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A European Mindful Escape to Slovenia

Discover the stunning landscapes of Slovenia on this one of a kind mindful adventure. Along the way you will discover the spectacular Julian Alps and meet the local food producers.

We have teamed up with local experts to provide design a once in a lifetime adventure that encompasses everything we love about travel: time to relax, time to explore, time to learn and time to taste the land.

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Did you know that Slovenia produces world class red wines on the slopes of the alps. Also, in Slovenia there is a long history of bee keepers and many households have their own, homemade honey. In a time when we are trying hard to get back to our roots and understand the nature and wildlife around us, Slovenia is a good place to learn how to bring nature into your everyday life.

10 REASONS TO VISIT SLOVENIA

  1. Relax and unwind at Lake Bled
  2. Over half of Slovenia is forest – Nature & Hiking lovers delight
  3. Visit the Fairytale castle in Ljubljana
  4. Taste traditional Foods like Kranjska Klobasa
  5. Enjoy the magical sunsets
  6. Explore the Caves
  7. Get friendly with the bees
  8. Nature is everywhere – Enjoy!
  9. A friendly, warm welcome awaits
  10. Sip the Local wines

On our 7 day adventure you will taste the honey, pick the flowers, visit the waterfalls, take a scenic train ride and tour an eco-village. Get in touch with us to learn more about this epic natural adventure in the heart of Slovenia. We promise you an unforgettable journey. SEE TOUR HERE

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3 Unforgettable Wine Tasting Holidays in Europe

Fancy learning a little bit more about the wines of Europe? If you are a wine drinker, a fruit lover or culture hound then these are some of our most loved wine tasting holidays that will delight your senses.

Be enchanted by the Douro Valley

As one of our favourite regions for cool, crisp white wines, a guided experience in the Douro Valley is perfect for fruit lovers everywhere. What can’t we say about this grape rich region. If you are searching for a Tuscany alternative then this provides a superb back-drop for a romantic escape. Everywhere you look you will be surrounded by nature. As one of the oldest demarcated wine regions in the world, the UNESCO listed site is a bucket-list trip trip for wine lovers.

TOUR DETAILS

Get a Taste of the Costa Brava

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This is our not so hidden gem. A tour that will delight the senses and awaken the spirit in the beautiful Catalonia countryside. Soak up the sunshine and breathtaking views of the Do Emporda wine region. The area begins next to the stunning peaks of the Pyrenees and runs down through the landscapes of Catalonia.

Wine from this region is usually 30 years old. Red wines are generally make from Garnacha Tino and Samso. The traditional grape of Tempranillo and more popular Syrah and Mermot can also be found. Each bodega you visit in DO Empordà is a treat. We highly recommend spending a night or two in beautiful city of Girona when you are in the region.

TOUR DETAILS

Discover a Taste of Sintra

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If you want to sample the luxurious landscapes of Portugal then Sintra is the place to be. This UNESCO world heritage site is covered with pine trees, grapes and ancient ruins. A stop at the Palacio Nacional da Pena is just one of the highlights on this wine experience. The soils are unique to this part of the world and the wines of this region are often described as herbal, perfect for all of us herb enthusiasts.

TOUR DETAILS 

To book one of the above delicious wine tasting holidays feel free to reach out to one of our travel team anytime.

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Switching off from work, Switching on to Nature!

Nowadays we know that everyone is living extra busy lives. Everyday we are bombarded with choices. It can start in the morning in your local coffee shop; what coffee will you choose? Latte, flat white, americano? In every decision we have to take there are so many options presented to us that it can seem overwhelming. If this sounds like you then there is a solution. Take time out in the natural landscapes around you.

Leave your phone in your bag or even at home, put on your walking shoes and make your way to the nearby mountains. Not only does it force you to concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, it also gives you freedom and time to let your creative juices flow. Not all good ideas come whilst you are sitting at the desk! A change of environment could be just what you need to stir up your imagination.

Let’s spend some time in nature, learning about the ancient outdoor food traditions that still exist today. Before the arrival of commercial farming we relied heavily on these foraging and food picking techniques to provide us with our weekly dose of nutrients.

Collecting Peri-winkles by the Seashore

Middens containing large deposits of winkles, cockles and whelks dating back to the bronze age can be found on the coast of the Wild Atlantic Way. Our ancestors certainly knew a thing or two about foraging. Today, the tradition of collecting shellfish is passed down from one generation to the next, making it a major part of our childhood memories. Join us for a Taste of Ireland on our Coast to Coast foraging adventure.

