A carefully curated selection of must-do signature gastronomic and spirited experiences across France's cities and verdant vineyards add a distinct panache to your incentives.
Here's what we recommend:
Bring out the chef in you at exclusive cooking courses with French chefs who help you decode the succulent secrets of French gastronomy. Paris's celebrated institutions such as Le Cordon Bleu, L'Atelier Guy Martin or L'Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse provide a list of interesting short delectable sessions.
Organise a guided gourmet cheese walk in the City of Lights. Under the tutelage of a Master Refiner, acquaint yourself with the cheese making process and the different families of French cheese. The session ends with a seasonal tasting accompanied by wine and other essentials that pair well with cheese.(*)
Champagne - birthplace of the effervescent bubbly, captivates and allures. Enjoy stellar visits of renowned cellars in both Reims and Epernay that end with a spirited tasting.
Choose from GH Mumm, Pommery, Taitinger or Ruinart in Reims and the iconic Moet&Chandon and premium brands that find place of prestige on the stately Avenue de Champagne in Epernay.
An offbeat champagne tasting incentive waits to be organised at the Perching Bar - a unique tree-house champagne bar nestled in the forest between Reims and Epernay.
In Alsace, discover the magic of the Alsatian Wine Route that meanders for 170 kms between vineyards and villages. Stop en route for interactions with wine-growers, discoveries of their wine-growers and a sampling of celebrity Grand Cru wines!
Opulent Burgundy showcases with great élan its climats (plot of land used for vines) that have recently been bestowed with the UNESCO World Heritage Classification. Discover the region's wine-growing villages of Beaune, Pommard and Villnay through a walking tour through the vineyards that culminates with a tasting in the heart of the vineyards (*)
A healthy dollop of mustard adds a pungent flavour to your gourmet rendezvous in Burgundy. Authentic to the region, do include a sampling of various mustard flavours in any of capital city Dijon's boutiques that pay homage to this regional speciality.
The Gastronomic Capital of the world Lyon invites you for a unique confectionery tasting at the boutique- Violette et Berlingot. Participate in their weekly thematic tastings that have you relishing an array of regional delicacies and leave you sweetly satiated.
Do include a visit of the emblematic Les Halles de Paul Bocuse- covered markets that pay homage to iconic chef Paul Bocuse. Discover a veritable treasure trove of produce that showcases the best of Lyon's gastronomy.
At 25 minutes south of Lyon, encounter the Rhône Valley vineyards - home to the legendary Syrah and Viognier grapes located on the steepest vineyards in all of France. Enjoy interactions with family owned wineries and savour some Côte Rotie, Condrieu and St Joseph appellations considered to be the perfect ambassadors of the Rhône Valley vineyards.
Provence - home to the refreshing rosé and the famous Bandol wine - invites you for an unusual gourmet experience. Embark on a hunt for the elusive truffle (Black Diamond) that is mostly found and harvested in this region. A hunter and a specialised dog lead you on the truffle chase which is then followed with a truffle-laden lunch paired with fine regional wine. (*)
While in Provence, visit the town of the Chateauneuf du Pape. Once the summer residence of the Pope, the town is home to some of the most prestigious vineyards best discovered through a personalised guided visit topped off with an exquisite tasting!
In legendary Bordeaux, pay a visit to the fascinating Cité du Vin dedicated to all things wine and culture. Its impressive architecture, events, wine ateliers and boutiques make for an immersive discovery of all things wine!
Take off from Bordeaux on guided discoveries of quaint St Emilion known for its underground monuments and Pomerol. Start with the Saint Emilion wine region and enjoy visits and wine tastings in famous Châteaux of the Pomerol or Saint Emilion appellation (*).
More Food (and Wine) For Thought:
In Paris, organise a gourmet incentive on the move. The luxury-bus Bustronome takes you on a discovery of emblematic Parisian monuments while you tuck into a six course spread well paired with wine and champagne.
Indulge in vineyard discoveries either on hot air balloon rides, helicopters or in vintage vehicles or the more sporty 4x4 or even bicycles. Create an authentic experience by participating in harvests that create a feeling of joie de vivre
If you find yourself in France's regions, cook up a storm in the company of Michelin starred chefs who unravel the secrets behind local specialities.
Break bread with the French at their home! Vizeat (www.vizeat.com) invites you to enjoy an immersive experience with the locals. A host family invites you over for a convivial meal peppered with delightful conversations and good food and wine! Do not forget to bring your appetite along!
(*)For more information on these signature experiences, write to CONTACT@DLX.TRAVEL or log onto: www.dlx.travel.