After several years of negotiations, the Signature Travel Network (a large exclusive travel consortium which does seven billion in sales, of which All Horizons Travel is a member) joined with the Food Network to do several joint programs for travel and cooking.
They saw a need to cater to the growing interest by both men and women in food and wine. Last year, my husband Roy and I took part in the experiment. I took a bread-making class which had 16 people in it; 14 were men who all lived alone and were amateur chefs.
These experiments turned into three new vacation opportunities where celebrity chefs from the Food Network teach exclusive cooking classes on-board various cruises, with great success.
This year they are taking the concept to three different land packages, including Italy. It is also doing a food tour of France and the Napa Valley, small groups, with hands-on with the experts.
Italy is always a popular destination but don’t go in August. Hot, and mobbed with people. I lived in Italy, took lots of cooking classes, and here is a wonderful “out of the box” experience for people who love food, wine and culture.
Italy is famous for its food and in my opinion, the Food Network shows you the best of the country, going behind-the-scenes. This very special tour is a perfect mix of sightseeing, exclusive, unusual “By-Invitation-Only” events and leisure time to explore.
With just ten exclusive departures, I believe this is a unique opportunity to experience Italy as a VIP and a trip of a lifetime. Imagine the following: You visit the iconic sights of Rome such as the Coliseum, the Forum, and St.Peter’s Basilica. You walk in Rachael Ray’s footsteps through Tuscany, including the Piazza del Campo in Siena and the tiny hamlet of Monteriggioni, where you stay in a Renaissance-style villa.
You are invited to a private villa and winery in the hills of Chianti where the owner’s daughter, a chef by profession, will prepare an authentic Tuscan feast served on the garden terrace overlooking Siena.
You also experience the Sant’ Ambrogio market in Florence, learning how to select the perfect seasonal produce. Under the watchful eye of your local chef, you’ll move from market to kitchen to table, sample the finest flavors and learn the secrets of market shopping and preparation.
You can stand alongside the locals for a cup of café macchiato, then gather your basket of ingredients and continue to a hillside retreat for an amazing certified cooking class amongst the olive trees. You learn to make homemade pasta, fillings and sauces along with wild boar and seasonal vegetables. And you savor the fruits of your labor at a great meal paired with delicious Chianti wines.
And it continues from Tuscany, continue through the Emilia-Romagna region of Bologna to the archipelago of Venice. You can savor the lavish Belle Epoch beauty of your hotel on Venice’s famed Lido with its frescos, gardens and wellness center spa. A private motor launch as it conveys you along the canals to St. Mark’s Square.
Your local guide escorts you on a walking tour of the less frequented and hidden areas of the city. Last year, I bought six pair of shoes in five minutes at a fantastic price.
After experiencing the lively exchange in the colorful Rialto fish market and one of the city’s oldest Murano glass workshops that Giada De Laurentiis explored on Every Day Italian, you may want to follow the guidance of your Food Network Guide Booklet to savor a Bellini at Harry’s Bar before a traditional hosted dinner. Read about this Food Network Guided Vacation operated by one of the Signature Travel Network preferred suppliers. It will truly be an unforgettable experience.
Even if you are not a” would be” chef, this will be a unique fun experience. Learn more.
Maureen Jones is president of All Horizons Travel at 160 Main Street. Members of her staff are experts in business travel, cruises, and all types of leisure.
All Horizons Travel