It’s early afternoon and you’re on the perfect Caribbean beach. The sand is pure white, the waves turquoise and tranquil. You’ve never been more relaxed. But then there’s a problem: you’re hungry. And the isolation that makes this beach so …
Source: Labor Day Weekend Itinerary
Paris in the 1920s was a golden age for financially challenged American writers who flocked to the City of Light for the excellent exchange rate for the dollar, the liberated lifestyle, and the hottest art scene in the world. Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and his flamboyant wife Zelda, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and E. E. Cummings all staked a claim in the capital of Jazz Age Europe (and were joined by Irishman James Joyce, Brit George Orwell, and a bevy of Russian and Eastern European geniuses).
Hemingway in particular captured the frenzied party atmosphere after the sacrifices of World War I. The members of his so-called “Lost Generation” would hang out on the “terrasses” of boulevard cafés, listen to African-American musicians in the smoky jazz bars, and enjoy bargain meals in the louche back streets of Montparnasse. At that time, Hemingway lived as an unknown writer with his wife, Hadley, in a tiny, sunny flat (74 Rue du Cardinal Lemoine, near the Place de la Contrescarpe), where he recalled in later books like A Moveable Feast the classic ambiance of cheery drunkards, street urchins, hard-working flower-sellers, and prostitutes with hearts of gold. Their apartment on the top floor cost only 60 francs per month—a few American dollars at the time—and Hemingway wrote his first short stories while looking out over the poetic rooftops of the city. Of course, the writer’s diet of bread and cheese was tempered by the occasional martini at the Hotel Ritz (on the Place Vendôme) with F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hemingway retained a lasting fondness for the place.
When Hemingway returned to Paris in 1944 as a war correspondent with the American troops, he headed straight to the Ritz to “liberate” its ancient wine cellar after the German occupation—and stayed for weeks in Room 31. In the 1950s, the hotel named the Hemingway Bar in his honor and installed a marble bust of the great writer there.
What story might you discover next with Globus and R and B International Travel ?
Whether you are an aspiring chef or simply an epicure, culinary travel promises the opportunity to truly savor your vacation. This growing trend of experiencing authentic cooking and dining around the world allows you to broaden your education and your palate at the same time. What a decadent way to travel!
The genre of culinary travel includes trips that focus on learning to create local dishes, those that emphasize tasting and wine pairing, and everything in between. As you can see, there are many options available. Let this report assist in your planning, as it will provide you with the basic recipe for culinary travel. With it, you are sure to cook up the perfect culinary adventure!
The most important consideration in planning your culinary vacation is whether you want to learn traditional recipes and cooking techniques, or if you’re more interested in enjoying the end result. Those wanting a strictly educational experience might enjoy cooking alongside famous chefs in renowned cooking schools. If dining inspires you, perhaps you would prefer the company of a learned chef as your guide. Or maybe you would like just a taste of culinary arts in your trip, as you explore other cultural aspects of your destination. The more consideration given to these issues before contacting a tour operator, the more efficient the planning process will be and the quicker you’ll be on your way.
If cooking is your passion, think about attending a cooking school, many of which boast award-winning chefs as instructors. If you go, you will have to consider your level of expertise to ensure pairing with courses that suit your abilities. The less experienced might learn more through hands-on instruction, while advanced students may feel confident in attending cooking demonstrations. You can even choose to learn a particular specialty such as pastry making. Wine schools are also a popular choice, offering classes on wine making, history, appreciation and pairing with foods.
For those interested in learning to cook according a country’s customs but want to spend a little less time in the kitchen, a cooking tour may be the best bet. Along with culinary classes, these tours are peppered with visits to wineries, vineyards, superior restaurants, and local markets and food producers. With some tours, you will travel to different cooking schools to take classes. Others offer the more intimate experience of attending the kitchens of various celebrated chefs.
Culinary tour guides, many of whom have backgrounds in history and/or cultural anthropology, will tell you the history of indigenous dishes, offer guidance while dining with you, and even provide cooking instruction. Your tour may be guided by an actual chef, or may enlist the services of two guides: one culinary and one cultural. Your guide should be bilingual, even if those providing the cooking demonstrations are not. And of course, if you would like to design your own culinary dream vacation, chef guides and cultural guides can be hired on an individual basis — the possibilities are endless!
Most cooking tours will accommodate travelers with every level of experience. However, general kitchen knowledge is expected. Before you go, ask your travel consultant if class participation is mandatory, or if you may merely observe. You will also want to inquire about attire. Cooking classes are generally casual, but more sophisticated dress may be necessary when dining out. You may also want to find out whether recipes will be provided after the demonstration.
Your tour operator should be able to accommodate any dietary needs regarding meals. However, the meals prepared during cooking classes, unless the class is designed and taken on an individual basis, are usually determined by the instructor and cannot be changed upon request. There are tours designed for vegetarians, which usually take place in Asian countries. Thailand for example, boasts an annual vegetarian festival.
