The Tree and Vine Culinary Tour 2020 – A Gourmet Getaway To Greece

Gourmet Getaway to Greece

The Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2020

Oct. 29 – Nov. 6, 2020

Group Size: 14 people

Long Description:

Join us for a gourmet getaway to the fabled vineyards and ancient olive groves of Greece, from the fertile bounty of the Peloponnese to the rich culinary heritage of Athens. Together we will delve into the agrarian past of the Peloponnese from traditional bread making and garden to table cooking to golden honey perfumed by a landscape of wild herbs and citrus, before uniquely experiencing the native varietals and aromatic qualities of Laconia’s mythic Extra Virgin Olive Oil during harvest season. We will sip floral Moschofilero and spicy Agiorgitiko in the ancient vineyards of Mantinia and Nemea, and taste organic creations earnestly expressing the terroir, while exploring the archaeological vestiges of Mycenae, Sparta and Epidaurus. We’ll visit seaside fishing villages and hilltop Byzantine towns before venturing to the flavorful soul of Athens for a lesson in classical Greek cooking as we uncover its diversity of delicacies, from artisan cheesemakers and antique delicatessens preserving food traditions influenced by the east to age-old marketplaces offering a timeless portrait of culinary culture in the city beneath the shadow of the Acropolis.

This gourmet tour has been designed exclusively for The Tree & Vine by our travel partner, CountryBred.

DAILY ITINERARY

Pre-Tour Hotel Option in Athens

It is strongly recommended that tour participants arrive to Athens one day prior to the commencement of the tour, to allow for any delays or rerouting that may occur while in transit to Athens. For tour participants wishing to arrive to Athens on October 28th, 2020, a pre-tour hotel option with rates has been outlined in “Additional Tour Information” under the “Pre-Tour Hotel Option” section.

Day 1 – October 29, 2020 (Arrival to Monemvasia)

Our gourmet getaway to Greece will begin at the rendezvous point of the InnAthens Hotel, where the CountryBred Tour Manager will be waiting to welcome everyone as they arrive. Once all participants have arrived, we will depart via group bus transfer for the sweeping landscapes of the Peloponnese for an archaeologist-led visit of the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site of Mycenae, one of the most important centers of ancient Greek civilization dating back to the Bronze Age. We will next travel to an acclaimed winery in the lush heart of the Mantinia Wine Route, where we’ll toast to the start of our epicurean adventure together with an aperitif of native Moschofilero based vintages accompanied by charcuterie and local products. From the verdant vineyards of Mantinia we will travel to the stunning seaside town of Monemvasia in the Laconia region, for check-in to Kinsterna Hotel, our exquisite five-star gourmet retreat in the Peloponnese peninsula. We’ll settle-in with free time to relax after our journey, before celebrating the start of our getaway with a dinner of traditional Greek cuisine redefined using contemporary techniques at our hotel’s fine dining restaurant. (Meals: Light Lunch, D / Overnight: Monemvasia)

Day 2 – October 30, 2020 (Monemvasia)

This morning we will set-off for the medieval seaside town of Monemvasia, nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the East,” situated on a small island linked to the mainland by scenic causeway. Our day will begin with a privately guided walking tour of Monemvasia’s lovely center, with its fortified charms and idyllic island setting, before enjoying free time to independently discover the village’s quaint shops and stunning coastal views. Next we’ll travel to a picture-perfect fishing village of the Peloponnese where lunch will be a feast of fresh fish accented by waterfront views at a typical taverna. We’ll return to the hotel for some relaxation, before enjoying an exclusive bread-baking workshop led by a local baker, including an introduction to traditional breads of the region, and a tasting of freshly made loaves. Our evening will culminate with a private wine tasting focused on local grape varietals, deliciously paired with gourmet bites, and hosted within our hotel’s lovely estate cellar or terrace. (Meals: B, L, Light Dinner / Overnight: Monemvasia)

Day 3 – October 31, 2020 (Mystras & Sparta)

