Food and Wine Tours – 7 Ways for Adding Culinary Depth to Your Travels

Food and wine had been the basis of their courtship. Marriage brought an end to these quiet and yet exciting times. She has said little through the years as he went off with golfing pals and corporate jaunts while she stayed at home. His conscious always treated her to spa visits and club memberships to make up for it. Now, he wanted something for just the two of them. Twenty five years together deserved a celebration.

He was looking for a place near enough to allow them more time for each other and less time for travel. They needed to find a way of enjoying what they both loved and yet rediscovering their mutual passions for life and each other. One loved the outdoors and gardening. The other looked for a more urban relaxation. Their mutual love was preparing and eating great food. Thus a great culinary adventure is born.

Culinary tours allow visitors to really experience the cultural roots of a region. It’s a little bit history, a little bit entertainment and a little bit educational. Yet it can also be an assault on the senses. What better way to involve all five senses?

7 Delightful Ways to Design Your Culinary Adventure

1. Celebrity/Master Chefs

Dining out has long been one of society’s favorite activities. Master chefs have left culinary schools for world-class restaurants, honed their skills and are returning in droves to their home communities to be a part of regional tourism and hospitality. The James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating and preserving America’s cultural diversity and traditions. These master chefs are usually members of this foundation.

Many are indeed, recipients of James Beard honors. You can usually get some great insights of where to dine by looking for press releases from this organization. Even better, there are categories for joining as a food and wine enthusiast. Of course, some of these master chefs do merit celebrity status. Be sure to make reservations in advance to get the most out of your visit.

Cleveland’s Entertainment District hosts some of the city’s most popular restaurants, bars and clubs. Master chefs and celebrity chef, Michael Symon, all have their flagship restaurants here. This is a microcosm of Cleveland, and indeed America’s diverse cuisine. It is a great way to step into the culinary scene and branch out into the neighborhood that centers around your favorite taste. The ethnic neighborhoods of Cleveland are known for superb dining choices.

2. Schools – Wine and Culinary/ Master Classes

We have come a long way from Julia Child to the Food Network and beyond. What is important today is that food is recognized as essential to healthy living. Perhaps more important is that preparing healthy food can be at the core of reducing stress for busy professionals and providing touch points for family and friends to rally around.

Luxury resorts and hotels have provided culinary excursions and master classes for generations. These are again gaining in popularity. Cleveland boasts both cooking schools and a wine school. These schools provide busy locals with the skills to take their culinary appreciation to the next level. They can also provide a great added value to a culinary tour of the region. Additionally, the nearby Culinary Vegetable Institute brings master chefs from throughout America as artists in residence for classes and private dinners on their campus.

3. Luxury Hotel Culinary Packages

Essential to any great vacation is the need to replenish and revitalize ourselves. Some may choose a Bed and Breakfast but for those who see this basic need as a time to treat oneself to more than the ordinary choose a luxury hotel or resort. These hotels and resorts have in place a highly skilled, 5 star staff just looking for ways to delight the guests. Culinary tours are as varied as the hotels but can provide a great foundation for any regional food and wine tour.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel of Cleveland boasts a culinary tour that includes face time with the Executive chefs, special dinners, tours of the West Side Market and the city. The concierge staff is poised to provide directions and reservations to other restaurants and attractions that add to the culinary experience.

4. Farmers Markets

America’s cities are known for the public markets that support the cities and restaurants. Seattle has its Public Market, San Francisco has its Fisherman’s Wharf, and Cleveland has its West Side Market. These are popular tourist destinations. There are ample chances to talk with local suppliers, sample the many treats and enjoy a pleasurable time people watching.

Cleveland’s venerable West Side Market has been supplying the tables of families and restaurants since 1912. As one of America’s oldest enclosed markets, it sets the standard for the many farmer’s markets set up in both urban town squares and the rural areas surrounding Cleveland. This market supplies fruits, vegetables and a diverse array of the regional meats that make Cleveland so popular with gastronomers.

A drive through any area in Northeast Ohio on a Saturday will supply a family with locally grown, healthy fruits and vegetables for a week. Concessions provide ample opportunity to taste the best of the regions. You can also check out the Farmers Union markets in town squares and shopping centers throughout Northeast Ohio on weekdays during summer months.

5. Wineries/Microbreweries

America’s interest in locally produced wines and brews is growing. Wine regions are gaining in popularity as destinations. The Sonoma and Napa Valley regions of California, Oregon’s Columbia Valley, New York’s Finger Lakes and the Niagara region readily come to mind. Microbreweries are the next craze to attract regional visitors. Microbrew tastings as well as wine tasting are easily found in the wine regions. You can actually find wineries that are developing companion microbreweries on their properties.

