For some travelers, a good meal, perhaps with a glass or two of native wine, adds a lot to a vacation. For others, culinary experiences are the main reason for the journey. Either group may be interested in what the following trips are serving up:
Food fans can look forward to a memorable meal aboard the new Emerald Princess cruise ship. The Chef's Table experience begins with predinner cocktails and hors d'oeuvres with the executive chef in the galley, then a multicourse tasting dinner in the dining room. During dessert, the chef will rejoin the group for a discussion about the meal. The event costs $75 per person. After its debut on Emerald Princess, Chef's Table will be introduced gradually on all Princess ships. Call 800-PRINCESS or go to princess.com.
Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, calls its four-night offering the Spice of Life Culinary Package. Included are accommodations, a two-hour tour of the San Miguel market with a chef as guide, an immersion lesson in regional cuisines, recipes from local cooks, a wine tasting and a three-course dinner at one of Casa de Sierra Nevada's restaurants. The package, offered through Sept. 28, costs about $780 per person. Call 800-701-1561 or go to casadesierranevada.com.
TourCrafters has introduced a variety of Gourmet Tours of Italy, including a two-night package in Parma. The Parma La Golosa package costs $439 and includes visits to the Parmesan Cheese Museum, a prosciutto factory and a balsamic vinegar factory, as well as accommodations at the Hotel Palace Maria Luigia, two dinners, daily buffet breakfasts, three days' car rental, and hotel service and taxes. For other culinary trips, go to tourcrafters.com or call 800-482-5995.
The 11th annual Nantucket Wine Festival, May 16-20, matches renowned wines with gourmet cuisine, with the island's scenic and historic settings as a backdrop. The $525 Grand Cru Package includes access to all four Grand Tasting sessions, access to a VIP reception, one symposium, tickets to three more wine and food seminars, and souvenirs. Go to nan tucketwinefestival.com or call 508-228-1128.
The Inn on the Alameda and the Santa Fe School of Cooking in New Mexico have teamed up to create a Muy Sabrosa (Very Tasty) package, which includes a cooking class, two nights' accommodations, a continental buffet each morning, an afternoon wine and cheese reception daily and a 20 percent discount at the popular Santa Fe restaurant Ristra. Prices for two are $320 to $648. Call 800-984-2122 or go to innonthealameda.com. For information on the cooking school, go to santafeschoolofcooking.com.
Dates have been set for the 12th annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival, one of the year's most popular events at the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Fla. From Sept. 28-Nov. 11, more than 25 international marketplaces will serve tapas-sized portions of regional specialties for $1.50-$4.50 per serving. In addition, there will be seminars, exhibits and musical entertainment, all included with regular Epcot admission. Go to disneyworld.com/food andwine or call 407-939-3378.
Wining and dining can be expensive, of course. In Philadelphia, one way to save is to bring your own bottle. Because of Pennsylvania's strict liquor laws and high liquor taxes, more than 200 restaurants of all types encourage the BYOB tradition. In fact, the Zagat Survey of Philadelphia restaurants even contains a separate BYOB listing. Go to gophila.com and type BYOB in the search box.