Snacks picked up in the market stalls and bakeshops. A five-course extravaganza in a Michelin-starred restaurant. A home-cooked lunch in a farmhouse kitchen. We love it all and make sure you enjoy the local specialties in a whole range of fine typical settings. Food is a foolproof way into the hearts, homes and history of the places we visit, and we prove it with every meal. If we start telling you about the pique-nique in Provence… the so-sweet taste of a just-caught trout in Peru … the homemade spring rolls on the deck of our junk in Halong Bay … we’ll never stop. Suffice it to say that all breakfasts and most dinners are included in the tour price. In many restaurants, chefs make an extra trip to the market to prepare special meals just for us. Lunches are also included on many days. For picnics, we stop at local markets or bakeries for supplies. And we’re proud to include complimentary wine with many dinners. We’ll also get you into the kind of village cafés and small restaurants that are favorite haunts of our local guides. And so what if the menus aren’t in English? Your guide is there to translate, point you to the best specialties and pass on your compliments to cooks whose usual customers are neighbors. And, if you’d like to take it one step further and do some of the cooking yourself.
Nadia and Achilles Perry have traveled with Classic Journeys 11 times from Tuscany to Morocco, Costa Rica and beyond. Their restaurant Pylos in New York is the city’s highest rated Greek restaurant on Yelp, so these two know more than a thing or two about a great meal.
For us, a meal in somebody’s home beats a restaurant meal every time. When we come into contact with local people informally around their tables, we always end up talking about all kinds of things. When we were in Tuscany with Classic Journeys, our guide Lisa took us into the kitchen at her 16th-century house. Her two aunts, who spoke no English, were at our elbows while we rolled pasta dough, stuffed it with spinach and cheese, crimped it, boiled and ate it. Some of our ravioli didn’t look perfect, but the fun and communal spirit of that made it one of our most terrific food experiences.
We had a completely different home meal episode in the Cotswolds. Because we were with Classic Journeys, we were invited to dinner at a country manor house. Over our meal in the huge dining room, we mentioned to our host John that we’d just been to the Churchill War Rooms in London. As it turns out, his grandfather was Lord Isley, one of the Prime Minister’s closest aides. After dessert, John took us to see a painting presented to the family by the painter — Churchill himself. The extra familiarity and the flow of conversation that happen at a family table are things we like to experience on every Classic Journeys trip.
We love to swirl, sniff and sip our way through a special bottle of local wine. Here are some of our recent favorites.
Say “choco-LEE-na” and sigh with happiness. A Basque favorite, it has lot of mineral and a little fizz. Essential for prolonged sipping with tapas.
Watch the Tuscan sun turn ruby through a glass of sassicaia. It’s truly decadent and likely to touch your senses with ripe raspberries, a trace of balsamic and balanced tannins.
No citrus in sight! Just white grapes aged with skins and seeds attached. The color is coppery, the flavor is bold, the match is perfect with foods like curry and kimchi.
Stop with the sauvignon blanc (or at least pause) in New Zealand. Their syrah is lush, really fruity and very, very glad to pair with those famous tiny lambchops.
Born in France, these grapes are happiest next to the Chilean Andes. How savory is it? Some experts even recommend it for beer drinkers who love IPA.