Truffle Hunting in the Italian Hills

Poet Cicero called truffles earths offspring and it is no wonder why. These treasured foods are hidden beneath the earth. In the 1700s hunting for the beloved truffle became popular in Italy. The Truffle is celebrated with festivals throughout Italy and chefs today consider them some of the most prized foods for their dishes. Hunt for luxurious truffles in Northern Italy.

Pear Cider Making in France

Early Normans in France opted to drink cider as the grapes didn’t grow well in the cooler Normandy climate. Many french people drank cider instead of water when a plague struck the region in the 1400’s. The Pays d’Auge region in Normandy today has a famous Cider route where you can drive from farm to farm tasting delicious varieties. Discovering the poirés ciders is an amazing way to learn about traditional farming and how the French public produce these tasty drinks. Book this pear cider experience today.

Grape picking in the Douro Valley

Grape pips from 4000 B.C. have been found in archaelogical sites from the Douro Valley. This area is devoted to producing some of Europe’s most delicious wines in the most spectacular landscapes. The terraced vineyards of the Douro region are a UNESCO listed heritage site and will leave you with a lifelong appreciation for wine production in Portugal. Join a Guided Douro Valley experience today. 

Mushroom Hunting in Hardwood Forests of Europe

The tradition of mushroom hunting (mushroom foraging) has been passed down through from one generation to the next. As well as a fascinating number of species, mushrooms are a treat for the table. Fungi of all sorts (button mushrooms, gentle puffballs, famous chanterelles and delicious Cep mushrooms are just four of over 38,000 varieties of fungi that have been recorded around the world. As well as a fascinating history like the Siberian shamans consuming the deadly fly agaric hallucengenic mushrooms during religious ceremonies, mushroom picking is often stirs up a nostalgic feeling. Join us to explore the world of mushrooms on a foraging experience in Ireland

There is so much on offer from the landscapes around us if we take time to listen, look and learn. Ready for your next food adventure. Let’s go!

For more information on any of the above experiences that encourage us to switch off please contact one of our travel team.

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7 reasons to visit France for Nature

The world’s most visited country is blessed with stunning countryside landscapes, farms, fairy-tale cities and the french riviera. When visiting France your senses will come alive. From smelling the sweet vineyards of Burgundy to the pear fields of Normandy. This country is a food lovers paradise.

Renowned around the world for it’s fashion and romance, Paris is a must stop place to visit on your journey to France. The romantic capital is filled with public squares, spectacular architecture and the most delicious foods. Although the Eiffel Tower continues to be one of the most talked about visitor attractions in Europe, there is a lot more to see outside of the capital and we want to get you back to the natural landscape.

If you are looking for a flavour of France then venturing to the countryside will give you a taste of the land. Join us for unique food and orchard experiences in France. From the fruit filled vineyards of Burgundy to the luxurious champagne region to the orchards of Normandy, there is something for every nature lover in France.

Boasting a number of historically famous painters, philosophers and writers, France is a land of cultural gems. Starting in the culture packed centre of Paris you can travel to some of the charming surrounding regions.

  1. Picturesque villages

You are not going to be bored in France. You can get busy and cultural in cities like Paris, Lille, Lyon, Dijon, Marseille, just to name a few big French cities. You can reach a nice countryside, take your time, enjoy local specialities, take part in harvest…vineyards are waiting for you …Beaujolais, Cote du Rhone, and other countryside experience in Provence, Alsace….just choose the part of France you want to see first and enjoy its charm and beauty! Then I bet you will fell in love and continue to explore more of this stunning country.

2. French Cuisine

Pastry heaven with croissants and bagettes dripping from bakers windows. French food is elegant and comforting all in one. From the delicate crepes to the freshly plucked escargot, there is something sophisticated about the food culture in France. Each time you get a taste of the fresh produce and classic dishes you are creating long lasting memories. Bon appétit!’

3. Endless Vineyards

At Orchardsnearme.com we are all about the vino and the wine regions in France are first class. The deep red “vin rouge” of Burgundy to the sparkling Champagne region, there is so many flavours of wine on offer in France. In certain regions of France, you can sip on wine from grapes grown on the very land you’re stood on. Head to Bordeaux for the best red wines and the Champagne region for the iconic bubbly. Join our wine filled adventure in Burgundy.

