culinary tours

Island Cooking Classes debuts St. Simons Island, GA

Chef Dave Snyder St. Simons Island, GA  Foodie Bobi Saal of Island Cooking Classes launches her art and cooking classes at historic King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort September 19-24.

"Experience Southern cuisine by stepping into the kitchens of amazing chefs and cook right along side of them," says Saal. "Capture the beauty of the island and create a piece of watercolor art."

The debut event features five nights of hands-on cooking, art and island fun. Attendance is limited to 6-12 people for this and all upcoming scheduled dates. Island Cooking Classes pricing begins at $2,440.

The itinerary is extensive – from daily Southern breakfast buffet at the King and Prince to classes, meals, shrimp boat excursion, receptions, photography island tour and wine tastings.

Full details are on Saal’s website including international and domestic suggestions for transportation. Classes include:

* Chef Dave Snyder holds ‘court’ every day at Halyards, one of St. Simons Island ’s most popular restaurants. Don your apron and prepare for his hands-on cooking classes that end with a gourmet luncheon and superb house wine. Using seasonally fresh and local foods, he’ll charm you with anecdotes from his years at the New England Culinary Institute and halcyon days in many of New York ’s finest establishments including The Essex House.

* Have fun with restaurateur/chef John Howton, savoring his famed ‘Low Country Boil’ served daily at Blackwater Grill. Their signature Cajun, low-country Southern coastal cuisine is usually standing-room-only

* From the culinary team at Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa to St. Simons Island , wellness Chef Laurie Erickson instructs on back-to-basics chef techniques, secrets and tricks that you’ll use forever. She’ll empower you with her philosophy that “Good cooking is 90% confidence”.

* Let yourself get swept away with the beauty of creating your own inspired watercolor coastal landscape with artist and instructor Louise Eaton. Relax, splash color on paper and enjoy a carefree afternoon as images of the island unfold.

For the Love of Snow Sandpoint Winter Carnival

Fireworks Saturday night at Schweitzer Mountain

Sandpoint ID Sandpoint’s Winter Carnival, the weekend of Jan 14 - 18 is the perfect antidote to cabin fever.

Martin Luther King Weekend will be alive with activities in downtown Sandpoint, up at Schweitzer Mountain, inside and outside. Many of the standard favorite events will return such as the Taste of Sandpoint, Fireworks at Schweitzer and the K-9 Keg Pull.

New this year are the Dine Around Sandpoint and Shop Around Sandpoint.

The Taste of Sandpoint is the traditional event kick-off on Thursday evening at the Sandpoint Events Center from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets available at the door for $1 each, and the average sample dish, brew, or glass of wine is $3-$7.

The Winter ArtTrek will be held in a variety of wine bars, galleries and shops in downtown Sandpoint Friday night the 15th. Self-guided walking brochures will be available at the Chamber, DSBA office and many shops downtown. 5 to 8 pm downtown Sandpoint. Free admission. Friday Jan 15, 5 to 7 pm and Saturday 11 to 5 pm.

The Winter Carnival Railjam is a freestyle contest in the Jeff Jones Town Square. (Friday Jan 15) Skiers and snowboarders compete at sliding on handrails and other man made features. Points are awarded for style, amplitude, difficulty, and variety. Spinneybent Rails will construct a 20 ft tall and 90 ft long feature that includes custom-built rail slides. Riders will compete for cash, and the spectators can keep warm and catch all the excitement by the bonfire. 7 to 10 pm, Jeff Jones Town Square. Spectator admission is free.

Dine Around Sandpoint: January 15 to February 16th. Treat yourself to a night out. During the first annual Dine Around Sandpoint, many local restaurants will be showcasing their culinary talents with fixed price, 3-course dinner menus ranging in price from $15, to $30 depending on the restaurant.

These menus, in addition to their regular menu, are available every night at the participating restaurant during the month and may change weekly. Visit for restaurant and menu details.

