Archive for the ‘France’ Category


Move Over Paris, Tokyo is the New Gourmet Capital of the World

For me, eating is one of the most important parts of traveling—so much that I’d rather stay in an inexpensive hotel, forgo the souvenirs and eat ramen noodles weeks before my vacation just to save the extra cash for gastronomic heaven. And, adherents to the gospel according to Michelin will certainly agree

The famed Michelin Guide, which evaluates the best restaurants and hotels throughout the world, has awarded Tokyo more three-star restaurant ratings in its 2009 Tokyo edition than (gasp!) Paris. Eleven restaurants in Tokyo have been awarded three stars, while Paris followed in a close second with 10 stars. Tokyo also beat out Paris in the total number of stars awarded—Tokyo received 261 and Paris received 197.


Delicious cuisine is plentiful in Tokyo. Photo: Mahiro1322

The Michelin Guide rates restaurants regardless of cuisine style and according to five criteria:

  1. Quality
  2. Mastery of flavor and cooking
  3. The personality of the fare
  4. Value for the money
  5. Consistency between visits

Stars are awarded based on the food alone (not ambiance, service or any other factors):

  • One star indicates “a very god restaurant in its category.”
  • Two stars indicate “excellent cooking and worth a detour.”
  • Three stars indicate “exceptional cuisine and worth the journey.”

According to the Associated Press, the “contest” wasn’t exactly fair because Tokyo is home to 160,000 restaurants, while Paris has 60,000. Don’t worry Paris, there’s always next year.

Learn more about Tokyo culinary vacations.

Learn more about Paris culinary vacations.

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I’ve been on tequila-, beer- and wine-tasting trips, so naturally the opportunity to add Cognac to my libation travel list caught my eye.

On your next trip to France, swing by the House of Rémy Martin and indulge in Les Rendez-Vous Rémy Martin: A selection of gastronomic experiences that allow you to participate in a Cognac-tasting session, meal and tour of the celebrated estate. Dip your toe in by choosing a half-day or evening tour, or jump straight in to a complete day tour. A variety of options for each choice allows you to pick exactly what you’re interested in.


Photo: Louis XIII de Rémy Martin

Check out these choices:

The four-hour Discover Rémy Martin package includes a tour of the House of Rémy Martin in Cognac and the Merphins Estate for a cognac-tasting session. Appetizers and lunch follow at Club Rémy Martin. €160 (about $216).

The nine-hour Rémy Martin for the Epicurean package starts with a tour of vineyards or the Rémy Martin cooperage, and then moves on to a distillery tour where you can taste recently distilled eaux-de-vie. Lunch in the distillery before a tour of the Merpins Estate and House of Rémy Martin in Cognac. The day ends with dinner in a private dining room. €380 (about $513).

The 10-hour Louis XIII Experience is a customizable package, which highlights the luxury of Louis XIII and the Cognac region. Take a private tour through the family estate and private cellar, taste prized cognac, and enjoy a private lunch and dinner. €850 (about $1,147).

Prices on Les Rendez-Vous Rémy Martin packages include taxes and are guaranteed through Dec. 31, 2009. For more information, visit

If you go, consider taking me!