Wine Tours

A Food Project in Sardinia, Italy

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Viktorija Todorovska and cohort are creating an electronic multimedia resource on the foods and wines of Sardinia and the people who produce them. Sardinia is most known for its beautiful coasts, but the Mediterranean’s second-biggest island has some of the most unique cultural and culinary traditions, many of which have never been written about in English. The electronic resource will tell the story of the diverse foods and wines of the island and people who still make them in traditional ways, with passion and dedication.

The project will include video interviews with Sardinian food and wine producers and multimedia narratives about the products and how they are used. Provided funding, the electronic resources will be released in the Fall of 2012.

In order to make this fantastic project turn into reality, you can pledge a small or large amount at her Kickstart Project Page.


Viktorija Todorovska is a food and wine writer and educator. Viktorija is passionate about the Mediterranean Diet and helping cooks of all ages explore the world of food through simple and flavorful combinations of high-quality ingredients. Viktorija studied Italian cooking at Apicius, the International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, and continues to explore the culinary traditions of Italy during her travels.

Viktorija’s passion for wine is inseparable from her love of food. She writes about wine and leads wine tastings and classes, making topics such wine styles, food pairings, and how to choose wines easy to understand. Viktorija is an accredited Sommelier (International Sommelier Guild), French Wine Scholar (French Wine Academy), and Certified Specialist of Wine (Society of Wine Educators).

Viktorija’s first cookbook, The Puglian Cookbook: Bringing the Flavors of Puglia Home, was published in April 2011. Viktorija’s stories and recipes paint a vivid picture of the region and its culinary traditions. The recipes are simple and easy to prepare, making it possible even for beginner cooks to create delicious meals and create unforgettable dining experiences.

When she is not sipping wine and teaching classes in Chicago and its surroundings, Viktorija can be found traveling the wine regions of the world, soaking up new knowledge and discovering new and interesting wines and the stories of the people who make them.


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!

Peru is on the lips of every top chef in the world right now. With reason, its vibrancy, freshness, and diverse flavors leave us all mesmerized–and wanting more. Peruvian cuisine fused together to become its modern, regional-driven expression during five centuries of Spanish, West African, Japanese and Chinese immigration, along with the native Quechua culture. Due to a lack of ingredients from their home countries, immigrants to Peru modified their traditional cuisines by incorporating local foodstuffs, many of which are not found outside the country. Consider the country’s 84 microclimates, from the Pacific Ocean to Amazon, Desert, and Andes Mountains, and Altiplano, and you can imagine you’re going to have some amazing concoctions.

So what are the anchor ingredients of Peru? The country’s cuisine really relies on a gamut of humble ingredients easily procured in country. Just about everything grows somewhere in Peru: rice, coffee, cocoa beans, (for some seriously sinful dark chocolate!) quinoa, thousands of tubers, tropical fruit, organic vegetables, chilies, grapes for the brandy Pisco, and more. The cuisine’s key ingredients are the floral, piquant Chile called Ají Amarillo (yellow chili), perhaps the soul of Peruvian dishes, along with the tongue-tingling rocoto pepper slivered on ceviche . Think your tongue is made of steel? I dare you to try roasted rocoto stuffed with meat or cheese, typical of the Arequipa region. Traditional staples are corn, either as large kernels, or ground into a paste to make humitas, tamales. Locals eat a kazillion potatoes; with reason, there are over 3,000 varieties in Peru, where the tuber may have originated. There are also heirloom beans, and the Spanish introduced rice, wheat, and meat, all an integral part of the modern diet. Love seafood? You’re in the right neighborhood, the Humboldt Current brings frigid water from the Antarctic with plankton to nurture sea life and meshes with tropical currents coming down from Ecuador. The result? Dozens up dozens of fish, bi-valves ,and crustaceans. Seafood utopia.

However, what truly separates Peruvian food from its other Latin cousins, particularly in the capital of Lima, is the hefty Asian immigration that left a stamp on the country in the late 1800s. The immigrants brought their vision of cooking with stir-frying, dumplings, skewers, raw seafood dishes, sushi rolls with toppings, and fused them with the local ingredients on hand. Peruvian food is a seafood lover’s dream, often prepared raw or “cured” with high acid from key lime juice. For those unfamiliar with Peruvian food, this bridge in the form of the Japanese influence, makes it easy to start exploring. For example, many of the best-loved national dishes like tiraditos (slices of raw fish, dressed in sweet-and-sour sauces, sound like dressed up sashimi?) are reminiscent of Japanese dishes–with a twist. Remember, Nobu got all his ideas for his restaurant in Peru!

Overall though, Peru is a nation of foodies from humble huariques (joints) to ceviche stalls, top restaurants, and even celebrating with the deceased on Day of the Dead in cemeteries country-wide. They love food. They see it as a fundamental part of their national identity, regional pride, and a common denominator that all share. I want to share with you five dishes that you MUST try when you venture out into one of the local Peruvian restaurants opening across US cities from San Francisco to New York, Houston, Boston, Miami, and beyond. Be sure to order up a frothy, zippy Pisco Sour. I can tell you from experience, be careful, the effects don’t hit you until the end of the second one!

Liz Caskey – guest blogger

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!

We are starting off full blast with a fanciful, memorable taste and tour sensation in France – The Champagne and Burgundy regions.  An 11 day tour through charming villages and wonderful vineyards.  Slated for the Fall of 2011.  To learn more about the itinerary and price, email us at