Shop Around Sandpoint • Thursday January 14 through Monday January 18 at 3 pm: Visit participating retail shops in downtown Sandpoint during Winter Carnival to pick up a “Passport to Prizes” – collect just a half dozen stamps on the passport and turn it in to win terrific prizes, including: Grand prize of two season passes to the 2010 Festival at Sandpoint provided by 95.3 KPND; a night in the deluxe La Quinta suite; lift tickets for skiing at Schweitzer Mountain; a set of four area guidebooks from Keokee Books; and whole pile of other swag. Drawing is at conclusion of Winter Carnival.

Family Fun Day & Coffee Tasting • Saturday Jan 16, 9:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., 524 Church St. Savor hand-crafted coffees at Evans Brothers Coffee Roasting Studios along with food, live music and indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages, including a snow ball toss, snow slides, snow man photos, art projects and more.

Saturday night is arguably the highlight of the weekend with a spectacular torchlight parade and fireworks show starting at 6 pm at Schweitzer Mountain. The weekend is capped off with the ever-popular K-9 Keg Pull, as we watch our dogs of all sizes race down the Eichardt’s alley pulling kegs of various sizes. The race starts Sunday Jan 17 at 10 am but dogs should be registered at 9 am.

Lodging packages, and the most current events list are at For more information on lodging and activities, contact the Downtown Sandpoint Business Association at (208) 255-1876.

Luca Boniciolli transports il Buco to the French Alps

Savoyard style chalets

Experience a ski adventure in Courchevel, France as il Buco Restaurant in New York City teams with Europe's premier private ski guide Luca Boniciolli, to offer travelers a week of skiing within Les Trois Vallées (The Three Valley's) of the French Alps.

Guests reside in luxurious accommodations and indulge in meals created by il Buco's renowned Chef, Ignacio Mattos, paired with the wine selections of Wine Director Paul Lang.

Boniciolli brings his tremendous lifetime experience in skiing, heli-skiing, mountaineering and worldwide travel to his Europe-based organization, specializing in winter excursions on the majestic slopes of the French Alps.

With a knack for tending to the personal needs of his clients, Boniciolli offers custom-crafted ski adventures. He often teams up with Michelin-rated Chefs to create an unforgettable experience in a private luxury chalet on the most highly regarded and glamorous mountain in the world, Courchevel 1850 (named for its height in meters).

Now in Winter 2010, Boniciolli and il Buco offer a weeklong stay in a luxury chalet complemented by privately guided skiing.

Mattos' rustic cuisine perfectly complements the enchanting experience of chalet life in the Alps. Every meal is personalized using the freshest ingredients to recreate the simple, flavorful elegance enjoyed at il Buco in NYC. In-house cooking lessons and wine tastings will be available.

This is not a pre-packaged tour, nor are you obligated to ski at all. Everyday is a new and personalized experience. Chef Mattos can cook your favorite breakfast while you wake up with morning yoga. Then you might opt for a day off the slopes, shopping in the bustling village of Courchevel and come home to a light snack and afternoon wine tasting with Lang.

Or you might choose to have a late morning ski with Boniciolli and lunch in a Michelin star restaurant tucked away on the slopes.

Les Trois Vallées is located in the Savoie region of the French Alps and is the largest linked ski area in the world: a labyrinth of immaculate slopes amidst breathtaking scenery, with some of the world's finest ski runs connected by an intricate system of lifts. It is perfect for beginners and seasoned skiers alike.

The selected Savoyard style chalets are some of the largest and best Courchevel has to offer. It is possible to literally ski out the door and begin an adventure. The chalets accommodate up to 10 people per stay.

This full service hassle-free way of traveling offers all of the accommodations of a 5-star luxury hotel but in the privacy of your own "home".

All travel from arrival to departure is pre-arranged for your convenience. For more information, email [email protected] or visit this address

Cook your catch on Barbados culinary tour

Luxurious digs

Get some Caribbean flavor with Cobblers Cove Resort’s Barbados Culinary Tour.

