Dear Friends, Happy New Year! We all hope that 2009 brings about productive change globally and we can look forward to upward progress economically. We are continuing to find wonderful options for our trips; look for new programs in France in the Rhone Alps (Lyon) and in the Spain in the region of Alicante, where the sun shines year round!
All of our partners in Europe have indicated their flexibility and willingness to create the trip of your dreams, so don’t hesitate to contact us.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and nothing says “Be Mine” like giving a cooking trip or class to your favorite someone! Whether it is a romantic getaway for two, or a trip you give him or her to take with friends, a cooking vacation is the perfect way to let your loved one know how much you care.
In fact, to sweeten the pot, for the month of February, if you book any cooking vacation with The International Kitchen, we will send you a free gift to present to your “valentine.” The trip can take place any time—just book by the end of February 2009 and reference the promotional code “VDG.”
We are very pleased to present two brand-new cooking vacations among our many offerings!
We have long wanted a multi-day cooking program in Lyon in addition to the wonderful one-day cooking class with Chef Jean-Marc that we already offer there. Lyon is the gastronomic heart of France, considered by some to be the foodies’ capital of the world, and we have found just the program we were looking for in Weekend of Gastronomy in Lyon and Beaujolais. This fabulous program takes place in the countryside near Lyon and includes an excursion to the famed Beaujolais.
Our new offering in Morocco—Moroccan Flavors—makes this exotic destination completely accessible. You will travel throughout this exciting land and explore its varied cuisine through four distinct cooking lessons with different chefs.
Be on the lookout also for our first ever cooking program in Greece, coming soon to our website.
Whether you are excited to try one of our new programs or one of our perennial favorites like A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio, A Mediterranean Cooking Experience at Relais Oasi Olimpia, Bonjour Provence at Domaine de Valmouriane, or Wine and Cuisine of the Priorat, we look forward to making your culinary dreams come true!
The past month was once again the start of our travel season. I began on the Amalfi coast visiting the Relais Oasi Olimpia to see some of the upgrades they have been working on. There is now a fitness center in the hotel, a sauna at the pool, and a massage room. And to top it all off, our wonderful Chef Carmen has returned from her sabbatical to once again take the helm of the kitchen! We are looking forward to a wonderful season. If you would like to experience the best of Amalfi Coast vacations, this is trip for you!
Continuing on to Florence, I had the opportunity to visit the newly opened Four Seasons Hotel. What a spectacular property! And, I am very pleased to announce that we will have an exclusive program at the hotel with a cooking class in their kitchen and wine tasting from their incredible cellars. Look for the details soon.
We renewed an association with another world-class Relais & Chateaux property, La Posta Vecchia, where we will soon be offering a wonderful experience as well. Again, an abundance of riches!!
This month our recipe of the month
hails from our partner, the Walnut Grove Cooking School, one of our most popular choices in France. Be sure to check out the recipe and the program!
Please contact us anytime with questions, or a recommendation for the vacation of a lifetime.
It is rare when I am traveling for company business to have the opportunity to spend a week in one city. However, Rendez Vous France, the major trade show held every year in a different city, was this year in Paris. So, following the trade show I accepted the wonderful invitation to stay with our Chef Samira and her husband James for a few nights. Samira and I have been collaborating on cooking classes in Paris for seven years, but it has been a long time since I have had the great pleasure of her company. For three memorable days we cooked, ate, drank, talked and laughed, and then began the process anew the following day!
Samira is not only a tremendously talented chef and teacher, she is a charming, energetic and ebullient lady, whose generosity knows no bounds. And her meals are among the most delicious I have eaten in Paris; an invitation to Samira’s home for dinner is very highly sought after and prized!
While the cooking class in Paris we offer with Samira might be a bit higher than other classes, I cannot emphasize enough how much worth this experience offers. Not only does she go through two recipes for each course, every meal is ended with a typical cheese course of at least six cheeses, not to mention the always flowing fine wine to accompany the meal, often poured and discussed by her husband James, who is extremely knowledgeable and has two "caves" in their building. If you have the opportunity, do not miss the chance to experience this cooking class in Paris, it is truly exceptional.
The trade show was also a great success. Look soon for a program in the Pays Basque area, a lovely hotel formerly owned by Alain Ducasse and a unique chateau program in an undiscovered region.
I wish you all a Happy Easter and Happy Passover.
We have just completed our first "WOW" of the year, our program of Women Only Week. Our first 2009 departure was to our beloved hotel on the Amalfi Coast, "A Mediterranean Cooking Experience at Relais Oasi Olimpia." We started our women only programs in 2007 and they have been a tremendous success. Our next week at Relais Oasi Olimpia will be October 18-24 and we will soon be posting a week as well in Tuscany at "A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio." Please check out the individual programs for all details.
