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Provence Truffle Tour – Eight Days of Delight on the Truffle Trail

In Search of Black Gold in Southern France

February 20-17, 2014

Hunt, harvest and savor the Black Gold of Provence — A Terroir Tour timed for the peak of Truffle Season

Provence during Truffle Season is like Provence no other time of year. The pace is slower. Tourist season is still months away. Winter is on the way out and with Spring inching its way around the corner, there’s a wonderful expectant feeling in the air. Artisanal and native products abound, and there is plenty of time to experience the joys of the table in this region that takes its food very seriously. No where is the watchful waiting more intense than in Provence’s Truffle Country.

Join a small band of culinary adventurers in late February for a celebration of all things truffle! Be forewarned: You’re signing up for eight days of culinary porn of the most unrepentant, self-indulgent variety. You’ll yield to the taste, lore and mystery of the aristocratic black tuber. You’ll learn where it grows, how to find it, how to cook with it and you’ll experience how it can elevate even the simplest of meals with paroxysms of subtlety and flavor that leave you on the edge of your chair.

Seven nights, eight days. Our 2014 Truffle Immersion Tour is absolutely unique. It’s the only expedition of its kind offered in the U.S.

We’ll be exporing the Truffle Trail in Upper Provence, in the Département of Vaucluse, with stops in Tricastin, Grignan and the Enclave des Papes, which includes Avignon. We’ve engaged a local Rabassier (truffle guide) to initiate us into the secrets of the truffle hunt. The guide is key, but his dog is the star of the show as he darts among the oak trees and ferrets out the black gold. We get the truffles. The dog is rewarded with a chunk of sausage.

After the hunt, we’ll adjourn to the farmhouse kitchen for a truffle repast in front of a blazing fire. Other features of the tour include: A hands-on, how-to cooking lesson built around the truffle, followed by a shared meal; Visit to a small-town truffle market; A private tasting of Rhône and Tricastin wines; traditional Provencal bourgeois meal at a local farm (herberge ferme); All-day antiques shopping at Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the largest antiques center outside of Paris; And a close-up look at Avignon, one of France’s most striking medieval jewels.

The truffle is proof that there is a God and that she loves us. Our truffle tour will make a believer of you.

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Germany’s Pinot Trail – Discovering and Celebrating Germany’s Reds

Red Wine Road Tour 2013

August 25 – September 1, 2013

The German Wine Country Tour For Pinot Lovers – Limited Availability. Reserve Now…

 Revolution in Red German Rieslings have gone cult. German Pinots aren’t far behind. Stay ahead of the curve and join a small group of wine enthusiasts on a tasting tour this August to savor the bounty and beauty of Germany’s great Pinots (Spätburgunder) and other reds.

Expertly planned and fully-escorted, our winery tour is the very first of its kind. It is is offered in cooperation with the German Wine Institute and the VDP (Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates), the country’s elite association of upper-tier winemakers. Eight nights, nine days, seminar and Pinot tasting with David Schildknecht, private driver, hand-picked hotels — estate visits, private tastings, food moments and cultural highlights included. Join us!

The insider’s wine tour package Wine is about enjoyment and discovery. You’ll be swirling, sniffing and tasting your way through one of Europe’s truly outstanding but still unknown wine regions, the German Pinot Trail, as you travel through Franken, the Rhine area, the Black Forest, Baden and the Pfalz. Sample Germany’s expressive Pinots and other reds right where they’re made. Uncover the delights of Germany’s hidden slopes and cellars and experience Germany’s culinary explosion.

Not your mother’s wine. Not your mother’s kind of wine tour. We’ve retooled the traditional genteel white-glove wine tour and morphed it into a hands-on wine safari geared to the interests and passions of Generation Wine, that group of adventurous wine lovers who transcend age and can be from 19 to 90. Generation Wine likes hands-on. They know quality. They love the taste and the experience of wine. They love wine in context. They love wine with food. They connect with people over wine and love to engage.

There are no holds barred on the Pinot Trail. Compare notes with your friends and fellow travelers on the road. Hang with some of continent’s most expert winemakers. Hike their hills, squat in their cellars, hear their stories, pick their brains, meet their families and see what makes them tick.

Traditionalists whose families have been making wine for centuries… Accomplished growers who are at the top of their game… Undiscovered garagistes who are turning out great wines in small batches… Up-and-coming vintners who are about to hit stride — You’ll meet them all.

You’ll taste the best of the top-tier VDP Pinot Noirs as well as other break-out Pinots, other reds and specialties. You’ll meet Germany’s new artisanal freestylers who are energizing the world of wine. Estate visits include Friedrich Becker, Rudolf Fürst, the Thörle Family, Ziereisen, Möbitz, plus many, many more. And where wine is, food can’t be far behind. German wine is very food-friendly. You’ll enjoy locavore delights, native farm cooking and soulful nose-to-tail eating along the way.

An added bonus We’re headlining our German Red Wine Road Tour 2013 with a seminar and private Pinot tasting led by the leading German wine critic in the United States David Schildknecht, acclaimed for his insightful, in-depth reviews for The Wine Advocate, published by Robert Parker and read around the globe.

Fall Antiques Extravaganza

Join Us for this Exciting European Antique Tour in September. Space is limited

September 25-October 4, 2013

Shop for Bargains in Europe’s Attic — From “Baroque to Box Lots.” Experience the imperial cities of Prague, Leipzig and Bamberg plus glorious northern Bavaria, deepest Saxony and remotest Bohemia on a one-of-kind antiques and design tour. Europe’s best markets, under-the-radar shops and wholesalers! Space is limited — Book Now.