If you are more of a gastronome, you will want to take or design a tour that focuses on the pleasures of dining. Many culinary travelers maintain that there is no better way to learn about a culture than by sampling its traditional dishes. Such tours often include the excursions mentioned above, as well as more standard tourist attractions such as museums and art galleries. Certain tours allow more time for exploring the towns in which you stay. There are also more active tours, which incorporate such activities as hiking, painting and language instruction. These tours also provide a good option for those wanting to dine independently.
Not surprisingly, the most popular destinations for gourmet vacationing are Italy and France. Tasting tapas in Spain is also en vogue. When visiting these popular regions, the earlier you make your reservation, the better. But Europe isn’t your only option. You may enjoy a culinary cruise to the Caribbean or take a chef-guided tour of Mexico. For the more adventurous, culinary tours are offered in such exotic locales as Morocco, India and Vietnam. For those looking for an experience closer to home, consider becoming a barbecue connoisseur in West Virginia or cook up some Creole in Louisiana.
Travelers may also take a culinary vacation by means of a food festival. The Netherlands boasts an international food-tasting festival every August, and Georgia is home to the annual Vidalia Festival. If you appreciate good beer as much as good food, Oktoberfest is certain to leave you hoppy.
The cost of a culinary vacation varies widely. The biggest factor in determining the price of your trip is whether you opt for a package tour, which generally means sharing your travel experience with other culinary enthusiasts. Most culinary tours are packaged at a fixed price that includes daily classes, meals, excursions, accommodations and ground transportation. You will be responsible for making your own travel arrangements to the school or destination, a task with which your travel consultant can greatly assist. The cost of your trip is further determined by the country visited, the extent of teaching provided, the quality of restaurants enjoyed, and the number and nature of excursions taken.
Accommodation is also a factor. Luxury and high-end hotels are a more expensive option. Staying in a countryside villa may not be as posh an experience, but the relaxation granted by fresh air and lush landscapes could prove to be priceless. Work through the options with your travel consultant. The more clearly you state your own preferences, the better your travel consultant can work with the tour operator to properly accommodate you and your traveling companions.
When pricing your stay, remember to take into consideration any Value Added Tax (VAT) levied by many countries in Europe and elsewhere. Because VAT is often as high as 20% of the cost of an accommodation or good purchased, the amount is often not insignificant! Many travelers assume that VAT is refundable. However, this is typically not the case for services such as transportation, accommodation, food, gas or any other goods or services consumed within the country itself. Ensure that the price you are quoted includes all taxes and other fees.
Sound too good to be true? It’s all for real and with a little planning a culinary vacation can be an absolutely wonderful way to garnish your next trip away from home — and R and B International Travel can help you plan it.
Thank you for visiting our blog: a great place to search for deals and get ideas! While we specialize in small ships cruises, river and Barge cruises, upscale Vacations, and Tours, we service our clients’ every need. Our core business is all about repeat clients and referrals. Most clients start their vacation search on the internet and we think that’s a good thing. The web is a great source of information. When it’s time to plan your trip, however, then leave it to the Professionals. One call and we’ll do it all …
G Adventures Top 5: Vegetarian Hotspots
By: G Adventures
With a voracious appetite for vegetables, there are more than a few long-time vegetarians at G Adventures. If vegetables could talk, you’d hear them screaming when they trek into town.
Here are some memorable vegetarian stops we’ve had the pleasure to enjoy during wandering travels around the world.
#1 Chiang Mai, Thailand — While travelling through Thailand the most common vegetarian dishes are usually variations on veggie pad Thai or veggie Thai curry. While both are great dishes, don’t you wonder what the vegetarian Thai eats? In Chiang Mai we found a place that serves up the true North Thailand vegetarian experience. Mangsawirat Kangreuanjam is a small place within the city walls that serves up 20 to 30 different authentic thai dishes daily. Opening early in the morning this is a fantastic place for breakfast. All your choices are right in front of you and you can load your plate for less than two bucks.
#2 Rajasthan, India — (winner of our Best Vegetarian Country award) – India has got to be the best place in the world for a vegetarian meal. The variety in choices of dishes from north to south is mind boggling. One place that stands out however, is the Dream Heaven Guest House in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The meal of choice was a thali dinner consisting of 6 spectacular dishes served with rice, roti and papad. The open air roof top patio has a fantastic view over the lake, the old city and the floating palace. We enjoyed a Kingfisher beer as the sun went down and then enjoyed our meal in the cool evening air.
#3 Cuzco, Peru — Unlike India, South America can be a tough place to find a really good variety of vegetarian food. After a month touring around Peru we found ourselves a little tired of rice, beans and eggs and craving fresh vegetables. While in Cuzco we tried a place called Granja Heidi that had a Mediterranean theme. We had a delicious fresh green salad and penne pasta. Although the dishes were not peruvian, we did enjoy the meal with a Cusqueña beer.
#4 Chamonix, France — Okay, here is one of our favourite lunches. While in the Alps in early June we packed up a lunch consisting of fresh baguette, brie, olives, avocado and a great bottle of red wine and headed out for a hike through the mountains. After an amazing morning hiking through the forests, up the mountain and across alpine meadows we found a stunning view of the surrounding snow caps. There we sat in silence and enjoyed one of the best lunches we have ever had. Don’t forget the corkscrew.
