wine pairing

Extraordinary Women of Spain: Chefs and Winemakers

Two good friends of mine are experts on culinary experiences.  I am so excited to fill you in on an outstanding women’s travel series called the Extraordinary Women of Spain:  Chefs and Winemakers. This travel series is co-created  by Epicopia Culinary Journeys and Epicurean Ways (the two good friends of mine).  There will initially be 5 trips to Spain to savor the culinary aspects of many different regions.  The first tour will be in the Catalonia & Barcelona region which includes visiting a total of no less than 10+ Michelin Star women chefs- all in 8 days!  Talk about some expressive, mind-blowing meals (with fabulous wines to match of course).  Speaking of wine, the winemakers you will meet include world-renowned masters of the craft, as well as passionate owners of small wineries .  Departure is set for June 16 – 24, 2012.

Each itinerary is designed for women, about women. Your Experience Director, Gabriella Ranelli de Aguirre is a recognized leading specialist in the food,
wine, art and architecture of Spain. She is the go-to person for the international press on matters gastronomic.

The travel series will continue to include five eight-night itineraries in Spain before braching out to other countries  and will also feature the women chefs & winemakers in The Levant: Alicante & Valencia offered October 20 – 28, 2012. The 2013
itineraries will include women chefs & winemaker in La Rioja and Basque Country, the region of Galicia, and Madrid: Town and countryside.

According to Harold, a 40 year veteran of the travel industry, “Women Chefs & Winemakers in Catalonia brings you deep into an elite wine and food region with plenty of time to linger, savor, reflect, discover and learn from the extraordinary Catalan women creating food and crafting wine in their own unique way.”

So…I ask:

When was the last time you were inspired? Had the chance to hang out with smart like-minded women and explore a region unfettered by your everyday duties and responsibilities? When was the last time you took the time to indulge your interests in food and wine? Have you ever said to yourself?  Someday I‟m going to get away on my own?  Well it‟s time to make it happen.

My friends mentioned not to delay – the 10 Michelin Star Journey is limited to 15 women.  Contact Harold Partain for Epicopia Culinary Journeys at 972.771.3510 or Toll Free 877.661.3844 or Email:

If you can’t wait to see or hear more before getting in touch with him, here is the link to the fabulous itinerary:  I am salivating as I write!


Well, let’s see, what can I say that I haven’t already said.  Heat + humidity do not mix with social outings. I’ll try to shut up now. Approximately 4-6 hours were set aside to visit the vineyards of Virginia as attendees piled into random buses not knowing which wineries they would visit.  As the travelers dripped their way back to the hotel, I heard a lot of good things, and a lot of bad.  Good = lunch inside.  Bad = lunch outside.  All loved the wineries tours, all mixed on the quality of VA wine; but that VA Viogniers seem to be best known and best liked.   Some of the wineries visited were White Hall, King Family, Flying Fox, Cardinal Point and Afton Mountain – to name a few.  We were offered a pre-dinner reception with Cognac/EU…who scheduled this?  Cognac pre-dinner??  The dinner was alot of fun.  Wine Blog Awards were announced by a very colorful presenter.  We tasted 12? wines to pair with the food, which was so-so.  I felt sorry for the servers who seemed totally out of their element serving that much wine.  Evening ended with a Vibrant Rioja Crawl – more to follow in next post!

Challenge 3 of the wine blog challenge – Ceci the Sipper’s blog who created the challenge…

Awhile back, I had a wine and cheese pairing party, and it was a great hit.  It was surprisingly easy to do.  There are so many cheeses, and several specialty markets here in Dallas, TX (Market Street, Whole Foods Market, and Central Market, plus I’m sure many more.)  They carry all types of cheeses including artisanal cheeses.

Here were my pairings going from light bodied wines to heavy bodied wines:

Swiss/Gewuztraminer, Monterry Jack/Riesling, Chevre/Colby with Champagne (actually I pair Champagne with ANY cheese, even blue cheese which should be paired with a Port), Brie/Beaujolais (how can you NOT have Brie at a cheese party), Havarti/Rioja, and Strong Cheddar/Cabernet.  See, nothing too hard to find!  And I did it with 3 whites and 3 reds, so everyone could enjoy, regardless their taste preferences.  You preferably want to pair a lighter tasting cheese with a lighter bodied wine.

Well, that’s it for now – enjoy!