In the morning, we will journey back to the Byzantine past of the Peloponnese, starting with a guided exploration of the majestic fortified town of Mystras, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched along the slopes of Mount Taygetus. During our archaeologist-led visit we will discover the site’s architectural and cultural treasures from the Byzantine and medieval periods, with such highlights as the frescoes of Peribleptos Monastery. From Mystras we will set off for the area once known as ancient Sparta for a lunch of traditional dishes from the Laconia region. In the afternoon, we’ll traverse the archaeological ruins of ancient Sparta, including its 8th century BC agora and 1st century BC theater, before returning to our gourmet stay for free time to appreciate its plush amenities. This evening we’ll savor a dinner of rustic, roasted specialties showcasing estate grown produce at our hotel’s romantic, open air Taverna “Linos.” (Meals: B, L, D / Overnight: Monemvasia)

Day 4 – November 1, 2020 (Laconia)

Today will be spent appreciating the ancient olive oil making traditions and prolific bounty of the Laconian land at an organic family farm in the heart of olive country. Our special day at the farm will commence with an exclusive olive harvesting experience to learn about the family’s biodynamic farming practices, exceptional olive cultivation and ancient groves. Led by an expert Olive Oil Sommelier, we will next savor the unique characteristics of the region’s native olive varietals and sample the farm’s acclaimed Extra Virgin Olive Oil during a private tasting experience, before enjoying a natural soap making workshop showcasing estate produced olive oil and local herbs. Our day will continue with a hands-on, garden to table cooking class featuring seasonal, estate grown vegetables and local recipes. Our zero km dishes will be paired alongside a flight of natural Greek wines highlighting Peloponnesian and Laconian grape varieties, led by the farm’s Sommelier. Following our return to the hotel, we’ll have a free evening to relax and enjoy dinner independently. (Meals: B, L / Overnight: Monemvasia)

Day 5 – November 2, 2020 (Laconia)

Our culinary journey will continue as we delve deeper into the rich olive oil making heritage of the Peloponnese with an exclusive visit to the family-owned Laconiko Olive Oil estate, one of Laconia’s most important olive oil producers. We will enjoy a special welcome by a member of the illustrious Pierrakos family who have been crafting olive oil for four generations, before embarking on a special harvest season visit of the estate’s prized olive groves to learn about the region’s specific climate and terroir, and the family’s organic farming practices. Our visit will be crowned with a private tasting of Laconiko’s award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Early Harvest Olio Nuovo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, produced exclusively from the Koroneiki olive varietal, along with a flight of specialty olive oils infused with local aromatics, herbs and spices. From the estate, we will next travel to the exquisite seaside village of Limeni, nestled along the crystalline waters of the Mani Peninsula, to savor a lunch of fresh fish and seafood specialties typical of the region at a quaint seaside taverna. This afternoon we will explore one of the Mani region’s most magnificent hilltop villages perched above the sea during a private walking tour, which will introduce us to its charming cobblestone center featuring traditional Maniot-style stone towers and dwellings, before returning to the hotel for a leisurely free evening. (Meals: B, L / Overnight: Monemvasia)

Day 6 – November 3, 2020 (Nemea Wine Country, Nafplio & Epidaurus, Athens)

This morning we bid adieu to Monemvasia and make our way to the mythical interiors of the Peloponnese, known for its exceptional honey cultivation. Our day will begin with a visit to an artisan honey producer to learn about the region’s historic apiculture tradition followed by a tasting of honey to discover its characteristic flavors influenced by local herbs and flowers. From the nectar of the hive to the nectar of the vine, we will next set off for the ancient appellation of Nemea for a private cellar visit and tasting of stellar Agiorgitiko vintages followed by a winery lunch at one of the region’s most esteemed wine estates. In the afternoon we’ll venture to the romantic seaside town of Nafplio, the first capital of the modern Greek state, for a private walking tour of its medieval Old Town, an intoxicating blend of antique lanes accented by vivid bougainvillea and period architecture reflecting the town’s rich Venetian and Ottoman past. Our final stop in the Peloponnese will be an archaeologist-led visit of the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, dating back to the 4th century BC, and revered for its impeccable acoustics and magnificent preservation. Our gourmet getaway will continue onward to Athens, the exuberant capital of Greece, for check-in to the Perianth Hotel, our chic, five-star city retreat situated in sophisticated Agias Eirinis square. We’ll have the rest of the evening free to dine independently or begin discovering our hotel’s chic neighborhood. (Meals: B, L / Overnight: Athens)

