Croissant Taste Memories

Food & Memory – What Makes Their Connection So Strong?

By | Food

“We all have our food memories, some good and some bad. The taste, smell, and texture of food can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back memories not just of eating food itself but also of place and setting. Food is an effective trigger of deeper memories of feelings and emotions, internal states of the mind and body.”

The Harvard University Press on John S. Allen’s The Omnivorous Mind.

Technically, the sense of smell is the sense most closely tied to memory. But the sense of taste is certainly a close second, especially when you consider just how much of what you taste is impacted by your sense of smell. And when you combine smell and taste, it is quite literally what memories are made of.

Christmas Cookies

For food-focused individuals like me, when I reflect on fond memories throughout my life, a lot of them include food in some way or another. For example, I fondly remember making dishes with my mother for family gatherings, Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparent’s house, my grandmother’s scrambled eggs, and sharing meals with good friends.

When I specifically think of travel memories, I typically pull up evoke images of not only gorgeous landscapes, bustling cities, or quaint little villages, but also unhurried, lingering dinners, unforgettable pastries, better-than-anything-I’ve-ever-had-at-home pasta, or unique and playful main courses. And in the reverse, I can take a bite of something and immediately get transported back to wherever I was when I first tried that flavor.

Pasta

It has occurred to me the food isn’t the definitive reason I have those memories, it’s the experiences that were created while enjoying the food. It’s the time spent with loved ones, it’s learning new skills, it’s celebrating life’s moments. With the holidays coming up, I encourage you to slow down to savor those moments over a meal with family and friends and appreciate the time you are devoting to create new memories! The physical act of enjoying the food itself most likely lasts only minutes, but the memory linked to that food experience can last a lifetime.

Taste Vacations 2018 Tour Schedule Announced

Taste Vacations 2018 Tour Schedule Announced!

By | Taste Vacations

The Taste Vacations 2018 tour schedule is here! We are very excited to again be offering a variety of food, wine, and beer vacations here in the U.S. and abroad. We’ve kept in our favorite experiences, improved a few others, and even added a brand new trip – the North Carolina: Asheville Craft Food & Drink Tour.

Check out the 2018 full schedule:

March 12 – 20, 2018: Chile & Argentina Wine Tour >>
April 9 – 16, 2018: Peru Food Tour >>
April 29 – May 5, 2018: Tuscany Food & Wine Tour >>
May 17 – 19, 2018: North Carolina Asheville Craft Food & Drink Tour >> ** NEW TOUR**
May 21 – 26, 2018: Spain Food & Wine Tour >>
August 26 – September 1, 2018: Belgium Beer Tour >>
September 23 – 25, 2018: Washington Wine Country Tour >>
October 14 – 16, 2018: Sonoma Wine & Walking Tour >>

Where do you want to go next year?

We hope you can join us in 2018!

Top 10 Hidden Gem Beer Bars in Belgium

10 Best Hidden Gem Beer Bars in Flanders, Belgium

By | Beer

Meet Yannick de Cocqueau10 Best Beer Bars in Belgium, our resident Taste Vacations beer expert with quite impressive credentials. He was born and raised in Ghent, Belgium and he is not only a skilled homebrewer but he is a freelance brewer for Bourgogne de Flandres. To top things off, he also has acted as a beer judge for several beer competitions throughout Belgium.  This guy knows his beer.

With his extensive knowledge of Flanders, a northern region in Belgium, we asked Yannick to share with us his top 10 hidden gem beer bars for travelers looking to visit his beloved home country. He was happy to oblige.

As with most hidden gems, some are in unusual locations but they are all quite accessible, and in most cases, you should be able to easily get along with speaking only English.  Here are his recommendations, in no particular order:

1. Apostelken >>

Apostelstraat 1
9300 Aalst

‘t Apostelken is a real beer monument. You’ll discover over 250 beers here, with a focus on the regional and typical Belgian styles like lambic beers. A big central Orval bottle makes it clear that you are at an Orval Ambassador, serving this Trappist at different ages and temperatures. If you’re hungry the house spaghetti or brochette are recommended. Additionally, the collection of over 5,000 full bottles of Belgian beers is just impressive and worth a look.

2. Gainsbar >>

Vlasmarkt 1
8500 Kortrijk

The interior of the bar reflects the eccentric and artistic character of the French singer. Of all the beer cafés in the city, this is also the one with the longest and most diverse beer list. Local brewers and really special beers are featured here. You’ll always be able to try something you don’t know in a great atmosphere until the early morning hours. The place to be(er) in Kortrijk!

