Bourbon- and Wine-Themed Cruises

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From wine aficionados to bourbon connoisseurs, the cruise industry has a sailing for you.

Wine Enthusiasts
AmaWaterways is inviting dedicated wine enthusiasts to sail on its series of 64 wine-themed cruises hosted by award-winning winemakers, winery owners, and wine experts. Sailing through Europe’s most well-known wine-producing areas, these itineraries include onboard lectures and wine tastings led by award-winning wine hosts, and shore excursions that allow guests to immerse themselves in the local wine and culinary culture. Wine enthusiasts on these themed-sailings can expect to participate in small group visits to private cellars, strolls through vineyards, and engaging sessions with world-class vintners and artisans. Departures on these Wine Cruises Through Europe are still available for 2018, but those looking ahead to next year will have the option of sailing on two new itineraries: the Gems of Southeast Europe and the Medeival Treasures. Guests on those itineraries can indulge in curated epicurean experiences in cities such as Basel, Nuremberg, Budapest, and Giurgiu.

Rates for the Wine Cruises Through Europe start at $2,699 pp. For more information, visit amawaterways.com.

Bourbon Lovers
For those who prefer a stronger alcoholic beverage, American Queen Steamboat Company offers a cruise that takes travelers to the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon region for a behind the scenes look at the history and production of the popular liquor. Along the way guests will be treated to special bourbon tastings, complimentary distillery tours, creative dining menus, and cooking demonstrations, plus presentations and onboard tastings provided by Maker’s Mark and Buffalo Trace. In addition, Michael Veach, a bourbon historian and member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, will be on board to engage with guests and offer a tasting of some of the world’s unique and most famous bourbons.

Rates for this bourbon-themed sailing start at $1,999 pp. For more information, visit americanqueensteamboatcompany.com.

 

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Silversea Appeals to Foodies

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For those who believe the cuisine of a destination is just as important as its landmarks and monuments, Silversea is launching a series of culinary- and wine-themed sailings—Enriched Voyages—in 2018 and 2019.

On these Enriched Voyages, guests can expect an itinerary that combines the sights and sounds of cities around the world with onboard cooking events and demonstrations complemented by specially curated menus, wine tastings and more. The Enriched Voyages are categorized into three series: The Asian Collection, Culinary Voyages, and Wine Voyages.

The Asian Collection, which was developed in partnership with The Peninsula Hotels, features five sailings, each with a different itinerary, visiting such cities as Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hiroshima, Osaka, Kagoshima, Beijing, and others. On each cruise, guests will indulge in immersive experiences, hosted by guest chefs from The Peninsula Hotels, which highlight regional specialties. Itineraries range from 11 to 16 days and next departure is in October 2018, as well as March and April 2019. Pricing for these sailings start at $6,100 pp. For more information, visit silversea.com/asian-collection.

Silversea offers over a dozen Culinary Voyages, which feature guided market-to-plate excursions, special menus, cooking demonstrations, and more. Examples of these itineraries include Silver Muse’s 25-day, ocean and Amazon River voyage from Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale; Silver Wind’s roundtrip voyage to Norway’s North Cape from London; Silver Cloud’s 16-day South American expedition from Lima to Punta Arenas; and Silver Shadow’s 15-day African and Indian Ocean voyage from Dubai to Athens. For more information, visit silversea.com/culinary-cruises.

For the wine lovers on your list, the Silversea portfolio includes four Wine Voyages, featuring wines chosen by world-class vintners and Silversea’s Wine Ambassador. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in special tastings and private tours of renowned vineyards and wineries. Silver Whisper will go on a transatlantic ocean voyage from Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale departing on Oct. 18, 2018. The ship’s final Wine Voyage for the season will be a 14-day Northern Europe itinerary from London to Barcelona departing on May 19, 2019. For more information, visit silversea.com/wine-voyages.

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Mexico’s Culinary Fixes

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Hotel El Ganzo has new culinary offerings at its restaurants.


Culinary getaways are eating a big part of the tourism pie, so hotels from Los Cabos to San Luis Potosi are putting the spotlight on gastronomy with new excursions and enhanced menus. Take the new Argentinian steak house, La Bodega, which just opened its doors at Fiesta Americana Villas Cancun; it offers top-of-the-line cuts and a magnificent wine selection. On the other side of Mexico, the Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive & Spa has a chef’s table experience with the Pacific Ocean as its backdrop that you can reserve for private occasions; here, you can enjoy culinary demonstrations and have your pick between T-bone steaks and fresh lobster.

Playa Hotels & Resorts properties across Mexico are implementing the ever-popular street food—whether it be at a station, a buffet, or even a stand by the pool, guests can choose from ramen, BeaverTails snacks, and tacos. The food stands rotate and change what they are serving and where they are every day.

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Food carts at Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta.