We are thrilled to offer a cooking program (exclusive to The International Kitchen) at the recently opened Four Seasons in Florence. This is such a truly exceptional hotel, it defies description (but we have tried!). Another deluxe offering is in the Valpolicello area , "Avant Garde Fantasy in the Veneto," at a very unique and elegant five star hotel. Every day it seems we have another wonderful option for you!
As our site grows, we know it may be a bit daunting and difficult to know which program to select. We encourage you and welcome your calls or e-mails so that we can give you more detail or make recommendations.
Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there!
This month finds me on the road again. I will be traveling with our staff videographer, Neil, to do videos of more of our programs and daily classes. Neil is starting in France at Domaine de Valmouriane, moves on to Paris to spend the day with Samira and then travels to Italy. There he will begin on the Amalfi coast for Cooking Under a Golden Sunset, on to Tuscany to Italian Cooking at Torre del Tartufo, Rome for the Walking and Cooking class with Stefano and finally at Lake Garda for Lake Garda Grandeur. We plan to compete with Netflix for your time!
It is also a time for me to reconnect with some partners and to ensure that the high quality that we demand for all our programs is being met. We remain diligent in our efforts to maintain The International Kitchen as the premier culinary company and we invest the time and money necessary to do so. There is no substitution for knowledge, experience, expertise and professionalism. And, at the end of the day, there is not another company that offers better value for your money, ongoing service and consistently high quality, which are the most important aspects in selecting a company to plan your vacation.
July finds me once more in Italy. First stop is the BuyVeneto, where I hope to increase the number of cooking vacations and one-day classes we offer in this wonderful region. After that it is off to do more site inspections before heading to the Amalfi Coast for a week at our favorite Amalfi program, "Cooking Under a Golden Sunset".
We have a couple new offerings to share with you! First is a lovely self-driving itinerary in one of my favorite towns of Umbria. Join us for Cook in the Garden of the Angels in Bevagna for a charming, authentic experience.
I had long wanted to add Greece to our offerings, and finally found the perfect culinary adventure in that ancient land. Check out our Greek Odyssey program for a perfect blend of sun, sea, history, culture, and of course amazing Greek food!
We still have spots available for summer departures, and of course for the fall, so please contact us if you have not yet made your travel plans!
August is off to a wonderful start! We are pleased and proud to be featured in the August issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. If you haven’t seen the article—"Radical Rest: 3 Creative Ways to (Finally!) Relax"— the issue is on newsstands now, or can be found online at
After spending many weeks this summer in Italy, I am now back in the office, working to get our new videos posted! We will have videos for Bonjour Provence at Domaine de Valmouriane, Cooking Class with Samira in Paris, Italian Cooking at Casa Ombuto and Torre del Tartufo, Cooking Under a Golden Sunset, Cooking Class and Walking Tour with Fabio in Rome, and Lake Garda Grandeur. Very ambitious underdtaking, but we know that our vides really give you a sense of what your experience would be like if you were there.
We are very pleased to announce our expanding presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Now you can view our videos, scroll through our pictures, ask us questions or follow our food and travel-themed posts at your leisure. You might already be a fan—if not, be sure to sign up!
I have just spent a week at Cooking Under a Golden Sunset, part of the "cooking and Italian language immersion" we offered in July. This is an exceptional experience in so many ways! The incredible setting (we were up at the pool every day until 7PM, when the sun was just starting to set), swimming in the sea (and the Blue Grotto!), eating the freshest and most superb fish I have ever tasted, divine pasta, and the most delightful family service at the hotel; this all combined for one of the most wonderful and memorable weeks I have ever spent on vacation.
We are very excited to soon offer a program at Don Alfonso in Sant’Agata, just outside of Sorrento. Many of you are likely familar with this famed, 3 Michelin star restaurant. They now have eight exquisite suites and offer an incredible cooking opportunity with the chefs of the restaurant. This is the only property we offer that has the distinction of being a member of Relais & Chateau, named Relais Gourmand and three Michelin stars! And, if you can imagine, there are 40 employees to take care of 8 rooms and the restaurant; this is sevice above and beyond!
As always, we welcome your inquiries and are delighted to provide any additional information about any of our programs.
September… It calls to mind bountiful late-summer harvests, grape-laden vines, beautiful weather—the perfect time of year for a culinary vacation! We’ve had a run on autumn bookings but still have some spots left, so be sure to contact us to help plan your trip. Airfares are good, so there’s never been a better time to plan that last-minute culinary trip of a lifetime to Tuscany, Provence, or any other destination of your dreams! At The International Kitchen we are proud to apply our years of experience to planning not only your culinary vacation, but also any other services you require, such as air travel, hotels, car rental, train tickets, and extra tours.
