Category Archives: Gastronomy

Gastronomy 101: Swiss Food

When we think of Switzerland invariably we think of chocolate, cheese and the beautiful Swiss Alps. Rightfully so, Swiss Chocolate and Cheese are some of the best of its kind in the world, but there is so much more than these delicacies to enjoy in Switzerland.

Due to Switzerland’s history, there is no one dominant cuisine: rather, region’s have local dishes that have been adopted on a national level or they borrow from nearby countries’ cuisines and make it their own. Two of Switzerland’s most famous dishes, raclette and fondue, gained national popularity because of the Swiss Cheese Union’s push to boost cheese sales in relatively recent times. A similar tactic was undertaken to boost the flagging consumption of Reblochon cheese, a nutty soft cheese from the Haute Savoie on the French/Swiss border when tartiflette began to feature on menus thanks to the Union.

Many Swiss dishes therefore use rustic ingredients and are rather simple, with an emphasis on hearty, warm meals to sustain you throughout the day. Larger meals are usually consumed at lunchtime, with dinner being lighter, often with salad or cooked vegetables.

Cheese Dishes

Although there is definitely more to Swiss food than cheese, it does feature heavily in many delicious meals. Fondue – a pot of melted Gruyère and Emmental cheese with wine and garlic bubbling over a flame – is iconic, while raclette – cheese grilled slowly slice by slice then scraped onto boiled potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions – is almost as internationally known. Gruyère comes from Gruyères, a picturesque medieval town in Fribourg and also home to one of the most famous castles in Switzerland. On the famous Chocolate Train line, you can hop off in Gruyères to tour the dairy and see the castle.

Less known outside of Switzerland but no less celebrated within the country  are the cheese dishes of Älplermagronen, Vacherin Mont D’Or or the aforementioned tartiflette.

Älplermagronen, or herdsman’s macaroni, is made from all that has been easily accessible to shepherd’s in central Switzerland for centuries: macaroni, potatoes, onions, cheese, milk or cream and applesauce on the side. Vacherin Mont D’Or is a decadent cheese that is only available from September to April – a soft, pungent cow’s milk cheese that is covered with white wine and garlic and roasted in its wooden casing to then be smothered over boiled potatoes.

Finally, tartiflette is scalloped potatoes with onions & lardons, baked covered with reblochon cheese and is popular in French border towns such as Annecy too.

Most of these cheesey delights are widely available on and off piste. After a hard day in the Alps around Zermatt or St Moritz, this gooey goodness definitely hits the spot!

Regional Food & Wine

If cheese isn’t really your thing, never fear, there are many other options in Switzerland. Every region of Switzerland seems to have its own sausage. In fact, there are other 350 variations of sausage in the country! Papet Vaudois features the saucission vaudois – a loosely stuffed, fat sausage, crimson in colour, that is served on top of a bed of leek and potatoes that has been cooked for hours.

Down in Ticino near the Italian border, polenta has been a staple for centuries. Polenta is traditionally served with delicious braised beef, cooked in large cauldrons over an open fire until it is thick and hearty, full of flavour.  Saffron grows in the canton of Valais and also forms a staple in Italian speaking Switzerland, often in a fragrant risotto. Ticino is on the Gotthard Panorama Express Line, a stop on the way to the Gotthard tunnel.

Back up towards the German border, Zürcher geschnetzeltes is a Zurich specific dish of diced veal and sweetbreads sauteed in a gravy of onions, butter, white wine, cream and mushrooms. Try this dish, as well as many other Zurich specialties on our shortbreak Taste of Zurich itinerary.

Sometimes zürcher geschnetzeltes is served with a potato rosti, grated potatoes fried into a crispy cake. Typically a breakfast for farmers in Bern, rostis are now all throughout Switzerland in various forms.

Basler mehlsuppe of Basel is a roasted flour soup that acts as a staple and fortifying dish. Made simply from flour, butter, onion, beef stock and a smattering of grated gruyère, legend claims that it was created when a chef got momentarily distracted and accidentally browned his flour. Fasnacht, the Basel carnival, is officially opened by serving of the mehlsuppe at 3am.

