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Destination: Delicious

Take a trip that tickles your tastebuds

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:04 a.m. CDT

Whether you’re a connoisseur, or simply an enthusiast, a food and wine themed vacation is an exciting way to expand the horizon of your palate, as you explore cultures and traditions through food and wine and travel to diverse wine growing and culinary regions. Have you always wanted to take cooking classes in Tuscany or sample wine at an exclusive estate? You can stay in Italian villas, roll up your sleeves and participate in hands-on Italian cooking, or get a true sense of how grapes are grown and wine produced.

River cruising is hailed as one of the most hassle-free ways to explore multiple European destinations, and several river cruise companies provide spectacular culinary offerings, playing off the flavors of each region. One we recommend is the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection. IT is internationally celebrated for its award-winning epicurean offerings. As one of only three cruise lines to have earned a Top Dining Award from Zagat Cruise Lines Survey, Uniworld’s talented chefs serve regional and seasonal specialties prepared with traditional flair. Ingredients are sourced fresh each morning from local farmers markets to ensure each dish remains faithful to the authenticity an individuality of each destination. Guests learn the fascinating story and eye-opening process behind the creating of these traditional masterpieces during onboard and onshore culinary demonstrations, complete with tastings. From pasta-making in Bologna to sampling saffron truffles in Austria, the Epicurean Adventurer Program is an educational and delicious way to connect intimately with the history of each region. If you’d like to learn more, Hinsdale Travel is offering a River Cruise Night, on September 17.

If you prefer a larger ship, consider planning a cruise aboard one of the major cruise lines, such as Holland America or Celebrity. Holland America offers the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food and Wine magazine. This offers a groundbreaking experience combining the love of food and wine with unique and engaging programs. Experience hands on cooking classes, appearances by guest chefs, wine tasting and mixology, and discover the secrets and traditions of regional cuisine, from the flavors of Alaska to the Mediterranean. There even are culinary programs for kids and teens.

For your next great wine-tasting vacation, leave your passport at home and hit some of the best wine regions in the United States. California is the top wine producing state, and there are spectacular tours of this regions. Napa and Sonoma are the most popular, and there are great places to stay, where innovative menus inspired by the bounty of the valley are paired with wines of the region. If you’d rather not drive while wine tasting, arrange for a winery tour by train.

If you are more interested in the food than the wine, try the City of New Orleans, the Creole capital of the world. From slow-cooked soul food and corner store po’boys to gorgeous French-style five-course meals, this is a city where chefs come to make their way – the likes of John Besh, Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

Whatever your pleasure – the cooking class or wine tasting in Italy or France, a delicious European river cruise, or a stateside culinary getaway, let us help you plan the perfect excursion to whet your palate.

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