OUR TRAVEL PHILOSOPHY IS ALL ABOUT THE FOOD
What do you remember most about your favorite travel experiences? I’m betting it’s the fabulous people you’ve met and the tasty treats you ate. The smell of sweet tomatoes simmering on the stove, the musty scent of a wine cave, the buttery crunch of your first croissant or the crack of burnt sugar on creme brulee: All of these food memories have the power to take you directly back to that place where you first experienced them. Those memories when shared are cherished even more. Our vacations start and end at a dining table. We will meet, cook and share authentic meals together with locals who will show us their culture and history through their food. The dining venues we choose for you are the most authentic and the best of the region and include the traditional dishes of the area. They will include a range of dining types – some fine-dining, but mostly trattorie, osterie and typical street food so that you get a broad and in-depth food experience with us.
“To understand a place, is to be familiar with its history, its culture, its traditions, but also its cuisine and its typical traditional dishes.” ~ Sergio D’Oria
The food of a place helps us learn about the people, their traditions, how they live(d), and the land itself. And by sharing a meal with someone from your travels, especially one that you’ve cooked together, you immediately and eternally are bound to one another in the memory of the dish. For me the food of a place, its history and its traditions, preparing a meal and breaking bread together with those you meet along the way, and the tales you create together through food are the reasons I travel. These experiences are the most important part of travel.
TRAVEL LIKE AND WITH LOCALS
On our vacations, you will experience all the postcard-perfect sights of the region, and those places will be magnified in your memory because there will be a local guide with you to share her or his city with you. Our goal is to make you feel like you have come to visit family and friends. A vacation where you visit in-the-know friends is completely different than one you would experience as an independent traveler using a guide book or with a large tour group. That is precisely the type of experience we would like everyone to have, one where locals are very involved and the group experience makes it a truly unforgettable vacation. All our small-group vacations are just that, small groups. The maximum group size is never more than 12 people, so you feel like a group of friends visiting a local family or friends.
With this in mind, Chef Kathy has personally put together these unique, immersive, small-group vacations where guests are engaged with the people, food and culture of the place. You’ll get a personal experience and have unique access to places most individuals and other large groups just don’t have. Kathy has personally selected the dining venues. Be certain you will eat and drink the best food & wine Italy and France have to offer. She’s also included activities that give you “backstage passes” into many kitchens – both professional & in-home.
RELAX AND ENJOY YOUR VACATION
We take care of everything, so you don’t have to. You can just relax and completely enjoy your vacation. With 20-plus years of travel experience in Italy and France, Kathy has put in the time and done extensive research to create these trips-of-a-lifetime. We include one type of food-focused activity each day. This could be a hands-on cooking class, a walking food & tasting tour, market visit, a gelato or pastry shop visit with demonstration & tastings, a winery visit with tastings, a cheese-making demonstrations, or a guided olive-oil tasting – just to name a few. Although the trips are food- and wine-focused, you will visit and explore the main sights, and you’ll see them with a local guide. Each day is planned so that it includes a balance of group activities and excursions, free time to explore on your own, and always time to relax and soak it all in.