It’s ‘Foodie Heaven’ on European Waterways’ Popular Culinary Cruises Aboard Luxury Hotel Barges in Rural France
European Waterways has announced the return of its popular culinary themed charter cruises in France for 2021. Offering the ultimate in gastronomic experiences, these unique ‘foodie cruises’ feature enhanced, more immersive wine and food excursions, daily gourmet dining, and onboard cooking classes presented by master chefs.
Cruising the idyllic countryside, far from the crowded streets of major cities, they include “vine dining” at local wineries, “shopping with the chef” for evening ingredients, and meals paired with local wines that reveal the fascinating history and cuisine of the cruise regions. Guests can even go truffle hunting in the nearby hills and visit an escargot farm, in season.
‘Foodie Cruise’ charters are available on the company’s luxury hotel barges L’Impressionniste in Southern Burgundy and Enchanté on the Canal du Midi.
“Our themed cruises offer the ultimate escape from the busy cities,” said Derek Banks, managing director of luxury hotel barge cruising specialist European Waterways. “Since hotel barges hold just a small number of people, they create the perfect ‘travel bubble’ for groups of like-minded friends, special-interest clubs and families – who will have the boats all to themselves. Themed cruises are especially fun because everyone is sharing their particular passions with people they know.”
Cheese and Truffles on the Canal du Midi
European Waterways’ ultra-deluxe Enchanté is a stylish, 8-passenger double-decker hotel barge with an open-plan show kitchen, where guests can observe their skilled master chef preparing gastronomic masterpieces. Itinerary highlights include a visit to a goat farm for a comparative tasting of young and mature goat cheeses. Guests will also visit an olive press and taste the famous Lucques green olives, as well as Picholine or Ascolana tapenades, which are made with puréed or finely chopped olives. They will similarly visit the medieval fortified city of Carcassonne, where they’ll discover specialty chocolate and other sweet offerings produced by the city’s many artisanal confectioners. It’s all capped with a stop at a local boulangerie, or bakery, to enjoy freshly baked bread and pastries.
Also on the itinerary is the food market in Narbonne, a former Roman Mediterranean capital, where guests will accompany the vessel’s chef in picking ingredients for the evening meal. This will be followed by an educational tour and wine tasting at Château Pique Perlou in Minervois. Another day will be dedicated to truffles, with guests experiencing the art of cavage, or truffle hunting, in the hills of Minervois, after which they will taste the famed white variety, known as “white gold”. They will also tour La Cargolade farm, named after the traditional Languedoc dish of snails. The farm specializes in the Petit Gris variety of escargot, as well as olive oils and seasonal vegetables. Guests then return to the hotel barge to watch a cooking demonstration with the truffles found that day.
For a limited time, guests can save 10% off the whole barge charter price of Enchanté if they book by January 8, 2021. With the special – based on 8 passengers traveling – charters are just $43,560, a saving of $4,840 off the $48,400 price, departing April 4, 2021. This price includes a $150 per person Culinary Cruise supplement.
Savoring the Moments in Burgundy
European Waterways’ 12-passenger L’Impressionniste hotel barge cruises Southern Burgundy, with an elegant décor that includes hardwood flooring, comfortable leather sofas, and large picture windows for a perfect view of the rolling French countryside. Among the culinary highlights is a visit to the Abbaye de Citeaux, home to Cistercian monks. The monks have been making cheese for over a century, using the milk of the white Montbéliarde cows that graze in their meadows.
New to the itinerary is a drive through the slopes of Côte de Beaune, home to the great names of Burgundy wine. This is followed by a private tour and tasting at Domaine Chanson, one of Burgundy’s most historic producers, and a gastronomic lunch in the Domaine’s château. Guests will also visit the Chevaliers du Tastevin, the fame fraternity of wine enthusiasts, located in the wall-enclosed Grand Cru vineyard of Clos de Vougeot.
A walking tour of old Dijon is a popular excursion, with a visit to its mustard shops and indoor food market to select ingredients for the next meal. Guests will then visit the Edward Fallot Moutarderie mustard mill – a family-run establishment that has been making the spicy condiment since the 1840’s. The tour includes a private tasting of their diverse mustard-based products.
Along with the Midi region, Burgundy also enjoys a reputation for fabulous cheeses, which can be explored with a visit to the Gaugry Fromagerie – a famed specialist that still produces the traditional raw milk Époisses, as well as Plaisir au Chablis, a soft and mellow cheese matured with Chablis.
“If you enjoy world-class cuisine and fine wines in picturesque surroundings, a cruise on a luxury hotel barge is for you,” said Banks.
Book With Confidence
European Waterways is currently offering fleet-wide specials of 10% off on cabins and whole barge charters for 2021, valid when booked by January 8, 2021. The company’s “Book with Confidence” policy provides flexibility in rescheduling future cruises, should they be impacted by government restrictions. The health and safety of guests are also top priorities, with strict protocols in place that include crew and passenger temperature checks as well as deep cleaning and disinfecting of all cabins and public surfaces on the boats. For more information, visit www.europeanwaterways.com