Eats meets west

Culi­nary jour­neys across the globe prom­ise a feast of un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ences

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

MICHE­LIN DIN­ING IN SPAIN WITH FRANK CAMORRA When Melbourne chef Frank Camorra launched his first food tour to Spain in con­junc­tion with the re­lease of his 2009 book Movida Rus­tica, he had lit­tle idea that many of the in­au­gu­ral par­tic­i­pants would de­mand more of the same. Such was the pop­u­lar­ity of the small-group so­journ that this year marks Camorra’s third tour of his home coun­try, with the itin­er­ary cov­er­ing Spain’s Basque re­gion. Guests on the 10-day trip will be given an in­sider’s take on Basque cui­sine, with fish­ing ex­cur­sions, vis­its to small towns and farms, mar­ket shop­ping and trips to lo­cal bars to try pin­txos and wines. Other high­lights are din­ing at Miche­lin-starred Arzak res­tau­rant and a visit to Bil­bao’s Guggen­heim Mu­seum. The 12-per­son El Pais Vasco tour with Frank Camorra, from July 10 to 20, starts and fin­ishes in San Se­bas­tian, with guests trav­el­ling by pri­vate ve­hi­cle. From $11,490 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing accommodation in San Se­bas­tian, Ge­taria and Bil­bao. More: biz­naga.com. TONY TAN’S GOURMET TOUR OF CHINA While we’re not short of a de­cent xiao long bao in Australia, lead­ing food iden­tity Tony Tan’s epi­curean ex­plo­rations of China are bound to turn up the best in their class. His 12-day Gourmet Tour of China , tak­ing in Bei­jing, Shang­hai and Hong Kong, in­cludes vis­its to bustling mar­kets, cook­ing classes, ses­sions with a tea mas­ter, spe­cially cho­sen res­tau­rant ex­pe­ri­ences and accommodation in five-star prop­er­ties. There is also an ex­cur­sion to the Great Wall. The tour departs Bei­jing on Septem­ber 14 and fin­ishes in Hong Kong on Septem­ber 25 (with trans­fers be­tween cities by pri­vate coach and plane); from $7899 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing all meals. The tour is or­gan­ised by Jet­set Travel South Melbourne and Tan’s Un­lim­ited Cui­sine Com­pany. More: 1300 967 979; tony­tan.com.au; 0412 126 663. TUS­CANY ANDAMALFI COAST WITH STE­FANO DE PIERI A two-week, small-group tour led by chef Ste­fano de Pieri in Septem­ber will ex­plore Florence and the lesser-known se­crets of Posi­tano and Chi­anti. It’s Vene­tian-born de Pieri’s first food tour and the chef, who runs the award-win­ning Ste­fano’s res­tau­rant in Mil­dura, Vic­to­ria, will con­duct cook­ing classes in his­toric vil­las and pre­pare meals in part­ner­ship with lo­cal chefs.

