Aspen Times Weekly: Adventure Foodie Travel for Summer

Recently, the Adventure Travel Trade Association noted that 71 percent of adventure travel itineraries now have an experiential food focus. Cooking classes and visits to wineries, breweries and distilleries were ranked as the most requested activities, according to tour operators and travel agents nationwide. The study also revealed that more than one-third of global tourism spending is on food and drink, and travelers are increasingly identifying local food and food experiences as their primary and secondary motivations for choosing specific destinations.

If you, like me, fall into the category of food-and-wine-obsessed adventure traveler, take a look at these 10 awesome tours to take this summer:

1. Tuscany “Slow Food” Cycling: Join a family-run farm in the heart of Tuscany for a cycling and epicurean adventure dedicated to the “Slow Food” movement. This exclusive six-day Tuscany tour includes some of the most beautiful bike rides in Italy and a complete cultural immersion into the Tuscan lifestyle on an energy-independent Italian agriturismo.

2. Belgium Beer Biking: There are 1,130-plus beers brewed in Belgium. In addition to six Trappist ales and abbey beers, it churns out approachable lagers such as Stella Artois and Jupiler. This tour offers access to more boutique breweries than any other European bicycle tour. Sign me (and my husband) up!

3. Epicurean Adventure Across Georgia’s Wine Country: Explore Georgia (the country) on a culinary and cultural caravan that traverses a countryside of grapevines, overflowing with wine and personality. In the company of local MIR hosts, discover the history and living traditions of this ancient country through its chefs, winemakers, artisans and musicians.

4. Taste of Uruguay: Cheese, wine and olive oil were introduced in Uruguay by families of immigrants that arrived to the country more than 250 years ago. Today, many vineyards, wineries and local cheese artisan producers open their doors to visitors from all over the world to taste these hidden treasures.

5. Patagonia Glamping: Join renowned South American photographer and nature documentary filmmaker Ossian Lindholm in this Travel Vision Photo Journeys exclusive, a Patagonian hiking and photo itinerary that blends Chiloe Island and Torres Del Paine National Park. Savor special food and wine moments along the way — oysters paired with wine on a beach, superb local food, and more. Evenings are spent at the award-winning EcoCamp Patagonia in its sustainable, comfortable, geodesic Suite Domes, the region’s first fully sustainable accommodation south of the Amazon and the world’s first geodesic hotel room.

6. Peru Culinary Adventure: Enjoy one of our best culinary tours in Peru while visiting Lima, Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and a Machu Picchu tour and savor traditional and modern Novoandina dishes of Peruvian cuisine along the way.

7. Chronicle of Russian Cuisine and Culture: Led by a passionate local food expert, this journey allows you to eat your way, past borscht and blini, and through Russia’s greatest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg. Explore time-honored, open-air markets and their new organic relatives, the czarist and nouvelle cuisine restaurants, and the retro Soviet cafés and vodka bars of modern Russia. Meet famed chefs for hands-on cooking classes and dine in a smorgasbord of restaurants, family homes, and a country dacha, where home-cooked cuisine and traditional Russian culture come together.

8. Italy – Hiking The Lake Region: Join Country Walkers on Lake Como where vintage speedboats slice across the ultramarine water, zipping between baroque villas, terraced gardens, and quaint, hillside villages. Enjoy walks leading from medieval lakeside hamlets to serene hillside meadows dotted with goats and on to wild oak forests — eating and drinking along the way, capping the day with a boat ride home.

9. Taste of Thailand: Explore Bangkok and Chiang Mai on this culinary adventure in Thailand. Try your hand at cooking traditional Thai dishes and wander local markets to pick out fresh ingredients. Visit a local coffee project, a traditional Hmong mountain village, and centuries-old temples as you connect with the culture through its cuisine on this seven-day tour of Thailand.

10. Wines of Mendoza: It’s hardly news that Mendoza is the heart of Argentina’s wine country, the fifth largest wine producer in the world. Home to 80 percent of the Argentine production, Mendoza is much more than just another wine destination — the wines, the architectural diversity, the unique landscapes and the warmth of the locals make this wine country worth visiting.

Amiee White Beazley writes about travel for the Aspen Times Weekly. Reach her at [email protected] or follow her @awbeazley1.

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