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Putting the Best Food Forward

One of the things clients tell me most is how important it is to them to have really great dining options when they travel. Local cuisine is an integral part of your cultural experience as a traveler and discoverer, and I love highlighting regional culinary traditions in itineraries.

Last week I signed up for the March 6th sailing on the American Queen steamboat for a river cruise from New Orleans to Memphis, and thinking about all the great Southern cooking along the way has me so excited! American Queen Voyages has delicious journeys all along the Mississippi and its tributaries as well as a river cruise wine lovers will love in the Pacific Northwest. Below you can read more about it and lots of other yummy travel ideas I can arrange to please any palate. Which of these temptations inspire you to travel the most?

Excerpt of November 1, 2021 Virtuoso article by Lindsay Lambert Day can be found HERE.

From cooking classes to market tours, one of the best ways to delve into a destination is through its cuisine. Virtuoso travel advisors can point you to the tastiest must-tries wherever your travels lead with the insider access of Virtuoso Culinary Travel partners.


Cooking Classes

  • Check into Tuscany’s 29-room Hotel Byron and learn to make classic Italian pizza alongside your kids during a chef-led class – then feast on your piping-hot homemade pies.

  • Guest at Umbria’s 24-room Palazzo Seneca can take a guided hike around Norcia to gather herbs, flowers, and wild fruits to incorporate in traditional savory dishes, syrups, and herbal teas during a post-hike cooking class.

  • With the opening of its new Chocolate Lab, Saint Lucia’s 29-room Jade Mountain resort invites guests to experience activities such as sensory tastings, educational estate trips, and truffle-making classes.

  • Some of the world’s best seafood comes from Alaska, and travelers at the six-room Tutka Bay Lodge can learn to prepare it, alongside fresh local produce, during an hour-long cooking class.

  • While visiting Lake Como with IC Bellagio, meet a pizzaiolo (pizza maker) then enjoy an intimate traditional dinner in a private family garden.

  • Passengers sailing on Oceania Cruises’ Marina and Riviera can roll up their sleeves for regionally inspired cooking classes in The Culinary Center, the ships’ state-of-the-art teaching kitchens.

Fine Dining

  • Travelers with an appetite for refined fare will feel right at home on Belmond Trains & Cruises’ seven-day river cruise through Burgundy, which arranges for meals at a different Michelin-starred restaurant every day.

  • Israel is widely believed to be home to more vegans than any other place on the planet. Insiders at the Israel Ministry of Tourism can help Virtuoso travel advisors plan itineraries that include meals at elegant, veg-forward restaurants that even omnivores will love.

Food Tours

  • Staff at Puerto Rico’s 319-room Condado Vanderbilt Hotel can arrange walking food tours of Old San Juan that will introduce travelers to traditional local dishes and drinks.

  • Lima is one of South America’s most exciting culinary cities. Virtuoso advisors partner with PromPerú to plan gastronomic tours of the city that include top spots for ceviche, pisco sours, and plenty more Peruvian specialties.

  • Whether it’s Sin City’s most unusual eats or a Michelin-starred-only lineup you want to enjoy, the concierge team at the 3,033-room The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas can arrange a food tour that’ll satisfy whatever you’re craving.

  • California is the largest agricultural producer in the U.S., and with insight from the experts of Visit California, travel advisors can arrange farm-hopping tours for travelers who want to taste the Golden State’s bounty straight from the source.

  • In Verona, travelers with I.D.I. Italy get treated to a guided, gourmet food tour that takes them to a variety of venues to taste the city’s beloved specialties.

Local Traditions

  • While touring Ireland with Adams & Butler, visit some of the country’s best farmhouse cheese shops for storytelling, tastings, and hands-on demonstrations.

  • Guests of California’s 303-room Ojai Valley Inn can unleash their inner apiarist during a guided beekeeping and local-honey tasting.

  • In the village of Buzet, in Croatia’s region of Istria, Calvados Club can arrange a truffle hunt in a family-owned forest, followed by a lunch of homemade truffle gnocchi, an Istrian specialty.

  • Spain is home to the world’s largest olive-growing region. On Insight Vacations’ nine-day tour through Andalusia’s rural landscapes, you can tour an olive grove, learn about olive oil-production, and taste rich, golden oil.

  • Tourism Australia has a host of tip on how to dig into dishes and drinks Down Under that feature “bush tucker” ingredients ranging from macadamia nuts and mud crabs to Kakadu plums and quandong fruit.


  • Virtuoso travel advisors collaborate with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism to plan a seafood-centric itinerary that includes a cook-your-catch fishing excursion and major culinary events such as the annual celebrity-chef-studded Cayman Cookout. (Due to the pandemic, the 2022 cookout has been canceled.)

  • While Brittany in France with I.D.I. France, stop for lunch and a visit to the oyster market in Casale, a fishing village across the bay from Mont Saint-Michel – the region’s oyster capital.

  • The Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau can help arrange a “sushi safari” that helps travelers discover hidden gems and Michelin-starred restaurants – and to the sprawling Tsukiji Outer Market to see where the fish is sourced.

Produced with support from Virtuoso Culinary Travel partners. Find out more about Virtuoso hotels, tour operators, on-site tour connections, cruise lines, and destinations that specialize in culinary travel.



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