Top Cooking Classes

We’re smack in the middle of the cooking season. Thanksgiving has come and gone and with it the first round of feasting. Maybe you’re still working your way through leftover stuffing or making soup with turkey stock. If you haven’t already started, you may soon be deep in the throes of making Christmas cookies and other goodies. With Hanukkah underway, perhaps you’ve already churned out several loaves of Challah or several batches of latkes. Whether you’re trying to keep your skills sharp on vacation or learn how it’s done in a different culture, you’ll love these cooking classes with Virtuoso partners.

Florence

Eatwith lets you start your morning by meeting an Italian grandmother in Florence’s central market, shopping for ingredients that you’ll make into a wonderful meal that afternoon. Spend time discovering Florence with a local and stop off for a nice glass of wine or coffee before getting down to business. Learn how to make homemade pasta from recipes that have been passed down for generations. Cap it all off by enjoying a meal that tastes even better because you had a hand in it.

Casablanca

Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of a Moroccan souk with ShoreTrips. Sample lamb, couscous and seafood, deciding what should go in your dish. Once your menu is set, head to your host’s home and dive into making authentic appetizers, main courses, even desserts. Your host’s family will arrive just in time for dinner, sharing snippets of their daily life and engaging in cultural exchange.

Tokyo

Eatwith takes you on a tour of the world’s largest fish market. There will be big, beautiful fillets of tuna, live shrimp jumping and octopuses wriggling. Take the catch of the day to your guide’s house, where you’ll learn the ancient art of sushi making. Your guide will help you make rolls and nigiri and share the secret of the perfect slice. Enjoy a bowl of miso soup and a healthy dessert along with as much sushi as you can handle.

Lima

Discover the history of pre-Columbian cultures through the food of the Peruvian capital. Lima Tours immerses you in a culinary experience that gives you the flavor the country. The chef shares the history, geography, and biodiversity of Peru’s regions, then instructs you on how to make a proper ceviche. For the main course, you’ll make lomo saltado, a stir-fry loaded with beef, vegetables, and French fries. By then, your mouth will be watering and you’ll get to devour your creation.

Lyon

Train under a Michelin-starred chef in the French foodie mecca. Book a cruise that is a Virtuoso Voyages sailing, and you’ll be able to visit the famed Les Halles, dedicated to cooking legend Paul Bocuse. Chef Philippe Lechat will show you around, introducing you to the cooks who make the magic happen. Sample a local specialty to get the taste down, then spend an hour making the main course. Don’t worry about dessert, the chef will handle that. You get to kick back and savor the fruits of your labor.

Top Alpine Lakes

The onset of winter makes us want to curl up by a warm fire and stare out the window at a beautiful view. Of course, at these alpine lakes, there is plenty of outdoor activity all year-round as well. If you’re inclined to just relax with a hot beverage or get out and experience nature, these lakes make for perfect getaways.

Lake Lucerne

With a fjord landscape, mild year-round climate and the city of Lucerne on its shores, Lake Lucerne is a Swiss delight in all seasons. The almost 7,000-foot summit of Mt. Pilatus looms over the lake and plays a key role in the history and folklore of Switzerland. The 44-square-mile lake and its surroundings are a playground for the recreation-mad Swiss, with winter sports in the mountains and biking and cycling along the shore in other seasons.

Lake Tahoe

With clear water and a ring of mountains all around, Lake Tahoe is first and foremost a feast for the eyes. It has plenty to offer your other senses, too, serving as a playground for skiing and other winter sports during cold months and for parasailing and other water sports when the weather turns warm. Elevated hiking and biking trails offer spectacular views, and casinos on the Nevada side of the lake provided entertainment year-round.

Lake Louise

A spectacular emerald color thanks to glacial and rock runoff, Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, is a picture-perfect sight to behold. At almost 6,000 feet of elevation with mountains and trails all around, it’s an outdoorsman’s paradise year-round. In winter, there’s world-class skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog-sledding, and sleigh rides. In summer, there’s canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding, plus the ski gondolas remain in operation to whisk visitors over alpine meadows and babbling brooks.