At bohemian Hotel El Ganzo, San Jose del Cabo’s hip artistic haven, there’s a new chef in the house who’s revamped the menus and is creating a gastronomy that mixes the flavors of Spanish and French cooking with Mexican cuisine. They are said to be as “eye-catching as they are flavorful.” The menus were developed to give each restaurant a distinctive personality: The Downstairs is a bistro-style restaurant and the Rooftop only serves seafood, sushi and ceviche since it is an ode to the sea, which surrounds the rooftop in all angles. The Container serves Mexican specialty and an insider told us that the fish tacos are a must.

You can top off all of that delicious cuisine with mescal, which guests of Conrad San Luis Potosi can experience on the hotel’s trip to a local mescal distillery. There, you can learn all about the agave, and buy exclusive bottles that can’t be purchased anywhere else. Ok, the smoky spirit isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good bet you will love the hotel’s excursion to El Atrio, where the menu is curated around recipes so authentic that cooking times are measured by reciting Hail Mary’s.

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Local Eats in Mexico

 

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We’ve got the 4-1-1 on local eats in a few of Mexico’s hotspots.

Acapulco
Becco Al Mare, one of the city’s finest restaurants, is a favorite of celebrities, and offers spectacular views of the Acapulco Bay.
• For Thai-Mex fusion cuisine, there’s Zibu.
• At La Perla at El Mirador Hotel, visitors can opt for a 3-course lunch or dinner and take in all the action of La Quebrada, the cliff from where the famous Acapulco divers jump.

Cancun
• Sushi lovers should head to Yamamoto, Cancun’s oldest Japanese restaurant.
• Offering a European-influenced menu, the alfresco La Fonda del Zancudo is set in the ruins of an old house.
La Habichuela, serving seafood and Mexican specialties, is one of the city’s most iconic restaurants, and its open-air garden is the place to dine.

Puerto Vallarta
• The intimate, family-run Restaurante Gaby’s serves authentic Mexican food and the chef is on a mission to bring back lost Vallarta dishes.
• Taco tours by Vallarta Food Tours are a must, as visitors can walk or bike to the city- center, hang out with locals and taste typical street food.
Gaviotas at Sheraton Buganvilias is creating innovative Mexican dishes such as sopa de piedra, which is cooked using hot stones, or opt for the 5-course Chef’s Table.

Riviera Maya
El Hongo in Playa del Carmen is so much more than a pet-friendly restaurant—it’s
full of great food, drinks, and music. There are also free workshops for kids like painting and handicrafts.
• Opened just a year ago, StrEAT Park in Playa del Carmen is a truck park with five food trucks featuring Mexican gastronomy; there are live bands and a DJ.
• In Tulum, the Argentinian steakhouse La Estancia Jujeña serves breakfast, lunch and dinner made the traditional way.

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The Roman Guy Announces New Tours for 2018

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With its focus solely on Italy, The Roman Guy, which creates unique culinary and culturally immersive day tours that are produced with the help of local Italian providers, has announced new small group tours for 2018.

Included in The Roman Guy’s new offerings are the Vatican Neighborhood Food tour, which showcases the Vatican’s food scene beyond the touristy bars that hug the Vatican walls, and the 2-hour Borghese Gallery Storytellers in Rome, which focuses on the art and interesting stories behind each piece of this private collection. Adding to its existing Vatican tour mix, The Roman Guy has created the Detailed Itinerary Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s tour, which explores the best highlights in the Vatican, complemented by interesting stories that touch on religion, the popes, artists and the works of art as related by the guides.

In Florence, the Delicious Florence Evening Food tour visits both sides of the Arno River, taking participants into the city’s more residential and local areas; and in Venice, The Roman Guy’s Express Venice with St Mark’s, Gondola & Rialto Bridge tour explores the inside of St. Mark’s with a local guide, goes for a stroll on the Rialto Bridge and throws in a gondola ride, all in just two hours and 30 minutes.

For more information, visit theromanguy.com.

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New Fishing & Dining Experience at The Confidante Miami Beach

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Sailing enthusiasts and foodies are the perfect match or The Confidante Miami Beach’s new insider fishing experience. This group activity, for up to five guests, takes guests aboard a Therapy IV Charter’s 58 foot sport fisherman boat for a 4-hour fishing expedition. Miami chef Richard Hales, the chef behind the hotel’s Bird & Bone restaurant, joins the group out into the Atlantic in search of tuna, Blue Marlin, mahi-mahi, grouper, and more.

After a day of deep-sea fishing, chef Hales gives the group a dockside demo on how to filet the fish, before they head back to the hotel for dinner at Bird & Bone. The chef will broil, grill, fry, or bake the caught fish with seasonal ingredients and serve it with sides such as sweet potato mash with maple bourbon butter, crispy brussels sprouts with pepper relish, or creamed wild mushrooms.