As many of you are requesting, we are trying to get 2010 dates and pricing for all of our programs. If you do not see this information for a program in which you are interested, please let us know. In most instances we are able to confirm at 2009 rates if your Booking Form is in before October 1st. We will be adding some wonderful new options for 2010, including a deluxe program on the Amalfi coast, one of our popular destinations (with good reason!), and a photography and cooking week in Paris. Please call or write us for any information or details you may need or if you would like us to make a recommendation.
If you have not yet checked us out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Flickr, be sure to do so. You can learn travel tips, see pictures from our trips, watch videos, talk about recipes, and hear from our many culinary travelers. If you’re not already a fan, now is the time to sign up!
We are very pleased to be the grand prize for the Star Fine Foods "Flavors of the Mediterranean" recipe contest, valid September 20-December 20, 2009. We hope you’ll submit your best Mediterranean recipe and perhaps win a trip to our 6-night cooking vacation,
Wine and Cuisine of the Priorat, in Catalonia, Spain.
In September I had the opportunity to spend a few days at our culinary vacation Hola Mexico in the Moreles area of Mexico. The property is in the small, ancient Aztec village of Tepotzlan, about 30 minutes outside of Cuernavaca. It was a terrific experience! Chef Ana is funny, smart and irrepressible, along with being a great chef and teacher. Ana, who previously worked in business and her husband Robb, once a corporate litigator, have created their "heaven" in this little village. They have refurbished a wonderful property, with beautiful views of the valley, creating four star quality accommodations. The rooms are lovely; whitewashed walls, stone floors, pure white coverlets and pillow shams, tiled showers with rainshower heads, bathrobes, lotions and shampoo and built in hairdryers (real haridryers!)
The cooking lessons held in the open kitchen are completely hands on and last about four hours, followed by the meal on the skylit terrace. Quite a setting for your cooking vacation in Mexico! Add visits to the market (fantastic!) and some local sightseeing and you have the recipe for a wonderful cooking tour.
October will see some of our staff off to the Veneto region, where we hope to find more wonderful cooking school vacation options for our gourmet travelers.
Until then, all the best,
October was a very busy month for us! It was our ninth annual symposium of the Italian Travel Promotion Council, which this year was held in the Veneto region. Richard, Jeanette, and I were there along with over 250 travel agents, exploring the region for five days. It was a wonderful experience, ending the last night with a fabulous Carnivale-themed gala dinner in Venice.
Immediately following the symposium, I moved on to France, spending a little time in Paris meeting with Richard Nahem, our guide for the Marais walking tour and checking out the cooking class he runs with Chef Charlotte. Her historical home is in a wonderful district of Paris, full of shops, cafes and colorful boutiques, and the class is great.
Next it was off to Provence for the annual meeting of another organization to which we belong, followed by a trade show and two days of site inspections in the Var region. The Var is one of our favorite parts of Provence, the location of two of our best France cooking vacations, Chateau de Berne and Heartland of Provence. We will soon have some exciting new adventures to offer there, available on our website within a few weeks.
Don’t forget to submit a recipe for the Star Fine Foods Flavors of the Mediterranean recipe contest! Top prize is a cooking vacation to Spain with The International Kitchen!
If you have started to think about your holiday shopping, consider a gift of one of our cooking programs for a loved one. I can promise you it will be the present of a lifetime!
I wish you all a very happy, healthy Thanksgiving, surrounded by family and friends.
As we approach the end of a difficult year for most of us, we tend to take a step back and think about what is really important in our lives. With the holiday season less than a month away, it is particularly pertinent. Instead of gifting your family and loved ones with "things," why not give them the experience of a lifetime with The International Kitchen?
You can purchase gift certificate in any amount, to be used towards any of our cooking vacations or one-day classes, with no expiration date. We will then provide you with a lovely gift certificate. Write us at email@example.com or call us anytime at 800.945.8606 or 312.467.0560, we will be happy to assist in any way we can.
All of our very best wishes from everyone at The International Kitchen for a Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas and a wonderful, prosperous and healthy New Year!
Here is what clients are saying about their experience with The International Kitchen...
"What an incredible cultural and culinary experience: the hosts were great: fun and friendly, accommodating, and customized the itinerary based on the group. Food was amazing, classes were engaging and informative..." Read more
"It’s taken me quite a while to write about our experience ... Not because it wasn’t everything I dreamed of and more, but because it so exceeded all of my expectations..." Read more
"A lovely remote setting with wonderful hosts and great food! A perfect blend of relaxation, cultural experiences, and hands-on cooking lesson. I would recommend highly..." Read more