Many European culinary tours are complete vacations lasting a week or more.* Among the best culinary tours…
The Bordeaux Wine Experience. This tour company is run by husband-and-wife food-and-wine experts Ronald and Margaret Rens, who guide travelers through Bordeaux’s wine cellars and elite restaurants. For wine lovers, the company’s tours offer a way to gain entry to places normally closed to the public, such as the famed Latour château and the Lafite Rothschild aging cellar. For fans of French cuisine, it’s an opportunity to sample the best food that the region has to offer, with a focus on newer restaurants rather than Bordeaux’s sometimes-stuffy older establishments. Tour members stay at the Rens’s Michelin-rated 18th-century château.
One tour, the six-day Grand Tour of Bordeaux, is offered several times in the summer and costs 3,995 euros—that’s around $5,000 based on the recent exchange rates.* A comparable Bordeaux Harvest Tour is offered in October. www.BxWinex.com
Gastronomic Tourism Inc. This France-based company’s tours include fine meals in excellent restaurants across the southwest of France, plus cooking lessons from private chef Marc Berger. Tours can run from three to seven days. Example: A recent seven-day tour started at 2,300 euros—that is about $2,800. www.TouristicoGastronomic.com
Epicopia Culinary Journeys. Upcoming tours include a 10-day trip to Puglia in southern Italy in September, a region where fresh seafood and olive trees abound ($5,418)…an 11-day trip to Maremma and Umbria in central Italy in October, where the focus is on pasta and wine ($4,950)…and an 11-day tour of Tuscany called “Taste of the Land of the Renaissance,” featuring local foods and wines and including the San Miniato White Truffle Festival ($3,795). Additional Italian food tours expected in 2013 include Sardinia and the Po River Valley. www.Epicopia.com
*Prices include accommodations but not the round-trip flight and are per person based on double occupancy.