Northeast Ohio is home to Vintage Ohio, an event attracting thousands to sample the growing wine industry in the state. Home to several wineries and vineyards along Lake Erie, northeast Ohio provides ample ways to enjoy the ambiance of relaxing in a scenic vineyard with friends with a glass in hand. You can enjoy a picnic lunch or opt for a more formal dinner in the elegance of the winery.

6. Farm Tours

Heritage farm tours along the Ohio and Erie Canal are committed to capturing the farming techniques of the regional founders for posterity. Many Amish farms welcome visitors to tour their farms by request. Indeed you will find produce stands along the country roads leading to their farms selling whatever vegetables and fruits are currently being harvested in their fields and baked goods, cheeses and cured meats processed on their farms.

The Culinary Vegetable Institute in nearby Milan, Ohio provides organic and heritage vegetables and micro-greens to the kitchens of some of the country’s top chefs and restaurants. Farmer Lee Jones, the spokesman for the family business, is gaining national acclaim as a celebrity guest at many culinary events.

7. Community Gardens

Urban gardens are becoming vital parts of neighborhoods as families realize the advantages of homegrown produce. However they are not new in many communities. When a visitor is fortunate to find an urban garden gem that has been established for quite a while, that visitor is treated to a glimpse of the heritage of the neighborhood and lovely afternoons spent talking with the gardeners who share the space.

The Brooklyn Heights Community Garden in Cleveland celebrates is now 100 years old. Its grounds are well-maintained by the coop members and classes for all ages are held in the greenhouse and garden center on the campus.

Remember that anniversary couple? They spent a relaxing week in an area not too far from their home but a world away in new experiences. They cruised the back roads with the car top down, picnicked under the stars in a lakeside vineyard, joined other couples for an elegant and exclusive private wine dinner and shared an evening at the theater. There was even time for a tour of the Botanical Gardens, a little shopping and just the two of them for a few holes of golf. Of course that led to the couples massage in the luxury hotel where they stayed. The rest of the time is private.

The Benefits of Food and Wine Travel

My specialty in food and wine has always been in the European gastronomy. That is why when I travel to Europe, I make sure to get a taste of every regional cuisine and specialty. I have been passionate about the regional dishes of France and Italy in particular, and that is one of the reasons I studied at the Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris.

As a food and wine consultant and working with tour companies I have come to a conclusion that a tour to Europe that is organized around food and wine is much more valuable. Many authentic regional dishes, especially from France and Italy represent the local cuisine and are part of the culture.

Visiting Europe on a tour, to get the maximum benefit, in many ways, your best choice would be a food and wine tour or tours that emphasize on regional gastronomy.

This way, you not only get to visit your favorite regions in Europe, but you will get to learn and taste the fabulous regional and authentic foods, and wines to match them. Often times these wines are readily available in your local markets at home, but because you are not familiar with them, you never get to taste them and really miss out on some of the best tasting international wines!

On the other hand, if you have been to the countries that the wines come from, you have already been exposed to them. Because you just don’t go on any tour when you travel, you go on food and wine tours!

You see, that can be more beneficial to you, you not only become familiar with the countries you visit, but you absorb their cultures which consist of the customs, beliefs, foods and wines! You can now pass for a savvy cultural traveler who knows his food and wine!

Food and Wine Gift Baskets – The Classic Combination

There are many reasons why people give gifts. Not only on occasions, you can also give gift as thanks giving or congratulating a person. A Gift is a sign of love and gratefulness where in sometimes you cannot say it in words.

No matter how small or how cheap is the gift, as long as it is heartily given, that what matter most. The better way to say “Thank You” to a person or company is by sending them one. In giving a gift to a company, it should be fabulous since it reflects the company and its staff.

Thinking of gift to give that is beautiful and elegant to look at, try to have this kind of present the food and wine gift basket. You can get this in the market or wine store or even in the mall in wine or food sections. It is already in the basket with ribbons, food and wine ready to take. There are lots of different styles and designs, and different kinds of food and wine packed in one basket.

It is also obvious that you have to stay within your budget when you buy this kind of gift. How about making your own gift with this kind of preparations for sure it will be cheaper and you can save a lot of money. At least, you can choose the food you want to put into the basket and give the appropriate wine that the person whom you give the gift likes.

If not, you can go around shopping to get the lower price of this food and wine gift baskets. Mostly, the price of this kind of gift differs on what kind of food and wine they had on the basket. You can also shop and see the different styles and designs of this kind of gift so you have an idea on what to buy and how to make it.