Lake Titicaca

In the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island near a mountain range aptly named The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu stretches for 50 adrenaline-pumping miles. Parasailing, canyoneering, and bungee-jumping are a few of the favorite area pastimes, while the vineyards of Gibbston Valley offer respite after a hard day of adventure. Queenstown has the distinction of being both a lake town and a ski town, serving as a recreation capital.
Lake Wakatipu

In the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island near a mountain range aptly named The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu stretches for 50 adrenaline-pumping miles. Parasailing, canyoneering, and bungee-jumping are a few of the favorite area pastimes, while the vineyards of Gibbston Valley offer respite after a hard day of adventure. Queenstown has the distinction of being both a lake town and a ski town, serving as a recreation capital.
Top Multi-Generational Trips

Top Multi-Generational Trips

We covered the best trips for solo travelers a couple weeks ago, so now that you’re relaxed or have a de-stressing trip to look forward to, let’s discuss the best trips to take the whole family on. Multigenerational trips have become increasingly popular in the last several years. An informal poll of Largay advisors yielded some great response on the best multigen adventures for your family.

Italy

Italy is great for everyone because there are so many different Italies. The history of major cities such as Rome, Florence, Milan, and Venice is great for grandparents and students alike. Young adults will appreciate the romance and nightlife. There are perfect spots for coming together as a family in a villa. Rentals are typically weekly, and there are amazing countryside options in Tuscany and Umbria or the lake region in the north. Along the way, a great option to stop in medieval towns for a guided tour. From Puglia to Liguria, there is plenty to see. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands could make a trip until themselves.

Costa Rica

It’s close and fairly easy to reach. There’s good service into two airports, one near the beach and one closer to the rainforest and Arenal volcano and its accompanying hot springs. There are fabulous treetop lodges full of activity — horseback riding, waterfall hikes, birdwatching — and spa treatments — coffee exfoliation, mango coconut wraps — in equal force. The Pacific coast has the great beaches of the Papagayo Peninsula, and there’s river rafting throughout, sometimes even right up to your lodge.

Australia/New Zealand

It’s quite possible most of your family might only go to this part of the world once. You might as well all go together. Marvel at the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, tour the Sydney Opera House behind the scenes and sea unique wildlife in Australia. Golf your way through New Zealand, and take time to cruise Milford Sound and trek Middle-Earth in between courses. After all that, somebody is definitely making a return trip.

On a Cruise

The ship itself has shows, plenty of dining options, activities for kids, even babysitting in some cases. The places the ship takes you are breathtaking, especially wildlife destinations such as Alaska and the Galapagos. You’ll see incredible animals in their natural environments along with the gorgeous scenery. A Mediterranean cruise or select family-oriented European river cruises take you in the heart of cities rich in culture. Your travel advisor will help you find the cruise line that fits your family best.

On Safari

A safari is a wonderful experience at any age, and something every traveler should experience at least once. Game drives make for a perfect all-inclusive day out, and everybody loves observing wildlife in action. Africa has so many beautiful natural wonders, from Victoria Falls to Ngorongoro Crater to the Okavango Delta. Those lucky enough to spot all of the Big Five will never forget it. Even if you don’t see them all, you’ll have invaluable memories with your family. By the time your grandkids tell their grandkids about it, the story will be embellished enough that you did see all five.

Destinations Making a Comeback

It’s a big world out there, and while every country has something unique to offer, political situations or natural disasters can put destinations out of commission for a while. Fortunately, these wonderful places are making a comeback.

Egypt


The land of the pharaohs was not safe for several years in the wake of the political upheaval of the 2011 Arab Spring. Thankfully, major tour operators have returned, bringing travelers to such world treasures as the pyramids of Giza, the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel and cruising the Nile. Egypt tourism surged more than 40 percent in the first half of this year, signaling that a place so full of history the Romans considered it ancient, is retaking its rightful place on the world stage.

Turkey


Fears of ISIL presence near Turkey’s southern border coupled with a bombing at the Istanbul airport and coup attempt in the summer of 2016 made Turkey a no-go. Things have settled down, and now travelers are safe to take in the beauty of the Bosporus and the Hagia Sophia in the Turkish capital, as well as explore the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia. Istanbul served as the capital of three empires and contains an immense amount of cultural heritage.

Cuba


Travel to Cuba was all the rage in 2015 when the Obama administration thawed relations with and eased restrictions on the island just 90 miles off the tip of Florida. Things changed when the Trump administration reversed some of those policies and when the State Department issued a travel advisory concerning alleged attacks on embassy personnel. This year, however, Cuba travel is up 40 percent over 2017 as uncertainty has dissipated.

The Caribbean


After the devastation of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria last year, several islands that had their lifeblood industry, tourism, decimated are back open for business. Many resorts in Puerto Rico have reopened, as have some in the British Virgin Islands and St Barth’s.

