Taste Vacations Annual Meeting

Delectable & Delightful: Taste Vacations’ Annual Meeting

By Taste Vacations No Comments

Taste Vacations TeamThe Taste Vacations team recently returned from their annual planning meeting with our sister company, Zephyr Adventures, in beautiful Red Lodge, Montana.   Taste Vacations is a 100% virtual company, meaning all of our employees are scattered across the country working from various home office locations. We gathered for a productive week of work, fun, and of course, delicious food and drink while staying in a newly renovated historic home located in the heart of the adorable mountain town. During our time together, we engaged in a beer tasting dinner and tortilla-making demonstration at a local taco joint called, Mas Taco, and had fun testing our wine knowledge with a blind wine tasting. On our last night together, we arranged for Chef Chris Lockhart, of the soon-to-be-opening Ox Pasture, to prepare a magnificent private dinner.

We enjoyed observing anTaste Vacations Private Chef Dinnerd chatting with Chris, and his lovely wife Gina, while he prepared our delicious multi-course meal.  He utilized a variety of interesting cooking techniques, including sous-vide, where he placed beets in vacuum-sealed plastic bags and submerged them into a temperature-controlled water bath. Sous-vide is a very useful technique because it gives the chef a very high level of control over the texture of the finished dish while eliminating any chance of over- or undercooking it.  It is typically used for meat or fish, but Chris expertly utilized this method with the delicious beets that were used in a few of the dishes, including the delightfully pink goat cheese and beet balls featured above.  The meal and the company who shared it made for a satisfying and amusing evening.

We left our annual meeting happy, well-fed, and energized for the year to come.





Travel Resolutions

Travel Resolutions for 2016

By Beer, Food, Taste Vacations, Wine No Comments

Let’s face it, even those with the best intentions find it hard to keep their New Year’s resolutions past the first few months of the year. This can sometimes be from a lack of detailed resolutions or resolutions that follow the same old patterns. Rather than the normal “I want to travel more this year,” try spicing things up by making more specific goals that can either add up to traveling more or at least make the most out of your travels.  Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

Focus on a culture’s signature dish.

Open your mind and your palate to new and exotic flavors this year.  When traveling, don’t try to find restaurants that have menus that are similar to those back home. Even if your travels keep you in the U.S., there are still opportunities to taste new cuisines.  Trying local cuisine will take you a few steps closer to understanding the culture of wherever you are visiting.

Unplug and actually relax.

Tech gadgets and travel apps can certainly make life on the road much easier, but they also can be blocking you from truly relaxing. Try to be more present and enjoy your surroundings.  You can always check your emails and post your travel photos to social media when you get back.

Be a tourist in your own town.

There may be times when you feel like you really need a vacation but either schedules or finances just won’t allow it.  Try being a tourist in your own town or region.  With a little research, you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do and see that is just a short drive (or even walk!) away.

Read an inspirational travel book.

Not quite sure where you want to travel to next? Grab an inspirational travel book to get the trip planning juices flowing. You’ll start to imagine yourself in new and exotic settings in no time. Check out Conde Nast’s 86 Greatest Travel Books of All Time and get reading!

Take that trip you’ve been talking about forever.

Bite the bullet and FINALLY take the trip you’ve talked about for years. Want to taste your way across Italy or explore the magnficent wines Argentina has to offer? Do it! And if it truly doesn’t fit into your 2016 schedule, you can resolve to plan out your itinerary for 2017 so that when December rolls around again, you’ll be starting to pack your bags and getting ready to check that trip of a lifetime off your bucket list.

No more half-hearted resolutions. Let’s make 2016 your best travel year yet!

Top 20 Most Influential Beer Brands

Top 20 Most Influential Beer Brands on the Internet

By Beer No Comments

Think you know which beer companies and brands have the most sway with beer lovers? For the past two years, the Beer Bloggers & Writers Conference has conducted an analysis of the world’s most influential beer brands on the Internet. This includes beer brands, apps, organizations, restaurants, bars, and publications – basically anything that could possibly have to do with beer.  They took three factors into consideration while analyzing the most influential beer brands:

  • Alexa Rating (provides traffic data, global rankings, and other information that can be used to assess a website)
  • Facebook Likes
  • Twitter Followers

Though the big brewing companies are certainly represented, you might be surprised who else made the list.