This experience is priced at $1,700 for up to five people. For more information, e-mail sales.inquiries@theconfidantehotel.com or visit theconfidantehotel.com.

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Napa: Bikes & Beers

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Bikes and beers? What else could you want to make your trip to Napa a memorable one? Though Napa is mostly known for its wine culture, this northern California destination is also booming in the trendy realm of craft brewing.

Getaway Adventures, which is known for its bike tours to local wineries, has added a brewery-to-brewery Napa Valley bike tour. The new Napa Pints n’ Pedals tour begins and ends at Kennedy Park, which sits along the Napa River, and follows the bike path along the river into downtown Napa. Each tour includes stops at three to four breweries, which are selected by the Getaway Adventures guide to  most closely match the guests’ tastes. Breweries visited may include Fieldwork, Stone, St. Clair Brown, Trade or Tannery Bend, and each will provide guests with flights of 3- to 4-ounce samples of their brews. The tour also includes a stop for lunch at a brewery or a local restaurant, however, lunch is not included in the tour price.

Rates start at $129 pp including specialized cross trail bikes with gel seats, helmets, bags, KIND bars, and water. Tours are offered daily.

For more information, visit getawayadventures.com.

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AmaWaterways to Host Culinary Cruise

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After a successful sailing in fall 2017 with master chef and James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir, AmaWaterways is continuing its partnership with the celebrated chef by presenting a special sailing: Taste of Bordeaux- Culinary Cruise Hosted by Joanne Weir.

The 7-night cruise will depart on July 26, 2018 and take guests through the Bordeaux region of France along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. Shore excursions will immerse guests in French culture, food, and wine, including visits to vineyards and chateaux for wine tastings and a wine festival exclusive to AmaWaterways guests. On board, guests will have the opportunity to engage with Weir through her culinary presentations. Optional pre-cruise stays in Paris or a post-cruise tour of the Loire Valley are also available.

For more information, visit amawaterways.com.

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New Food- & Drink-Focused Itineraries Through Great Britain

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Avanti Destinations and VisitBritain have come together to promote the local flavors of Britain with five new customizable food and drink itineraries, a perfect match for the culinary enthusiast.

The five new multi-region itineraries are focused on Cornwall and Devon, Edinburgh, London, and Yorkshire—the four regional food hubs designated by VisitBritain for having both heritage and undiscovered food and drink experiences. The new itineraries range from seven to 13 days, plus four new 4-day options focused on one of the four food hubs, which can be added to any other Avanti Great Britain itinerary or booked on their own.

The new itineraries are intended to be suggested itineraries and are all completely customizable to fit preferences for accommodations, length of stay, additional destinations, experiences, and transfers. The itineraries are:

  • The 8-day London & York: Bite of England, which includes a Borough Market tour, a Mayfair chocolate tour, and a Historic Pubs of Docklands tour. In York, guests will experience a cheese and tea pairing workshop, a Harrogate walking food tour that stops at a beer and coffee house featuring locally sourced products, the oldest pub in Harrogate, and a historic “sweet shoppe,” as well as a fish and chips eatery, an artisan ice creamery, and Yorkshire tapas. Rates start at $2,899 pp dbl land-only and include first-class rail and daily breakfast.
  • The 7-day London & York: England in a Glass where guests participate in an afternoon tea lesson, a City of London Gin Distillery tour and tasting and a Meantime Brewery tour and tasting while in London. In York they’ll take part in an afternoon tea tour with scones, cakes and exotic treats, and go on a tour and tasting at two-three breweries in the Yorkshire countryside. Rates start at $2,199 pp dbl including first-class rail and daily breakfast.
  • The 4-day Taste of Edinburgh takes guests on a Food Safari walking tour featuring food and drink from vegetarian haggis, scones and unconventional marshmallows to single-malt Scotch and Scottish gin, plus a tour and tasting at Pickering’s Gin Distillery. Rates start at $685 pp.
  • The 4-day Taste of Cornwall/Devon features a Catch & Cook fishing experience, a St. Austell Brewery tour and tasting, and a client’s choice of a private driver or a rental car. Rates start at $1,555.
  • The 9-day London, York, Edinburgh: Taste of British Classics takes guests on a Borough Market tour and a Historic Pubs of Docklands tour in London. While in York, guests enjoy a cheese and tea pairing workshop; and in Edinburgh they’ll have a tour and tasting at Pickering’s Gin Distillery, a Seafood and Scotch full-day tour to a village on the famous Loch Lomand to sample beechwood-smoked salmon, plus visit Glengoyne Distillery where single-malt is made. Rates start at $3,455 pp including first-class rail between cities.
  • The 13-day London, Cornwall, Cotswolds, York, Edinburgh: Great Flavors of Great Britainoffers guests private transfers from London to Cornwall to Cotswolds to York, as well as first-class rail between York and Edinburgh. On this itinerary guests will go on a Mayfair Chocolate tour, a Borough Market tour, enjoy tastings at Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, go on a Catch & Cook fishing trip, and go on private tours of Glastonbury Abbey and Robin Hood’s Nottingham, plus take part in a cheese and tea pairing workshop, and a private Yorkshire breweries tour, an Edinburgh Food Safari walking tour, and a Seafood & Scotch full-tac tour to Lock Lomond. Rates start at $7,699 pp.