St. Martin’s top resorts will be open in time for the holidays, as will Anguilla’s. As word trickles out slowly, there are great deals to be had at places that are normally filled months in advance. The region needs travelers to help in its recovery, so it’s a win-win situation.

Why Travel

Traveling is one of the greatest experiences. Seeing new places, people, experiences new cultures, and the food is something that almost everyone enjoys. Being a more cultured person makes you more open-minded to different ideas and experience. When planning a trip, it can be stressful though. Whether you are planning a business trip or a family vacation, making sure you have the itinerary correct while you are still trying to live your everyday life is hard. This is why you should use DMC Travel Tailor. A company that takes specialized requests and plans your trip for you.

Founded by Stefany Ceccato and Daniele Di Manno in 2016. They both have traveling backgrounds, Stefany working as a flight attendant and Daniele who was the manager for a commercial and private aviation station. They each had a passion for travel and exploring new places and cultures. They launched their company with hopes of creating custom-tailored trips for their clients. DMC Travel Tailor builds personal and long-lasting relationships with their clients to ensure that their trip was a success and that they will continue to use their services. DMC Travel Tailor gives back a percentage of their profits to a charity that they work with closely.

The Process

DMC Travel Tailor has organized and created a plan to help the planning process be more efficient. It includes:

  • Discover and Understand
    • They learn more about you with a phone call.
  • Clarify and Commit
    • Create an agreement
  • Design Travel
    • They take their resources to design a unique and individualized itinerary.
  • Reserve and Reconfirm
    • They reserve the services and then confirm that they are exactly what the client wanted.
  • Monitor and Manage
    • While the client is gone, DMC Travel Tailor takes care of anything that need to be done while you are gone.
  • Debrief and Recalibrate
    • They speak with the client about their trip and discuss any questions or problems they might have had.

The next time you travel, consider DMC Travel Tailor who will make all your dream a reality.

Culinary Adventures on Five Continents

One of the great pleasures of travel is leaving your diet at home and sampling the culinary delights your destination is famous for. Paella in Valencia, new Nordic in Copenhagen, street food everywhere: What you eat is a big part of the experience. A few of our Virtuoso partners have put together some fabulous journeys that will ensure your trip is excellent to the last bite.

Sicily

At the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Sicily has absorbed a lot of different cultures into its culinary history. Influences from Greeks, Spaniards, Normans and Arabs blend to form a rich cuisine. Sailing June 26, 2019, Ponant is offering a nine-day Sicilian Food & Wine Experience highlighting the arancini of Agrigento, Palermo’s revered street food and the pasta, sardines and eggplant of the islands east. The volcanic soil around Mt. Etna produces spectacular wines to wash it all down.

Chiloe Island, Chile

Bespoke Journeys by Sportstour takes you into the mystical heart of Chiloe Island, whose culture is based on a unique mythology of witchcraft, ghost ships and forest spirits. The culinary tradition features curanto stew, which is made from meat, seafood and potatoes cooked in a hole in the ground. You’ll eat in the home of a local family which has been preparing the dish for generations and sample fresh oysters in between following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin in Chiloe National Park and marveling at the 16 island churches that have UNESCO World Heritage status.

Rotorua, New Zealand

Treetops Lodge & Estate showcases local produce including herbs traditionally used in Maori cooking. Karengo (sea vegetable) makes an appearance in plenty of seafood dishes on the menu, while a rub made from the leaves of the kawakawa tree is used to spice meat. Led by a local expert, guests can head out into the forest in search of such ingredients at their source, learning about the nutritional and medicinal properties that played a large role in the traditional Maori diet.
New York
Beyond Times Square wants visitors to get to know the Big Apple through its food scene. Get a taste of the different cultures that have made New York home with Norwegian smoked salmon, Sicilian cannoli and much more on the Eating Your Way Through Manhattan tour, or just focus on Italian food with The Real Little Italy tour along Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Throw in artisanal chocolate and a perfect slice of pizza on the Brooklyn Biking & Food Adventure, and you can stuff your face in three boroughs.

Cape Town

As part of Belmond’s worldwide Art of Gastronomy program, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel aims to educate visitors about the dangers of food waste while showing them just how good the food we often throw away can be. In a five-course chef’s table menu, Rudi Liebenberg showcases items such as beef tendons, trout collar and other overlooked products to demonstrate how to make the most of what the earth yields. The “fashionably rejected” parts of fruits, vegetables, meats and fish become the stars of the show.