One of the best parts of living in D.C. is the dynamic restaurant scene. But did you know that some of your favorite restaurants offer more than just a local dining experience? Plan an international excursion next year with one of these trips.
Several local chefs also provide the opportunity to go on a curated vacation to the home country of the restaurant’s cuisine. We found three restaurants offering this incredible opportunity to go on an international chef-led culinary escape and we have all the details about these epic offerings. The cost of each trip includes accommodation, local transportation, and the bulk of activities and meals.
Calabria (May 1-8) + Trentino-Alto Adige (October 2024)
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Every spring or summer for the last few years James Beard-nominated chef Amy Brandwein of Centrolina and Piccolina has taken up to ten lucky participants to a different location in Italy for the ultimate week-long gastronomic vacation. In 2022, the travel experience took place on the Amalfi Coast, and in 2023 the group went to Umbria, in central Italy. The trips have been so popular that in 2024, Brandwein will be hosting two trips.
All of the trips designed by Brandwein are food-centric, with an itinerary of delightful activities including leisurely lunches, dinners at restaurants helmed by chefs known for their gastronomic talents, tours of different vineyards and wineries, and cooking classes that are both entertaining and informative. There will be an emphasis on sampling the local delicacies of the different areas you visit and engaging in local foodie activities like truffle hunting and olive oil tasting. Cooking classes can involve anything from making different pastas and pasta sauces from scratch to making gelato.
There will also be day trips to various towns where you can enjoy scenic vistas, explore historical sites, and relax with a cappuccino. Plenty of downtime is built in as well, so that you can spend time by the pool or book an appointment at a spa. Picture yourself biking through a small Italian town to a gorgeous viewpoint where you can indulge in an Aperol spritz – this is the level of dreaminess this exciting vacation promises.
Sign up for Centrolina’s email newsletter and follow them on social media to find out about the next trip, which is capped at 10 participants. 974 Palmer Alley NW, DC; centrolinadc.com // @centrolinadc
Lake Como (July 13 – 20, 2024) + Amalfi Coast (July 27 – August 3, 2024)
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Stellina Pizzeria owners Antonio Matarazzo and Mateo Venini hail from the Amalfi Coast and Lake Como, respectively, and after years of drafting travel itineraries for other people to visit Italy they finally decided to lead trips to their hometowns themselves. Matarazzo and Venini will join both trips, with each one taking the lead when it comes to their hometown.
What they have planned is extraordinary; the duo are planning trips that are both relaxing and exciting, featuring touristy attractions as well as activities that are off the beaten track. Each voyage will include opportunities to enjoy restaurants, olive farms, and vineyards owned and operated by their friends and family.
In Lake Como, the group will be able to engage in a prosecco and cheese tasting while watching the sunset, join daily culinary excursions to local farms and restaurants, and participate in hikes. There will be a boat ride on Lake Como, and a day trip to Bergamo and Brescia, the city that was designated the cultural capital of Italy in 2023. The travelers might even be invited to stop by Venini’s father’s home for an afternoon aperitivo.
For the Amalfi Coast option, visitors will be treated to a day trip to Salerno, have the opportunity to visit one of the largest mozzarella factories in Italy (tastings will be included), and tour the famous ancient Greek temples in Paestum. The group will get to go to numerous spots on the Amalfi Coast including Ravello and Positano, and there will even be a jaunt on a catamaran which will go from Positano to Capri, where there will be a lunch at a restaurant owned by a friend of Matarazzo. There will be time for shopping, cooking classes, and potential stops at some of the many food festivals in the region. Finally, participants will also make a stop at Matarazzo’s house in Avellino for an aperitivo after a day trip to the vineyards in Irpinia, Avellino.
Supra + Tabla
Georgia (July + October 2024)
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For several years now, Supra and Tabla owners Jonathan and Laura Nelms have been organizing 12-day trips to the country of Georgia, which is the cuisine that they showcase at their popular D.C. restaurants. The trip provides guests the opportunity to fully immerse in Georgian culture.
Per the curated itinerary, you will be traveling to more than a dozen places in Georgia, including the capital city Tbilisi, small towns such as Mtskheta, home to the famous Jvari Monastery and Svetitshoveli Cathedral, and various family-owned wineries in the wine-making region where you will learn about the history of wine in Georgia, take part in the wine-making process, and of course drink copious amounts of the local wine.
Throughout your vacation you will be sampling the local delicacies at different restaurants and markets. If you are unfamiliar with Georgian cuisine, rest assured it is divine; from the famous Georgian khachapuri, a fluffy, boat-shaped bread baked with heaps of cheese, and an egg added in the center at the end; to chewy soup dumplings called khinkali; to the sweet, nutty beet and carrot pate called pkhali. You will find lots of fresh salads, grilled veggies, potatoes, beans and eggplant on this journey, too.
The circuit also includes hikes with glorious mountain top views, and experiences such as expeditions of famous archaeological and UNESCO world heritage sites, a cooking class where you will learn to make your own khinkali, and a tasting at a local distillery. The agenda of this tour truly offers the adventure of a lifetime.
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