The culture, history and geography of a country shape its cuisine, as surely as waves and wind carve a landscape. On this cruise along the Atlantic Coast of France, Spain and Portugal, you will learn about distinctive regional cuisines while also examining the culture and circumstances that have shaped these countries, their people and their rituals around food and wine.
Start your journey just outside London in the port town of Tilbury and continue along the Thames into the English Channel to France. The first port of call is Rouen and then Honfleur, both in the Normandy region. Explore the local cuisine and see how the history of this region has shaped the produce, with Normandy cider easily holding its own with the famed tipple of the West Country of England. From here sail along the French Atlantic coast to Nantes, your gateway to the beautiful Loire Valley. Visit the distinctive local chateaux that could be lifted from a fairytale and enjoy a picnic lunch made up of local delicacies, and of course local wine. Head further south to stop at Bordeaux, where you will explore the rich wine heritage the area has to offer.
Next stop is San Sebastian, a city famed for its gastronomy. Sample the local pintxos with a walking tour in the old town. The next Spanish stop is La Coruna, a fishing town renowned for its seafood. Visit the fish market and sample the local delicacies, including its ocean offerings.
Leave Spain behind to sail for Porto, where you will explore one of the city's cellars and sample its range of port. The next day arrive in Lisbon, where you will disembark or stay on to further explore Portuguese cuisine.
Travel with respected food writer and restaurant critic, John Lethlean, and Cordon Bleu chef and writer, Kate Lethlean, through the stunning landscapes of France, Spain and Portugal as they share their expert knowledge and convivial company on this gastronomic and cultural exploration.
John Lethlean is a food writer, journalist and restaurant critic with The Australian. Prior to News Ltd he plied his trade for Fairfax Media at The Age and as a Melbourne-based editor for Australian Gourmet Traveller. “Food is obviously something that’s very important to me, more as a conduit to joy and happiness than an intellectual pursuit,” says John, a Victorian based outside Melbourne in the foodie haven of Daylesford/Hepburn Springs. “I love travelling - who doesn’t? - but I travel to eat. To me there is little more exciting than listening to a society, a culture, through its food, both traditional and contemporary.”
Kate Lethlean is a Cordon Bleu (Paris) trained cook who has lived a culinary life in Europe travelling, cooking and writing for 20 years. She has contributed to numerous leading publications and cookery books and worked on the Formula One and Moto GP circuits, for the British Royal Family, and Skibo Castle. She also spent five years in the UK as senior teacher and demonstrator at the prestigious Leith’s School of Food and Wine, London. These days she is a cookery book publicist and rare-breed chicken fancier and assists John with research and vital eating support.
Cabin costs from $4,670 per person (excluding International flights and transfers)