{ GREAT GOURMET ES­CAPES }

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - The Food Issue - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Viet­nam ven­tures: He­len Wong’s Tours has a 12-day Hanoi to Saigon food-lovers’ itin­er­ary with cook­ing classes and vis­its to top restau­rants; from $4420 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing re­turn flights from Syd­ney, Melbourne, Ade­laide or Perth, five-star accommodation, do­mes­tic air travel, most meals, trans­fers and English-speak­ing guides. May to De­cem­ber depar­tures. More: 1300 788 328; he­len­wongs­tours.com. Span­ish wan­der­ers: Join au­thor Dee Nolan on World Ex­pe­di­tions’ 15-day gourmet walk­ing pil­grim­age from Bil­bao to San­ti­ago de Com­postela in north­ern Spain, de­part­ing Septem­ber 1; from $5290 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing most meals, accommodation, guided walks vis­it­ing pro­duc­ers and wine ex­perts, and in­ter­nal trans­fers. In­ter­na­tional flights ex­tra. More: world­ex­pe­di­tions.com. A taste of France: French Travel Con­nec­tion’s new Gas­cony Cook­ing School in south­west France is of­fer­ing pack­ages for chefs-in-the-mak­ing; from $740 a per­son twin-share (Fri­day to Sun­day) and $1890 a per­son twin-share (Sun­day to Fri­day), in­clud­ing classes, accommodation and meals (with wine). Avail­able April to midDe­cem­ber. More: 1300 858 304; french­travel.com.au. Asia fan­ta­sia: Ac­tive Travel has a 13-day, small-group trip to Laos and Thai­land es­corted by Jeff Piper from Can­berra’s Thirst Thai res­tau­rant; from $5147 a per­son twin-share, de­part­ing Vi­en­tiane, Laos, on July 21 and trav­el­ling to Bangkok (in­clud­ing a visit to David Thompson’s Nahm res­tau­rant). Mar­ket vis­its, sight­see­ing, most meals, accommodation, cook­ing classes and in­ter­nal trans­port (plus some flights) in­cluded. More: ac­tive­travel.com.au. Lo­cal he­roes: Vic­to­ria’s Yarra Val­ley Food and Wine Fes­ti­val will be held from April 26 to 29; visit the re­gion, an hour’s drive east of Melbourne’s CBD, to ex­pe­ri­ence its best winer­ies and restau­rants, as well as beer brew­ing classes, tast­ings, demon­stra­tions and high teas. More: yarraval­leyfes­ti­val.com.au.

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