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Springtime Foraging Tours 2020

Join us for a taste of the wild as we embark on unique adventures in Dublin and Wicklow for some Springtime foraging fun. We will enjoy learning about the land around us, getting a taste for foraging and making some new friends.

We are pleased to announce three public foraging tours for the coming months.

Friday 21st of Feb – Dublin

In February we will walk the trails, sample the wild food and discover the wild foods around us.

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Friday 6th of March – Dublin

In March we are planning our wild greens outing to the coast of Dublin where we pick some wild learns and get to know about the plant species living near the capital.

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Friday 13th of March – Wicklow

In the middle of March we will make our way to the heart of Wicklow where the mountains greet us and the forests house lots of hidden treasures for foragers to enjoy.

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We recommend that all participants bring a small picnic on the day as we will stop for a break to discuss the wild plants that we discover.

Some Foraging Rules:

  • Never taste anything that you cannot identify correctly
  • Wear gloves when picking
  • Never pick from the root as you will kill the plant
  • Always forage with a friend (preferably one who has knowledge of wild plant species).
  • Do not pick endangered species
  • Do not take more than you need

If you have any questions about your tour please contact one of our foraging team at info@orchardsnearme.com

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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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6 Tasty Food & Foraging Experiences in Europe

At Orchardsnearme.com we only partner with the experts. From food filled adventures to local foraging experiences, each trip is designed to reflect the true landscape and production in a region. If you are a food and nature lover than there are some mouthwatering foraging experiences in Europe.

A Taste of Ireland: Coast to Coast

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We always start at home. As we are based in Ireland we can guarantee a fun time on this action packed food adventure. From coastal foraging along the Wild Atlantic Way to mountain walks to meeting the local historians, every activity on this excursion is unique.

WHEN TO GO: When you visit Ireland at any time of the year you can expect all four seasons in one. However, the tides do need to be considered when planning any coastal foraging adventure. We are planning expert guided tours for April and May 2020. If you want to organise a private group trip outside of these days please get in touch with us directly.

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Italian Foraging Experience

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Real foodies will be in heaven on this bespoke foraging experience. This day long tour is packed full of natures delights. You will enjoy learning about the wild produce of Italy, sample pasta making, taste the wines and meet the local experts.

WHEN TO GO: Italy can be extremely hot in the summer months so we are recommending the Spring and Autumn months for guided foraging adventures in Italy.

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Do Emporda Wine & Orchard Adventure

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The untouched beauty of Do Emporda region in Catalonia will leave you wanting more. From famous tapas to orchards bursting with fruits, this area is waiting to be discovered. Visit stunning apple orchards, taste the local wines and meet the fruit producers.

WHEN TO GO: Catalonia is blessed with the beautiful sea breeze from the Mediterranean. Even in the middle of summer if you are by the Costa Brava you should enjoy a nice summer temperature. Any month from March to September is good for this tasty adventure.

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A Taste of Slovenia: The Mountains are Calling

Untapped and ready to be explored, Slovenia is rich in nature, making the perfect partner for our team. From those who love to combine outdoor adventure and food filled trails, the Julian Alps is the perfect spot to sip the local wines and get a true taste of outdoor life.

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WHEN TO GO: There are snow capped peaks in the North west of Slovenia from December to March each year. From May to October you will enjoy warm weather and perfect conditions for getting outdoors, visiting the local food producers and experiencing the landscapes.

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Discover the Douro Valley

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Our friends in the Douro region of Northern Portugal are looking forward to welcoming you to one of the most famous wine regions in Europe. On this unique trip you will have the opportunity to visit an olive farm and several vineyards to get a true flavour of the land.

WHEN TO GO: The Douro Valley experiences warm summers and cold winters. From May to October you will enjoy sunshine, warm winds and the ideal months for witnessing the harvest activities of the region.

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A Taste of Croatia: Gourmet Adventure Break

Now renowned as the home of Game of Thrones, Croatia is a magical country to visit. From the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic coast to lush waterfalls of the interior, we will connect you with every aspect of nature. Truffles feature heavily in all aspects of this farm-to-table adventure.

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WHEN TO GO: From November to April many of the tourist accommodation and facilities close for the winter season. Between May and October you can expect dry, warm weather weather and lots of activity around all of the major towns.

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To book your next food filled adventure or learn more about the wonderful foraging experiences in Europe talk to a member of our team anytime.

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10 Clever Ways to Teach Kids to Love Nature

We have had toddlers and teenagers out on the trails foraging with us and they really enjoy getting to know their natural surroundings. Do you feel that it is time to teach kids to love nature? Here are a few simple tips to help them to stay curious about nature and all of its wonders.