Sweet Delights

Switzerland is the perfect country for chocoholics. Ever since the 19th century when Swiss chocolatiers first  rose to prominence around the world for their work with cocoa, Switzerland and chocolate have gone hand in hand.

There are an abundance of chocolate shops everywhere you go, where you can choose from plain chocolate to truffles to chilli chocolate and more. Even in a regular supermarket, the quality of chocolate on offer at a small price tag far trumps what we have!

To fully immerse yourself in the ultimate Swiss Chocolate experience you can’t go past the Chocolate Train, taking you to the town of Broc where you can tour the Cailler-Nestle chocolate factory (and yes, there are tastings along the way).

There are many other sweet treats available in Switzerland too. Our favourites include lekerlis biscuits (spiced gingerbread-like biscuits made with hazelnuts), zopf (plaited sweet bread eaten on Sundays); bündner nusstorte (rich caramelised nut cake) and, towards Italy, many dishes featuring marroni (sweet chestnuts).

Are you ready for your Swiss food tour….?

For a full culinary experience while in Switzerland, try our Swiss Food Trail rail journey over seven days. Enjoy traditional farmhouse fondue overlooking views of the alps; a cruise on Lake Thun with fresh perch for lunch; the Chocolate Train; an Interlaken farmhouse three course dinner with wine – you can even assist in the preparation; and a wine tasting at the UNESCO listed Lavaux vineyards, among other experiences.

Alternatively, let us craft your very own culinary adventure through this beautiful country. Between the cheeses, the sausages, the chocolates and the wine, you might just get to do a little sightseeing too!

 

Gastronomy 101: Spanish Food & Wine

The temperate climate of Spain lends itself perfectly to long summer evenings with a glass in hand and a platter of delicious treats at your side. Equally tempting to some, is the raucous nightlife from a bustling Michelin-starred restaurant to small local bar serving aguardiente (firewater) by the shot.

Whatever takes your fancy, Spanish hospitality will have you coming back for more. Spain is melting pot of cultures and customs – some regions are so different to each other that its almost like being in a different country. As such, the cuisine is rich in variety and has much to offer the food-lover.

As to wine, Spain produces everything from local ‘jewels’ to quaffing wine that may just burn a little on the way down. To enjoy the very best that Spain has to offer and avoid any unfortunate wine choices, your best bet is to let us do the hardwork for you and enjoy one of our many tours, packages, itineraries and day experiences all about Spanish food and wine.

Madrid – the culinary capital

Madrid is not only the culinary capital of Spain but arguably Southern Europe with a huge range of restaurants available. With a world class hospitality scene, the city is a melting pot of culinary creativity and experimentation. And the fact that Spain as a whole has more bars per capita than anywhere else in Europe means that you are guaranteed to find a bar stool in Madrid with your name written all over it.

Although Madrid serves food from all over Spain, while there you must try a few famous Madrilenian dishes. These range from the simple bocadillo de calamares – a calamari sandwich with tomato and paprika puree or garlic mayonnaise, to Callo a la Madrilena – a classic stew cooked in a claypot featuring tripe, chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage). Follow one of these up with churros con chocolate and you will be in foodie heaven. The only thing missing is a glass of Albillo white or Garnacha red!

Explore Madrid on one of our short breaks such as Taste of Madrid or Jewels of Madrid and feast your mind body and soul on all this wonderful city has to offer.

To try some of the region’s wines and explore a fascinating city, why not try our Imperial Toledo & Wine Tour day experience? After exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Toledo, you will enjoy a wonderful wine tasting at Bargas Finca Loranque before returning to Madrid.

Barcelona – the ultimate foodie experience

Bustling Barcelona is a thriving cosmopolitan city with a sensational array of foodie experiences. Barcelona has a proud Catalan food heritage and boasts many famous dishes featuring seafood, pork, tomato, garlic, eggplant, capsicum and mushroom. And of course, like a lot of Spain, Barcelona has many wonderful tapas bars where you can enjoy numerous bite-sized portions of delicious Spanish fare as you enjoy your wine. To make the most of the amazing array on offer,  book a private Walking Tapas Tour Dinner with a local taking you to lesser-known cultural delights as well as many bars, taverns and even entire neighbourhoods that specialise in tapas.

