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Heaven in the Hills of Umbria

Todi, Italy

Undulating hills, speckled with centuries-0ld, ocher-colored villas, surrounded by olive orchards and vineyards, glisten under the brilliant blue sky. This is Umbria, Tuscany’s breath-taking neighbor, relatively untouched by tourism. If this sounds like heaven, join us at the Villa Tre Grazie, a magnificent 16th-century villa perched on a hilltop overlooking the Tiber valley, with panoramic views of the rooftops and spires of Todi with her lovely Renaissance temple.

The Villa Tre Grazie (Three Graces), is surrounded by two hectares of gently rolling land including an olive orchard, a fruit orchard and formal gardens with terraced swimming pool and bath house.
During our weeklong sojourn, we will learn to make handmade pastas, pizzas cooked in the Villa Tre Grazie’s own 16th-century outdoor brick oven and many other Umbrian specialties. In addition to these hands-on cooking classes with local experts, we will taste the very best regional wines, cheeses and olive oils, shop for fine hand-painted Italian ceramics and hand-woven Italian fabrics in Deruta and Montifalco, and enjoy in depth tours of Orvieto and Assisi.
To round out this extraordinary week, we will take a stroll in the Umbrian hills, to enjoy the stunning views of the countryside. Andiamo!!

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

• Arrive at the Villa Tre Grazie in the late morning in time for a buffet lunch in the garden.
• Afternoon free for relaxing in the garden, swimming (weather permitting) or napping.
• Aperitivos al fresco at sunset.
• Festive Welcome Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 2

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning cooking class on hand-made pastas with several sauces taught by a very special local expert followed by lunch.
• Afternoon visit to Orvieto with plenty of time to see the sites and to shop.
• Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 3

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning visit in Assisi, birthplace of St. Francis who founded the Franciscan religious order in 1208. We will have a private tour of the Basilica of St. Francis, including the magnificent Giotto frescoes and other important historical sites.
• Late lunch.
•Afternoon visit to the home and painting studio of two remarkable American artists, Alan Feltus and Lani Irwin.
• Dinner at home in the Villa.

Day 4

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
•After breakfast, we will heat up the 16th-century outdoor brick oven for our afternoon cooking class.
• Morning visit to a farm making some of the best local cheeses. We will be able to watch the cheese-making process and taste the cheeses at various stages of development.
• Visit to Deruta to shop for hand-painted Italian ceramics, both new and collector pieces. We will have a special private tour with Grazie, owner of MOD ceramics and close friends of the Villa Tre Grazie’s owners.
• Lunch in the Old Town of Deruta.
• Late afternoon pizza cooking class using the Villa’s brick oven.
• Dinner at the Villa feasting on our very own hand made pizzas and salads.

Day 5

• Breakfast at home in the Villa.
• Morning visit to the charming city of Montifalco, noted for its lovely 14th century church, San Francesco, and special hand-woven Italian fabrics. We will visit the very best fabric shops for excellent shopping.
• Lunch at the Alchemist, a delicious local trattoria.
• Afternoon wine tasting in Montifalco where we will taste the Sagrantino di Montifalco chosen by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas for their wedding!
• Dinner at home.

Day 6

• Breakfast at the Villa.
• Morning hike in the Umbrian hills around Todi, OR free time for shopping in Todi, or relaxing in the garden.
• Lunch together in Todi.
• Farewell Dinner.

Day 7

• Linger over a final breakfast at the Villa Tre Grazie.
• Return to the Rome airport or Todi train station in the late morning.

 

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: Villa Tre Grazie is a magnificent private 16th-century villa, complete with orchards, gardens and swimming pool. All participants stay in the Villa Tre Grazie’s lovely bedrooms.
Included in the cost: 6 nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including aperitivos and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above. Limited to ten class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Airfare to and from Rome, Italy. Alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $4990 per person in a double room. $600 single supplement.
Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1000 per person.

 

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

A Winter Indulgence in Truffles and Foie Gras in the Dordogne

with Chef Pierre Corre
Auberge de la Truffe, Sorges

Toast with the Countess and her son, Dordogne

Toast with the Countess and the Chef

Turn winter doldrums into delights by treating yourself (and perhaps your spouse or a friend) to 7 days and 6 nights at the Auberge de la Truffe in the Dordogne for a culinary adventure at the height of the foie gras and truffles season. Chef Pierre Corre, a native of the region, will take us on a tour of the renowned Thiviers foie gras market. He’ll teach us the secrets of preparing all the gastronomic treasures of Périgord in hands-on cooking classes. Classes will be limited to 8 participants, with simultaneous translation provided.

Tours and excursions will include a truffle hunt (complete with guide and pig), a visit to the Truffle Museum, a visit to the “HUSO” de Neuvic,  a fish farm with a caviar tasting, a visit to the world-famous prehistoric cave paintings of Lascaux, a tour of the splendid Château d’Abzac, with a cooking class, wine tasting, and lunch at the château,  and meals at other fine area restaurants.

Truffle hunting, Dordogne

Truffle hunting, Dordogne

Spouses and guests who are passionate about the tasting but not the preparation of these delicacies are welcome to join us on the excursions and at the table as we feast on our creations.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival in Sorges at L’Auberge de la Truffe before dinner.
  • Festive welcome aperitif and dinner at the Auberge.