Join Executive Chef Brian Porteus to get an insider's look at the art of Relais & Chateaux cooking, Caribbean style.

Indulge in a culinary package at one of five Relais & Chateaux resorts - Barbados.

Relais & Chateaux Culinary Package Includes:

  • Accommodations in a superior suite for five nights/six days

  • Round-trip airport transfers

  • Welcome cocktail Gourmet

  • Breakfast and dinner daily afternoon tea --- island style

  • Unlimited complimentary water sports

  • Evening of cocktails & conversation with Chef Brian Porteus

  • Fishing excursion & “catch of the day” culinary demonstration

  • Complimentary wine-tasting
  • Summer rate: May 01 – December 20, 2009: US$3,500.00 for two, tax inclusive (excluding August 31-October 3, 2009 when the resort closes annually).

    Winter rate: January 5 – April 12, 2010: US$4,860.00 for two, tax inclusive.

    For more information and to make reservations, contact your travel agent or call toll-free in the United States : 1-800-890-6060 or in Canada call Resort to the Best, toll-free: 1-800-567-5327.

    Visit Cobblers Cove at

    Gourmet on Tour offers deals for culinary travel

    Gourmet on Tour delivers the world to foodies

    U.K.-based culinary travel group, Gourmet on Tour is offering extra nights free on select tours in Italy and France.

    Established in 2000 by former publishing professional Judith von Prockl, the travel agency offers culinary adventure, wine tours and tastings and cooking courses for "foodies who want to see the world a little differently."

    From private tours to small groups to solo tours, Gourmet on Tour offers excursions throughout Europe, in Asia, Northern Africa and the United States. 

    Explore the culturally rich and diverse Chinese Golden Route cuisine

    Terracotta Warriors at the ready

    Take one part passion for cooking. Add a pinch of wanderlust. Stir well. Enjoy straight up.

    Culinary travel is potent cocktail, combining the best of a destination's history and culture with hands-on cooking classes and an insider's knowledge of the kitchens and customs of a place.

    Mix in local dining experiences and you've got a trip that will satisfy even the heartiest appetites.

    Join Eat. Drink. Memory. for guided culinary tours designed to please the palate and delight the senses.

    Mary MacRae Warren, Eat. Drink. Memory. founder, hosts 14 days in Beijing, X'ian, Chengdu, Guilin and Shanghai in Spring 2010. Reserve your spot now.

    This especially designed small group tour (maximum 15) juxtaposes urban and rural landscapes, the ancient with the modern, and immerses participants in the culture and cuisine of this complex and beautiful country. Stay in extraordinary deluxe hotels and visit essential historic Chinese landmarks - the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven.

    Experience an insider's tour of local markets, shopping for ingredients and preparing an authentic Chinese meal under the guidance of expert local chefs. Visit a traditional Chinese kitchen and learn the necessary ingredients for daily meals the Chinese way.

    Enjoy the best of China's regional cuisines, teas and wines in five cities along the Golden Route.

    Wander the Golden Route 14 days

    Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, and Shanghai

    China is a land of history and refinement unparalleled in the world. Visitors are immersed in a sea of visual and cultural experiences unlike any other they may have had elsewhere. Each geographic area in China teems with its own identity as an energetic variation on the great theme of Chinese civilization, each regions differing vastly yet expressing similar values and ideas.

    This journey begins in Beijing with an exploration of the beauty of the Imperial City and meetings with urban Chinese residents. Discover the splendor of China’s glorious past: the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, and Great Wall. Witness the dynamic and ever-changing pace of life in today’s capital of China.

    Flying on to X'ian ,once the largest city in the world, visit and explore the Terracotta Warriors Museum in homage to Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Considered China’s preeminent archaeological discovery, the site is known only to the world since 1974. Tour other important historic sites in the ancient Tang Dynasty capital.

    The next stop of our tour is Chengdu, a place of color, spirit and fiery food. Ponder the marvelous findings at the Sanxingdui Archaeological Site & Museum. Relax and sip a cup of fragrant tea in a local teahouse.

