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October-November 2013

From the North to the South

We talk about French or Italian culture as though these things are easily defined. But each of these countries is wildly diverse and rich with cultural accents from around Europe. In Italy's northeastern corner of Friuli, you find dishes borrowed from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and other parts of Italy. A tour of the region is like a mini culinary adventure around northeastern Europe. France's southernmost region, the Languedoc-Roussillon, is heavily influenced by nearby Spain and, especially, its Catalan population. Its cuisine is also infused with a hint of neighboring Provence's aromatic herbs and Mediterranean flavors.

Frico in Fruili

Friuli's Many Accents

Friuli is known as one of Italy's foremost wine regions. But its many influences come from around the country and even beyond the boot's borders. Just look at its eclectic cuisine. There's Slavic-accented frico (a young cheese omelet with potatoes and aromatic herbs), Mitteleuropean-influenced musèt and brovade (sausage and soured turnips), and Venetian-style risotto and polenta. We are now offering a self-guided four-night tour of Friuli, complete with a full day's guided visit to the Mitteleuropean town of Trieste.

In Cormons, guests will stay in modern wooden chalets surrounded by oak trees and vineyards, where they'll enjoy a private cooking lesson and learn about the regional cuisine, a rich mix of Italian, Slovenian and Austrian. The itinerary also includes visits to three world-famous wineries, a cheese-producing farm, two ancient castles and several elegant palaces. In Udine, there will be another cooking class, this one taught by a Cordon Bleu master, as well as visits to San Daniele del Friuli for a tour of the town and a tasting of its superb prosciutto. Consider it a multi-destination trip for the taste-buds. Click here for more details.

Camargue's riz rouge

Secrets of Languedoc-Roussillon

by Debra Fioritto and Kathy Morton

In this southern French region, you'll want to sample all the local specialties, from Brandade de Nîmes, a dish of mashed salted cod blended with olive oil, to pastries of Nîmes, gorgeous little meat pies stuffed with veal and pork that date back from the 19th century. The best ones can be found in the Les Halles market. Other specialties in the region include Picholine olives, the special Fleur de Sel from Camargue, and Camargue's distinctive "riz rouge" or red rice. You'll often find it served with Gardianne de Taureau, a hearty stew made from the meat of Camargue bulls.

Marcella's Tomato Sauce

Remembering Marcella

Finally, we're beyond saddened to learn of the death of Marcella Hazan, a true giant in the culinary landscape. We've always been inspired by her writing, her wisdom, and her utterly wonderful food, and we'll always continue to be. To honor her memory, we'd like to offer you her simple yet delicious tomato sauce recipe.

Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 cups tomatoes, with their juices (28-ounce can of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes)
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • salt

  1. Combine the tomatoes, their juices, the butter and the onion halves in a saucepan. Add a pinch or two of salt.
  2. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, mashing any large pieces of tomato with a spoon. Add salt as needed.
  3. Discard the onion before tossing the sauce with pasta. This recipe makes enough sauce for a pound of pasta.

For further information on these adventures and other destinations call us Toll Free on 888 345 3005 or email

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