Italy orchard

What Is Agritourism? A Tuscany Case Study

By Taste Vacations No Comments

Agritourism, also known as agrotourism, is any sort of offering that attracts tourists to a farm or ranch. And vineyards, just to be clear, are farms.

There are many examples of agritourism, ranging from visiting a pumpkin patch before Halloween to eating a farm-to-table dinner at a local farm. Many vineyards have tasting rooms and some vineyards and even farms – especially in places like Italy – have lodging as well.

We at Taste Vacations actually prefer the term “culinary tourism” because it encompasses more activities travelers actually do. For example, culinary tourism can include:

  • Traditional agritourism offerings getting people to a producer such as visiting an olive oil mill or a sheep’s cheese farm
  • Visiting a local farmer’s market to buy local products
  • Eating and drinking local by dining in restaurants known for having local products
  • Shopping local by visiting bakeries, butchers, or other retail outlets featuring local food and wine
  • Take a local food tour that stops at a number of local restaurants and often introduces you to the chefs
  • Take a cooking class when you travel

Only the first truly encompasses agritourism but all fall under the umbrella of culinary tourism.

It is entirely possible to be a culinary tourist traveling on your own. You can easily find restaurants featuring local produce, wineries, or even agricultural producers open to the public where you plan to travel.

However, for a truly amazing vacation steeped in culinary tourism, you might need to travel with a pro. Consider our Tuscany Food & Wine Tour, as just one example. Activities on the seven day tour include:

  • Lunch of local farm products and tasting of Chianti wines at the Fattoria Poggio Alloro farm
  • Learning about the butchery trade from butcher
  • Observing coffee roasting and barista training at a cafe in Arezzo
  • Truffle hunting and cooking class with famous agriculturist Augusto Verando Tocci
  • Demonstration of gelato making
  • Touring a local pecorino (sheep’s cheese) farm in Pienza followed by a picnic
  • Winery visits and tastings in both Tuscany and nearby Umbria

You can see that Culinary Tourism is a broad term that can include all sorts of fascinating local activities tied to an area’s food and wine. To experience this in person, join us in Tuscany!

Taste Vacations’ Owner Allan Wright on VinVillage Radio

By Taste Vacations No Comments

This past week I had the opportunity to be on VinVillage Radio, which is part of the wsRadio network, “the world leader in internet talk radio.”

I had actually been on the show once before, with host Lynn Krielow Chamberlain, talking about Wine Tourism Day, the annual event we organize. This time, I spoke with producer Rob Barnett who was filling in for Lynn, and discussed how Taste Vacations came about, our Tuscany food and wine tour, and what to expect on a typical trip.

The radio network was very professional. Rob sent me multiple emails to make sure I would call in on time, I spoke with a tech staffer in advance who made sure I was set up, and everything happened right on schedule. It is hard to say how many people listen to internet talk radio but it was a great opportunity to chat about two things we love best – wine and travel.

Click on the above link to hear me opine about Taste Vacations!

Tales of a Beer Hunter in Belgium

By Beer, Taste Vacations No Comments

Beer Hunting in Belgium

“In Belgium, a beer hunter can never rest on his barstool.”

This past August, beer hunter and writer, Joe Wiebe, joined us on a thrilling hunt for the best beer in Belgium.  His account of his journey, Beer Hunting in Belgium, is being featured in this month’s TAPS Beer Magazine.

Though the active trip Joe went on was with our sister company, Zephyr Adventures, the Taste Vacation Belgium Beer tour makes similar stops in the top beer cities and villages in the country – Brussels, Boullion, Ghent, Watou, Brugge, and more. The difference between the two tours is that we don’t participate in the active portion of the trip Joe describes (hiking and biking), and focus on the local culture, food, and, of course, beer.

Set out on your own beer hunt on the Taste Vacations Belgium Beer Tour  July 26 – August 1, 2015, or gather your friends and make it a private tour on a date of your choosing.



Malbec Red Wine Glass

Argentina’s Flagship Wine – Malbec

By Taste Vacations, Wine No Comments

When you think of Argentine wine, you most likely think of Malbec, and for good reason.  Though Malbec is grown in at least 7 different countries, Argentina is the clear leader in production –  accounting for over 75% of Malbec acres grown. The grape originated in France but found its way to Mendoza, Argentina in the mid-1800s where it has thrived ever since.  This is mainly due to Argentina’s broad temperature ranges and clay soil along the Andes mountain range.

Argentina Vineyard

Malbec has a wonderful blackberry, plum, and black cherry fruit flavor with a peppery, sweet tobacco finish. It pairs nicely with red meats, hard cheeses, and earthier flavors such as grilled meats and mushrooms.  It has grown in popularity over the past several years and even has its own holiday, the Malbec World Day, that occurs every April and is celebrated around the globe. If Malbec is one of your favorites, you might want to look up a local event in your area and join in the fun.

Or better yet, visit the source of this delicious wine on our Chile and Argentina wine tour. Since most of Argentina’s wine regions are located just off of the Andes, you’re treated to beautiful and breathtaking mountain views while enjoying the country’s most renowned varietal.  For more information about our Taste Vacations wine tour, visit the Chile and Argentina wine tour page.




Belgium Top Beer Tourism Destination

By Beer, Taste Vacations No Comments

Belgium is the number one destination for beer tourism in the world, according to the Vancouver Sun in British Columbia, which just posted an article on Belgium and its beers.

Joe Wiebe, the writer, attended one of our tours there last summer. Although he writes in the article that he attended a Taste Vacations’ tour, he actually attended our sister company Zephyr Adventures’ active Belgium Hike, Bike, & Beer Adventure.

No matter – if you are interested in taking a beer vacation, the article does a good job of giving you that flavor. Please consider joining us on either our Taste Vacations or Zephyr Adventures Belgium tours in 2015:

Taste Vacations Belgium Beer Tour: July 26 – August 1, 2015: This tour does not have the biking and hiking and so focuses on the local culture, food, and beer. We agree with Joe that Belgium is the top destination for beer tourism and this is the only beer tour on our schedule. You can book your own private tour on any date you choose with a minimum of six people.

Zephyr Adventures Belgium Hike, Bike, & Beer Adventure: August 30 – September 5, 2015: This trip combines beer, hiking, and biking but is suitable for most activity levels. The trip ends in Brussels just prior to one of the biggest beer festivals in the world, the Belgian Beer Weekend, so you can combine an awesome tour with an incredible consumer fest.

Photo is from Joe Wiebe and the Vancouver Sun. Brussels’ Restobières features a gourmet menu where beer is an ingredient in every dish.