want to win “My Dream Day in a Chef’s Kitchen” that includes your philosophy about good health & nutrition

Include name, address, telephone # and age. Entries based on originality.

Send entry via email only to:

Deadline for entries is March 30, 2012

Entrants must be 10 years to 14 years old only!

All entries become the property of Bistro de Leon

The GRAND PRIZE Winner Receives:

Meet Chef Jean-Stephane Poinard at Bistro de Leon

Spend one morning with Chef Poinard visiting a local farmer to learn about and shop for ingredients. Join Chef in his Kitchen as he prepares a surprising ‘healthy and fun’ dish.

Dinner at Bistro de Leon with the child’s family.of up to (4) people.=

Overnight accommodations ( one weekday night for up to four guests if requested) at historic St. Francis Inn (circa 1791)


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Food Network at Sea Sailing Oct. 22 Features Interactive Cooking Classes

July 7, 2011

Food Network Travel's new Food Network at Sea 11-night cruise featuring Food Network star Anne Burrell, aboard the new Celebrity Silhouette visits Lisbon © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Food Network Travel announces a new Mediterranean and Transatlantic Food Network at Sea sailing featuring Food Network star Anne Burrell, the vivacious host of popular series Worst Cooks in America and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The 11-night cruise aboard the new Celebrity Silhouette sails Rome, Cagliari, Palma de Mallorca, Lisbon and New York, departing October 22, 2011.

Food Network Travel guests enjoy exclusive access to authentic and engaging Food Network Travel experiences, perfect for people with a passion for travel and the joy of cooking. “By invitation only” Food Network events include: culinary demonstrations led by Food Network star Anne Burrell, hands-on interactive cooking classes led by Food Network Kitchens chefs, private parties featuring Food Network recipes, Food Network VIP lounge. Food Network guests will also receive pre-paid gratuities and special turndown gifts.

Four culinary professionals from Food Network Kitchens will join the fall Food Network at Sea sailing with Emmy-nominated Chef Anne Burrell: Executive Chef Robert Bleifer, Sous Chef Miriam Garron, Culinary Product Development Manager Mory Thomas and Food and Beverage Director David Mechlowicz will be teaching intimate hands-on cooking classes for Food Network at Sea guests. Classes range from “The Comfort Food Ultimate – Pasta Making” to “Paella Fundamentals & Chocolate Truffles” to interactive food and wine pairings, featuring Food Network’s new wine, entwine.

In addition to hands-on cooking classes, Food Network Travel guests will enjoy exclusive access to other authentic and engaging Food Network Travel experiences, including culinary demonstrations led by Food Network star Anne Burrell, private parties featuring Food Network recipes, and access to the Food Network VIP lounge. Food Network guests will also receive pre-paid gratuities and special turndown gifts as part of this package.

Following the successful inaugural sailing in August 2010, Food Network Travel has made a few enhancements for this voyage. Guests will have even more time to enjoy the Food Network experiences as this Mediterranean and Transatlantic itinerary offers multiple days at sea. This conveniently disembarks guests in the “foodie” center of the world: New York.

An additional highlight of the inaugural sailing expanded on this cruise is the hands-on cooking classes led by the chefs of the Food Network Kitchens. These intimate classes give each guest the opportunity to create and eat his or her own culinary masterpieces. The chefs walk from station to station providing tips and assistance to each guest, creating a truly interactive experience.

Plans are in development to offer a range of exclusive Food Network programs, including additional cruises, as well as land vacations and wine and food festival packages. These experiences will include exclusive access to Food Network stars, as well as trips tied to specific Food Network culinary trends and topics.

Food Network Travel packages for this Mediterranean and Transatlantic sailing featuring Anne Burrell start from $1897 with all exclusive Food Network events included. For information on booking this or other Food Network Travel experiences, visit

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Saint Lucia Launches Islandwide ‘Summerlicious’ Dining Promotion

July 7, 2011

Saint Lucia announces a new “Summerlicious” promotion featuring reduced prix fixe lunch and dinner summer menus in restaurants island-wide, through Sept. 30.

Summerlicious includes two course lunch and three course dinner menus ranging in prices from $20 to $55. All meals include a high-quality signature cocktail made with Saint Lucia’s award winning Chairman’s Reserve Rum.

Summerlicious is headed by the Saint Lucia Hotel & Tourism Association (SLHTA) and will feature 21 participating restaurant and hotel partners.

“Summerlicious is a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase Saint Lucia’s wide variety of delectable cuisine from our diverse heritage. Saint Lucian dishes are infused with Creole, French, English and African flavors, making Saint Lucia a truly desirable culinary destination” said Louis Lewis, Director of Tourism for the Saint Lucia Tourist Board.

Participating restaurants include: Big Chef Steakhouse, Buzz, Charthouse Restaurant, Coal Pot Restaurant, Delirius, Spice of India, The Edge Restaurant & Sushi Bar, The Fire Grill Lounge & Bar, Ti Banane.

