Cuisine & Culture Cruise on the Atlantic Coast

20 Aug - 1 Sep 2018
  • Cultural Tours
+ Optional extension: Cuisine and Culture in Lisbon

About the tour

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. 

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, John and Kate Lethlean

John and Kate Lethlean

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. 

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Itinerary at a glance

  • 20 Aug (Mon) Tilbury: Embark the Aegean Odyssey and set sail from Tilbury. Welcome drinks on board before dinner
  • 21 Aug (Tues) Sail to Rouen: Cruise along the Seine to Rouen, arriving in the evening 
  • 22 Aug (Wed) Rouen: Depart Rouen for the picturesque village of Veules les Roses with its thatched cottages. Visit the local markets and taste the local produce. Visit Palais Benedictine and enjoy a private dining lunch in one of its spectacularly decorated rooms. Continue with a guided visit and learn about the distillery process with a tasting. Transfer back to the ship via an ice cream factory
  • 23 Aug (Thurs) Honfleur: Depart the ship for Pierre Huet Calvados Distillery, enjoy a tour and tastings. Return to Honfleur to board the ship
  • 24 Aug ( Fri) At Sea: Cruising at sea. Take the time to relax and listen to the onboard lectures 
  • 25 Aug ( Sat) Nantes: Arrive in Nantes and explore the vineyards of the Loire. Visit Angers and take a guided tour of the food market with tastings of local cheeses. Continue to Domaine FL and taste a variety of their organic wines. Lunch will be a gourmet picnic with local delicacies and wine from the area. Continue to the next vineyard, Domaine Closel for a private tour with the owner Evelyn De Pontbriand. Enjoy a tasting of 6 wines, including the vintage Clos due Papillon
  • 26 Aug (Sun) At Sea: Spend the day at sea as you sail down the French coast to Bordeaux
  • 27 Aug (Mon) Bordeaux: Depart Bordeaux for the countryside and its vineyards. Visit Chateau Gruaud Larose for a tour and tasting of their great vintages. Continue to the village of Bages with lunch at Cafe Lavinal. Visit the beautiful town of Saint Emilion with time to explore at your leisure. Continue to the Chateau Soutard for a tour and tastings before returning to the ship
  • 28 Aug (Tues) San Sebastian: Your morning is at sea as you sail into Spain and the beautiful city of San Sebastian. Take a walking tour of the old town with its charming narrow streets. Along the way the guide will introduce you to 'pintxos', the tapas of the Basque country. As you walk through the old town you will stop at several different bars, each with their own specialty. For those wanting to extend their time in San Sebastian we have arranged an optional over ground extension to La Coruna. Those remaining in San Sebastian will check into their hotel before dinner at a Gastronomic Society. Return to the ship
  • 29 Aug (Wed): At sea
  • 29 Aug (Wed) San Sebastian/ Gijon: Depart San Sebastian stopping at a txakolina winery in Getaria for a traditional breakfast and win tasting. Continue to Cangas de Onis and meet with local cheese makers. Lunch will be local cheeses matched with cider along with other local delicacies. Continue to Gijon and check into the hotel. Dinner at Casa Gerardo.
  • 30 Aug (Thurs) La Coruna: Those travelling by land will arrive into La Coruna mid morning to meet those who have traveled by sea. Take a short tour through the local market with your guide, before lunch at a local tavern. Enjoy the local specialties including some of its sea food and enjoy a glass or two of refreshing cava. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure before boarding the ship.
  • 31 Aug ( Fri) Porto: At sea and at leisure. Arrive in Porto, and transfer to Gaia, home of the port cellars. Visit Graham's Lodge for a delicious lunch with Portuguese wine pairing. The meal will end with two of Graham's ports. Transfer back to the ship
  • 1 Sept (Sat) Lisbon: Disembark the ship in the morning and transfer to the airport, or extend in Lisbon

Tour cost

Cabin costs from $4,670 per person (excluding International flights and transfers)

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