4. The weather

It never gets too cold in the South of France – but man, does it get hot. If you want to see the spectacular blue waters of the Mediterranean or stroll along the Promenades des Anglais in Nice without getting a layer of skin burnt off, now’s the time to come. It’s warm enough to sit on a chaise longue all day and read a book; yet still chilly enough at night to wear that fabulous sweater you packed. Cole Porter might have loved Paris in the springtime, but nothing beats the South of France on a sunny day.

5. Art & Heritage

From the Mona Lisa to the Eiffel Tower we all know that France is synonymous with art and culture. There’s the famous battle sites of the Somme and the D-Day landings, as well as the stunning chateaux, churches and cathedrals that decorate the landscape. Avignon, Canal du Midi and Loire Valley are just 3 of the 39 Unesco world heritage sites that make France special.

6. Cafe Culture

Everywhere you go in France you will find charming cafes dotted along the side streets where you can grab a café au lait and let the world pass you by. If you are really living the French fantasy you may have a philosophy book or a journal with your musings with you.

7. Orchards and Country life

The idealised version of rural life in France isn’t a dream for the locals who enjoy the stunning countryside everyday. France is the ideal destination if you are looking to escape city life for a break. Cycle the fruit trail of Normandy to soak up the french lifetyle, visit some of the wonderful orchards and get a glimpse into history at the imperial war museums and d-day beaches.

From historic towns to the smell of fresh bread to miles of perfectly manicured vineyards you can’t help but fall in love with the french landscape. We are interested to hear your top tips when visiting France.

C’est magnifique!

For more information about our fruit and foraging tours in France please contact one of our travel specialists.

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Wine Tasting Guide for Beginners

Contrary to belief you don’t need to be part of any elite group to enjoy a sip or two of some of Europe’s finest wines. Wine tasting has never been more accessible with so many delicious grape varieties to choose. However, there are some tips from the wine experts that will help you to develop your wine palette and understand the different flavours that the top wines product.

If you are not a professional Sommelier or wine expert then you may find it difficult when choosing the right variety of wine to pair with your food for your next dinner party. Remember that people have different tastes so you might not please everyone but you can give it a good try.

Before you decide on your wines decide what you would like to showcase the most. If you are trying to highlight your best dish, showing off all of the ingredients then you won’t want to pick a wine that over powers the meal. Where as if you selecting a wine as a pairing for a cheese board you may want to get a more full bodied wine that compliments the cheese.

TIPS FOR PAIRING WINE AND FOOD CORRECTLY
Store wine in a cool, dark place.
If you are trying a dish originating from a region see if there is a local wine to pair with it. As the saying goes, what grows together, stays together!
For wines high in acidity, avoid bitter ingrediants and focus on foods high in fat.
In general the wine should be sweeter than the food.
Pinot grigio for light fish dishes and Chardonnay for rich fish dishes with sauce.

DO PAIR
Chianti and Pasta dishes
Zinfandel or Malbec and BBQ
Sauvignon Blanc and Goats Cheese
Pinot Noir and Roast chicken dishes

DON’T PAIR
Pinot Noir and red sauced pasta dishes (bolognese, lasagne)
Spicy food with strong wines
Champagne and cake (sweet plus bubbles is generally a no no)


Ideal Serving Temperature for Wine

The best temperature for red wine is 62-68 degrees.
The best temperature for white wine is 49-55 degrees.

HOW TO TASTE WINE IN 7 EASY STEPS

  • Look – It should be clear. For reds, the darker the better.
    A visual inspection of the wine under neutral lighting
  • Swirl – Release the aroma, the bouquet
  • Sniff – Give your nose a boost of flavour
  • Sip – Let the wine sit in your mouth. Don’t swallow.
  • Breathe – Take a deep breath and give the wine aromas a chance to fill your senses.
  • Swig – Now it’s time to take a bigger gulp and enjoy a full taste of the wine.
  • Savour – Develop a complete profile of a wine that can be stored in your long term memory.

TOP 3 WINE FLAVORS TO ENJOY

Fruit flavors (e.g. peach, blackberry, plum, current)
Herbal flavors (e.g. bell pepper, mint, oregano)
Flower flavors (e.g. roses, lavender, iris)

TOP EUROPEAN WINE TASTING EXPERIENCES

For more information on any of the above wine filled adventures please get in touch with one of our travel team.