Furniture, decor and design objects, vintage, small antiques, art, collectibles estate finds and much more. Whether you’re a dealer, designer or trend scout… Whether antiques are your business, your passion or your pastime… There’s no better time to shop than now. And there’s no better place to do it than Central Europe, where the selection is immense and the antiques are more affordable than in France, Italy, Belgium and the U.K.

Featured in Country Living, Australian House and Garden and USA Today…

Think Safari! You’ll be part of a small group of simpatico, like-minded adventurers on a brisk, fun bargain hunt through the nooks-and-crannies of hidden Central Europe. We’ll be shopping for antiques, vintage, art, design objects and other treasures way off the beaten path, where few Americans venture. Twenty years after the fall of the wall, this region is emerging as the continent’s hottest new antiques and design circuit.

You’ll travel with an experienced dealer, enjoy a flexible itinerary and great shopping at the choicest markets, shops, galleries, private dealers, farmsteads and warehouses. Save as the dollar gains on the euro.

You’ll visit two UNESCO World Heritage cities, experience ancient towns and villages and see unforgettable countryside You’ll sample great historical and cultural treasures along the way, stay in local inns and hotels, and taste distinctive regional food, luscious wines and wonderful beers.

Group container shipping is available on a shared-cost basis. Want to buy a lot? We can also arrange a solo container just for you.

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Enchanted Christmas Markets Tour

Our Premium Christmas Tour — The trip of a lifetime

December 1-9, 2013

Experience the magic and mystery of the season, do your shopping and get back in time to celebrate Christmas at home!

A bustling market square bathed in the soft light of Christmas… Gingerbread and hot mulled wine waft from market stalls… Silent snow falls on pitched rooftops… Vibrant Christmas decorations tempt with their sparkle and charm… Traditional musicians spread cheer as they amble through the square… These are some of the indescribable sights, sounds and smells of Christmastime in Germany.

There’s no better place to celebrate all things Christmas than right in the heart of Germany. Our Christmas tour is designed to give you a real insider’s look at this wondrous season, including the traditions, handcrafts, art, music and food that make Christmas in Germany utterly unique and absolutely unforgettable.

There are Christmas markets all over the Europe, but we focus on northern Bavaria and eastern Germany for this tour because this region is the “most German” part of the country, and it’s the best place to experience the authentic traditions of the Christmas season. We’ll be experiencing majestic cities that will take your breath away and fascinating villages in remote areas of Saxony and Thuringia, with wondrous scenery along the way.

Visit the shop of a woodworker who collects and restores folk art and get a close-up look at his antique miniatures and historic Christmas figures. Meet a family of toymakers and learn about the decorations and Christmas treasures their family has been crafting for two centuries. Trace the history of nativity scenes from the last two hundred years on a private tour of hand-made Christmas creches. Visit a Stollen bakery and see what goes in to making this luscious traditional Christmas cake.

Highlights include the UNESCO heritage city Bamberg and the imperial city of Dresden, the “Venice of the North“ whose Christmas market dates back to 1434 Our journey also includes hidden towns and villages that are not on most tour itineraries, including stops on Germany’s Toy Route and remote hill towns in Saxony and Thuringia where artisans are still crafting remarkable folk toys, decorations, art and fine collectibles. We’ll see the glassblowing village Lauscha and visit Seiffen in the fairytale Erzgebirge region. Our Christmas tour is fully guided and includes all ground transportation – from the moment you step off the plane to the minute we bring you back to the airport.

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The Wines and Vineyards of Franconia

Our Fall Wine Getaway — October 11-18, 2013

A Celebration of Franken, Its Vineyards, Its Wines and Its Winemakers – The Glories of Bavaria’s Wine Country and It’s Cultural Hotspots in the the Fall

Go Deep! is what the Zen Masters tell us to do, it’s a Janet Jackson song, and it’s what the coach yells to the long receiver on the football field. Go Deep! also applies to wine, so we’ll be devoting an entire trip to it this fall on our Wines and Vineyards of Franconia Tour. If the idea of digging in and focusing deeply, richly and singlemindedly on the wines and winemaking of one individual region appeals to you, this wine tour is for you!

Meet the growers and vintners, see the estates and experience winemaking from from the inside out. Party at the Iphöfer Fall Wine Festival and experience the quiet delights of some of the choicest seasonal wine taverns in the region. Get up close and personal with the grapes and help out a local family with the harvest at the vineyard of a Franconian estate in the Würzburg area. It’s incredible fun! We’ll pick first and pour later. After a day among the vines, we’ll celebrate the harvest in the evening with local vintages and food from the region.

Franconians have been making wine since Roman times. A lot of the local winemaking is still centered along the Main River, which snakes its way through this sliver of northern Bavaria, providing a home to one Medieval wine village after another in a beautiful mash-up of vines, slopes and ancient estates.

We’ll access a whole range of types and styles on the Franconian Wine Trail, including whites, reds and rosés. The wines of Franconia are dry by nature and tradition. You’ll experience luscious bone-dry and mid-range Rieslings, poised Silvaners, vivid Pinot Noirs and Pinot Grigios and rosés – we’ll also sample the traditional Müller-Thurgau, a regional speciality that fell from grace and is being revived by a coalition of young vintners called Frank und Frei (Frank and Free). The tour includes top-level VDP estates, cottage producers, under-the-radar growers and NextGen winemakers who are setting the bar high, particularly in the Riesling and Pinot department. Headliners include Hans Wirsching, whose family has been making wine since 1630, the Juliusspital Estate, Rudolf Fürst, Horst Sauer, Artur Steinmann, Wolfgang Kühn and the 575-year-old Schloss Sommerhausen Estate, plus many others.

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