3. Trollenkelder >>

Bij Sint-Jacobs 17
9000 Gent

Brown beer pub with a 15th-century basement where you can enjoy a quiet, intimate chat. Here you can’t order a normal pint, only top-quality Belgian specialty beers! The name is coming from the Norwegian origins of the formal owner and the troll stories coming from the north. Trolls are still quite present in the decoration and interior.

4. M-Café >>

Savoyestraat 10
3000 Leuven

You can visit the M-café for a drink and a bite to eat before, during or after your visit to the M-museum. But this bar is way more than just a typical museum bar and offers you the largest selection of regional beers in Leuven. They also have an extensive amount of knowledge and experience – they know what they do, what they serve, and how to serve it.

5. ‘t Brugs Beertje >>

Kemelstraat 5
8000 Brugge

‘t Brugs Beertje serves 300 different Belgian beers. Add some Belgian cheese or paté to make your pub visit even more enjoyable. It’s small and cozy and you’ll often meet some brewers having a beer here too. A nice mix of tourists and locals.

6. Antwerps Bierhuyske >>

Hoogstraat 14
2000 Antwerpen

Within a stone’s throw from the main square, you’ll find the Mecca for beer lovers. Beers are poured like they should, following all the rules, and showing full respect for the product.

7. Botteltje >>

Louisastraat 19
8400 Oostende

An authentic brown pub with probably the biggest beer menu on the Belgian coast. Make your choice from more than 300 beers and pair it with some of their tasty bapas (beer tapas). If you’re really hungry, go for one the traditional dishes or menus. Even in the food, beer isn’t really far away.

8. Monk Bar >>

Sint-Katelijnestraat 42
1000 Brussel

With several Trappist beers on draught and the possibility to taste the Faro, a lambic based beer typical for Brussels, Monk is worth a visit. An authentic bar in one of the most lively neighborhoods of Brussels were you can start with a coffee in the early morning, have a great spaghetti for lunch, and finish at night with a good beer as night cap. The atmosphere changes along the day with a flow of locals and tourists coming in and out.

9. ‘t Ankertje aan de Dijle >>

Vismarkt 20
2800 Mechelen

In this cozy café located in a 18th-century building of Late Baroque style, you’ll find famous Mechelen beers on the beer list. There is also a beer shop featuring all sorts of ‘beery’ gifts. The ground floor of the building is dedicated entirely to the beers of Brewery Het Anker, with several of their beers on tap. The upper floor is decorated with countless advertising panels and materials from the 30-odd breweries that have been located in Mechelen at one time or another. ‘t Ankertje is located on the Vismarkt, which is today a fashionable, trendy neighborhood in the city.

10. Boelekewis >>

Alsembergsesteenweg 856
1653 Dworp

Boelekewis means regional cuisine, grilled meats, and mussels. In the summer, you can enjoy one of their fresh salads on their big terrace and garden. You can’t imagine a better place to enjoy some delicious lambic beers. They hold the record for the most regional spontaneous fermenters – more than 40 on the menu!

Extend Your Stay - What to do in Italy

Extend Your Stay: What To Do In Italy

By | Travel Tips

Traveling halfway across the globe takes a bit of effort and time – so you might as well make the most of it! Though we try to include as many key places on our itineraries for the regions we are exploring, you can’t always fit everything into the allotted timeframe. If you’re heading out on our Tuscany Food & Wine Tour, it is certainly worth extending your vacation in Italy.

Where to go and what to do in Italy:

What to do in Italy - Florence

Florence (Firenze)
Florence is a large city with a full slate of artistic and historic sites. It was essentially the center of the Renaissance, thanks to being the home of the Medici family and sculptor Michelangelo. Though we do start our Tuscany tour in Florence, we highly recommend spending an extra day or two here to take in the architectural and cultural sights.

What to do in Italy - Rome
Rome
Rome is a fantastic city. It is filled with cultural, historical, and architectural sights including the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and more. While the city is huge and can be daunting, the central district is quite manageable on foot and with a good map. It is a truly unique experience to wander down a fairly modern European street and turn a corner to gaze upon stunning ancient ruins.