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4 Unforgettable Orchard Experiences

Make 2019 your year to travel with a purpose and get back to nature. With so many different orchard experiences, picking one is a hard task! Sip the sweet wines of the Douro Valley, marvel at the grape filled fields of Burgundy, take a romantic trip through the heart of Italy or sample the olive harvest in Greece.

The world is your oyster, all you need to do is take the first step.  Whatever orchard experience you choose make it one to remember. There are four amazing orchard experiences to inspire your next adventure:

JOIN THE OLIVE HARVEST IN GREECE – 6 NIGHTS

This year round sunny destination will leave you with life long memories. Spend your days picking olives, learning about the local culture and getting to grips with the harvest season. Spend your weekends on the sandy beaches diving into the turquiose waters. This incredible tour is a nature lovers dream. With whitewashed villages to stroll around and so many ancient ruins to discover, Greece is the perfect place to catch up on some well needed Vitamin D. Famous local dishes of moussaka and souvlaki will leave your mouth watering and don’t forget to try the tasty dessert of Baklava.

From the moment you arrive your host will teach you the tricks of the olive trade. You will learn how olives are harvested and turned into the most delicious oils. This farm to table orchard experience is one for the bucketlist.

More details: Olive Harvest Tours

DISCOVER THE DELIGHTS OF THE DOURO VALLEY – 2 NIGHTS

Renowned worldwide for it’s terraced vineyards, the Douro Valley is a delight for the senses. Find yourself in one of Europe’s most treasured regions. On this tour you will have the opportunity to sample the grapes, pick the grapes and learn about the unique Portuguese wines on offer.  

This is a land of fascinating wild landscapes and spectacular views from the mountain tops. This short tour packs every detail in so you get a true taste of life in the Douro. Our expert guides will take you on a delicious journey of discovery. From meeting with the olive oil producers to participating in the harvest you will have plenty to write home about after this unique orchard experience.

More details: Discover the Douro Valley

TASTE THE FAMOUS WINES OF BURGUNDY – 3 NIGHTS

If you are in the mood to taste some of Europe’s most delicious wines, you can head to Burgundy in France. This tour takes you to the heart of France’s most famous wine region. Now it is time to sit back, sip wine and watch the world go by. On this amazing orchard experience you will learn about the grapes, sample vintage wines and take some well deserved time out to enjoy the finer things in life. It is a truly stunning landscape that the locals are delighted to share with you. Ramble through rolling green countryside and get exclusive access to wine cellars of Burgundy as you discover all that this region has to offer. The Burgundy tour is truly special and not to be missed.

More details: Burgundy Truffles & Wine Tour

LUXURY TRUFFLES & WINE ADVENTURE IN ITALY – 5 NIGHTS

Famous for it’s white truffles, the region of Alba in Italy epitomizes all that Italy has to offer food and nature lovers. As you start this journey visit the church of San Giovanni Battista containing artworks from the 14th century. This unforgettable tour will enhance your taste buds every step along the way. It is no wonder that Ferrero Roche and Nutella come from this area as everywhere is bursting with sweetness. Enjoy the beautifully preserved medieval town while getting to know the local culture with our fantastic guides. You will get a hands on experience of farm life in Italy, meeting the local wine producers and learning about the different production processes. This is the land of truffles, so you are in for a real treat.

More details: Luxury Orchard Experience Italy

You can see all our orchard experiences here: Orchards Near you

Does not include: flights and insurance

For more details about these amazing Orchard Experience routes or to request a quote contact our travel specialists.

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TOP 8 ORCHARD EXPERIENCES

At OrchardsNearme.com we go to grow. Every experience allows us to immerse ourselves in the culture, history and food of the places we visit. From the rolling hills of Tuscany to the sun kissed vines of the Duoro Valley, there is so much to be explored. Every moment of your orchard adventure is unique and will leave you with long lasting memories. Here are some of the top orchard experiences we would suggest:

  1. Discover the grapes of the Douro Valley
  2. Experience the wine harvest of Rioja Region in Spain
  3. A Citrus Cycling Adventure in the Algarve, Portugal
  4. Walk through the heart of Tuscany at Harvest Time
  5. Cycling in the stunning Loire Valley – France
  6. Stargazing and traditional suppers in Central Portugal
  7. Walk a taste trail for the senses along the Italian Coastline
  8. Cycling romantic Italy at harvest time

Now that you have a few great ideas it is time to make a plan. Whatever orchard experience you choose we are here to help you go to grow. Getting ready? Get your free packing checklist here.

For more information on any of the suggested tours please contact one of our travel specialists.

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