Here are some tips to share on how to make your own food and wine gift baskets:

First, you need to choose a basket
Buy some food whom the person likes to eat
Choose the wine whom the person likes to drink
Buy some flowers and ribbons to add art to your basket

This is how things work. First you need to put the wine then the food into the basket. Be sure things inside are hampered and insert the flowers where you can see an empty space. Tie the ribbon or make a ribbon and put it either in the handle or in the front view of the basket.

What makes a gift beautiful is the labor of love you give and it is heartily given. That’s what matter most in a gift. It is better to give than to receive, right? So when you give something as a gift, it should be with a great smile.

How To Food and Wine Match With Bordeaux Fine Wines

Learning to food and wine match can be a little daunting for those who haven’t done it before. Let’s be honest, when having a dinner party or a few friends over for a gossip, deciding which wines go better with the food you’re serving tends to slip from most people’s thoughts.

To start with, it’s always best to pick two or three different wines and two food dishes for each wine. There are two ways to learn, either through trail and error or by reading up on what others have experimented with and has worked well, and perhaps what hasn’t.

Every individual has a different sense of taste and smell, so you may enjoy a matching food and wines which someone else may utterly detest! Which is why it’s always a good idea to teach yourself. If you put two flavours together, you can see what ingredients work well together, such as a fresh, crisp white wine with fresh, salty seafood. This is a traditional food and wine match and is renowned to be a harmonious pairing. But of course, that doesn’t mean everyone will enjoy it!

Fine Wine For Dinner Parties

Bordeaux has never been one to shy away from producing some of the most high quality wines. Chateau Le Puy is no exception. For 15 generations, Chateau Le Puy has had wine at the heart and soul of their winemakers. The techniques used to produce their wine are reminiscent to those used in the 1940s and 50s, when natural wine making was the common practice.

This wine is brilliant for dinner parties as it can be served with food, or as an aperitif to cleanse your guests palate before dining. This is a traditional Merlot that should be paired with foods that enhance the wines flavours, rather than subduing them. So a perfect collaboration of food and fwine would see Chateau Le Puy wash down hearty casseroles, hearty meat dishes such as steaks, chicken thighs or a delicious lamb shank. The full flavours of the meat and marinades will bring out the dark cherry, plum and chocolate notes that fill this wine.

Matching Sweet Wines With Food

It can be hard sometimes to match a sweet wine with food, as they tend to taste better in place of a dessert rather than accompanying it. Take, Chateau Filhot for example. This wine is beautifully sweet, with bright flavours of pineapple and spices. Serve on it’s own, but for a more advanced wine and food combo, think about pairing it with a starter such as foie gras. Or, try it with chicken and wild mushrooms to allow the sweetness to bring a more rounded flavour to the palate. This is a rather unusual wine to pair with food, but the flavours are so rewarding, it’s worth trying something new to see what flavours you can discover.

Learning to food and wine match is more about trail and error then it is about nailing an exam. Sure there are certain ingredients and wines that go together, but don’t be afraid to start off small, and try bigger things as you become more knowledgeable about wine in general.

Basic Guidelines For Combining Food and Wine

In the field of culinary arts, one of the keys to success is in knowing how to combine wine with food. High-end restaurants and hotels often hire sommeliers whose main job is to understand the very best combinations for the customers.

For those with keen taste buds, a good meal can be disaster if the food and wine combination is wrong. Of course, a chef or a sommelier will know how to do this since their professions require that knowledge, but for the average person it may not be so readily apparent. If this is the case for you then the following basic guidelines may be of help:

The food should not overpower the wine, but the reverse is also true, the wine should not overpower the food; a balance is the best solution.
Avoid pairing strong with delicate. There is the oft-repeated mantra–red wine for red meat, white wine for white meat. This is a good basic rule to follow since you want to avoid combining a strong taste with a delicate taste. For example, a heavy meal like stew would go well with an equally heavy red wine but not so well with a lighter tasting white wine. Also, fatty dishes combine best with the sharper taste associated with red wines. This sharpness is a result of the red wine having more tannin than whites due to being produced by a different fermentation process.
As you might expect, sweet wines work best with sweet foods.
When planning a meal remember that as the wine’s alcohol content goes up, the food’s palatability decreases more often than not.
Culture and tradition may also play a very important part in the process. For example, it may come as no surprise that Italian wine is well suited for Italian food. Nobody has come up with a valid explanation for this but perhaps the food and the drink have acquired an affinity to each other over time.

These guidelines, once considered sacred rules, are now only basic suggestions. Many people today match red wine with fish or whites wines with steak. While in the past this would have been unthinkable, today anything goes. In the end, it is really up to you but you will never go wrong by following the basic rules above.