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Italy, Switzerland & France – Backroads, Featuring Chef’s Table with Jacques Reymond

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From AUD: $12,499

Duration: 20 Days

Offer Expires: Oct 13, 2019

Short Description

Join this small group food and wine adventure, from Australia. Explore the culinary delights of three countries, culminating in spending three days with celebrity chef Jacques Reymond in Burgundy.

From the rolling hills of Tuscany and the spectacular highland trains of Switzerland, to the famous vineyards of Burgundy, this 20 day group tour has an eye for food and wine! In each region you visit, you will experience local delicacies and wines, complete with artisan tastings and of course Jacques Reymond once you arrive in France.

This tour commences in Rome, spending sufficient time in Tuscany to explore the ancient cities of Cortona, Assisi, Perugia & Florence. It's then onto Switzerland for visits to Lake Como, St Moritz, Zermatt and Montreux where you'll experience the essence of the country via cheese and chocolate tastings!

Your small group of no more than 20 people, will then move onto the the highlight of the trip in Burgundy where you will spend three days with Jacques Reymond, including a hosted chef's table. He will also show you around his region during your time together.

This is a unique itinerary, designed for travel from Australia including airfares from capital cities. It is sure to sell out.

Day 1
Australia to Rome
Buongiorno! Welcome to Italy. Today begins your culinary journey of a lifetime. Upon arrival at the airport, you will be warmly greeted by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Crowded with ancient ruins and religious monuments, Rome still pulses to the beat of modern life and is packed with designer shops, restaurants, cafes and exciting nightlife. There are no activities planned for today, so if you arrive early there are plenty of things to keep you busy. One highly recommended sight would be Vatican City and St Peter's Basilica. Entry to the Basilica is free however there is a small charge to climb the dome for a breathtaking panorama over Bella Roma. If there's time, visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel or do as the Romans do – sip an espresso at one of the tiny streetside cafes and sample the many flavours of gelato that colour the city.
Hotel: 4* Eitch Borromini Palazzo, Rome or similar

Day 2
Rome to Cortona
This morning will begin with a group meeting to discuss some tour logistics and give you a chance to meet your fellow travellers. Following this we will head out on a guided walking tour passing the most popular sights including the magnificently renowned Colosseum. This fascinating city has over 3,000 years of globally influential art, architecture and culture on display. For those captivated by the 'Eternal City', remember to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome. In the early afternoon we take the train to Cortona, a lovely hilltop town in Tuscany where we will enjoy a scrumptious welcome dinner after having checking into our hotel.
Hotel: 4* Hotel San Michele, Cortona or similar
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 3
Cortona, Tuscany
After breakfast join your local guide for a walking tour of Cortona. This small, charming town sits on the top of the hill enclosed by stone walls offering spectacular views over the surrounding valley and Lake Trasimeno. In the main streets you will find local shops that offer handmade items and various gastronomical products. There are also many local restaurants that offer traditional local and Tuscan cuisine (the Chianina cattle, one of Italy’s oldest, high quality bovine breeds is bred here in Val di Chiana or Chiana Valley). Later in the day you will prepare your own meal with the assistance of a local chef. Learn how to prepare mouth-watering Tuscan dishes during an exciting hands on cooking class. The menu will depend on the season and may include delectable specialities such traditional pici pasta with cherry tomatoes and pecorino chips, saltimbocca of pork tenderloin with bay leaves and fennel flower or cantucci with vinsanto zabajon.
Hotel: 4* Hotel San Michele, Cortona or similar
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 4
Perugia & Assisi
After breakfast travel by private transfer to the city of Perugia, a well-known cultural and artistic centre. Founded by the Umbrians, Perugia was the heart of the great Umbrian school of painting, which reached its height in the 15th century. Here we will go for a guided walking tour before stopping for a delicious lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch we will continue to Assisi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known as the birthplace of St. Francis, the man who renounced all his possessions in order to devote his life to helping the people in need. This is also where we will visit the Basilica of St. Francis, one of the most important places of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. From here we will return to Cortona to wind down with an aperitivo and some tasty snacks.
Hotel: 4* Hotel San Michele, Cortona or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 5
Montepulciano & Arezzo
Today we travel to the Renaissance hill town of Montepulciano where we will visit a lively local cheese farm. During the guided tour of the farm you can see with your own eyes what it means to live life today on the land, in the stunning Orcia Valley. During the tour you will get a personal introduction to the various animals and their integral roles on the farm. We will taste some of the locally produced cheeses accompanied with a delicious selection of cold cuts. After our tasting, we will continue on to Arezzo, one of the wealthiest cities in Tuscany, due to its tradition in goldsmithery. Even though the Medieval centre was destroyed during World War II, Arezzo still has plenty of historical monuments, beautiful churches and museums that will give you a chance to step back in history during a guided walking tour including a visit to the awe-inspiring Roman Amphitheatre. After our tour we will return to Cortona where you will have the remainder of the day to spend at leisure.
Hotel: 4* Hotel San Michele, Cortona or similar
Meals: breakfast

