Richmond, Va. (August 4, 2011) - Great food and wine is one of the main reasons why people travel to Virginia, to taste culinary traditions across the Commonwealth. For the ultimate culinary travel experience, Virginia offers dozens of special classes, packages and events where visitors don't just taste the food, they can help create it.
Cooking Schools and Culinary Classes:
Cooper's Landing Inn: Lovely 1800s inn in a classic small lakeside town has cooking classes with a social flair. Classes start with a wine and cheese meet and greet with other class members. The experience is intensely hands-on and fun at $65 per person. Cooking class packages with overnight accommodations are also available. The Inn's tavern restaurant has winemaker dinners featuring five courses each paired with a wine at $68 per person.
Boar's Head Inn:Located two miles west of Charlottesville near many popular Virginia attractions, the historic Boar's Head Inn is an award-winning resort. In addition to frequently scheduled culinary and vintner events, groups of six to twenty members may schedule cooking classes with the Inn's executive chef and epicurean team.
Inn at Meander Plantation: Nestled in the heart of Virginia's gorgeous piedmont region, this lovely inn has a distinctive food and wine twist. Co-owner Suzie Blanchard is an accomplished chef and also a food writer and under her eye the Inn conducts regular cooking classes. Each set of cooking classes focuses on a different subject and features the product of a Virginia winery. Packages (classes, meals and accommodations) are $1,050 for two persons. Space is limited.
Food and Wine Adventures:
Southeast Expeditions Kayak Tours: Dave Burden and his staff lead guests on some of the most innovative kayaking tours on the East Coast. Top among these is a kayak tour to Chatham Vineyards or Holly Grove Vineyards for a wine tasting. The price of $85 per person includes a bottle of wine. Those seeking peace and quiet can also spend the night in an authentic century-old waterman's cabin - perched in a tidal marsh and reachable only by boat. Dave paddles out in the evening to fix a delicious dinner for guests for an ultimate Tidewater Virginia food experience.
Food Tours on foot in Alexandria and Norfolk: The streets and restaurants of historic Old Town Alexandria are the site of one of the most delicious walking tours in America. A guided and narrated 3.5 hour afternoon walking tour combines historic architecture and events and famous Americans with great local food. At least four restaurants are visited and at each stop the group dines on a certain course or tasting menu for $60 per person. The Tidewater cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach also have walking food tours. For $38 per person the guided group samples local fare at some of the cities hidden treasures while hearing about the history of the area.
Marriott Ranch: Marriott Ranch was the private retreat and estate of the late J. Willard Marriott. Today it is a 4,200-acre working cattle ranch with elegant Bed and Breakfast inn. Guests can enjoy twilight dinner rides on horseback or a three-night western vacation package. Those want the real Western experience can go on a real cattle drive (experienced riders only). All culminate at a recreated Old West town with a delicious "cowboy dinner" and guitar entertainment.
Tour d'Epicure: John and Diane MacPherson, owners of the lovely Foster Harris House Bed & Breakfast in "Little" Washington, Virginia, are avid bicyclists and foodies. They've combined those passions into a multi-day cycling and culinary adventure they call the "Tour d'Epicure." Three-day and five-day itineraries combine miles and miles of group cycling through some of Virginia's most beautiful countryside with stops at some of the Commonwealth's best restaurants and wineries - with a grand finale dinner at the legendary Inn at Little Washington, America's most honored restaurant. Package rates with overnight stay are available.
Hope & Glory Inn: Located in the small town of Irvington on Virginia's Northern Neck, the Hope and Glory Inn is one of Virginia's most honored small inns. During special times of the year the inn offers Cocktail and Crab Cruises aboard its classic Chesapeake workboat, Faded Glory. The boat cruises scenic Carters Creek as happy voyagers crack steamed crabs and sip Virginia wines. Chef's Table Dinners are held at the inn itself, which is a former schoolhouse - and thus its fun and intimate wine bar is called Detention.
Wineries with A Twist:
Narmada Winery: Experience the taste of India right here in Virginia. Dr. Sudha and Pandit Pantil welcome visitors to their Northern Virginia winery near Culpeper where delicious Virginia wine pairs perfectly with Indian dishes such as Aloo Tikki, vegetable samosas or pitas with hummus.
Vint Hill Craft Winery: Individuals or groups may work directly with the winemakers to produce a customized barrel of their very own crafted wine. Includes a full year of winemaking experience, from grape to bottle. Customer ends up with 25 cases of private label wine and an unforgettable experience.
Veramar Vineyard: Live the life of a winemaker when you go to "Wine Camp" with the Bogaty family, owners of Veramar Vineyards. The experience includes workshops in aromas and wine blending, viticulture field work and wine tastings. Lodging and meals under roof with the family included. $1,200 per couple.
More Virginia Food Experiences:
Keswick Hall: East of Charlottesville in an idyllic setting, Keswick Hall celebrates the art of cooking with monthly culinary getaways and an array of other epicurean experiences. Head Chef Molly Scatena conducts behind-the-scenes tours of her kitchen where guests can see the culinary team in action. Master Sommelier Richard Hewitt leads wine tastings, imparting his incomparable knowledge of Virginia wines. Keswick Hall offers a Signature Table - a single table for two complete with its own dedicated wait staff - set up poolside or anywhere on the grounds for very special occasions
Lansdowne Resort: Lansdowne Resort is located in Virginia's hunt country less than an hour from Washington, D.C. and 15 minutes fromDulles International Airport. It offers Friday evening wine tasting events and Saturday afternoon food and wine demonstrations for a relaxing culinary weekend getaway.
Roanoke City Market: Virginia's oldest continually operating open air market (1882) is a daily mini-festival of vendors selling the best fresh local produce, baked goods, jewelry, hand-made soaps, art and even fresh meat. Excellent restaurants and cool shops are also located in the market area.
Visit www.Virginia.org to start planning a vacation to relax and reconnect with loved ones in Virginia. Or call 1-800-VISITVA to request a 2010 Virginia is for Lovers travel guide.
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