Food, Travel, Wine

Wine and Food Discovery Trips.

Food Markets

Food and wine are a natural combination. In fact, in most cases regional food specialties are perfect matches to local wine (where applicable), exceptions not withstanding.

Roast rack of lamb or grilled lamb chops, specialties of Bordeaux, go exceptionally well with red Bordeaux wines.

Oeufs en meurette, a specialty of Burgundy, is perfect with a fine red pinot noir, and white-fleshed fish simply an-fried in clarifies butter and enhanced with a little Chablis is a heavenly match to a Chablis wine.

France, where people cherish food and enjoy wine, is popular with tourists looking for gastronomic pleasures. Where else could you find so many fine restaurants than in France?

There are now specialized companies that organize trips to Burgundy. Most of these trips are specially designed or modified barges sailing on canals that bisect wine regions. The food served is always fresh and seasonal, mostly based on local and traditional recipes and matched with local high-end wines.

The barge stops at towns for discovery and/or excursions to nearby wineries where local wines are explained by experts and tasted.

The groups on these “boats” are small (sometimes for 6 – 10 people) and priced accordingly.

Loire Valley, used to be the “pleasure region” of the nobility before the Revolution, and is studded with many spectacular chateaux. A few companies offer 5 – 7 day sailings to the castles and fine restaurants of the region.

If you don’t have much time, you can fly to Paris, stay in one of the fine hotels of this gastronomically vibrant city, and sample fine food, not only from many regions in France, but also from all over the world, matching them with French or imported wines.

Some companies offer bicycle tours in Alsace, or Loire at a leisurely pace. This can be a lot of fun for young, or fit middle-aged, or even active retired individuals who like food and wine.

There are also river cruise companies operating specially designed boats from Basel to Amsterdam on the Rhine River. The route passes through many German wine-producing regions and is acclaimed by those who have done the tour.

Now, some travel agencies, both in Toronto, and other major Canadian cities, and the USA are organizing trips to Sicily, Chile, South Africa, New Zealand, and ont eh Danube. Toni Aspler, a famous Canadian wine writer (, Steve Thurlow (, Zoltan Szabo, and others attached to travel agencies offer personalized tours. They comment on the wines, and generally also on the gastronomic menus that are served in some of the wineries and local restaurants.

All have web sites and can be accessed through the Internet.

Piedmont, Tuscany, and Veneto are three Italian wine producing regions that lend themselves admirably to gastronomic trips.

In Piedmont you can stay in the town of Barolo, or Asti, and visit nearby wineries and local restaurants featuring Piedmontese specialties i.e stracotto al Barolo, risotto with white truffles, just to name a few.

In Tuscany you can stay in Florence, or Siena, or Montalcino, and visit wineries in the Chianti region or Montalcino, famous for its Brunello die Montalcino and food specialties.

Veneto offers many opportunities to the gastronomically interested tourist. You can stay in Verona and travel to many famous wine regions or towns like Soave, Valpolicella, or even Venice. Where you will wonder at the architecture and the genius of people who created the city around small islands in a lagoon.

There are many specialized companies offering tours:

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