For more information, visit avantidestinations.com.

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Take a Bite Out of Vegas

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A Great Catch
This fall, CATCH Las Vegas restaurant—with locations in LA, Dubai and Playa del Carmen—will open its doors at Aria Resort & Casino. It will feature globally inspired high-end seafood selections such as the catch roll, truffle sashimi, Wagyu on a rock and Cantonese lobster. There’ll also be a curated wine list and what they are calling “visually stunning” handcrafted cocktails. CATCH will open in the hotel’s barMASA and Tetsu restaurant space, which closes this month. aria.com

It’s Getting Hot in Vegas
The immersive HELL’S KITCHEN Restaurant has opened its doors at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Guests of the dining venue will feel transported to the studio set of the TV show, with the bustling kitchen being the centerpiece of the eatery, and with chefs donning the exact uniforms from the show—red and blue jackets with coordinating bandanas. The show’s signature fiery pitchfork marks the entryway to the restaurant, and a life-size video screen of chef Ramsey greets guests upon arrival. There are floor-to-ceiling windows facing the Strip and the hotel’s iconic fountains, and the menu features recipes from the TV show (think lobster risotto). We’ve heard that the cocktails are not-to-be-missed, including the gin-based “notes from Gordon,” garnished with a scroll printed with a surprise note from the celebrity chef himself. caesarspalace.com

Eats by the Pool
Pool season in Vegas is here, and with it comes cool experiences at The Cosmopolitan’s Pool District. There are Dive in Movies—transforming the resort’s 65-ft. digital marquee into a colossal movie screen—which guests can enjoy with a speciality cocktail in hand and movie snacks; and the Overlook Grill, serving American staples along with uniquely curated brunch selections including a detox green bowl salad and an avocado toast benedict, as well as a “done adulting” margarita and “bikini bod” cocktail. The fun takes place at the resort’s Boulevard Pool, which overlooks the Strip and offers fab views over the Vegas skyline.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com

Korean-Inspired Eatery at Park MGM
Los Angeles celebrity chef Roy Choi will bring a Koreatown-inspired concept to Las Vegas this fall. The soon-to-be-named dining venue at Park MGM will be a celebration of L.A.’s Koreatown district featuring immersive spaces that feel comfortable and familiar, while creating an eclectic environment for guests. Park MGM will also feature a new pool oasis with three pools, an oversized heated spa, 12 cabanas, lounge areas and multiple bars. Guests will be able to order craft drinks such as mix-and-match craft beer buckets and a Bacardi dragonberry rum-spiked frose topped with ripe strawberries, as well as light bites such as a watermelon & arugula salad. parkmgm.com

A Sangria Feast
ALEXXA’s, a modern bar with a unique twist, has debuted inside Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, with a sangria-focused element, global small dishes and live music. ALEXXA’s bar, connecting to HEXX kitchen + bar, and with doors opening directly onto the Las Vegas Boulevard, features nine sangria options to choose from, including sparkling sangria, cider sangria and seasonal sangrias. A selection of curated cocktails made with fresh juices are also available. caesars.com/paris-las-vegas

A Room with a Brewski
The Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino has announced a property-wide partnership with the Las Vegas brewery Tenaya Creek to create the city’s first Bed & Brewski hotel room package and experience, which will offer private tours of the brewery exclusively to hotel guests. Guests who book this experiential package will be greeted with a 6-pack of their chosen brewski upon check-in, as well as a ticket to privately tour Las Vegas’ own Tenaya Creek Brewery. Package starts at $221; minimum 2-night stay. downtowngrand.com

Become a Master Chef at Wynn
Guests can try their hand at everything from cake decorating to learning how to cook Frank Sinatra’s favorite dishes with the Wynn Master Class series. These behind-the-scenes workshops are led by master chefs, sommeliers, bakers and artisans, and take place at locations across the hotel. Upcoming is Cooking, Sinatra Style, during which executive chef Luke Palladino and Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter, AJ Lambert, will host a cooking demo at the Sinatra restaurant (Encore) on how to prepare some of the entertainer’s favorite dishes, his way. There’s also an upcoming outdoor grilling class with the executive chef of SW Steakhouse (Wynn), who’ll be joined by Wynn’s executive director of wine to share tips on choosing grill-friendly wines. wynnlasvegas.com/Experiences/WynnMasterClass

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