Gastronomy 101: French Wine

Whether you are an accomplished wine critic or brand new to the world of le vin, France has something for every palette – from red to white to bubbles!

France is the second largest producer of wine in the world (after Italy) and is home to some of the most important and well-known wineries in the world. There is a strict appellation system when it comes to classifying wines – for example, only sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region can be called champagne. And there’s a lot more to learn beside that – the effect of the terroir (land and soil), the weather, the fermentation process, to name just a few.

The best way to make the most out of French wine is therefore when you have a bit of an understanding of the production and history… and the perfect way  to do that is on one of our many tours, itineraries or packages. Here are a few below.

Wine Regions of France

Champagne

Champagne is a great region to start your French wine exploration. With manicured rolling hills, this region is famous for the bubbly white of the same name and home to some of the world’s most famous wine producers. For a full Champagne experience, try our independent Champagne Superstay itinerary over four days from Reims. Reims is a gorgeous city with art deco cafes and a beautiful cathedral, where French kings were crowned for more than 1,000 years. On this itinerary, enjoy tastings at Veuve Cliquot, Mumm, Dom Perignon, Moet & Chandon and  and a visit to the Grandes Maisons de Champagne. For more solid sustenance, local specialties feature and we can happily organise a booking for you at one of Reims Michelin-starred restaurants.

We also offer three Champagne day trips that can be incorporated into a wider tour of France or the region.

Burgundy

Burgundy is a hotspot for all things food and wine – in fact, the vineyards are so culturally important, that they have been recognised with UNESCO World Heritage status. Over the centuries, the combination of continued viticulture of the area with the unique terroir has enabled local producers to truly perfect the art of wine making. On the Burgundy Superstay independent itinerary, you will stay in medieval Beaune  and enjoy a number of day trips to les grandes caves (important wine cellars) of the area, where you will meet with vignerons, sample wines and taste delicious local produce.

We also offer two Burgundy wine tour day trips in small groups, but they may also be taken privately.

Bordeaux

Famous for its rich neo-classical architecture and equally rich Medoc red wines, Bordeaux is a wonderful city for a short break or as a base to explore the wine region of the same name. Our Taste of Bordeaux independent itinerary gives you not only the chance to take in the charming old city, but to explore the surrounding wine region with tastings at five different estates throughout the region, over four days.

There are also a number of day trips offered in Bordeaux taking you to various wineries in the region and giving you the chance to sample more local food. The macarons of Saint-Emilion on the Wines of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol Tour are a personal favourite!

Provence 

There are a number of day tours in Provence taking in local food and wine experiences. These include an Olive and Wine in Les Baux de Provence tour with tastings of both in that medieval village at the foot of the Alpilles range, or the Cassis, Calanques and Bandol tour featuring a guided tour, wine tasting and delicious local lunch.

Gastronomic Cruising

For something completely different, Discover the Great Bordeaux Wines  on a river cruise over six days from Bordeaux. Alternatively, cruise your way from Champagne to Paris over a week, enjoying wine tastings along the way.

River cruising in France is a wonderful way to see the country, tracing important trade routes and stopping at many picturesque villages along the way. The vessels have outstanding facilities, daily buffet breakfasts, three course meals for lunch and dinner and comfortable air-conditioned cabins. Many of the highlighted day trips above can be incorporated when you alight in either region.

Keep an eye out for our next installment of this series on delectable French Food.


If you are interested in any of these wine adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour of France, contact one of our agents today. After all, that Chablis isn’t going to drink itself – so wine not?!

Gastronomy 101: Italian Food & Wine

When you think Italy, you think food. From pasta to tiramisu, Italian food is loved the world over for its timeless simplicity and delicious flavours. Eating in Italy is truly a social pursuit, with long hours whiling away between the many courses from the aperitivo all the way to the digestivo. And no meal is complete without an accompaniment of local wines, from the rich, fruity Chianti to the light-bodied, pale Pinot Grigio.

To ensure that you get the very best out of your Italian escape, at Tempo Holidays we have compiled a number of tours, itineraries and day activities that will delight all your senses. You will be surrounded by delectable aromas and even more delicious tastes as you create, sample and graze your way across Italy.

Italian Food Escapades

Discover how the magic happens with an Italian cooking lesson. On your trip to Rome, we offer a Cooking Lesson in the Roman Countryside where you can learn some of the classics of Roman fare. Roman food is typically seasonal and prepared in simple ways, with bold flavours taking centre stage. Common vegetables include peas, globe artichokes and fava beans, meat is traditionally lamb or goat and both Pecorino romano and ricotta cheese feature prominently.  Nestled in the Roman hills, your farmhouse school is in the quaint town of Mazzano Romano where you will prepare an appetiser, first course, second course and dessert. Then all there is left to do is to eat, perhaps with a glass of Castelli Romani!

Tuscany is also famous for its delicious food and wine. Tuscan fare tends to feature legumes, cheese, mushrooms, truffles and fresh fruit. Florence is famous for its enormous steaks, while the regional dishes are frequently made with game such as wild board, deer or pheasant often combined with pappardelle pasta. The gelato in Florence is also delicious, coming in a huge array of different flavours with many gelaterias claiming to be the absolute best in the city. While in Florence, why not book yourself in for a Pizza and Gelato Making Class? Who knows, after your lesson maybe you’ll be the one creating the BEST gelato in Florence!

Incorporate these classes into your Taste of Rome or Taste of Florence & Tuscany short break itineraries – or let us build them into your very own tailor-made holiday.

Veritable Vino Delights

grapes_wine_tourItaly is the world’s biggest producer of wine, followed closely by France so while you are there, you simply must sample the local drop. This small country’s wine output actually represents a third of the world’s wine production – so there is ample opportunity to try a huge variety of grapes. Perhaps the most famous region for wine in Italy is Tuscany, home of the delicious Chianti. But with so many different wines and methods of production, it can be hard to figure out exactly which wine is the best for your taste.

And that’s where our local experts come in, guiding you on a Tuscany Wine Trail small group tour from Florence. Discover Chianti wines with a visit to a selection of special wineries set amongst the olive trees and cypresses over a whole day. With expert sommeliers on hand, you will learn about the history, traditions and different characteristics of the wine as well as food-pairings.

For those feeling a little more active, we also offer a Tuscany Wine Tour by Bike out of Florence.

 The Whole Package

To really immerse yourself in Tuscan gastronomy, the Highlights of Chianti or Highlights of San Gimignano independent tours (each four days from Florence) combine Medieval and Etruscan towns with country escapes, cooking classes and wine tastings.  Lose yourself in the undulating hills of Tuscany, a patchwork of gold and green fields, punctuated by mountain settlements and beautiful old farmhouses set amongst the vineyards.

Alternatively, the Gastronomic Tuscany package over five days focuses solely on food and wine. Over the course of three cooking classes with a professional chef learn Tuscan secrets to making the best food out of the simplest ingredients. Also enjoy a private wine lesson and tastings accompanied by cheese samples plus a half day tour of the Chianti Classico region.

Moving further north to Bologna, the Motors and Food four day independent itinerary is foodie and petrol-head heaven. The Emilia-Romagna region is known for its soft wheat pastas and balsamic vinegar, as well as hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano. On this tour you will visit a balsamic vinegar farm, enjoy various farmhouse lunches, sample wine at a winery in the Bologna hills and visit Ferruccio Lamborghini, Casa Enzo Ferrari and the Maranello Ferrari Museum.


Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is, just thinking about all these delectable Italian flavours! If you are interested in any of these food adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour of Italy, contact one of our agents today.