We also offer a private Taverns and Markets Tour including drinks in three of the stops and a private Ham, Cheese and Wine TastingCatalonia is the largest producer of pork in Spain and there are many great places to try jamón but the real meat epicureans out there should try our independent Spanish Ham Experience, visiting the new centre at the heart of La Rambla dedicated to ham – a museum and tasting experience all in one.

For those wanting to try their hand at cooking, why not take a Spanish Cooking Lesson where you will learn to cook paella, different tapas and a dessert, under the tutelage of a chef? Then all there is left to do is to Live like a Local with an independent tour to some local taverns to finish off the night.


For something a bit further a field, try the Torres Wine Cellars, Montserrat & Sitges day trip, exploring world famous wine cellars and then tasting local monk-brewed liqueur at the base of the Montserrat Mountains. In seaside Sitges, there is also the option to make your very own cocktail at Bacardi House.

Both the Taste of Barcelona and Jewels of Barcelona multiday packages also involve a visit to the monastery at Montserrat Mountains to try the local liqueur and you can incorporate one of these activities into these wider itineraries.

Basque – food as individual as the region

San Sebastian and Bilbao are the best places in Basque to have the five star restaurant experiences. San Sebastian in particular, now a famous retreat for the rich and famous, has many celebrity chef-run restaurants and even a Michelin-starred eatery. It also has a delicious pintxos on offer, the Basque form of tapas.

Basque food features meat and fish grilled over hot coals, paprikas, fish stews and sheep’s cheese. On both the Taste of San Sebastian and Basque Country Highlights enjoy delicious pintxos, refined restaurants and the famous cider and txakoli (sparkling wine).

Southern Spain – put some pep in your step

Southern Spain is famous for its emphasis on pepper with spicy cured meats, air-dried hams, paella almost roasted over log fires and Iberian ham. The pigs of Iberico graze on acorns through the forestland giving the jamón a distinct nutty flavour. Keeping with the nutty theme, turron is a delicious local nougat of almond and honey with its origins stretching back to Spain’s Moor occupation.

In Granada, Live like a Local on a tapas walking tour to discover local bars and taverns specialising in both traditional and new flavours and beverages. In Seville enjoy a private Wine Tasting with the assistance of an English-speaking guide. Some of the wines on tasting are more than 30 years old and are considered local jewels. Either of these sightseeing activities can be incorporated into short break itineraries in Seville or Granada.

The Douro – connecting Portugal & Spain

Hop over the border to Portugal to continue the foodie experience. The Douro is a charming stretch of countryside punctuated by terraced vineyards and picture-perfect villages nestled beneath hills. This calm and beautiful part of the world combines the very best of Spanish and Portuguese culinary heritage to create its very own flavour with delicacies such as roasted baby goat with potatoes; wild board stew; and grilled partridge on a skewer.

The Douro is also famous for its delicious desserts – despite the many walking tracks on offer, don’t expect to lose weight here! A delicately flavoured rice pudding and vermicelli with cinnamon are among the most common throughout the region. For a quick snack, traditional bread made with meat or olive oil is worth a try.

From Porto, you can enjoy a coach day tour inland for the Douro Valley Wine Tour visiting three different wine estates to taste four different types of Portuguese wines (including Port and green wine) and enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch.

For something completely different, enjoy a river cruise over seven nights up the Douro river. Portraits of The Douro encompasses day tours, wine tastings and many delicious Portuguese meals as well as beautiful scenery and comfortable accommodation on board.

If you are interested in any of these food adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour through Spain and Portugal, contact one of our agents today.

 

Gastronomy 101: Spices of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan cuisine is exciting, interesting and varied, being heavily influenced by many different flavours. Always an important port for British and Dutch colonialists, Sri Lanka has known many foreign traders, bringing with them spices and techniques that have been integrated into local cuisine.

Fragrantly spiced dishes abound with fresh flavours to balance out the pungent spices. If you are looking for a foodie escape that combines local home-cookery with restaurant quality meals, look no further than one of our Sri Lankan food experiences.