Day 6
San Gimignano & Florence
After breakfast we will be leaving Cortona to travel to San Gimignano, known as the Medieval town of fine towers. Here we will enjoy a lunch and wine tasting in an Agriturismo, an independently owned farm that is partially used for accommodation purposes offering a truly unique experience for visitors to the region. After lunch we head to Gelateria di Piazza to taste their world-famous gelato. Italian gelato is much, much more than traditional ice cream; it’s an delectable art form. Following this palatable experience, enjoy some free time to explore San Gimignano and it’s stunning skyline of medieval towers, including the stone Torre Grossa. Our final destination today is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, Florence, where food plays a major role in the city's identity. Meat lovers should certainly try the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge T-bone steak that's usually shared between two people, or ribollita, a thick delicious vegetable soup with bread, beans and greens. Ensure you don’t miss the signature sweet treat, Panforte. During your free time in the evening you might want to walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which is set on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, to take in beautiful views of the city and watch the sunset.
Hotel: 4* Palazzo Castri 1874, Florence or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 7
Florence Lake Como
This morning we will enjoy a lovely guided walking tour of Florence, one of the most culturally rich and beautiful cities in Italy, known to many as the beating heart of Tuscany. The Medicis, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Brunelleschi, Machiavelli, Donatello and Michelangelo all lived in Florence at the height of their creative reign. One of the highlights of our tour today will be a visit to the Accademia to see the renowned David sculpture. After lunch we will travel north to Lake Como, an area of stunning beauty full of unique and evocative landscapes. Set in the foothills of the Alps, Lake Como and its surrounding resort area offers some dramatic scenery. The remainder of the day is yours to relax or explore.
Hotel: 3* Hotel Domaso, Lake Como or similar
Meals: breakfast

Day 8
Lake Como Bellagio Lake Como
This morning we’ll be joining your tour leader and boarding a ferry to travel across the sparkling blue waters of Lake Como to explore the pretty village of Bellagio. Bellagio, the “Pearl of Lake Como” is known for its cobbled lanes, elegant buildings and stunning lake views. Here you will learn how to prepare the traditional meals of the lake district in another hands-on cooking class. Enjoy the fruits of your labour before continuing the rest of your day at your own pace, perhaps exploring more of this gorgeous area.
Hotel: 3* Hotel Domaso, Lake Como or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 9
Lake Como & St Moritz
After breakfast enjoy a free morning to relax, or to visit the many beautiful locations this locality has to offer. Feel free to take the ferry between the various parts of Lake Como, like Varenna, Cadenabbia, or the beautiful Villa Balbianello, which film fans may recognise from movies such as Casino Royale or Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones. Villa Carlotta is another waterfront villa open to the public, a former marquis’ mansion dating from the late 17th century that today functions as a museum. It holds a wealth of artwork and is surrounded by acres of romantic Italian gardens. Another wonderful option to visit is Villa Melzi. This grand white villa sits just back from the water and its surrounding estate is
filled with a plethora of rare and exotic plant life. In the afternoon we leave Italy behind and travel to St Moritz, a luxury alpine resort town in Switzerland’s Engadin Valley. Take in the beautiful scenery surrounding the resort which is famous for its mineral springs and abundance of sport opportunities both in summer and in winter. St Moritz has been twice
honoured as the host of the Winter Olympics.
Hotel: 3* Hauser Swiss Quality Hotel, St Moritz or similar
Meals: breakfast, dinner