What to do in Italy - Vernazza Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a chain of quaint seaside villages on the breathtaking Italian Riviera. Each village has its own personality and hidden treasures. You can get from village to village via train or ferry. To get to the best views, however, you can hike the Sentiero Azzurro, a cliffside hiking trail that links the villages together. Though there are countless number of ancient stairs, it is certainly worth the effort.

What to do in Italy - Milan
Milan
Milan is Italy’s fashion capital and is one of the richest cities in Europe with scads of shopping opportunities and a thriving and cosmopolitan cultural scene. However, it also holds several historic and artistic attractions, including the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, the Last Supper painting, and the famous La Scala Opera House. Although the city was heavily bombed during World War II, much of it was rebuilt. You don’t want to drive into Milan and do want to reserve your hotel in advance.

What to do in Italy - Lake Como
Lake Como and the Italian Lakes District
Lake Como is widely regarded as the most beautiful lake in Italy (search for “Lake Como” images on Google and you’ll see for yourself). The lake is surrounded by mountains and hills and dotted with beautiful villas and resort villages. There are good hiking paths, boat trips, water activities and great photography opportunities.

What to do in Italy - Venice

Venice
Another one of Italy’s most iconic destinations, you might consider spending one or two extra days in Venice. The center of Venice is remarkably small and extremely walkable – you can cross from one side to another in about an hour. Highlights of the city include Rialto Bridge (the Kissing Bridge), St. Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco), Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Basilica, and a gondola ride along the canals. Some would argue that Venice itself is its greatest sight, so take time to wander, explore, shop, and simply “be.” There are hundreds of hotels in Venice and nearby Mestre.

And the list goes on! One of the best parts of adding onto your vacation in Italy is that most of the destinations we’ve listed above are easily accessible by Italy’s train system. With a little pre-planning, you can hit up several stops in just a few days.

How to Travel to a Country Where You Don't Know the Language

How to Travel to a Country Where You Don’t Know the Language

By | Travel Tips

In order to see everything the world has to offer, you are most likely going to travel to countries where you don’t speak the same language. To some people, the thought of this might be paralyzing and cause them not to explore some really incredible countries.

But don’t let the language barrier stop you,  it is completely worth it to push yourself out of your comfort zone and go. You would be surprised how much you can communicate, especially with the help of today’s technology.

How to travel to a country where you don’t know the language

How to Travel to a Country Where You Don't Know the Language
Cover the basics
Look up and learn 10 of the most common phrases you’ll need to know. Also, take a moment to look up any special customs or ways people interact with each other in the country you will be visiting. Politeness and a few key words can go a long way!  Here are a few phrases to have handy:

  • Hello
  • Please
  • Thank you
  • Excuse me
  • How much?
  • Where is …?
  • Bathroom
  • Speak English? (for example, habla ingles? this way you can try to find someone who speaks English to converse with)
  • Help!

How to Travel - Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication goes a long way

Pointing to a menu item to show a waiter what you would like to order, smiling when someone greets you, and gesturing to ask for directions will help you get your point across. Just make sure you know what a culture finds offensive.

There are many “American” gestures that are taken as friendly at home but are an insult in other cultures. For instance, a thumbs up gesture means, “good job” or “yes, I agree” here in the states. But in the Middle East, Latin America, Western Africa, Russia, and Greece, it is basically flicking someone off.

 

How to Travel - Google Translate
Use the Google Translate app
This app is amazing you can translate basically from any language to any language by typing in words, handwriting them on your screen, saying them into your phone’s microphone, or even by taking a picture of a sign. Not only that but you can download entire libraries of languages to your phone so that you don’t need the Internet to translate. Just think your in an adorable Italian village and would like to ask someone where you can find a specific shop or restaurant. You can just pull out your phone, speak into it, translate it, and have your phone “speak it” back to a local. Incredible!

 

How to travel - carry your hotel's business card
Carry your hotel’s business card
Before you head out on to explore the village or city you are staying in. I find it is always a good idea to grab the hotel’s business card from the front desk. Most will have it sitting out but you may have to ask the receptionist or concierge. This way in case I get lost or need to hop in a cab to get back, I can just hand the card over to help explain where I am trying to go.

 

How to travel - set up your transportation to and from your hotel

Proactively set up transportation from airport to hotel
One of the last things I want to do when coming off a long flight, especially if it’s an overnight one, is try to figure transportation from the airport to my hotel – and that’s not just in countries where I don’t speak the language! It is a good rule of thumb to do some research ahead of your trip and set up exactly how you’ll be getting from the airport to your hotel.

