International Tastes

International Tastes: Let a local foodie guide you on a worldwide tour
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Exotic Flavors - Southeast Asia, Cuba, and Bolivia

With their company, Small Footprints Travel, Asheville photographer Benjamin Porter and his Thai-born wife (and chef) Myo Kangoo plan intimate group excursions to global destinations. Tours include at least one cooking class, as well as a visit to a local market to learn about food selection and preparation. The duo makes sure to include classic, popular spots as well as hidden gems on their tours, which also take place at scenic locales, so visitors can engage in travel photography as well. Some culinary experiences have been especially exotic, including dishes like fried tarantulas in Cambodia and river worm cakes in Vietnam. Book It: Cuba, November 16-27;

The French Connection - France

Since 2005, North Carolina native and 20-year resident of France Susi Gott Séguret has taken small groups to Paris through the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts, which she runs. A food and wine expert, her fluency in the language helps her “decode the French mystique, particularly as it applies to food slang, etiquette, and translations of traditional French cuisine,” she says. Her tours incorporate local chefs, ingredients, and wine in each destination—all of which support the Slow Food philosophy: “good, clean, and fair.” Book It: Paris, June 27-30;

Spanish Conquest - Spain

If you’ve tasted anything from the menu of downtown Asheville’s Catalonian-style tapas bar, Cúrate, then you have an inkling of what the owners’ culinary trips to Andalusia and Catalonia, Basque country, or Madrid and Castile have in store for travelers. With the release of chef Katie Button’s cookbook, she and her husband, Felix Meana, launched a series of four trips a year through Cúrate Trips that can include foraging for ingredients, wine tasting and pairing excursions with winemakers, paella-making on the beach with the fishermen of Costa Brava, a traditional wood-fired grilled suckling-pig feast in Madrid, and other immersive experiences. Book It: Catalonia and Andalusia, October 3-12; Madrid and Castille, November 2-11;

Spice Things Up - Argentina

Waynesville resident Ricardo Fernandez shares his culture with travelers on 17-day trips to his native Argentina, on tours that explore both the culinary and cultural arts. Through Chef Ricardo’s Kitchen, participants enjoy big-city dining and back-of-the house-visits in Buenos Aires, as well as learning to master the taste of Argentine varietal wines. Highlights include a private wine tasting at the underground cellar of Catena Zapata winery, tasting goat or lamb cooked over tannin-rich quebracho wood on an open pit, and filling, bottling, labeling, and corking sparkling wine in Mendoza. Book It: trips for 2018 are sold out and will resume in 2019;

Photographs (3, Argentina wine trip) courtesy of chef Ricardo Fernandez; (Cúrate cuisine) by Christopher Shane; (Cuba) by Yaniel Luis; (Bangkok) by Benjamin Porter; (French picnic) courtesy of ©SG Séguret