#5 New Brunswick, Canada — No matter where you are you can usually find a vegetarian dish on the menu. But when you stumble upon a vegetarian restaurant in the most unexpected place it is a fantastic score and means you have more than one choice. While travelling through New Brunswick, Canada, we were fortunate, and surprised, to find a vegetarian restaurant just down the street from our bed and breakfast in a residential area of Moncton. The staff at Café Calactus restaurant were very friendly and they served us up some fantastic veg dishes at very reasonable prices.
Ditch the meat and contact R and B International Travel to visit one of these vegetarian hotspots!
Dance the Night Away
Do the Hula in Hawaii…stomp out the rhythm of folkloric dancing in Mexico (and wear a bright colorful skirt just for fun)…tango the night away in Buenos Aires, Argentina…move to the music at a salsa dance lesson at San Antonio’s Institute de Mexico…experience the song, dance and guitar of the flamenco, the national dance of Spain.
Cooking your way to a healthier you
- Cook with olive oil.
- Cut down meat portions, and increase portions of grains and legumes proportionately.
- Eat more fish.
- Eat more leafy green vegetables and salads.
- Sit down for meals whenever possible, rather than eating on the run.
- Choose whole grain breads and pastas instead of refined products.
Gardening – Reap what you Sow
What is more gratifying than arranging a lovely bouquet of cut flowers from your own garden or savoring the delicious flavors of colorful vegetables that you tended from seeds and picked fresh that day? Many Americans list gardening as a way to unwind and relax. Squatting, stooping and bending in the home garden are good for circulation and “playing” in dirt lowers stress levels and promotes a sense of well-being.
Contact R and B International Travel and discover how fun staying healthy can be.
There is a reason France is the most visited country in the world. See for yourself why… you won’t be disappointed.
Paris. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a visit to Paris will leave you speechless. The city of lights and love, she is also the capital of the country largely considered to be the philosophical cradle of the Enlightenment. Paris is not only to be savored in the springtime, but summer, fall and winter as well. A quick ride in a Parisian cab or on the Métro will bring you to the Louvre, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Sacré Cœur, the Seine River’s famous left bank, the Hôtel des Invalides where Napoleon is entombed, the Galleries Lafayette or Printemps (or other famous Parisian shops) … the list goes on and on.
The dining: cafés, brasseries, and restaurants offer everything from basic fare to exquisite gastronomy – in the fancier restaurants, it would seem the chef moonlights as a poet, adding to the charm of the experience.
Normandy. Famous for its cider, Calvados brandy, and cheese, to most North Americans, it is better known for the pivotal moment in history that saw the Allied forces break through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall to open the Western Front in WWII. My first visit to Normandy started at the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach. I remember watching the early morning fog rise revealing perfectly arranged Carrara marble headstones shone like white beacons over the beaches the men they commemorate had helped liberate. I later learned why those grave markers are so white: one of the cemetery’s French custodians takes the time to paint all 9,387 of them each year. The whole area around the landing beaches is a living memorial to those valiant soldiers.
The Loire Valley. Cradle of the French monarchy for centuries, this part of France is where the magnificent chateaux of France can be visited. Chenonceau, once seized by King Henry II, was given to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. After his death, Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici, had Diane expelled and maneuvered a way to finally call Chenonceau her own. Astonished visitors marvel at the gardens, and this summer party house of royals and nobles, built over the river Cher. Not to be outdone, the chateau in Amboise is also a sight to see, with its secret underground passage. Built by Francis I, the passage connects Amboise to the Clos Lucé, the last home of Leonardo Da Vinci, who had been invited by the king to France and notably brought with him a painting of a certain smiling lady that now resides in the Louvre.
Provence. The inspiration of artists like Cézanne and Picasso. Many artists and actors have frequented Provence, renowned for the way its striking sunlight bathes its perched villages in a warm glow, the fragrant fields of lavender that blush a purple radiance in mid-summer, the olive groves and their related oil and tapenade, and the easy-going nature of its residents, many of whom gather to play long, relaxing games of pétanque under the shade of plane trees. The Mistral wind blows here, necessitating that many of its church towers be built with open wrought-iron campanile, as well as the planting of cypress hedgerows to protect crops and vineyards.
The French Riviera. This breathtaking area opens up France’s Côte d’Azur, where the rich and famous have been coming since the late 19th century for its Mediterranean climate, movie and music festivals, and Europe’s oldest principality in Monaco. Stone dolmens recall this area’s Paleolithic history, and its flower fields are the raison d’être for famous perfumeries like Fragonard in Grasse. Rénoir, Matisse, Chagall, Van Gogh, and Picasso all lived here, along with royalty from around Europe, and who can forget the fairytale marriage of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainer III.
Contact R and B International Travel and discover France Uncovered.
Gregory Hall, one of our seasoned Tour Managers, a citizen of France, who speaks fluent English, French and German, grew up in West Berlin, Germany, and now lives in Michigan. He spends much of his time guiding tours through Europe – and wants to take you on a virtual tour of some of his favorite parts of France!