Traditional cuisine with local flare

Typically Sri Lankan cuisine heavily features rice, coconut and spices. Curries predominate, made with fish, beef, chicken or mutton accompanied by lentils, vegetables or fruit. Dishes are usually served with pickled fruit or vegetables, and sambols such as coconut sambol (coconut, chili, dried fish & lime juice). Many dishes are also accompanied by roti, wheat flatbread.

Our Sri Lanka for Foodies tour is the ultimate food adventure over 12 days, taking you from markets to the kitchen to amazing natural sites of the island. In Negombo, you will explore the fish market on a guided tour and select your lunch – to be cooked by you in a Sri Lankan home cookery lesson. Dambulla will allow you a peek into traditional village life, with lunch flavours inspired by Chena or rotational cropping.

In Matale you will visit a spice garden where you can learn of Sri Lanka’s important place in the world as a purveyor of fine spices. Kandy you will enjoy another home cookery demonstration and then feast of a typical menu including fish, prawns, lentils, vegetables, curried, sambols and rice. Nuwara Eliya you can indulge in the English tradition of High Tea, set amongst the beautiful mountains and tea plantations. Finally the tour will take you to Colombo, the Sri Lankan street food capital where you will enjoy a walking tour and sample many delicacies along the way.

Short Gastronomy Experiences

For those who don’t have the time for the extended food tour, we also offer a number of shorter foodie experiences, ranging from four hours to three days.

From Colombo you can enjoy a Cooking by Colours lesson and feast or a Mirissa Lagoon Fishing Experience. Relax on a sunset cruise on Mirissa Langoon and Mangrove Sanctuary where you can fish for your dinner. Return to shore and enjoy a beachside BBQ featuring your freshly caught seafood and delicious accompaniments.

For the tea lovers among us, we also offer a three day Kandy Tea for Two experience including a visit to the elephant orphanage. During this tour you will not only pet baby elephants, but you will learn all about the process of tea manufacture, as well as how tea is graded then distributed. And you will drink many different types of tea of course!

Galle Fort Culinary Tour lasts for two days and includes a wonderful tour of the Galle Fort, built in 1588 by the Portuguese and now so much more than just a fort. Many of the properties inside the fort are full of delicious aromas of spices and cooking meals and it is a wonderful place to let yourself be swept up in the colourful history. You will purchase ingredients at the Galle market and then in Sonja’s Cooking Class learn about spices and Sri Lankan cooking techniques. Then all that is left to do will be to enjoy your mouthwatering creations!


Explore the flavours of Sri Lanka by contacting one of our agents today.

Gastronomy 101: Food & Wine of the Greek Islands

There’s nothing quite like feeling the salty seabreeze on your face as you tuck into some delicious seafood. You can’t help but think, ‘Can it get any fresher than this?’ Add to that a glass of chilled crisp white wine, a salad of fresh tomatoes, cucumber, olives & fetta and you have a match made in heaven.

The Greek Islands are idyllic not just in natural beauty – they are a veritable paradise – but in the slow-paced nature of island life. Travelling in this kind of environment encourages you to slow down and appreciate simple flavours, whether that be the aniseed kick of ouzo or the tender deliciousness of crispy fried calamari.

The best way to see the Greek Islands is by boat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to explore what the land has to offer too. Although not known for its wine on a world stage, the Greeks have been making wine for centuries and well beyond just Retsina and Domestica. With the volcanic soil on many of the islands, the wine making techniques are unique, creating very individual wines the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

All of the day tours and activities listed below can be incorporated into a ready-made or tailor-made island hopping itinerary.

Santorini

Santorini, with beautiful Oia and incredible sunsets, is an absolute must for any first timer to the islands. Not only is it home to beautiful sights and some incredible archaeological finds, it is also home to many wineries. With the volcanic soil being so hard to grow in, many vines are actually grown out of pots! After the 1956 earthquake on the island, the industry suffered hugely and was kept afloat by forming the Santo Wine Co-Operative. Today, they process 65% of the vines on the island and so are a great place to stop in for a wine tasting. The Santorini Wine Adventure will have you trying 12 of these different volcanic wines accompanied by local cheese, salami and olives.

