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Travel through the culinary back doors of France with renowned cheese and wine specialists that will teach you amazing things about the world of French cheese-making. This tour will take you on a wonderful journey through some of the most gorgeous regions of France where you will have the chance to discover amazing tastes, breathtaking vistas and experience the best cheese and wine making in the world!
Accommodations will cover 6 nights at Savoie in Chateau St. Philippe, which is the ideal place to enjoy the quintessential French lifestyle, while you take in the spectacular view of the Alps, Mt. Blanc and the iridescent glow of the setting sun. One night will be spent at Htel La Couronne, which is situated at the foot of Mont Blanc in the alpine village of Argentire, while the remaining 4 nights will be spent in Kaysersberg.
You will travel from from Geneva to the chateau in Savoie. While staying at the beautifully restored 1,000-year-old Chateau St. Philippe, you will enjoy the beauty of the French Alps, rural villages and French lifestyle. The tour opens with an evening welcome event in the chateaus amazing wine caves and cellars presented by your hosts.
After breakfast, enjoy a leisurely morning exploration of the chateau or a short hike in a beautiful alpine setting. You will spend the day wine-tasting at Savoies boutique wineries with a picnic lunch in the vineyards. Afterwards, you will return to the chateau for a hearty but classic alpine dinner featuring some of the best wines encountered throughout the day.
After an early breakfast, you will spend the morning navigating Annecys food market with Anna and Chef Sylvain. You will learn how to select and shop for regional alpine cheese, saucisson, and fresh produce in preparation for a cooking class with Chef Sylvain. Later on, there will be a chance to relax on a scenic boat cruise around Lake Annecy, one of Europes most beautiful alpine lakes. Lunch will consist of a classic French picnic on the lake shore before returning to the chateau for an evening of relaxation, local music and dinner.
After breakfast, you will visit one of two local cheese makers depending on the cheese makers availability. The first choice involves an amazing experience at a renowned ancient monastery where you can see the making of Abbay de Tamie, a Reblochon style unpasteurized cows milk cheese hand made by Trappists monks. The other option is visiting a local chvre producer to experience some of the best chvres in Savoie.
You will enjoy lunch in the nearby village and return to the chateau for an afternoon hands-on cooking class with Chef Sylvain as Max McCalman teaches you more about the art of selecting and pairing regional wines. The dinner menu will feature regional recipes, local ingredients and wines. Enjoy the evening watching your favorite movie in the chateaus own movie theater.
After breakfast, you can go sightseeing and shopping in the beautiful Le Grand-Bornand, a living, working French village with three obsessions: world class skiing, Reblochon cheese, and quality alpine living. Afterwards, you will meet up with your local host for lunch featuring regional cuisine while overlooking Le Grand-Bornand. Dine like a true local, al fresco with a 360 alpine view.
After lunch, the tour will work its way around the mountain on a trek to experience the Reblochon story, meeting up with an artisan Reblochon maker and his family, making cheese in a location usually captured only on a post card. Visit Paccard, a world class affineur of regional cheese and then return to the chateau for an evening meal and nightcap.
After breakfast, you will have the opportunity to choose between two great experiences. For the adventurous traveler, there will be a trip to the French Alps, complete with a close up view of Mont Blanc. You will travel in the early morning to Chamonix for a once-in-a-lifetime view from the Aliguille du Midi gondola over glaciers and snow-capped mountains. You will then enjoy lunch together with the group before returning to the chateau in the afternoon.
If you are not in the mood for hiking, you can spend your time trying out your French language skills while shopping with the locals in the nearby village. Afterwards, you can join Chef Sylvain, Stephen and Max McCalman for a personal hands-on cooking class featuring their favorite recipes, local ingredients and wine pairings.
The tour regroups in the evening to share the stories of the day. Anna invites a few of her local friends and producers to join you at the chateau for a chef-prepared dinner and dance with wine in the wine cellar. A true farewell to Savoie.
