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April, 2013

Spring is in the air...

but travel, like fashion, is always a few seasons ahead. We are busy creating autumnal epicurean adventures for our clients including one for opera-loving foodies. The annual Verdi Festival in Parma (September 31-October 31) marks the 200th year of Verdi's birth. Parma is arguably the home of Italy's most discerning opera audiences and of course, there's all that wonderful cheese. Details on the program and a road-not-taken journey to Italy's northeastern Friuli region are below. Take a look. Merci beaucoup to our French associates Kathy Morton and Debra Fioritto, just back from Provence's Roussillon, they have contributed a great article about the aperitif, Byrrh...

Ceiling detail, Teatro Regio

Verdi Festival - Parma

2013 marks the 200th year of Verdi's birth, and we celebrate the legacy of the maestro with a special package that befits the occasion.

The annual Verdi Festival in Parma is arguably the home of Italy's most discerning opera audiences. Witnessing a performance at Teatro Regio is an unforgettable experience, not to be missed. The program includes Simon Boccanegra, I Masnadieri, and the Requiem Mass; the dates are from 30th September to 31st October 2013. Also included in the package: tours and tastings to a dairy farm where Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is made and a loft where Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) is made. Email is for details at melissa@tourdeforks.com

Chef from La Subida restaurant carrying frico of montasio cheese

Friuli Undiscovered

Italy's northeastern Friuli region produces some of the country's finest white wines. Friulano is the best well known varietal producing crisp, floral wines. From vineyard eateries in Trieste to wineries making "orange wines," Friuli is a wine lovers's dream.

Stay at La Subida, where modern bi-level wooden lofts nestle between vineyards and oak trees. It is run by vinegar maker Josko Sirk and a Michelin-star restaurant serves gnocchi with plums. La Subida isn't actually a hotel with all creature-comforts: it's an ideal place for a relaxing, invigorating holiday, for a pause from this chaotic way of live. A place where you can still dream. Email us for a proposal.

Byrrh

Bienvenue BYRRH - Welcome Back!

by Kathy Morton & Debra Fiorittoby Kathy Morton & Debra Fioritto

Jean Anouilh, the French playwright, said, "Everything in France is a pretext for a good dinner." And one of the most enjoyable nd not-to-be missed "pretexts" is the aperitif. Indulging in this custom not only creates the mood for the dinner to come, savoring a local aperitif brings you closer to the local terroir. This is our "pretext" to an introduction to one of France's iconic aperitifs - Byrrh.

Byrrh is a fortified wine, classified as an amer in France, bitters here in the U.S. It's made from carignan and grenache grapes grown on the hillsides of Roussillon. The grapes are transformed into partly fermented grape juice and then blended with quinine and spices like cinnamon, cocoa and green coffee.Byrrh is a fortified wine, classified as an amer in France, bitters here in the U.S. It's made from carignan and grenache grapes grown on the hillsides of Roussillon. The grapes are transformed into partly fermented grape juice and then blended with quinine and spices like cinnamon, cocoa and green coffee.

The Violet family first marketed their product in the 1860's as a medicinal tonic; the quinine prevented malaria which was rampant at the time. To help sell their tonique, the family began an aggressive poster marketing campaign and by 1935, Byrrh was the number one aperitif in France. Until recently you couldn't buy a bottle in the US. Luckily for us, importing began again in 2012 and you can now taste it for yourself.

As for the name, Byrrh, it's pronounced B-E-E-R. It's not a French word, it's not a Catalan word, Basque or Spanish. It's just letters that the Violet brothers happened to see stamped on a tag dangling from a bolt of fabric and they decided right then and there to use that as the name of their aperitif. True story.

How to drink it? The French way, bien sur! It's served straight and slightly chilled, with a lemon or orange slice. Or a little Creme de Cassis. If you'd like to taste the Byrrh in situ, email us and we'll arrange it.



For further information and other destinations call us Toll Free on 888 345 3005 or email or melissa@tourdeforks.com.

We look forward to helping you plan your uncommon epicurean adventure!