International Cooking School Vacations: Newsletter of the Month
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Newsletter February 2016

Dear friends,

We are in full Carnival season! Many of our destinations are celebrating the week before the start of Lent (Wednesday, February 10), and their joie de vivre will culminate in the last day of Carnival (or Carnevale), known as Mardi Gras (Martedì grasso, Fat Tuesday).

February and March are actually great times to travel to many of our destinations. Of course our warm weather destinations beckon all of our winter-bound travelers this time of year. Leave snowy Chicago for a week on the Riviera Maya? Sounds like heaven! But many of our European destinations are just reopening after their winter closures, which means fewer crowds and tourists, and lower prices. I myself am off to Florence and Rome next week to do some work, and can't wait to take advantage of the calm, local lifestyle one finds in the off season. To me Rome during Lent means fillets of crispy baccalà and a piquant puntarelle salad, a real comfort food meal from the when I lived in Rome.

Food shopping in RomeYou might hear us talking about Easter in both March and May this year. Both the western and the Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. According to the the western (Gregorian) calendar, this year that date is March 27. But the Eastern Orthodox church uses the older Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar; so the vernal equinox corresponds to 13 days later on the western calendar, roughly April 3. The result? The Eastern Orthodox Easter this year is May 1st. (There are many other subtle factors involved in determining the dates of Easter, including different definitions of full moons and the equinox, as well as the Eastern church's insistence that Easter fall after Passover, but you get the gist of it.)

So the point is that you could celebrate Easter - an enormously important, fun, and gastronomically rich holiday - either at the end of March or the beginning of May. We'd be happy to help you plan a perfect Easter trip to one of our many fabulous cooking vacations destinations!


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