Photo courtesy of Back-Roads Touring
One of the things that Back-Roads Touring guests love is the chance to meet fellow gastronomists with a similar appetite for culture and cuisine. Like all of the Back-Roads tours, a small, intimate group size — generally no more than 18 people — ensures that you get to know your fellow travelers so every meal is one shared as friends, not strangers.
The tour operator believes that experiences are better when they’re shared. Sharing a table and a menu — whether at a sumptuous three-course Scottish banquet in the Highlands or in the elegant environs of Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Padstowe — allows you to make memories and relationships that Back-Roads hopes will last for years to come.
The company is a firm believer in the Slow Food concept: that everyone should be able to access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet. The tours allow you to soak up the passion of local producers and chefs who are proud and willing to share their traditional expertise with you.
A number of Back-Roads holidays involve trips to local farms and producers where you can taste for yourself the heart and soul that goes into producing regional delicacies. When you visit the serene vineyards of Azienda Castel di Salve, you will see that the winemaker’s passion for nurturing local Salento grape varieties infused in a delicious wine.
A trip to a crustacean farm in Oualidia, a pearl in the oyster of Morocco, will open your eyes to the importance of the seafood trade in this charming coastal community. Putting a local face to a regional delicacy is part of the unique charm of the culinary experiences Back-Roads offers.
Learning from the Masters
When you join Back-Roads Touring Co. on a tour you can expect not just a tasting experience, but a gastronomic education. Back-Roads has been lucky enough to have found a collection of top chefs in countries all over Europe who are happy to impart culinary expertise that has been handed down through generations of authentic family cooking.
Guests learn the careful craft of perfect Italian pasta and bread from a local Tuscan chef, and visit the state-of-the-art school at the Bodnant Welsh Food Centre for a lesson in wonderfully Welsh cooking. From Chianti to Cymru, the cookery workshops on a Back-Roads Tour offer unique experiences for the keen culinarian.
Drinking in the Sights
All Back-Roads Tours are conducted at a comfortable, leisurely pace that allows you to soak up the atmosphere around you. “Fast” is certainly not its style, in terms of food or transport. Back-Roads loves winding, cobbled streets and rustic routes that lead to restaurants, which ooze back-road charm.
Back-Roads Touring handpicks hotels to make sure that they encapsulate the character of the place you’re exploring. On tours, the delightful accommodation — whether a Tuscan villa, Scottish castle or Moroccan riad — will provide a perfect place from which to taste the treats of the area. Sometimes the two combine in an unforgettable experience. On the Highlights of Britain holiday, you will stay at the Three Ways House Hotel in the Cotswolds — home of the world-famous Pudding Club. After a feast of delicious desserts you get the luxury of rolling straight into bed without any fuss.
A Gateway to Culture
It is the Back-Roads belief that cuisine is the gateway to culture: food can be an experience that helps you to understand more about the history and atmosphere of the country you are visiting. A number of culinary experiences are offered on Back-Roads tours, which allow you to see and taste delicacies with cultural significance.
For example, mint tea is a welcome refreshment in the hot souks of Morocco, but the only way to understand its importance in Moroccan culture is to take part in a traditional tea ceremony. Back-Roads Touring offers this experience, at no extra cost, in an Immam House on the Majestic Morocco tour. From one tea culture to another, they also give the opportunity to visit the ancient estate of Tregothnan, the only tea-growing site in Britain, on the Corners of Cornwall holiday.