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8 Jul 2017
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Culinary Tours For Food, Wine, Recreation & Learning

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Posted By Nate H.

Culinary tours offer travelers a heady cocktail of food and wine combined with learning and recreation. These trips are a breed apart from the usual tourist holidays and much better than simply going out to eat at restaurants occasionally. There's a touch of art involved, as evidenced by the fact that a cooking school teaches the culinary arts and not some science cooking methods.

There are many possibilities, when it comes to taking culinary tours. It can be a simple itinerary with visits to many different restaurants in a single destination, or it could be a multi-hued trip with learning, some recreation and lots of food and wine tasting expeditions in different locations. The second choice obviously offers more room for customization to suit the traveler's preferences.

A typical example would be of a luxury resort offering its guests cooking sessions with their star chefs. The package would include the resort stay and meals, with one or more live demonstrations by the celebrity chefs where guests will be taught how to prepare a specific dish or dishes. Sometimes, the resort may also offer a guided tour of nearby attractions.

But the most popular type are the package deals offered by professional tour operators. These can stretch over one or two weeks and take participants to different destinations in a region that is famous for its cuisine and specific types of food(s) and wines. Sometimes a tour can revolve solely around sampling a specific dish or food item at various locations.

This works best in the valleys that are counted amongst the world's top wine producers. Visitors here can enjoy not just the local wines but also exquisite cuisine and full 5-course meals at upscale restaurants. This kind of wine country getaway can be found in famous locations like France's Bordeaux and Provence, California's Napa Valley, Italy's Tuscany region and Australia's Hunter Valley.

Let's backtrack a bit to the first type of culinary tours, where visitors enjoy the culinary offerings of one specific destination. So while a visitor in Paris may be munching on macaroons, brioche and eclairs while on a tour of the historic Patisseries, another visitor in New York may be walking around in Greenwich Village, stopping at Pizzerias and specialty food stores. Yet another visitor in London may be enjoying greasy breakfasts on a tour of the Classic Caffs or taking a chicken tikka masala tour of various curry houses.

Some are also inclined to take things slow - literally. These are culinary tours for slow food lovers, where the concept is to not just eat the food, but also learn how to prepare the food and bond with the locals. Obviously, it's not something that can be done in a hurry, and calls for enjoying the journey, the local lifestyle and the experience of preparing dishes just as much as eating the food or enjoying the local attractions.

The sum of it is it can be a well planned affair organized by a professional tour operator, or it can be a solo experience of wandering around at a destination without a plan. Regardless, what doesn't change is that the aim is to travel to a specific place to enjoy a specific set of food items, dishes and drinks. Include a bit of learning and some vacation fun, and it has everything that's available in culinary tours.

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