For something a little more, our Santorini Cooking Class and Wine Tasting is a great way to learn about local cuisine and how to match it with local wines. Although many of the grapes are now processed by machines, at some select vineyards vinsanto, the sweet wine of Santorini, is still made by the traditional method of stamping on the grapes!

As well as calamari mentioned above, common seafood you’ll find around the Cyclades includes barbounia (red mullet), astakos (lobster) and marides (whitebait). Learn six traditional Santorinian recipes with our small group Cooking Class using local organic produce while tasting local wines.

Mykonos

With sweeping beaches, old windmills, winding cobblestone alleys among white washed buildings with blue trim, Mykonos is known for its wild nightlife yet equally low-key village life in daylight hours. The rugged island is also home to some delicious culinary traditions that you can discover on the Wine & Culture walking tour. This tour guides participants to local historical spots, teaches you about the folklore of the island, takes you to a nautical museum documenting Mykonos’ long seafaring history and afterwards lets you enjoy a wine tasting accompanied by traditional mezes.

Meze is a small snack sized bite of delicious local fare and can include dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with mince and/or herby rice), melitzana (eggplant – fried or as a dip with tomato & onion), gigantes (giant butter beans in tomato sauce), saganaki, briam (eggplants, zucchinis, capsicum & tomatoes) and much more.

Naxos

The biggest of the Cyclades Islands, Naxos was once centre of island life. Upon arrival in the port town, you can’t help but notice the Apollon Gate, thrust out to sea on an island head, harking back to Naxos’ rich history. The namesake town is full of white-washed houses and Venetian mansions, with a medieval castle, Kastro, at the top of the hill acting today as an archaeological museum.

Being such a big island, Naxos is an island of agriculture and they grow many citrus trees, as well as grazing sheep and goats. On the Naxos Yesterday and Today tour, discover the foundations of Naxos, visiting a ceramics workshop, a Byzantine church and a citrus distillery, where you can taste locally crafted creations. To try some delicious local fare, enjoy our Riverwalk coach day trip, following the longest river in Naxos past an old monastery, nine watermills and finishing off with a traditional Greek meal in Engares.

Koufonisia

A little off the tourist path, Koufonisia, meaning hollow islands, are three small islands that look from afar as though they are entirely made up of caves. In reality, they are a charming stop off, often known as the Mykonos of the Small Cyclades with superb beaches and a lovely array of restaurants that maintain their low-key charm and serve traditional Greek fare.

Crete

crete_restaurant_gastronomyCrete is Greece’s largest island, with an interesting history and resulting culture. It has the best of both worlds with nature, from rugged mountains to pristine beaches and is surrounded by turquoise waters. With Minoan archaeological sites muddled in next to Venetian-style town houses and quaint villages, Crete has something for every traveller – and we haven’t even mentioned the cuisine!

Almost every village in Crete seems to have its own signature cheese. Graviera is a hard cheese that is sweet when young and then becomes nutty and flavourful as it ages. By contrast pichtogalo Chanion is a softer creamier cheese, as is myzithra, a young whey cheese with a mild taste. To drink, everywhere around Crete locals brew their own raki over open fires in copper stills. This is a type of brandy distilled from grapes and is served with mezes, olives or even neat.

Try some of the delicious foods and wines of Crete on the Garden of Crete independent tour – a full day tour of food, wine, Minoan archaeology and even the chance to try creating come pottery yourself under the tutelage of a master potter.

Tastes of Crete features instruction from a local cook in a rustic 18th century farmhouse surrounded by organic gardens. Participate in wine and cheese tastings before enjoying a delicious meal matched with Cretan wines.

A popular daytrip off Crete is to visit the tiny islet of Spinalonga. Once home to a leper colony, the islet was orginally a fortress of Venetian Crete and on The Island – Spinalonga BBQ independent tour you can enjoy a beachside BBQ as you explore the island.

For a more complete Crete itinerary, have a look at one of our Crete Self Drive packages where we can incorporate one of these day tours.

“But how do I get from one island to the next?”