    Your itinerary also includes Guilin and Yangshuo,the south China region of picturesque karsts mountains rising from rice paddies. One of the most idyllic landscapes of China,a cruise down the Li River will reveal its beauties at each bend of the river.

    The last stop of your tour is Shanghai,China’s most populous city and economic powerhouse, home in 2010 to the World Expo. The European Bund still retains the glamour of the colonial era while modern western pubs, bars and boutiques scatter the center of Shanghai. Visit traditional Yuyuan Garden and spend some time exploring Shanghai Museum, the best in China.

    Fly home from Shanghai.

    Itinerary Summary

    Day 1         Depart from JFK, EWR (or your home airport) to Beijing, China

    Day 2       Arrive in Beijing today; meet your guide at the airport and transfer to the best-located property, Grand Hotel Beijing (deluxe palace)

    Evening Group Reception

    Day 3         Beijing     Visit Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City in the morning; have lunch at Xiaowangfu; afternoon take part in a Hutong Courtyard tour and meet an urban Chinese family; return to hotel for a rest; enjoy a Peking Duck Dinner in the evening. <B-L-D>

    Day 4         Beijing    Tour Temple of Heaven and a produce and food market in the morning; visit a Culinary School to see cooking demonstration by notable chef in the afternoon; visit Summer Palace with a boat ride on Kunming Lake; enjoy an Imperial Cuisine Dinner in one of the capital’s renowned restaurants.<B-L-D>

    Day 5         Beijing    Excursion to the Great Wall at Mutianyu with cableways; Noodle Lunch at Xiaolumian Restaurant (see the chef making a bowl of delicious homemade noodle from flour powder); afternoon visit Changyu Afip Winery at Miyuan with wine tasting. Return to Beijing late afternoon; in the evening have an insider’s visit to the kitchen of Grand Hotel’s Rongyuan Restaurant and enjoy a Special Dinner.<B-L-D>

    Day 6            X'ian    Transfer to airport and fly to Xi’an; stop by the 798 Art Complex on the way; after refreshing at your hotel, visit City Wall and Shuyuanmen Market; Local Cuisine Dinner; Stay two nights in Sofitel on Renmin Square (deluxe room).<B-L-D>

    Day 7            X'ian     Excursion to the Terracotta Warriors Museum; return to city and visit a farmer’s market, Big Goose Pagoda and Xi’an History Museum; enjoy a Special Dinner and Tang Style Stage Show featuring traditional singing and dancing .<B-L-D>

    Day 8          Chengdu    Visit Yangling Archaeological Site & Museum on the way to airport; fly to Chengdu; visit Qingyanggong Daoist Temple and then enjoy Chinese tea in a local teahouse; pay an insider's visit to a Chinese kitchen and enjoy a Sichuan Cuisine Dinner. Kempinski Hotel (deluxe room) <B-D>

    Day 9            Guilin Morning Sanxingdui Archaeological Museum; lunch we will feast on Sichuan “Xiaochi”delicacies, a great variety of food and flavors served in individual small plates. In the afternoon, visit a Sichuan food market – finding many exotic fruits,vegetables, meats and spices. Take an evening flight to Guilin; met and transferred to Sheraton Guilin Hotel (deluxe room). Dinner is on your own. <B-L>

    Day 10         Enjoy a breathtaking Li River Cruise; lunch at Meiyou Restaurant; visit Yangshuo market and a family run produce farm; attend a cooking lesson in the afternoon: go shopping in the local market to buy food ingredients required by the chef, back to school to learn how to prepare one or two dishes yourself; return to Guilin by vehicle and enjoy a local cuisine dinner. <B-L-D>

    Day 11         Shanghai     Late morning flight to Shanghai and check in hotel to refresh; visit the Bund and Yuyuan Garden; enjoy the city’s signature dish – Shanghai steamed dumplings”in the old town; Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai <B-D>

