Food and Wine Destinations in Demand
Travel trends continue to show that food and wine destinations are still in big demand. Luxury travelers and mainstream vacationers are equally seeking experiences that focus on healthy cooking, delicious wines and more boutique hotels with focus on the personal touch. All the major cruise lines now offer cooking demonstrations and wine pairing events on board with someliers. I feel that vacationers are less interested in the days of the big buffet but now are leaning towards healthy food choices and the experience of how food is prepared.
Oceania is a premium luxury cruise line that realized this back ten years ago and built their brand on food and wine. In doing so, they have become one of the most profitable companies at sea. Their newest ships feature a full 16 person cooking station (see photo right) where you cook right along with the chef and passengers are happy to pay the extra couple hundred for the experience. Of course there is wine included and that makes cooking all the more fun.
River cruise lines have also tapped into this by offering a more boutique experience. Since the average vessel only sleeps 130 people (Dining room on Avalon Waterways), everything is more intimate and not produced in mass quantities. Many vacationers are looking for packages that allow you to travel in small groups with extras, like cooking classes with chefs and experiencing unique wine pairings at boutique wineries.
For those who cannot cross the pond and visit Europe personally with a river cruise or visit to the many vineyards, villas and historic landmarks, I suggest you consider booking a package to visit the beautiful region of Sonoma Valley near San Francisco. They have many amazing boutique vineyards like Jackson Family Wines (right) and you can experience some great food and wine pairing. This is a taste of Europe in California. You can find some of the best wines and amazing chefs who are eager to show you their talent.
There are many food and wine destinations in the world that travelers can discover. Whether you choose to visit the wine regions of Europe or to stay here in our very own continent of North America, be sure to do your research. Make a list of what you would like to experience and check with your travel experience consultant for good advice on a package that will meet your needs.