  1. Discover Conkers

I grew up playing Conkers. Kids always love an element of competition and conkers is such a fun game to try out at home. This is a simple way to teach your kids about horse chestnuts and trees. To play this two person game all you need are two pieces of string or two shoe laces and conkers. Make a hole through the conker, tie the conker to the end of the string. The aim of the game is to break the other persons conker. Tip: Pick the best conker! Drop the conker in a glass of water, if it floats it will break easily.

2. Paint Leaves

This one is for the kids and adults. Pick your favourite leaves, bring them home, make sure that they are dry. Now cover them in your favourite coloured paint, stick them onto a white sheet of paper. Get creative with your patterns and make a piece of art to hang on the kids bedroom wall. What better way to get back to nature then showing how nature can be used to make indoor spaces shine.

3. Climb Trees

This seems like an ancient past-time these days but climbing trees and hanging about in the woodlands can be lots of fun.

4. Go Foraging

An obvious one for us foragers but we highly recommend foraging with children and teaching them about the wild plants around them. They have curious minds and will ask lots of questions. Believe us, we know! To learn more about foraging join one of our tours or book a private tour with us for your family here.

5. Go Camping

A summertime favourite, this isn’t always the easiest trip for a family to organise but there are many dedicated camping sites that facilitate families today.

6. Make shapes from the stars

One of my favourite hobbies as a child was to see what animals could be found in the sky. I even once found a rabbit. Learning about the sun, the stars and the planets is a fun way to awaken the mind.

7. Plant something in the Garden

If they are not growing greens at school then home is a great place to start. Just explain to them that GIY is super trendy right now so they can tell all of their friends about their home grown goods. To start off with plant something easy. Lettuce, herbs and green beans are pretty easy for GIY beginners.

8. Start a Nature Table

This is an easy and aesthetically pleasing way to bring nature indoors. Simply start to collect bits and bobs when you are out on your next hike. You don’t need lots but in the end you will have your very own natural history museum.

9. Take a hike and Bring a picnic

Pick a local hiking trail and put a date in the calendar. Getting ready for a picnic can be as much fun as eating the treats. Prepare for your hike together, go to your local store to buy the ingredients, make a flask of tea, sandwiches and any other goodies you would like to bring along. Make sure to give the kids their own bag for the journey.

10. Get Muddy

Nature isn’t about perfection, it is all about basking in the imperfections. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and allow your kids to feel the earth, jump in the mud, climb the trees and splash in the streams.

These are just a few ways to teach kids to love nature but there are endless reasons why we think climbing trees and getting muddy should be on your kids to do list.

If you would like to arrange a family foraging tour please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Discover Europe: Guided Food Tours 2020

Join us on our Guided Food tours in Europe 2020. From foraging along the wild atlantic shorelines of Ireland to the breathtaking mountains of Northern Italy, we have chosen four exceptional foodie experiences to share with you.

Our guided tours are perfect for those looking to make friends and share a special food adventure with a like-minded group. From the moment you arrive you will be looked after by our expert local guide. Each tour includes: an expert guide, accommodation, transfers, local traditional meals and a foraging guide.

Each guided tour lasts between 4 to 5 days and caters for a maximum of 15 persons. Contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com to secure your place.

A Taste of Ireland: Coast to Coast

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One of our most popular foraging experiences is coastal foraging along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland. On this guided foraging adventure we explore the Irish woodlands, taste delicious homemade dishes, discover wild herbs, learn about the history of Ireland and embark on a coastal foraging experience with our local expert guide. An added bonus is our five course tasting menu that will delight your senses.

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A Taste of Italy: Truffles and Trails

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Starting in the stunning village of Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy. Renowned for its famous white truffles, this area is rich in nature and will leave you with lifelong memories to cherish. Our local guides have the inside scoop on the food treasures and history of the area. Your taste buds will thank you when you indulge in some of the most delicious Italian dishes on this food filled adventure.

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A Taste of France: Cider and Cheese

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Fruit lovers rejoice in this fruit filled region of France. On this magical wellness retreat we will cycle alongside the fruit trail in Normandy, stopping by the castles and ancient ruins to sample the delicious local ciders and cheese along the way.

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A Taste of Portugal: Valleys and Vineyards

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Taking in the charming hilly streets of Porto and the epic views of the Douro Valley, this guided food adventure is ideal for those who want the perfect balance of city life and escapes to the countryside. Starting in the lively town of Porto and tasting the local pinchos is a treat before we embark on a unique journey to discover some of the best vineyards of the Douro with our expert local guides.