A lot of times hotels will have shuttle services or can set you up with a driver that will be waiting for you. It may cost more than a typical taxi (though sometimes it’s cheaper), but you can rest assure that the driver knows where you need to go and since it is usually a fixed rate, they won’t drive you around the block a few times trying to get additional fare from a tourist.

 

Looking for more travel tips?

How to find the right tour operator

How to Find the Right Tour Operator

By | Travel Tips

If you google “group tours”, the number of different results is endless. But finding the right tour operator that aligns with your preferences and needs doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. With a little bit of prep work and research, you can find the perfect match.

How to Find the Right Tour Operator

1. Make your “perfect vacation” list.

Everyone has a different idea in mind when they think of their perfect vacation. For some, it’s sitting and relaxing on a beach, for others it’s checking out the newest and trendiest attractions in a big city, or yet others are looking to get their heart rate up while getting up close and personal with nature.

To help you focus on what’s important to you, take a moment and make a list of what makes up your perfect vacation. If you’re a foodie, you might include “trying new and exotic cuisines” on your list. Or perhaps you’re a bit of a shutterbug, you may write down “photo-worthy landscapes”. Or you’ve had “tasting wine in the Tuscan countryside” on your bucket list for as long as you can remember.

It might not even be something that specific. Just including something like “unplugging from my daily life” can help give you some focus and direction.

2. Do your research!

You are now armed and ready with your perfect vacation list and can start your research. Before looking at individual tour companies, you’ll need to determine what type of tour you want to focus on. Different categories could be culinary, adventure, educational, volunteering, etc. – or even a combination of these.

Once you decide on the type of tour you’d like, you’ll want to consider the number of days you’d like to be gone as well as your budget. Everyone wants the best deal, but you should really look at your perfect vacation list and be realistic about what the cost might be. What’s more important to you – quality or quantity (i.e. cost)? If you are on a tight budget, it will help to prioritize your perfect vacation list, maybe paring it down to your top three “wants”.

Next, start researching individual tour companies using search queries that use terms from your vacation list and what type of tour you’ve decided to take. The more specific you are with your search terms, the better your search results will be. Another valuable resource is friends and family – ask around to see if there is a tour operator they’ve used in the past and would recommend. Write down the tour operators that are fitting your criteria the closest and take notes on the pros and cons of what they offer.

3. Contact a few tour operators and ask questions.

Start contacting the tour operators you’ve written down either via phone or email. If you are calling them, make sure to write your questions down ahead of time to make sure you are using your time wisely and getting as much information from them as possible at one time. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Who typically takes your tours?
  • What is the average tour size?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of that isn’t included in the cost? Airfare? Meals?
  • Are the activities optional?
  • Can you accommodate my dietary needs (if applicable)?
  • What is your deposit and cancellation policy?
  • Is there a past guest I could speak with that has done the same trip?
  • Does the tour visit {enter specific location you’re interested here}?

4. Analyze your results and make your choice.

Compile and review the answers each of the tour operators provided. There most likely will be a few that rise to the top. Make sure to take your time deciding.  If you are planning on taking this trip with friends, send them the top options you’re thinking of and get their opinions. Follow up with the tour operators with any remaining questions that may have come up.

5. Book it!

Now that you’ve made your choice, it’s time to book your trip! Go on to the tour operator’s website or call them up to reserve your spot on the tour. Time may be of the essence, depending on the time of year and size of the tour. And if you are traveling with friends, make sure they are ready to book as well.

 

Congratulations, you did it! One of the best things about booking a trip with a tour operator is that the hard work on your part is done. You can look forward to your vacation without worrying about planning every little detail because everything will be taken care of for you – you just have to show up!

Happy Travels!

Tourist or Traveler?

So Which One Are You – Tourist or Traveler?

By | Travel Tips

If you look up the definitions of tourist and traveler in the dictionary, you’ll get very similar definitions.

tour·ist

/to͝orəst/ noun a person who is traveling or visiting a place for pleasure.

trav·el·er

/ˈtrav(ə)lər/ noun a person who is traveling or who often travels.