After an early breakfast, you will leave the chateau, say au revoir to your new French friends in Savoie, and travel north to the picturesque region of the Jura. You will visit a selected fruitire to see how the beautiful Comt cheese is made and then move on to the awe inspiring Fort St. Antoine. The fort, once an underground fortress, now, a Comt Cathedral, is a cheese cave holding over 100,000 wheels of Comt. There you will meet Claude and his team of affineurs to see how they work their magic on these 90 pound wheels of cheese. The tour will finish with a lunch featuring Marcel Petites best cheese and amazing Jura wines. As a fitting end to the day, the evening will be spent in an ancient small restaurant, La Petite Echelle, located high in the mountains on the Swiss border, before retreating at the Hotel de la Couronne for the nights stay.
After an early breakfast, you will depart for Alsace. Alsace is home of Munster cheese and is one of Frances finest wine-producing regions. You will arrive at La Maison du Fromage for an opportunity to view their new cooperative cheese dairy, aging facility and educational center, where you will also enjoy lunch at their terrace restaurant that provides a selection of delicious Alsatian specialties. Afterwards, you will travel a few miles to the beautiful town of Kaysersberg, one of the most picturesque villages on the wine road and your new home for the remainder of the tour. There will be a visit and tasting at G. Miclo Spirits, one of the oldest and finest distilleries of Alsatian fruit liqueurs before traveling to your accommodations. In the evening, everyone is free to explore the market, beautiful shops, and the sights of Kaysersberg.
After an early breakfast, you will join Anna as she takes you to one of her favorite local shopping experiences, Ribeauville and the producers of the famous Beauville linens. Travel on to the local villages for an educational day of wine tasting at one of the local wineries and learn more about what makes Alsatian whites unique. In addition to the wine tastings provided, you will have the opportunity to try the local breads, pretzels, Tarte Flambees, choucroute, Foie Gras and signature Alsatian desserts such as Kougelfopf.
The day will conclude with a special tasting of wines from award-winning organic wine maker Clement Klur paired with selected cheese presented by La Fromagerie Saint Nicholoss owner and affineur Jacky Quesnot. You will then return to your village apartment for a rooftop dinner to celebrate the release of the seasons first Vacherin Mont dOr paired with delicious regional wines.
After breakfast, you will be exploring Haut-Koeningsbourg, a famous 12th century castle. In the afternoon, the group is free to explore more wineries, other villages or ride a bike through the vineyards. See local glass blowers or sample gingerbread, chocolate and sweets from confiturier producers. Suggested sights and maps will be provided. In the evening, everyone is free to choose where to dine.
After breakfast, you will be exploring Strasbourg. There you will enjoy a unique backdoor tour and tasting experience at the historic wine caves of Strasbourgs City Hospital founded in 1395.
Lunch will be served at the world class restaurant La Cloche a Fromage. In the afternoon, everyone is free to explore the sights, take a boat ride down the canals or enjoy the shopping. In the evening, there will be a farewell dinner at one of the Alsatian restaurants before the group travels back to Kaysersberg for the final night.
After an early breakfast, the group departs Kaysersberg on route to the Geneva airport (GVA) via Gruyre, Switzerland. You will enjoy the scenic drive as well as lunch and souvenir shopping during a short stop in Gruyre. The tour ends when the group arrives in Geneva by 16:00.
Boat cruise around Lake Annecy
Sightseeing and shopping in Le Grand-Bornand
Trip to Chamonix
Trip to Strasbourg
Visits to local cheese and wine producers
Visits to many beautiful chateaus
This tour will take place in Switzerland and France, focusing mostly on areas located around the French Alps.
Meals will be focused on traditional French cuisine involving many types of cheese and wine pairings.
Cycling in amazing landscapes
Experience a helicopter, glider or balloon tour
Explore beautiful chateaus
Hiking or trekking on mountain trails
Sightseeing and shopping
Paragliding or hang-gliding
Visit the local spa
Arrive at Geneva Airport (GVA).