Day 10
St Moritz Zermatt
A new adventure awaits us today as we board the Glacier Express, which connects the two major mountain resorts of St Moritz and Zermatt in the Swiss Alps. The scenery is stunning with towering mountains, fierce streams and impressive rock formations. The route consists of four sections, each with their own unique landscapes. Upon arrival in the resort town of Zermatt, you’ll have the rest of the day to spend at your leisure. In the evening we recommend that you try some of the world renowned Swiss cheese dishes such as fondue or raclette in a local restaurant.
Hotel: 4* Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11
Zermatt to Gornergrat to Montreux
Today we take the Gornergrat train from Zermatt town centre to Gornergrat, a rocky ridge located 3,089 metres above sea-level and overlooking the Gorner Glacier. The Gornergrat railway is the highest open-air railway in Europe. From the summit you will enjoy an amazing panorama view of the mountains, including the magnificent Matterhorn with its peak at 4,478 metres. From here we will travel to Montreux, a traditional resort town nestled between steep hills and the beautiful Lake Geneva. Take the remainder of the day to settle in and revel in your incredibly scenic surroundings.
Hotel: 3* La Rouvenaz, Montreux or similar
Meals: breakfast

Day 12
Maison du Gruyere & Maison Cailler Montreux
Another gourmet experience awaits us today as we head out to discover the secrets of Switzerland’s most famous culinary tradition on board the Chocolate Train. Our first stop is Maison du Gruyere, where you will learn more about the production of this famous cheese. You will have time before we depart to explore the charming medieval town of Gruyeres and visit its impressive castle. We then continue our journey from here to Maison Cailler where we’ll discover the secrets of the creation of Swiss chocolate. This high flavoured tasting is an unforgettable experience for anyone with a sweet tooth. Upon returning to Montreux, you may spend the evening at leisure.
Hotel: 3* La Rouvenaz, Montreux or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 13
Les Rousses Lons le Saunier & Cuiseaux Lons le Saunier After breakfast this morning we will depart Montreux and travel alongside the stunning Lake Geneva before heading up and over the Jura mountain range into France. Our first destination today will be Le Fort des Rousses, a vast military structure that has now been converted to a renowned fromagerie. Here we will enjoy a delectable cheese tour after being welcomed by our host for the next 3 days, Chef Jacques Reymond. After our tour we will depart les Rousses for a local restaurant where we will be enjoying lunch overlooking the beautiful Lake Vouglans and our first of many meals with our host Jacques. Following lunch we will travel to the town of Lons le Saunier, tucked into the foot of the Jura escarpment. We will check into our hotel here and freshen up before heading to Cuiseaux for dinner. Prior to arriving at the restaurant, Chef Jacques Reymond will host a lovely walking tour of his home town. We dine tonight with Jacques  at a chef's table dinner where he’ll cook some of his favourite local dishes for a mouth watering experience not to be forgotten.
Hotel: 3*  Hôtel Restaurant Spa Parenthèse, Lons Le Saunier or similar
Meals: breakfast lunch dinner

Day 14
Lons le Saunier Louhans &  Tournes Dommartin les Cuiseaux
Today we continue our delightful culinary journey with Chef Jacques Reymond as we drive to Louhans, a commune renowned for its famous poultry market. We will enjoy a walking tour around the town before continuing on to Tournes where we will savour a 6 course lunch with wine pairings at Les Terrasses Restaurant which has a coveted Michelin star. After lunch we will drive to Varennes Saint Sauveur to visit a chicken farm in the famous Bresse region. Bresse is noted for the 1,200,000 chickens raised per year by its 330 stock breeders. Bresse chickens are known to be one of the highest quality chickens in the world for cooking. From here we continue on a lovely scenic drive through the communes of Dommartin les
Cuiseaux and Maynal before taking the stunning route des vins back towards Lons le Saunier. Enroute we will visit a winery in the quaint village of Rotalier. Upon arrival back at our hotel, take some time to freshen up before we head to dinner with Jacques at one of his friends local restaurants in Lons le Saunier.
Hotel: 3* Hôtel Restaurant Spa Parenthèse, Lons Le Saunier or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 15
Chateau Chalon & Beaumes les Messieurs
This morning we will drive to the cliffside commune of Chateau Chalon. Enroute we will be stopping at a gorgeous winery for a tasting. Upon arrival at Chateau Chalon enjoy a sightseeing tour of the local vineyards and the picturesque village. A savory lunch will be served at a beautiful provincial restaurant. After lunch we depart Chalon and head to Beaumes les Messieurs, a small town almost completely surrounded by steep limestone cliffs. Delight in a short village walk here, stopping to visit Abbaye Impériale, a beautiful
abbey complex and the centrepiece of this old village. From here we return to our hotel in Lons le Saunier to freshen up before heading to dinner with Jacques at a local restaurant to enjoy some true French fare.
Hotel: 3* Hôtel Restaurant Spa Parenthèse, Lons Le Saunier or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 16
L’Etoile Beaune
Enjoy a leisurely slow start this morning and take some time to enjoy your last moments in Lons le Saunier before departing. Our first stop today will be L’Etoile where Jacques will introduce you to a local winemaker to learn all about his wines and vineyard. We continue from here to the luxurious Hostellerie de Levernois where we will enjoy lunch at this posh hotel set in a 4.5 hectare park along La Bouzaise River. After lunch we will depart for Beaune, an elegant walled town at the centre of the Burgundy winemaking region of France and surrounded by the Cote d’Or vineyards. This beautiful cobbled town is known for its
famous annual wine auction. Upon arrival in Beaune enjoy a guided city tour including a visit to La Moutarderie Fallot. An interactive circuit here in this timeless setting will titillate your sense of smell like no other. Embark on a journey through the ages, learning about the techniques and traditions associated with mustard and its history.
Hotel: 4* Hotel Henry II, Beaune or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 17
Today we’ll be exploring the storybook countryside of Beaune and meeting some of its magnificent winemakers. We’ll stroll through the enchanting vineyards, visit a small local wine producer, and taste famous red and white wine from Burgundy during a guided walking tour. Burgundy undisputedly offers some of France’s most beautiful landscapes and is rich in history and culture. The wines from this region rank among some of the most expensive wines in the world due to their reputation, quality, and small production quantities.
Hotel: 4* Hotel Henry II, Beaune or similar
Meals: breakfast