But to me, there is a significant difference between the two words. Tourists visit new places, typically larger cities, in order to take in the most popular sights, eat at the most well-known restaurants, and return home with suitcases full of trinkets – basically unchanged. Travelers, on the other hand, seek out more authentic experiences, immerse themselves into the local culture, and return home with a wider view of the world and perhaps a better understanding of themselves.

Now, it’s not to say that being a tourist is 100% negative. It’s perfectly fine to snap a photo in front of the touristy hot spots or taste the location’s iconic food or drink. I would just encourage you to then break away from the more populated areas (keeping safety in mind, of course!) to get a true feel for the destination.

Sure, I will never forget nor regret tossing a coin into the Trevi fountain or when I tasted my first “real” Italian gelato. But I wouldn’t say I necessarily grew as a person from those experiences. I was, however, deeply moved by the friendliness and helpfulness of the Italian people when I broke free of Rome and headed out into the Tuscan countryside.

I was utterly lost while trying to find my hotel while driving a rental car through in the minuscule streets of Lucca. (Oh and did I mention that I had learned to drive stick shift just a few weeks before?) I was at my wit’s end and ready to burst into tears. I had gone round and round for what seemed like hours without being able to locate my destination.

I had pulled the car over to try to figure out what to do next when I heard a soft wrap on my window.  I look up to two short Italian men peering in at me.  I roll down the window and they ask if I am okay and if they can help. I told them the hotel I was trying to get to. They then stood back a bit to argue with each other about the best way to send me, and came back to the window with clear and precise directions. It turns out I was not far off target but had not realized that the alleyway I had passed several times was, in fact, the “street” my hotel was on! I thanked them profusely and breathed a sigh of relief as I navigated down the narrow street.  I then treated myself with an incredible dinner and a glass of wine from a tiny establishment just around the corner from my hotel that I will not soon forget.

I not only took away the considerable kindness of the gentleman I encountered that day, and frankly of almost any other Italian I conversed with, but I also felt a huge sense of accomplishment having survived my first full day driving alone in Italy practically unscathed.

These are the type of experiences you have when you are a traveler. You try new things and explore uncharted (or in my case, not well marked) places. You interact and converse with the locals. You push yourself out of your comfort zone. Instead of just eating at the touristy restaurant, look for a cooking class to learn more about the local cuisine. Instead of going to the largest, most well-known winery in a region, head to a smaller, family run winery to taste their products. Instead of purchasing souvenirs at designated gift shops, purchase something that you will use and instantly remind you of the experience you had.

Don’t sell yourself short on your next vacation, seek out those unique experiences. I promise you won’t regret it!

What to do in Spain

Extend Your Vacation: What to do in Spain

By | Food, Travel Tips, Wine

We are all about maximizing your time in a new destination as you never know if you’ll have the chance to go back. Because of this, we like to provide recommendations of additional ideas of what to do in and around our tour locations. This time around, we’ve provided a list of what do to either before or after our Spain Food & Wine Tour

What to do in Spain:

Visit Ribera del Duero

Visit Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero cuts east-west along the Duero river, just a few hours south of Rioja and is home to the increasingly popular Ribera reds. Though the wine is becoming more popular, the region itself is fairly undiscovered. There aren’t many tourists in the area and you’ll need to make tasting appointments ahead of time (which you can do so online, just make sure you are booking an English-speaking tour if you don’t speak Spanish!), but the experience is definitely worth it. In addition to the incredible wine, you’ll also want to try the local specialty, lechazo asado, a lamb dish is roasted in “hornos de leña” (wooden stoves).

San Sebastian - Foodie Heaven!

See More of San Sebastian

We do visit San Sebastian on our tour but due to timing, we only have a chance to give you a taste of how cool this city is. Known as a foodie’s heaven, you will find no shortage of amazing places to dine. Explore the Parte Viaje neighborhood’s old-world narrow streets, chock full of quirky shops and Pintxos (tapas) bars.  Take in the city and sea views from the top of Monte Urgull, either by foot on the pleasantly winding paths or by funicular. Stroll along the boardwalk of La Concha Beach or rent a chair and umbrella and relax on the pristine sands.

 

Hike the Camino de Santiago

Hike (a portion of) the Camino de Santiago

The Camino de Santiago is actually a series of pilgrimage routes all converging on the city of Santiago de Compostela that have been traveled by seekers and adventurers for millennia. Hiking the full “Camino” usually takes about 32 – 35 days to complete from start to finish, without counting a few days here or there to rest.  But you can still experience the ancient pilgrimage route for yourself without hiking the entire Camino.  If you are looking to add about another week to your vacation, check out Zephyr Self-guided Adventures where they provide you with maps and directions and arrange your nightly accommodations throughout the trail. The Camino actually has many routes to choose from but since you’ll be in northern Spain already, we would suggest the route called Camino Frances.

