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Gourmands of the world, rejoice

Bring your appetite: Good things come in small glasses at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience. Bring your appetite: Good things come in small glasses at the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.
Email|Print| Text size + By Richard P. Carpenter
Globe Correspondent / January 13, 2008

Maybe you made a New Year's resolution to watch what you eat. But, gee, that was nearly two weeks ago, and by now you may be looking forward to a splurge. If so, you will have a lot of food and wine events to choose from. Some examples:

The refurbished Louisiana Superdome is working hard to erase the images generated by Hurricane Katrina and will be the site for the Grand Tastings of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, May 21-25. More than 3,500 corks will be popped on the dome floor and around New Orleans during the event. The full program will be listed on the festival website in early spring, along with a link to purchase tickets, with vintner dinners expected to cost $85-$125 a person. No doubt there will also be some appetizing hotel packages.

Visit nowfe.com.

Spanish Journeys has a vacation that combines a food experience, fitness vacation, and Pilates retreat at a villa in the Catalan countryside, May 26-31. In addition to five nights in the restored 14th-century villa, the $3,450 vacation includes six Pilates classes, a guided half-day cycling trip, classes on cooking healthful Catalan dishes, a tasting and picnic at a vineyard, other tastings and excursions, five breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners, gratuities at restaurant meals, and medical insurance, but not airfare.

Visit spanishjourneys.com or call 508-349-9769.

More than 40 restaurants from Bourne to Provincetown will participate in the Cape Cod Life Food & Wine Festival, May 26-29. Joining the restaurants in special dinners at varying prices will be local and international winemakers who will offer pairings of wines from around the world. There will also be $15 Cultural Happy Hours during which guests can sample hors d'oeuvres and wines while enjoying art and music in Highfield Hall in Falmouth (May 27), the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster (May 28), and the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater in Wellfleet (May 29). The Grand Opening Tasting will be May 26 at the Rectrix Aerodrome in Hyannis and cost $50.

Visit festival.capecodlife.com.

TourCrafters, which specializes in low-cost trips to Italy, is featuring a seven night Amalfi Cook & Taste package for $1,199 including round-trip airfare from Boston to Naples, accommodations at the four-star Hotel Villa Romana in Minori, daily breakfast and dinner, seven days' car rental, cooking demonstrations on four days, and hotel service charges and taxes. The price is valid until March 13.

Visit tourcrafters.com or call 800-482-5995.

Billy Costa of NECN's "TV Diner" show will host a trip called The Perfect Recipe - Rome and the Amalfi Coast, March 28-April 4, with a welcome dinner, pastry tasting, a cooking lesson, chocolate and ice cream tastings, lunch, a mozzarella tasting, and a farewell dinner, as well as a lecture on Roman-Jewish cuisine, sightseeing, guide services, transfers, and porterage. The price is $2,849, land only, or $3,599 with airfare from Boston.

Call Colony Travel at 800-642-3746 or 781-246-3737, or e-mail heramo@colonytravel.biz.

The 19th annual Boston Wine Festival, which lays claim to being the nation's longest-running event of its kind, opened Friday and continues through April 4, with as many as five events weekly at varying prices. The festival, which features wine and food pairings, is at the Boston Harbor Hotel, where a $225 room rate is available for attendees.

Visit bostonwinefestival.net or call 888-660-WINE. For the hotel, visit bhh.com or call 617-439-7000.

Peter Deilmann Cruises' 140-passenger MV Princesse de Provence will sail round trip from Lyon, France, on a nine-day wine-themed cruise-tour this spring, summer, and fall, sailing on the Rhône and Saône rivers, with visits to French cities, vineyards, and wineries hosted by local wine specialists. The cruise goes to Arles, Avignon, Chalon-sur-Saône, Mâcon, Trévoux, Tournon, Tournus, and Vienne. Six departures from May to October have fares of $2,370-$3,215 per person plus airfare. The price includes all meals, daily excursions and sightseeing, wine tastings, and lessons.

Visit deilmann-cruises.com/tours or call 800-348-8287.

And for the really big spenders, Montage Laguna Beach in California offers a custom-tailored Epicurean Adventure, including three nights in a one-bedroom oceanfront suite; private wine tasting with a noted winemaker and the resort's wine director; a private yacht tour to Catalina Island, complete with picnic lunch and wine tastings; a private flight to a California winery for behind-the-scenes tours and a luncheon; a multicourse farewell dinner; and valet parking. Prices start at $25,000, Sundays through Thursdays except in July and August.

Visit montagelagunabeach.com or call 888-715-6700 at least 30 days in advance.

When not included, hotel taxes, airport fees, and port charges can add significantly to the price of a trip. Most prices quoted are for double occupancy; solo travelers will usually pay more. Offers are subject to availability and there may be blackout dates. Richard P. Carpenter can be reached at carpenter@globe.com.

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