Restaurants located at the following hotels: Auberge Seraphine, Bay Gardens Beach Resort Trios restaurant and Hi Tide restaurant, Bay Gardens Hotel, Calabash Cove Resort & Spa, Cap Maison, Cotton Bay Village, Hummingbird Beach Resort, Royal by rex resorts and St. Lucian by rex resorts, The Landings, Village Inn & Spa, Windjammer Landing Villa Beach Resort & Spa.

For more information about the island of Saint Lucia call 1-800-456-3984, or visit

About Saint Lucia

One of the Windward Islands of the West Indies’ Lesser Antilles, Saint Lucia (pronounced Saint LOO-sha) is nestled halfway down the eastern Caribbean archipelago. The “Helen of the West Indies,” Saint Lucia is known for its natural beauty and diverse attractions, including the signature Piton Mountains – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – a tropical rainforest and one of the world’s few drive-in volcanoes. Culturally rich offerings include the bustling marketplace in the capital of Castries, quaint fishing villages along the coastline, and the annual Saint Lucia Jazz festival. Saint Lucia’s wide range of accommodations includes world-class five-star resorts, all-inclusive resorts, intimate inns and value-oriented properties.

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USTOA Tour Company Members Offer Culinary Adventures in Five Asian Countries

July 2, 2011

USTOA member companies offer culinary adventures to China and other Asian destinations highlighted with cooking classes and feasts © 2011 Karen Rubin/

Tour companies are serving up a menu of Asian food adventures, from cooking classes to culinary feasts. Travelers can dine at the home of a noted chef in India, learn to cook five traditional dishes in Vietnam, or savor authentic Beijing duck in China.

Here are four representative tours from USTOA companies to suit varying tastes and palates.


“A Portrait of India”: 18 days/17 nights: Foodies can enjoy a cooking demonstration and dinner at the home of a noted Indian chef on Tauck’s 18 day, 17 night “A Portrait of India”. Visit New Delhi, Varanasi, Khajuraho, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Cochin, Kumarakom, and Mumbai. Priced from $7,890 per person, land only, the tour must be booked by December 1, 2011 for travel available until December 21, 2011. According to Tauck, this virtually all-inclusive price reflects a savings of up to 40% over making the same arrangements on your own. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-468-2825 or visit

Southeast Asia

Treasures of Angkor Wat and Vietnam: 16 days/15 nights:Experience a half day Vietnamese cooking class in Hoi An, including a visit to the market and preparation of five traditional dishes, with Explorations’ “Treasures of Angkor Wat and Vietnam” from Collette Vacations. This 16 day/15 night tour to Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam offers a small group of twenty-eight passengers. Price begins from $2,999 per person, saving travelers up to 25% over independent booking, according to Collette. Book by March 1, 2012 for travel valid until April 12, 2012. International airfare is additional. For reservations and more information, phone 1-877-451-8687 or visit www.explorationstouring.

Laos and Vietnam: Sacred Jewels of Southeast Asia: 16 days/15 nights: On International Expeditions’ “Laos and Vietnam: Sacred Jewels of Southeast Asia.” travelers sample the famous roast chicken at Anh Tuyet’s restaurant in Hanoi, Vietnam, featured on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations.” In Laos, culinary offerings include lunch at Makphet Restaurant in Vientiane. and Italian cuisine at Xe Pian ecolodge. Also offered is an elephant fish lunch in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Activities include sightseeing by cyclo-rickshaw, tuk-tuk, long boat, sampan boat and elephant back. An overnight cruise on Halong Bay in Vietnam aboard a Chinese junk, plus visits to Luang Prabang in Laos and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam are also included, as are excursions to local markets, villages, and sustainability projects, a private baci welcome ceremony, and a sacred tak bat ceremony. Hotel accommodations are for thirteen nights, with three nights in secluded Xe Pian National Protected Area. The tour, which can be booked at any time, is priced from $4,298 per person, land only, and is available until December 1, 2011. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-633-4734 or visit


China Impressions: 10 days/9 nights: Savor a Beijing duck dinner and local culinary lunches on Pacific Delight Tours’ 10 day, 9 night “China Impressions” tour. Cost starts from $2,199 per person, representing up to a 40% savings over booking independently, according to Pacific Delight Tours. The itinerary visits Beijing, Xi’an, Suzhou, and Shanghai, and includes international airfare from Los Angeles (add $200 for New York), deluxe hotels, meals, sightseeing, and transfers. This tour is available through March 2012. For reservations and more information, phone 1-800-221-7179 or visit

“Today’s traveler to Asia wants a total experience, including tasting local cuisine and learning about a culture through its food,” says Terry Dale, president of the U.S. Tour Operators Association. “These tours, by introducing travelers to local cuisine, provide an immersion and greater understanding into Asian cultures.”


All tour prices are based on double occupancy. Restrictions and additional security fees, departure and local taxes and fees may apply. Prices may vary based on departure date.

For more information on Asia vacations with culinary interest visit:, or

USTOA member companies have met the travel industry’s highest standards, including participation in the association’s Travelers Assistance Program, which among other things protects consumer payments up to $1 million in case the company goes out of business. USTOA is the premier association of companies providing vacation packages, tours, and custom travel itineraries for more than 11 million people yearly.

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