If you’re idea of the perfect tour is tasting every dish in sight and packing your own eating utensils because they taste “more special” that way, then you certainly deserve to go on the best culinary tours in the world. Wear loose, comfortable clothing and eat to your heart’s content with these unique food-centered trips around the globe.

Trufflepig’s Tour around France

The Toronto-based travel company Trufflepig offers every foodie’s dream vacation to France. The tour includes dishes as classy and delicate as only royalty would have it, and food adventures that would fit rustic, simple taste buds of the village folk. This tour lasts for eight days, with Paris as its starting point, traversing the southeast regions of Alsace and Burgundy by train.

Those who will join this tour will set up camp at Le Relais St. Germain in Paris, which is no less a treat. This hotel is owned by the celebrated chef Yves Camdeborde, who is famous for cooking up gastronomic breakfasts. You’ll also get to explore the urban side of France when you take strolls to local food stores guided by food writers who know what’s best in the market. A history lesson about the restaurants of France as well as pastry classes at the Ritz are also in the itinerary.

When you reach the heart of Burgundy, you’ll be tasting France’s finest wines, and in Alsace, you can learn a generous 150 recipes for sauces. Wrapped up with a meal at the L’Auberge de L’ill bistro, the eight-day trip can cost as little as $5,500 per person.

Seven Days in Edgy Italy

If you’re hoping for an immaculate Tuscan villa, don’t get your hopes up. After all, if you want to taste the most authentic of Italian dishes, you need to go to Seliano, which sits 50 miles from Naples. The working farm is very near the Paestrum, and is run by the farming family of Baratta.

The farm has an inn which is also home to the cook of food writer Arthur Schwartz. Arthur Schwartz is also the author of a cookbook, Food Maven, and the more celebrated Naples at the Table. During the tour, you’ll get to enjoy cooking classes in the morning (for the first three days), and two days dedicated to excursions which will certainly make your knowledge of the Italian culture richer.

Schwartz also has a partner in this tour who happens to be an archeologist named Bob Harned. Harned will guide you through Stabia which is an old city already buried by Vesuvius’ ash, and the Greek ruins of the Paestrum which is exactly 2,600 years old. The tour lasts for seven days, and costs about $3,650 per head. It’s usually scheduled between September and November.

Japan for the Foodies

Just by reading that title, you’d probably expect that Intrepid’s food tour across Japan would include at least a few of Japan’s nine restaurants which earned three-Michellin-stars. Surprisingly enough, the travel company’s itinerary includes none of these in its stops. Instead, you’ll be taken with nine other participants through a two-week culinary tour which includes a trip to the Tsukiji fish market, and classes on soba-making.

Instead of the usual five-star-hotel set ups, you’ll also stay at small hotels and ryokans. The reason behind this is that trip leader Annamarie Ruelle wants her guests to experience a more “real” Japan. For breakfast, you’ll dine on flavorful pancakes (okonomiyaki) and smoked oysters for lunch or dinner. You’ll also get to meet a local who survived the atomic bombing during the second world war, and meditate with Buddhist monks.

Traversing the path from Tokyo to Kyoto, you can also savor the sight of the Japanese Alps and visit a market which is 600 years old, several breweries for sake, and taste local dishes in the region including Hidu beef.
The fourteen-day tour is pretty affordable, starting at $3,555 per person. This fee includes most things, though it’s still safe to bring from extra cash just in case you’d want to sample dishes which aren’t included in the package.

Tausend’s Foodie Tour Through Mexico

How can you taste the best Mexican dishes in Mexico? By traveling with someone who grew up taking trips to California, Idaho, and Texas, of course, with her father who travelled to buy wholesale produce. We’re talking about none other than Marilyn Tausend, who has written four very impressive and authentic Mexican cookbooks. She now gives the most highly revered culinary tours across Mexico.

If you’re a real Mexican foodie, you’ll definitely be elated to hear that Tausend brings along famous guests like Diana Kennedy, Roberto Santibanez, Ricardo Munoz Zurita and Rick Bayless who are practically the Beatles of Mexican cooking.

Each of the trips she leads focus on a single region in Mexico. The trip on February 5 to 13, 2011 will be in Yucatan, where participants can enjoy regional specialties like papadzules and attend cooking classes lead by famous chefs who will be traveling with them.

Cultural excursions to the ruins of Chichen Itza, viewings of the flamingos found in Rio Lagartos, and a feast of pit roasted pork (cochinita pibil) is also thrown into the itinerary. The nine-day tour costs $4000 per head.

Blending three cultures in Singapore

A simple trip to Singapore would already let you enjoy the best of three worlds: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Thanks to its proximity to Malaysia which shares the same demographic, Singapore is now a foodie haven for those who love Asian delicacies. The diminutive city is home to about 120 food centers, each one of them, home to about 150 stalls. You can choose from fish head curry dishes to grilled stingray. Some even offer fusions.

However, if you don’t have the time to sample all 150 of these stalls, you might want the expertise of K.F. Seetoh. This chef even taught Martha Stewart how to properly prepare a laksa, and is the founder of Singapore’s street food Bible, the Makansutra.

If you book a tour with him, you’ll be taken to Singapore’s head hawker stalls. Without the tour, and even with the guidebook in your hands, you won’t be able to find these gems for lack of any clear addresses and official names. Plus, it’s only a three-hour tour which costs a reasonable $150. If you’re staying in Singapore for only a few days, this is definitely a worthy addition to your itinerary.



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