Basque Country - Bayonne, France

Explore the French Side of Basque Country in Bayonne, France

Not far from the border, this cute French town is definitely a contrast from Spain, yet it is still very Basque. While in Bayonne, stroll along the charming a riverfront, pop into a variety of local shops and cafes on the pedestrian-only Rue d’Espagne, or explore Les Halles, a covered market in the center of town. Learn even more about the Basque Country culture by visiting the Basque Museum or explore the Bayonne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a stop on the Camino de Santiago.

 

Read more about Spain:

The Rise of the Private Tour

The Rise of the Private Tour

By | Taste Vacations

A private tour can provide the best of both worlds. You get to go on vacation with your friends and family on your chosen dates to your chosen destination but the stress and worry of researching and planning all of the details of your itinerary are taken care of for you by the experts. (Need more convincing? Check out 5 Advantages to Taking a Private Tour)

We think this is precisely why over the past year and a half or so, we’ve seen a steady uptick in the number of private tours we’ve been hosting all over the globe. In fact, our private tours have bypassed the number of public group tours for this year. People are choosing to leave the nitty gritty details that can usually cause the most stress when planning a vacation to our talented and very capable tour operations team.
 

“Thanks for providing an opportunity for our family to have a stress free vacation.”

 
The Rise of the Private TourJust this year, we’ll be sending travelers to Sonoma County, Tuscany, Spain, and Chile & Argentina. And for all different reasons – from surprise birthday trips to milestone anniversary celebrations to much-anticipated reunions of old friends.
 

“I really appreciated you working in the tasting at Coppola and the Local was great fun. It was great to experience all ends of the spectrum from big business Coppola, to sustainable La Crema and then the two biodynamic vineyards.”

 
Our team works hard to ensure your vacation is executed to align with your needs and preferences. For example, if you are particularly keen on a certain wine varietal, we can make recommendations on changes or additions to your itinerary to include specific wineries that offer those wines.  Or if you have your heart set on visiting a specific landmark or museum, we can make sure we are working stopover into the trip.
 

“As a private booking we had lots of questions and made a number of changes to the basic tour. The staff was always helpful and prompt.”

 
Though we like to have these details planned out ahead of time, there are times when ideas or opportunities to adjust the itinerary come up during the tour where because you are on a private tour, which typically are smaller than our group tours, our guide can typically make adjustments to the itinerary on the fly and accommodate, when possible.

So what are you waiting for? Join the private tour movement, leave the details to us, and let us help you plan your next vacation – check out our Private Tours section for more details.

Culinary Travel for Foodie Retirees

Culinary Tours – Perfect Solution for Foodie Retirees

By | Taste Vacations

Culinary tours are becoming more and more popular with retirees. According to AARP’s 2017 survey, travel is at the top of 83% of Baby Boomers’ bucket lists and they chose “to travel to experience a new destination” as a key motivation for taking a trip. This aligns well with Taste Vacations’ own beliefs –  we feel the best way to experience a new location is through its cuisine.

In fact, we were recently featured in an article in Kiplinger, a personal finance publication, titled, “For Retirees on the Go, Culinary Tours Put the Focus on Food” by Beth Brophy.  The article highlights the different aspects of culinary tours and provides some guidelines on picking the right trip for you. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“These days, ‘foodie’ travelers … for whom food and wine are often the most memorable part of the trip, have many choices. Travel companies offer a wide range of itineraries in the U.S. and abroad that revolve around eating and drinking, shopping in local markets, cooking with chefs, and visiting and sampling the products of artisanal cheesemakers, boutique vineyards, olive oil producers and organic farms…

Doing some research before you choose a culinary tour is essential. Here are some factors to consider:

Have you talked it through? “Only about 20% of our travelers call us first,” says [Allan] Wright, who says he can help guide choices. For instance, he says, it’s helpful to know if someone prefers white wine over red, or is gluten-free or a vegetarian. “Argentina is not the best choice if you don’t eat meat,” he says, but “we can accommodate everyone.”

You can read the full article on Kiplinger’s website.