If you’re a culinary connoisseur, what could be better than spending a week–or more–sipping and dining through some of the world’s more awe-inspiring countries? Artisans of Leisure, a leading provider of high-end cultural tours, has announced its 2011-2012 culinary tours that are suited to the interests of anyone who loves food and includes experiences that may not be available otherwise. Here’s a look at the incredible upcoming culinary adventures:
Food & Wine of Portugal (8 Days – Douro Valley, Porto, Lisbon, Sintra, Alentejo & Evora)
Highlights: wine tasting in the Douro Valley and Alentejo, cultural touring in Lisbon and Sintra, tasting port wine in Porto, a meal at the home of a renowned wine family, a private cooking class, olive oil tasting, riding in a private traditional rabelo (wooden boat for transporting wine).
Flavors of Southeast Asia (16 days – Singapore, Saigon, Hoi An, Hanoi, Chiang Mai, Bangkok)
Highlights: visiting hawker stalls and markets in Singapore, touring a historic spice garden in Singapore, cooking classes in each country, in-depth cultural touring, a street food tasting tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, lunch at a Buddhist pagoda in Hanoi, visiting markets in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, elephant ride in Thailand.
Food & Wine Tour of Switzerland (7 Days – Zurich, Basel & Alsace, Bern, Gruyeres, Lausanne & Lake Geneva)
Highlights: wine tasting in the beautiful Lavaux, visiting a cheese maker in Gruyeres, touring Bern’s Old Town, visiting a chocolate factory, a day trip along the Alsace Wine Route, visiting food shops specializing in regional Slow Food products.
Food & Wine of Austria (8 Days – Vienna, Wachau, Burgenland, Styria)
Highlights: visiting a local heuriger (wine tavern), visiting the Naschmarkt and specialty stores, an excursion to the Wachau wine region and Styrian Wine Country, visits to artisanal food producers, reservations at top restaurants, visits to renowned Viennese cafes.
Wine Tour of Hungary (6 Days – Eger-Tokaj Wine Region, Budapest)
Highlights: sampling local wines such as aszu and Egri Bikaver in local cellars in a UNESCO World Heritage Site, touring the top cultural attractions in Budapest with a private guide, visiting local food markets.
Vietnam for Foodies (11 days – Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon)
Highlights: vegetarian lunch with nuns at an ancient Buddhist pagoda, cooking class at a local village, tours of fish and produce markets, foodie tour of Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
Food & Wine of France & Switzerland (10 Days – Paris, Champagne, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Lyon, Lausanne & Lake Geneva)
Highlights: insider tasting tour and culinary shopping tour of Paris, visiting top cellars and chateaux in world-renowned wine regions, staying in a spectacular castle in Beaujolais, visiting a cheese maker in Gruyeres, touring a chocolate factory in Switzerland, dining in top restaurants, visiting local food markets.
Cooking Tour of China (11 days – Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong)
Highlights: private cooking classes in Beijing and Shanghai, tours of local markets and food shops, visiting the Great Wall, eating at select teahouses and noted specialty and dim sum restaurants.
Culinary Tour of Japan (8 days – Tokyo, Kyoto, Hakone)
Highlights: learning to prepare typical Japanese dishes during a private cooking class, dining at a Zen temple, staying at a luxurious hot springs resort, dining on refined kaiseki ryori cuisine, personalized cultural touring, and shopping for specialty cookware, knives, lacquerware and ceramics.
Thailand for Foodies (9 days – Bangkok, Chiang Mai)
Highlights: cooking classes at leading Thai culinary schools, dining in a private home, chef-led food market tours, staying in top hotels and resorts, touring of cultural highlights in each location.
India for Foodies (12 Days – Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai)
Highlights: cooking class and lunch at home of royal chefs, touring local food markets, staying in extraordinary palace-style hotels, private cooking classes in Rajasthan and Mumbai, riding an elephant, visiting local temples and bazaars, reservations at India’s best restaurants.
Food & Wine of Australia (9 days – Melbourne, Yarra Valley, Adelaide, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Sydney)
Highlights: wine tasting in Australia’s top wine regions, trying Aboriginal bushtucker cuisine, visiting Sydney’s specialty markets, dining in renowned restaurants.
Culinary Tour of Mexico (15 Days – Merida, Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, San Miguel de Allende)
Highlights: learning to make mole in Puebla, visiting a mezcal distillery in Oaxaca, touring local food markets, a cooking class in the Yucatan, shopping for pottery and other local crafts, a tasting tour of Mexico City.
Gourmet Northern Italy (10 days – Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany)
Highlights: truffle hunting (in season), a private cooking class among vineyards, touring food shops in Emilia-Romagna, rustic meals at renowned restaurants in Bologna and Parma, visiting producers of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham, a balsamic vinegar tasting in Modena, a private cooking class in Tuscany, touring markets and housewares shops with experts.
Art & Culinary Tour of Sicily (13 Days – Palermo, Marsala, Sciacca, Ragusa, Syracuse, Taormina)
Highlights: a private cooking class with a renowned cookbook author, touring Roman ruins, private market tours, sampling Sicilian pastries, visiting olive oil producers and artisanal chocolate makers, wine tasting at noted vineyards, reservations at restaurants specializing in authentic local cuisine.
Culinary & Art Tour of Spain (11 days – Madrid, San Sebastian, La Rioja, Bilbao, Barcelona)
Highlights: a private pintxos tour, a Basque cooking class at a private gastronomic society, touring the Guggenheim Bilbao, a Catalan cooking class, wine tasting in La Rioja, market visits, touring modern art and architecture in Barcelona.