Day 18
Beaune to Lyon
This morning we will visit the gorgeous Hospices de Beaune with its stunning 15th century gothic architecture. Founded in the Middle Ages, this prestigious historical monument is one of France’s finest. It also plays host to Beaune’s famous annual wine auction. After a guided tour here, we depart Beaune and travel to the commune of Vonnas. Here we will enjoy a delicious farewell lunch and rediscover the spirit of times gone by. Following lunch we will continue on to Lyon, an alluring and richly historical city sitting at the junction of the
Rhone and Saone rivers. Upon arrival we will take a guided walking tour and explore 2,000 years of history. Following this, enjoy the rest of your final evening in France at leisure.
Hotel: 4* Hotel Maison No, Lyon or similar
Meals: breakfast, lunch

Day 19
Lyon to Australia
Your extraordinary culinary adventure comes to an end this morning. Enjoy some free time before departing for the airport to board your flight home. We hope you return home inspired and enlightened.
Meals: breakfast

Day 20
Arrive home today

Return international airfares flying Emirates (from your nearest capital city)
Chef’s Table with Jacques Reymond
Return airport transfers
Eighteen nights boutique accommodation
Daily breakfast
Ten lunches
Seven dinners
Tasting as detailed below
Professional English speaking tour guide
Local guides where indicated
All transportation in modern, air-conditioned coach

The following Tasting Experiences are included
Rome - An unforgettable welcome dinner including beer and wine
Cortona - A cooking class with a local chef preparing Tuscan cuisine
Cortona - Aperitivo and snacks to relax after a day of sightseeing
Montepulciano - Farm visit with local cheese tasting
San Gimignano - Lunch and wine tasting in an Agriturismo
San Gimignano - Gelato tasting at the world renowned Gelateria di Piazza
Lake Como - Join a cooking class with a local expert preparing meals of the lake district
Zermatt - Dine on Fondue or Raclette in Switzerland
Montreux - Travel on the famous Chocolate train and sample Swiss chocolate and Gruyere cheese
Les Rousses - Visit fort des rousses and enjoy a Jura cheese tasting
Lons le Saunier - Dine with Jacques Reymond in local French bistros and brasseries
Cuiseaux - Join a chefs table dinner with Jacques Reymond cookings some of his favourite dishes for you
Tournes - Enjoy a 6 course degustation lunch with matching wines at a Michelin restaurant
Côte du Jura - Sample local wines in the Jura region
Beaune - Visit La Moutarderie Fallot and enjoy a hands on tour of the mustard making process
Beaune - Go on a walking winery tour of the Cote de Beaune region
Vonnas - Enjoy an unforgettable farewell lunch in the commune of Vonnas

Travel insurance (compulsory)
Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
Optional activities
Personal expenses

Departure Dates 2019
1 September
15 September*
29 September
13 October*
* Reverse Itinerary

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