The tour (max­i­mum 10 par­tic­i­pants) starts in Florence and takes in wine and cheese tast­ings, lan­guage lessons with de Pieri’s wife, Donata Car­razza, walk­ing tours, a yacht char­ter around Capri and a con­cert in Ravello, be­fore guests are trans­ferred by pri­vate ve­hi­cle to Rome. Seven nights’ villa accommodation in Tus­cany and Posi­tano is in­cluded. The Tus­cany and Amalfi Coast tour, from Septem­ber 29 to Oc­to­ber 13, costs from $10,900 a per­son twin­share, in­clud­ing most meals. More: avan­ti­italy.com.au. THE GLO­BE­TROT­TING GOURMETTOURTO NORTH­ERN VIET­NAM De­scribed as a tour of ‘‘rev­o­lu­tion­ary cui­sine and din­ing rev­elry’’, this seven-day Viet­nam itin­er­ary with cook­book au­thor Robert Car­mack and tex­tile de­signer Mor­ri­son Polk­inghorne is one of sev­eral Asian es­capes from The Glo­be­trot­ting Gourmet, in­clud­ing Thai­land, Burma and Sin­ga­pore. Start­ing and fin­ish­ing in Hanoi, the tour takes in street food, mar­ket vis­its and lesser-known din­ing venues, with day trips to sur­round­ing ar­eas and overnight stays in Ninh Binh and Haiphong. High­lights in­clude meet­ing Hanoi chef Di­dier Cor­lou of La Ver­ti­cale res­tau­rant and a trip to a char­ity train­ing school. From $3495 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing most meals, accommodation, pri­vate trans­fers and spec­i­fied tours. Pre and post-tour ex­ten­sions are pos­si­ble. More: glo­be­trot­ting­gourmet.com. WALK­A­BOUT GOURMET AD­VEN­TURES Aus­tralian-owned Walk­a­bout runs 26 food-fo­cused walk­ing tours in Europe be­tween April and Oc­to­ber each year, plus four fur­ther itin­er­ar­ies in Vic­to­ria and Tas­ma­nia dur­ing sum­mer. De­signed for trav­ellers who want to ex­pe­ri­ence life as a lo­cal, the pack­ages al­low guests to ex­plore char­ac­ter-filled ham­lets and en­joy the lo­cal cui­sine. Run by Provence-based Gabriela Clarke, a cor­don bleu chef and out­door en­thu­si­ast, and her hus­band Graeme, orig­i­nally from Vic­to­ria, Walk­a­bout’s sig­na­ture 15-day Fol­low the Gourmet Trail from Turin to Florence is one of the most pop­u­lar itin­er­ar­ies. This year’s tours are sold out, but book­ings are now be­ing taken for May 21 and Septem­ber 9 depar­tures in 2013; from $6875. More: walk­a­bout­gourmet.com. TASTES OF BUR­GUNDY A ro­tat­ing band of lead­ing Aus­tralian chefs is one of the high­lights of Tastes of Bur­gundy, a week-long culi­nary re­treat in this glo­ri­ous part of France. Serge Dansereau (The Bathers’ Pav­il­ion, Syd­ney) and An­drew Mccon­nell (Cut­ler & Co and Cu­mu­lus Inc, Melbourne) will lead this year’s classes, from April to late June. Guests will be based in the charm­ing 18th-cen­tury Chateau de Tailly just out­side the vil­lage of Meur­sault, and menu plan­ning, mar­ket vis­its (in Di­jon, Beaune and Chalon-sur-saone or Au­tun) and meals are on the itin­er­ary. Non-cook­ing days in­clude vis­its to cheese­mak­ers and bistros, and a trip to the stun­ning Ab­baye de la Bussiere, a for­mer monastery con­verted into Re­lais & Chateaux accommodation with a Miche­lin­starred res­tau­rant. The allinclusive tour, which fea­tures a de­gus­ta­tion din­ner at three­Miche­lin-starred Mai­son Lameloise in Chagny, is $9000 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing meals, wine, cham­pagne and coach trans­port. More: taste­sof­bur­gundy.com. GUSTO SUD TOUR WITH COLIN MCLAREN Some would think run­ning food tours to the heart of Italy’s mafia ter­ri­tory would be fool­hardy for a for­mer un­der­cover de­tec­tive who al­most sin­gle­hand­edly de­stroyed a mafia cell in NSW, but Colin Mclaren has been do­ing just that for seven years. The owner of Ital­ian-styled Villa Gusto in Bright, Vic­to­ria, Mclaren takes par­tic­i­pants in his 14-day Gusto Sud Tour on a colour­ful jour­ney through regions such as Cal­abria and Si­cily (in­clud­ing Sav­oca, where scenes from The God­fa­ther were shot) be­tween mid-june and late Septem­ber. The tour, with a max­i­mum of 14 par­tic­i­pants, also in­cludes Naples and the Amalfi Coast, with lunches and din­ners, wine tast­ings, cook­ing classes and mar­ket tours. From $9500 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing meals, accommodation and coach trans­port. Mclaren is ac­cept­ing book­ings for 2013; More: vil­la­gusto.com.au. Un­less stated oth­er­wise, in­ter­na­tional flights are not in­cluded in tour prices.

Ste­fano de Pieri leads food tours to Italy

Frank Camorra

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