Autumn in Chianti '13
As I wrote this in Greve, Chianti (above), a group of South Islanders were packing for a very special adventure - the very first Cooks' Tour run by The Active Gourmet Travel. As you read this newsletter now, they are half-way through!
Their initial destination was Rome for a foodies tour, and they are currently enjoying six nights in a villa among Chianti vineyards, with ample opportunity to experience cooking classes in neighbouring castles and villas. Nice is next, then four days in Northern Provence where locals will teach our cooks some secrets of the local cuisine. The trip ends on Saturday 21 September in Paris.
If you are interested in taking part in a similar journey next September, I suggest you register your interest now because places are very limited. A second Cooks' Tour to Piedmont in Italy and the Pays Basque is in the planning stages.
First trip to Pays Basque
The end of this month sees our first trip to the Pays Basque, the French provinces of the Basque Country. We will be exploring the distinctive cuisine and culture of the Basque people, spending time in the inland valleys and on the Cote Basque, in small villages and the sophisticated towns of Biarritz and Bayonne. A highlight will be lunch at a World Top 50 restaurant in the mountains just over the Spanish border.
The 2014 version of this tour is timed to coincide with the September school holidays.
You love our personalised itineraries!
There has been a big increase in the number of personalised itineraries The Active Gourmet Travel is organising for independent travellers.
This month alone, our clients will journey to such diverse destinations as Budapest and Barcelona, San Francisco and San Sebastian, as well as off the beaten track areas in France and Italy not included in most itineraries.
It's interesting to note, too, that many of these itineraries are made for second and third-time Active Gourmet Travel customers.
What our travellers say about our personalised itineraries
"That was a great day...the time in Provence was the best time we have ever had on a trip. Thank you soo much, we are just are so happy."
Sue & John
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Leaving, on a jet plane....? Tips & tricks
You might have noticed that more airlines seem to be code sharing flights with airlines other than those in their own alliance, eg, Air NZ with Air France. This allows enormous flexibility in routes, and the ability to fly to Europe via the US and back via Asia at a very reasonable price. It also means Air NZ-loyal passengers have several alternate ways of getting to Europe without the time-consuming route through the hub of London's Heathrow with its expensive departure tax.
These alliances are very good for the airlines' bottom lines because of the increased loading but, for you, it means fewer seats overall, and a need to be flexible with departure dates. Book early to get the dates and routes you prefer, and expect to pay in full within a few days of booking.
Also be aware that if you need to change your bookings, there is a penalty to pay. This varies according to the airline but tends to be from $200-$500 per ticket. You will also need to pay any difference if the same class of fare is not available on your new dates. So the moral is, pause before you book.
2015 Centenary of ANZAC landings in Gallipoli
Good to keep in mind that the centenary is close and places at the commemorative site are won by ballot. The New Zealand attendance pass ballot will open on 1 November 2013, and is restricted to New Zealand citizens and holders of New Zealand permanent resident visas (regardless of where they currently reside) aged 18 years and over as of 25 April 2015. If you want to plan a trip around this event, you know who to contact: gail "at" theactivegourmet.com
Hubert the Hippo out of confinement
At the start of the year, I, Hubert, was ensconced in my summer quarters - a garage right by the River Thouet in Saumur. But quelle surprise when the Trapps picked me up recently for the Cook's Tour, and then we are off to the Pays Basque - je suis très heureux! Remember to visit my blog to see what we get up to next - better still, you could give me something pleasant to report for our other travellers!
Merci beaucoup mes amis
Until next time,
PS: Today's lunch in a Chianti vineyard, next is our first cooking school on how to prepare wild venison...
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