Words by Tara Young
Food, family histories and foreign lands are all beautifully blended into the new range of Peregrine gourmet tours of Vietnam, Provence and Turkey. We have all been inspired and transported by celebrity chefs who have brought storytelling, travel and cooking together – now Peregrine can transport you there in reality.
Vietnamese Soul Food
If you long to travel to places such as Vietnam, where the food is the country’s soul, reflecting its endemic beauty and French and Chinese influences, do so with the Gourmet Explorer Vietnam tour.
Indulge in the pho of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the bun bo of Hue, the cao lau soup of Hoi An and the broken rice of Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the markets of Hanoi, enjoy a candle-lit dinner in Halong Bay, cook like a local in central Vietnam and learn the secrets of folk cuisine from a resident master.
There is no greater insight into a local food culture than sitting down to eat with a family in their home. Here you will get to experience the country’s history in the stories of recipes handed down over generations.
And you will get to eat fantastic food among colonial buildings, temples and imperial ruins. This is an adventure where every mouthful will take you closer to the heart of Vietnam.
Dining on this tour includes savouring street food alongside the locals, which is often where the tastiest and most interesting Vietnamese dishes can be found.
Then there is the chance to feast beneath the stars while cruising Halong Bay. Food and boats go well together in Vietnam, where part of your tour also takes you to floating villages and markets in the Mekong, one of the most important agricultural regions in the country.
This gourmet experience allows you to get hands-on with a personal cooking class with a true legend of Vietnam's food scene. Here you will learn her secrets to tasty Southern Vietnamese cuisine.
Share your Vietnam experience with friends and family when you return home, by showing off your new-found cooking skills and recipes from a culinary master.
Taste Of Provence
From French-inspired dishes to the birthplace of some of the most famous French food and recipes – Peregrine have just introduced a new Gourmet Explorer Provence tour.
Provence is famed for its abundant, locally grown produce, wonderful cheese, world-class wines and artisan recipes, and this tour takes in the very best of the region.
Act like a local and visit the bustling markets of Avignon and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, dine in the ancestral home of a villager in Robion and sample goat cheese from the thyme-laden hills of Le Rove. Brush up on your high-school French and try it out along the pier with the locals at the fishing village of Niolon, the melting pot of Marseille.
Eat your way to the heart of Provence on this gourmet adventure, with the following culinary must-dos:
- Enjoy the subtle, fruity saltiness of traditional Le Rove goat's cheese.
- Stroll among stalls piled high with local fare in Les Halles in Avignon.
- Savour a glass of pastis while partaking in a game of petanque alongside the locals in L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
- Enjoy true home-cooked Provencal fare at a traditional table d'hote.
Another new European gourmet touring opportunity has recently been launched with Peregrine’s brand new Gourmet Explorer Turkey trip. Turkey blends European, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences in its cuisine and this tour is an absolute eye-opener, where you truly tantalise your senses with hot, sweet, sour and spicy flavours.
Snack on gozleme, a savoury traditional Turkish pastry, made of hand-rolled dough leaves, that is lightly brushed with butter and egg; enjoy street food in Istanbul; taste tea like you have never tasted in Bursa; and sample local olive oils and wines in Ayvalik and Cappadocia.
There are plenty of ancient historical sites (Turkey boasts nearly twice as many ancient ruins as Greece) to explore in Selcuk and Ephesus and the stunning countryside, which make for the perfect backdrop for discovering Turkish food and culture.
Why we love this trip:
- Sip a cup of freshly brewed Turkish coffee in Istanbul's iconic Egyptian spice bazaar.
- Explore Ephesus from Selcuk, followed by a feast of gozleme, one of Turkey's most famous food exports.
- Dine at one of Cappadocia's best contemporary Turkish restaurants set within a converted caravanserai (traditional inn).
- Try your hand at constructing multi-layered baklava in Bodrum.
- Discover the ancient wine industry of Central Anatolia and enjoy a tasting overlooking the incredible landscape of Cappadocia at sunset.
- Wander stalls selling foraged wild greens, regional cheeses and locally sourced honey at Ayvalik's wonderful Thursday markets.
World Of Flavours
As stated in the famous movie Shirley Valentine, there is nothing like drinking wine in the land where the grape was grown – these tours offer the inner foodie in all of us to do just that. In fact with these tours you get to discover so much of the story that lies behind the dish that you eat, that you can almost taste the land from which it has come.
If you really want to know a place, the best start is with its food – so enjoy!