    Day 12         Shanghai     Visit Shanghai Museum, French Concession, and Fuxing Park; lunch at Xintiandi, a chic and modern market place with a dozen or so good eateries; afternoon visit an upscale teahouse and the Ohel Moshe Synagogue; evening is free. <B-L>

    Day 13         Shanghai     Free day for your own exploration; enjoy a Farewell Shanghai Cuisine Dinner followed by a stunning Acrobatic Show <B-D>

    Day 14          Departure transfer to the airport and fly home <B>

    Changes to Itinerary:  Access China Tours has made all possible attempts to ensure the accuracy of tour itineraries. Circumstances beyond our control may occur. We reserve the right to change itineraries, sightseeing activities, and common carriers, and to substitute hotels when necessary. Service of a similar category and standard will be maintained if such changes are made. The Service Voucher in your last pre-departure packet will provide the operational itinerary summary, final transport and hotel information.

    Tour Land Price Inclusions & Exclusions

    Tour Land Prices: $5310USD per person, double occupancy 

    Single Supplement: $2080 USD for single occupancy throughout the tour

    or $5010USD per person, double occupancy if using Beijing Park Plaza Wangfujing, Xi’an Howard Johnson Ginwa Hotel, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Guilin Bravo Hotel, and Shanghai The Bund Hotel (good 4 & 5 star hotels) $1000USD for single occupancy throughout the tour

    International Air: approximately $1480USD pp, round trip on Air China or Continental

    What's Included in Tour Land Prices:     

    • Deluxe class hotel accommodations, double occupancy

    • Coach class Chinese domestic air and ground transportation while on tour

    • All tour related Chinese domestic taxes

    • Arrival and departure transfers on tour dates

    • Transfers and luggage (1 piece of 45 pounds per person) handling

    • Pre-departure information packets

    • All sightseeing, special activities, and cultural events listed in the itinerary

    • All meals specified in the itinerary

    • Service of an English-speaking tour manager and local tour guides

    • Private, clean, and newer vehicles with air-conditioning and professional driver

    What's Not Included in Tour Land Prices:     

    • International air tickets

    • Chinese visa processing (roughly $130)

    • Trip cancellation, baggage, accident, and medical insurance (strongly recommended)

    • Gratuities to guides and drivers (roughly $15 per day)

    • Items not listed and/or specified as included in the itinerary

    Cancellation Policy: All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of receipt by Access China Tours. We assess cancellation fees of all tours according to the following schedule:

    70 days or more prior to departure * $200 per person

    69 to 50 days prior to departure * $400 per person

    49 to 30 days prior to departure * $600 per person

    29 to 15 days prior to departure * $800 per person

    * Plus any charges assessed by government agencies, land suppliers, cruise companies and airlines.

    Within 14 days of departure .............100% forfeiture of the tour price per person

    Access China Tours will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements after the trip has commenced or any refunds to participants who do not complete any portion of the itinerary. Any airline tickets issued are subject to the carrier’s refund and cancellation policy. We strongly recommend you purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment. Access China Tours reserves the right to cancel any tour(s) due to insufficient booking (fewer than 2 participants). In this case, we will try to find an alternative tour for tour participants. If this is not acceptable, all money paid will be refunded in full and this will constitute full and final settlement for the client. Clients have the right to cancel a tour without penalty when the group size (for published packages) is less than 6 full-paying participants if clients had informed Access China Tours at the time of signing up that he/she must travel in a escorted group. All eligible payment will be refunded. However, Access China Tours will not be responsible for any expenses incurred by tour participants (e.g., non-refundable “advance purchase” air tickets, insurance & medical expenses, passport and visa expenses, etc.).

    If a tour is forced to be cancelled due to government’s travel warnings, declared or undeclared wars, hostilities, civil disturbances, strike, riot, epidemic, and quarantines, Access China Tours will refund all participants’ payment less any irretrievable expenses and loss (visa fees, airline penalties, communication cost, & non-refundable booking cost, etc.)