Culinary Tour to the French Riviera (aka Côte d'Azur)

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My passion for France started with food, of course.  Long story short, a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape led to my first trip to the Provençal region and the decision to become a chef.  Since then, this part of the world has held a special place in my heart, and after years of searching, I finally have the perfect way to share it with you.  I just found a beautiful villa and it's ideally situated in one of my absolute favorite little towns, Saint Paul de Vence.  Yes, the stars have aligned.  My team and I are planning a wonderful week, and I can't wait to cook and explore with you in Provence!

Miles of rich blue Mediterranean coastline, delicious food and outstanding wines await!

Situated on the southern coast of France in the region of Provence, the Côte d'Azur offers miles of rich blue Mediterranean coastline and delicious food and wine to go with it. Throughout our tour, we'll immerse ourselves into the history, nature, and luscious relaxed lifestyle that permeates this area.  The French prioritize activities such as savoring leisurely meals and wine with friends, so this is an idyllic place to unwind, put down the gadgets, and tune into the warmth and laughter that can make us feel rejuvenated.

We'll stay at a small, luxurious villa, just minutes from Cannes and Nice, in the medieval village of Saint Paul de Vence.  This Provencal-style property offers spacious living spaces and well-appointed rooms and suites.  There's also a well-equipped central kitchen and an outdoor kitchen where we can create Provençal dishes such as ratatouille, a succulent bouillabaisse with croutons and rouille, and pissaladière!  Between the serene location and amenities, we'll have plenty of ways to relax and have fun together..

This part of southern France bursts with exceptional flavors and fragrances like olives, olive oil, lots of fresh herbs, lemon and garlic.  We'll savor them as we explore the local food markets, local  restaurants and vineyards.   

Provence has something for everyone, whether you crave history, natural beauty, extraordinary fresh food, excellent wine and incredible outdoor markets, or just a chance to explore with fellow food and wine lovers.  This will be a trip of a lifetime, and I can't wait to take you there with me!


* Price based on double occupancy.  Please inquire about availability of singe occupancy rooms. A single supplement applies for solo travelers. Airfare not included. Deposit of $2,000.00 per person required to secure a spot.
See the tour terms and conditions here.

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We'll stay just minutes from Cannes and Nice, in the idyllic village of Saint Paul de Vence.  

This enchanting medieval village has been an absolute mecca for artists since the early 1900's.  Picasso, Dufy, Matisse, and Marc Chagall called this place home here for years, and for good reason.  There is something special about the quality of light that makes it a magical place.   The village has also hosted world reknowned cinema stars, including Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren, and Catherine Deneuve.  Yet, what I love the most is this area's perfect climate and proximity to beautiful beaches and interesting sites. It's an ideal spot to serve as our home base for the week. 

We'll stay at a gorgous, private, resort built in Provencal style in 1982 by the architect Alain Berp. His attention to detail and quality is evident throughout the house, including his use of materials from an old monastery. The property offers spacious living spaces, including reception rooms with fireplaces and a well-equipped central kitchen.  The en suite rooms are exquisitely appointed and offer lovely terraces with stunning views.  There is also an outdoor kitchen, bar, lounge, lovely pool, and a 6500 square meters garden built on terraces.  Here you will find many exotic trees, fruits, and flowers.  There is even a tennis court equipped with lights so you can play in the evening.  

Between the serene location and amenities, we'll have plenty of ways to relax and rejuvenate ourselves each day.

Food lovers unite!  Think lemons, almonds, olives, garlic, tomatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, herbs, and plenty of wine  And of course, cheese! Whether it’s fresh, mild, creamy, or matured, French chèvre is legendary!   Chèvre tastes as good on its own as it does in quiches, tarts, or salads.  Oh, and we'll taste and enjoy the quintessential aniseed-flavored liqueur called Pastis.  Invented in Marseille in 1932 by industrialist Paul Ricard, it is amber-colored in the bottle but turns milky-white when water or ice is added.  A classic aperitif is quite trendy pre-lunch after a couple of rounds of pétanque --a game of boules played on packed soil.

No aperitif in Provence-Côte d'Azur is complete without tapenade, an olive dip made of black olives, capers, anchovies, garlic, and olive oil and served with croutons.  Numerous variations exist, and we can create our own with green olives or sun-dried tomatoes.

Perhaps the king of regional fish dishes is bouillabaisse.  For locals, its appeal lies as much in the flavor as in the ceremonial of serving and eating it: first the broth, then the fish, followed by copious quantities of croutons and rouille (a spicy, saffron aioli) stirred in to make it creamy and luscious.  

Since we'll be just in time for the peak autumn harvests, we'll make a traditional ratatouille and serve it with local rustic bread to mop up the juices!  Or, if a chill is in the air, perhaps we'll make a soupe au pistou, —a Provencal vegetable soup topped with a pesto-like topping which gets swirled in at the end.  We might also make a daube--beef slowly braised in red wine, vegetables, garlic, and herbs to serve with polenta or gnocchi.  Traditionally it may be a poor man's dish, but this Provençal stew has been elevated to the finest tables  And for dessert, I was thinking maybe we make a pear and frangipane galette, just the right thing for the fall table. With so many artisanal and fresh ingredients at our fingertips, we'll have so many options, and creating these classic regional dishes just might make you feel as if you belong here.  In fact, you may not ever want to leave!

The Côte d'Azur region bursts with robust flavors and fragrances both on the plate and in the glass.  To experience them all, we'll explore the local food markets, bistrots, bakeries, and some exceptional vineyards.

I can't wait to take you to a personal favorite of mine -- Old Nice and the Cours Seleya market.  It's the best place to enjoy local favorites like pissaladière, pan bagnat, and socca, a chickpea and olive oil pancake.  And there are some gorgeous wineries in this picture-perfect part of the world, and I'll have to take you to one of my favorites for their delicious rosé and lunch in their gardens.  Actually, Provence is a feast for all the senses, so in addition to everything we see and taste, we can also take in lush aromas from fields of lavender and visit a fragrance producer, where they make some of the best fragrances on Earth. One day, we might even take the ferry from Cannes to Îie Saint Honorat, where we can absorb the island's rich history and visit the monastery, where they press olive oil and make wine from their own vines on the island.

These are just a few of my ideas for now.  If you have traveled with me in the past, you know that I love to surprise you.  So, while my team and I arrange some really cool excursions, get your bags packed and get ready for a jam-packed week in one of my favorite places in the world!

 

We recommend arriving in France at least one day in advance of this tour. Not only does this give you some time to adjust to the time difference, it provides you with more time to explore.  A group transfer from Nice Airport to the villa in the afternoon of the first day of this tour, as well as a return transfer on the morning of the final day of the tour are included. 

A non-refundable deposit of $2,000.00 US per person is required to register for this journey.  Rooms are double occupancy.  Please inquire about singe occupancy room availability. A single supplement charge of $2000.00 applies for solo travelers. See the Terms and Conditions for details here. 

We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance.

Accommodations, cooking classes, excursions and day trips, wine and tastings, meals, and group transfers are included. Airfare is not included in the package price. Final payments are to be made by personal check or money order.