Day 2

  • Morning visit to the truffle market in Thiviers with Chef Corre.
  • Cooking class on duck, followed by lunch at the Auberge.
  • Afternoon visit to the Truffle museum.
  • Late afternoon visit to a foie gras farm with tasting and products available.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.
Chef Pierre and Patti with enormous truffles, Dordogne

Chef Pierre and Patti with enormous truffles, Dordogne

Day 3

  • Truffle hunt with a truffle specialist in Mareuil
  • Lunch in a bistro in Brantôme.
  • Afternoon visit of the village Brantôme.
  • Cooking class with a focus on truffles.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 4

  • Morning visit to and lunch in Lascaux.
  • Surprise culinary visit in the afternoon.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 5

  • Departure for the Château d’Abzac.

    Château d’Abzac

  • Cooking class on fish at the Château followed by lunch.
  •  Tour of the Château and vineyard
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 6

  • Morning visit to a 14th century walnut mill where walnut oil is produced the traditional way.
  • Visit to the “HUSO” de Neuvic,  a fish farm with a caviar tasting.
  • Visit to the colorful market in Périgueux with Chef Corre.
  • Lunch at the restaurant, Chez Fred.
  • Dinner at the Auberge.

Day 7

  • Morning cooking class on desserts.
  • Farewell gastronomic lunch at the hotel.
  • Departure for the train station after lunch.

Accommodations & Cost

Accommodations: Auberge de la Truffe is a two-star hotel and restaurant. All participants stay in private rooms at the Auberge. Each includes a private bathroom.
Included in the cost: Six nights accommodations; all ground transportation; all meals including aperitifs and carefully selected regional wines; all cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above. Limited to ten class participants.
Not Included in Cost: Airfare; trains; alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program.
Cost: $3,990.00 per person, single supplement $600. Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1000.00 per person.

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

A Château Adventure in Normandy

 

St. Paterne

St. Paterne

with Charles-Henry and Ségolène de Valbray
Château de Saint Paterne

Normandy, the land of Camembert, calvados, cider, and cream, with its villages of timbered houses and picture-perfect rolling hills, is among the richest and most beautiful countryside in France. With miles of coastline bordering the English Channel, Norman cuisine abounds with the delicacies of the sea. Dover sole is king, but monkfish, turbot, and flounder are plentiful, as are oysters, scallops, and mussels.

Come savor these splendors with us at the lovely, 15th, 16th, 17th century Château de Saint Paterne, once the love nest of Henry IV. Charles-Henry de Valbray, a young man of “infectious enthusiasm and exquisite taste,” and Ségolène, his lovely wife, have restored the family’s château with great care.St. Paterne Salon

Tourte de Carottes

Tourte de Carottes

For six days and five nights, Charles-Henry and Ségolène de Valbray will be our hosts as we visit farms and tiny villages, stopping to taste perfectly ripened Camembert and fresh cider made the traditional way. Our cooking classes will be in Charles-Henry and Ségolène’s delightful new kitchen in the château, where we will learn to prepare such delicacies as Tourte de carottes, Sole meunière, Souris d’agneau, and Tarte Tatin with Calvados. Our gastronomic exploration will be enhanced by visits to the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery,  Saumur and a tour of medieval Le Mans. Cooking classes are limited to 10 participants.

 

Trip Itinerary

Day 1  

• Afternoon rendezvous at the train station in Le Mans.
• Visit to the medieval town of LeMans with its celebrated cathedral and fortifications dating from the 3rd century.
• Aperitifs and festive welcome dinner at St. Paterne

Day 2

•  A full day on the Normandy coast.
•  Morning visit to the Peace Memorial in Caen followed by a visit to the Normandy Beaches and the American Cemetery with an English-speaking guide.
•  Lunch by the sea (not included).
•  Dinner at “home” in our château.

St. Paterne Dining Room

St. Paterne Dining Room

Day 3  

•  Morning cooking class at Château de Saint Paterne.
•  Lunch at Château Saint Paterne.
•  Free afternoon for relaxing, shopping or visiting the local town of Alençon.
•  Dinner at “home” in our château.

Day 4  

• A day in the Loire Valley visiting a local winemaker with a visit and tasting in his cave.
• Lunch included (fixed menu) including wine.
• Free time for shopping or exploring the charming town and castle of Saumur.
• Dinner at “home” in our château.

Day 5  

St. Paterne Pintade à la Normandie

St. Paterne Pintade à la Normandie

•  A visit to a local bustling market and food shopping.
•  Stroll through picturesque St. Ceneri le Gerei – listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
•  Lunch in Saint Ceneri at a local auberge (not included).
•  Cooking class at the Château.
•  Elegant Farewell dinner at St.  Paterne.

St. Paterne Breakfast

St. Paterne Breakfast

Day 6

• Departure in the morning after breakfast.

• Transportation provided back to Le Mans (TGV station).

 

 

 

 

Accommodations & Cost

Trip Dates: Trip will begin on a Sunday and end on a Friday.
Accommodations:
 All participants stay at the Château de Saint Paterne, a beautifully restored 15th/16th/17th century château owned by Charles-Henry and Ségolène de Valbray. Each room includes a private bathroom.
Included in the cost: 5 nights accommodations; all breakfasts (5); 2 lunches and 5 dinners,  including aperitifs and carefully selected regional wines, soft drinks, etc.; 2 full cooking classes; and all sightseeing and private visits as described above.
Not Included in Cost: Train fare from Paris to Le Mans and return; alcoholic beverages except as specified in the program, and meals not specified.
Cost: $3790 per person, single supplement $500.  Important note: substantial changes in the value of the dollar may require changes in the price of the tour.
Deposit: $1000. per person.

 

Register for this trip — check-out the general information section about Les Liaisons Délicieuses trips — see what other travelers have to say — check for when this trip is scheduled or discuss a custom trip based on this itinerary.

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