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To secure a place or learn more about any of our Guided Food Tours for 2020 please contact us at info@orchardsnearme.com

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4 Wild Food Breaks for Autumn

Autumn is the time when the leaves start to dance. Colours of orange, red and brown mix with the deepest green to signal that a new season is here and everything is about to change. Taking a wild food break in Autumn can be a mouth-watering and eye opening experience.

The ground has spend the year soaking up with moisture and sun and now it is ready to shed its very best produce. From berries to nuts, the woodlands are alive with activity. Here are four delicious wild food breaks to enjoy in the Autumn:

A Taste of Ireland: Go Foraging with Friends

The Island of Ireland comes alive in the Autumn months.We offer a wide range of wild food day tours on our weekly foraging adventures but we also have a unique week long trip that brings you from coast to coast in Ireland. If you want to get a real taste of the Irish landscape we are here to help you make that dream possible. From foraging for cockles and mussels to creamy pints of Guinness join us in the Emerald Isle and get back to nature.

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Join the Truffle Hunters in Italy

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There is no better time to experience the fruits of Italy then in the Autumn months when the vines are heavy with grapes and the woodlands are stuffed full of mushrooms. Our foraging friends in Northern Italy know all of the secret locations to bring you Truffle hunting and give you a true taste of the Italian lifestyle. Pizza, pasta and shavings of fresh truffles, what more could you ask for on a foodie holiday.

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Sample the Grapes of the Douro Valley

Did you know that the Douro Valley is one of the most under rated wine regions in Europe. It is renowned for its vinho verde but it also has some crisp whites and reds for you to try out. The scenery in this area with leave you breathless. Grab a picnic and let our expert wine lovers guide you on the ultimate wine filled adventure.

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Soak up the sunshine in the Algarve

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Another region of Portugal where the sun always shines is the beautiful Algarve. In southern Portugal we can bask in the sunshine all year round. We will bring you on a wine making excursion that will give you life-long memories. This is suitable for groups of up to 10 people. Learn about the local food traditions and how to make your very own vino in the heart of Europe’s most stunning landscapes.

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For more information on any of our wild food experiences for Autumn please contact one of our travel experts.

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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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5 Amazing European Food Adventures for Summer

From culinary treats to wine enthusiasts to local foods, we have put together our list of top food adventures for food and nature lovers.

Europe is full to the brim of exciting foods to try. From the vineyards of Italy to the shellfish on the Wild Atlantic Way, every food tour is unique and bursting with flavours.

Treat yourself to a taste of Europe with these amazing food adventures for summer time.

A Taste of Ireland: Coast to Coast Food Experience
Find yourself rambling along the Wild Atlantic Way to get a taste of the stunning landscapes of Ireland on this 5 day foodie experience. The sheep will greet you as you discover the green landscapes and walk the coastal tracks in some of the most peaceful locations on the Island. Get a taste of the Craic agus Cheoil, stopping into the local pub along the way. This tour is ideal for small groups and we guarantee that you will learn a thing or two from the local foraging experts before you finish.

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Hunting for Truffles in Northern Italy
A perfect combination of romance and luxury, this Italian tour will enlighten your taste palette. Starting in Alba, renowned for it’s world famous white truffles, you will join the local food experts as we hunt for truffles in the lush countryside of Italy. Finish each day with a traditional meal and enjoy a slice of luxury with this unique tour. If you are a pizza, pasta or wine enthusiast than this is the perfect foodie experience for you.

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Wine tasting and Wine Making in the Algarve, Portugal

From breathtaking beaches to walking by the cliff edges, the Algarve is one of our favourite sun soaked locations in Europe. The natural landscape remains relatively untouched and there is a distinct feel of local pride for everything that the region has to offer. Sample the local wines, learn the skills of wine making and taste the famous bacalau.

Discover the delights of the Douro Valley

Northern Portugal is packed full of wonderful foodie treats. On this unique food adventure you will get to taste the grapes, sample the wines and try delicious local cuisine in the famous Douro Valley region.

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A Food Filled adventure in Burgundy, France

On this foodie experience you will team up with local wine and foraging experts. They will teach you how to hunt for truffles and you will have the chance to sample the rich, local wines. Visit the magical city of Dijon int the heart of Burgundy where you can taste the best local dishes in Michelin starred Pre aux Clercs Restaurant. You can also visit the Fontenay Abbey and the spectacular Chateau Ancy-le-Franc. You are in a country rich in history so be sure to soak in the past.

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For more information about any of our food filled adventures please contact one of our travel specialists.

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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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