Well, the easiest way to see all of these magical places and enjoy the delicious flavours of the Greek Islands is to let us organise an Island Hopping Package for you. The packages include your accommodation, some meals, return airport and port transfers, fast ferry tickets and flights (where specified). Trips that encompass some or all of the above islands include Cycladic AdventureGreek Island Explorer; Island Delightsor any other route we will tailor-make just for you.

For a full Greece itinerary, check out our Land & Island Packages encompassing classical mainland Greece as well as some of the most famous and beautiful islands. Or how about going for the full holiday experience and book yourself into one of our many Cruises to experience the islands in relaxed style? Delectable meals feature on the menu with many organised day trips to wineries, markets and local restaurants ashore to ensure you get to experience all the flavours of the Greek Islands.


Are you ready for your gastronomical tour of the Greek Islands? Contact us today about one of the itineraries outlined above or we can tailor-make your perfect foodie experience, featuring the best culinary experiences that the Islands have to offer!

Gastronomy 101: French Food

France is the country of romance, wine and cheese – and we can help you with at least two of these things! No, we’re not offering a match-making service but rather the chance to experience the very best wine, cheese and other classic French cuisine that the country of love has to offer.

Each region of France has a proud gastronomie heritage, producing locally made bread, cheese, wine, cured meats: the list goes on. And so it follows that one of the best ways to understand France is through its food.

In the south were food is cooked in light olive oil, flavours are simple and bread is light, it is said that people are more relaxed and laid-back. Whereas in the north, where food is cooked in rich butter, strong flavours dominate and the bread is thick & grainy, people are supposedly more loquacious, quick to laugh and share a tale.

Whether this proves true or not, the food and wine of France is deeply part of the culture and locals are exceptionally proud of their food heritage. On any of the below mentioned itineraries, you will see the passion and love that goes into creating such delicious food by interacting with local farmers, vignerons, sommeliers and chefs.

Your French Kitchen

Paris MarketA trip to Paris is incomplete without wandering around the beautiful markets. Awash with gleaming vegetables, the scent of spice wafting through the air, and the raucous cries of hawking stall-holders, allow yourself to be absorbed in market life on our French Market Tour and Class. After your tour of the market, you will return to the classroom kitchen, fresh produce in hand, to prepare a delicious seasonal meal, under the guidance of a professional chef.

Speaking of cooking, the notoriously difficult to create French delicacy of macarons can be conquered by you after a two or three hour French Macaron Class. The three hour intensive is ideal for those who want to perfect these elegant, colourful pastries.

Tastebud explosion

If you prefer to eat over cook, the Bellies on Foot day tour is for you. Taking you through the winding streets of old Paris, you will visit the very foundations of the French culinary scene, collecting produce along the way. Then with fresh bread, charcuterie, fromage, froie gras and sweets in hand, it’s time to sit back and relax with a glass in hand, to enjoy your treasure trove of produce.

Patisserie_Paris_Food_Wine_ToursFor all those sweet-tooths out there, it’s hard to look further than the patisseries of Paris when you think of heaven.  Handmade chocolates, intricately decorated tarts, wafer thin pastries that melt on your mouth – the Marais is is home to all of this and more. Over two hours, enjoy wandering the streets of this hip part of Paris on the Let Them Eat Cake tour and sample all the delicious treats on offer.

Incorporate one of these fantastic foodie experiences into your Paris short break, such as a Taste of Paris or Parisian Classics, to really explore the city of lights.

Beyond Paris, there is so much delicious regional food and wine to discover on many of our itineraries. On the Normandy, Brittany and The Loire Valley small group tour, see chateaux, battle-scarred landscapes of France’s northern shores, centuries old villages and hilltop monasteries as you eat and drink your way through the region. Sample Calvaldos (cider) in Normandy, wine in the Loire and cheese in Brittany, with delicious restaurant dinners along the way.

Alternatively, we also offer three different Chateaux & Wines small group day tours out of the Loire Valley, that can be incorporated into a wider itinerary.

See our in-depth Gastronomy 101: French Wines for tours, itineraries and packages focusing on le vin de la belle France.


If you are interested in any of these food adventures or want to craft your very own tailor-made gastronomical tour of France, contact one of our agents today.

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?!