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In this series of blog posts, we reminisce about some of our favorite cooking vacations all over the world. Today, we remember the magical property of “Mediterranean Cooking Experience,” located in a small town on the Sorrentine peninsula.
“I was first made aware of this property about 10 years ago through a friend in the hotel business,” shares TIK founder Karen Herbst. “We were having a meal together, and he said to me, ‘I have just seen a hotel on the Amalfi coast that you would love, you MUST go see it!’ Well, this was a trusted friend who knew the kind of places that I liked, so, I said OK! It just so happened that I was returning to Italy for a trade show, so I arranged to take some extra time and planned a visit.
“Since I was coming from Milan, this was not an easy trip and I started to have some misgivings about committing myself to the visit. But since the arrangements were all in place, I did not want to back out.
“The property had a driver pick me up at the Naples airport and we proceeded to Sant’Agata. It is a sweet little town, very little tourism and primarily known for a very famous 3 star Michelin restaurant, Don Alfonso. We wound up the hill and approached the gates to the hotel. As we entered and made the turn up the driveway, my breath was taken away.
“What a gorgeous setting! The hotel is three stories, situated on a hill with surroundings sea views of the bay of Naples and the bay of Salerno. It is a big property, with a lovely swimming pool, a wisteria laden terrace where meals are taken al fresco and inviting small seating areas throughout the property. Although you don’t necessarily see it, there is also a very big garden where much of the produce used in the restaurant is grown.
“But, really, what this place has is a magical quality that cannot be captured through words or pictures. I have done hundreds (maybe thousands!) of site inspections, not just for our cooking vacations, in my years in the travel business and sometimes you find a place that just resonates with you so much, it cannot be described.”
We have sent countless travelers to Mediterranean Cooking Experience since then, and it remains one of our most popular culinary vacations. I have stayed there many times, have traveled there with my family, and have accompanied groups there as well – and as Karen said, it is just a place you want to go back to again and again!
Contact us to start planning your culinary vacation to this magical place.
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By Peg Kern
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Originally published September 4, 2012.