Here’s how they stacked up:

1.   Heineken
2.   Beer Advocate
3.   Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.   New Belgium Brewing
5.   Stone Brewing Company
6.   Bud Light
7.   Budweiser
8.   Coors Light
9.   Miller Lite
10.  Untappd
11.  Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
12.  Rogue Ales
13. Samuel Adams
14. Tie Drink Craft Beer
14. Tie BJ’s Brewhouse
14. Tie Dos Equis
14. Tie BrewDog
14. Tie RateBeer.com
19. Tie Guinness
19. Tie More Beer!

The 2016 edition of this analysis will be released early next year.

So chime in – did your favorite beer brand make the list? If not, tell us who you think should be added for next year.

Holiday Travel Tips

Holiday Travel Tips

By Taste Vacations One Comment

We are officially in the heart of holiday travel season.  Though this can be one of the happiest times of year, it can also be one of the most stressful and frustrating.  We’re here with a few tips to help make it a little more bearable so you can concentrate on enjoying time spent with your loved ones.

Holiday Travel Tips:

  • Stay fueled.  We’re all guilty of getting “hangry” at one time or another.  Holiday travel usually causes a change in daily routines as well as additional stress, which may affect your eating schedule in one way or another.  If traveling by car, make sure to pack (healthy) snacks and plenty of water for you and your family. And if traveling by plane, make sure to eat someting before boarding or at least get yourself a bag of trail mix at one of the airport shops ahead of time.
  • Gifts for family and friends. Whether you are driving or flying, consider shipping your gifts ahead of time. This way you won’t have to worry about having enough room in your car or suitcase for additional items. If shipping ahead of time isn’t an option, try using a collapsible suitcase or duffle bag that can then be folded up and packed in your normal suitcase with your regular travel items for the trip home.
  • Stay connected. There are a huge number of useful travel apps out there – and for good reason! You’re most likely on your phone while waiting in the airport anyways, you might as well have some helpful ways to find places to eat, buy necessary goods, or relax at a gate near you.  Check out Afar’s list of 7 Amazing Airport Apps That Make Your Flight Suck Less.
  • Avoid traveling during peak times. The day before a holiday is always going to be hectic. Consider flying in early that morning. You’ll most likely avoid long lines and traffic jams which will already make your holiday all around more pleasant. Or if flying in that day isn’t an option, consider flying in on the first flight out as it will be the least likely to get delayed or cancelled.  And if driving, the best time to hit the road is when most people are sleeping – consider driving early in the morning or late at night.
  • Pack a positive attitude. Sounds lame, but it can be very effective to begin your travels already accepting that there are going to be things that are simply out of your control.  It’s the holidays – there are way more people traveling on the roads and through the airports, tensions are higher than normal, and weather can always be an issue no matter what part of the country you’re traveling to. The sooner you sit back and accept whatever hiccups your journey may hold, the happier your travels will be.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Wine Tourism Day

Wine + Travel = Fun! Wine Tourism Day 2015

By Wine No Comments

Join in the celebration of the third annual Wine Tourism Day on November 7th!  For some, there is little else that can improve a vacation than adding wine to the equation. It’s almost a fact that Wine + Travel = Fun!

Taste Vacations not only supports the industry of wine tourism in North America by offering luxury wine vacations such as our Washington Wine Country Tour or Sonoma County Wine Tour, but we are also one of the organizers of the annual Wine Tourism Day.

Wine Tourism Day is designed to celebrate the many wineries and other businesses offering wine-related events throughout North America and beyond, promote the concept of traveling to wine regions on vacation, and highlight the economic impact of wine tourism. For this year’s Wine Tourism Day, many organizations will be donating all (or a portion) of their earnings for the day to a charity or non-profit of their choice. So Wine Tourism Day is not only good for the organization, it’s also good for the industry and good for the community!  Check out Wine Tourism Day events being planned in your area.

Wine Vacation GIveaway

In addition to attending one of the events occurring throughout the country, you can also enter to win a wine vacation for two to beautiful Penticton, BC! Prize package includes:

  • 2 round-trip plane tickets
  • 2 night stay at a Bed & Breakfast
  • A guided wine tour
  • A four-course wine pairing dinner for 2

Join in the celebration!