Day 7 – November 4, 2020 (Athens)

Today we will uncover the spirit of Athens beginning with a guided visit of Monastiraki Square, a timeline of Greek culture from Ottoman and Orthodox to ancient Roman and Neoclassical. We’ll take a guided stroll through the legendary Monastiraki Flea Market, followed by free time to peruse its menagerie of intriguing antiques, jewelry, and handmade wares. Our city exploration will continue with a guided visit of Dimotiki Agora (Central Market), a colorful window into the everyday culinary life of Athens with its robust series of butcher and fish monger stalls showcasing their freshest cuts, a kaleidoscope of produce vendors, and merchants selling an intoxicating array of herbs, spices, olives and oils. Along the way, we’ll stop at a storied delicatessen for a light lunch showcasing artisan charcuterie and meze dishes honoring the rich culinary past of the city’s community of Cappadocian Greeks. We’ll visit iconic Syntagma Square, a centerpiece of modern Athenian history, to experience its ceremonial Changing of the Guards, before enjoying free time to independently shop in the upscale neighborhood of Kolonaki, known for its stylish boutiques, designer stores and elegant dining. We will reconvene for a luscious tasting of artisan Greek cheeses at a cheesemaker renowned for crafting signature dairy creations. This evening, our culinary immersion into Athens will be punctuated with a cooking experience of traditional Greek specialties hosted in the exclusive culinary space of a noted gourmet food purveyor, culminating with a dinner of our handmade dishes. (Meals: B, Light Lunch, D / Overnight: Athens)

Day 8 – November 5, 2020 (Athens)

Our celebration of Athens will continue as we explore some of the city’s most iconic ancient sites, beginning with a guided walk though its oldest district, the atmospheric Plaka, beloved for its antique cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and leafy pedestrian lanes, beneath the shadow of the majestic Acropolis. Along the way, we will stop for a traditional Greek coffee and sweet treat at a historic coffee house, before enjoying free time to have lunch independently and spend time shopping in Plaka. The afternoon will be dedicated to uncovering the ancient heritage of the city, as we set-off for an archaeologist-led visit of the Roman Forum, including the Horologion of Andronikos (Tower of the Winds) and Gate of Athena Archegetis, before embarking on a stunning exploration of the inspiring Acropolis of Athens, dating back to the 5th century BC. Our final evening in Athens will be crowned with a seated tasting flight of indigenous varietals from across Greece, including Assyrtiko, Xinomavro and Moschofilero, at an esteemed wine bar, before toasting to our epicurean voyage together with a gourmet dining experience accented by stunning views of the Acropolis by night. (Meals: B, D / Overnight: Athens)

Day 9 – November 6, 2020 (Departure from Athens)

This morning we’ll get an early start as we check-out from the Perianth Hotel and depart for our scheduled drop-off at Athens International Airport, and the end of the tour. (Meals: B)

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS 

  • 8 nights at luxury, five-star boutique accommodations in the Peloponnese & Athens
  • 12 regionally inspired meals showcasing local food products & seasonal ingredients
  • Full-time CountryBred Tour Leader & select touring with local guides
  • Two representatives from The Tree & Vine on tour
  • All ground transportation from pick-up to drop-off in private, air-conditioned bus
  • Exclusive visits & tastings at artisan producers of regional gourmet specialties in the Peloponnese & Athens
  • Olive oil sommelier-led tasting of artisanal Extra Virgin Olive Oils at family-owned, organic farm estate
  • Estate visit with Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting flight at acclaimed organic producer in Laconia
  • Traditional bread-making workshop led by local baker in the Peloponnese
  • Exclusive winery visits & tastings in the appellations of Mantinia & Nemea
  • Hands-on cooking experiences in the Peloponnese & Athens
  • Visit & tasting at artisanal honey producer in the Peloponnese
  • Archaeologist-led explorations of such ancient sites as UNESCO World Heritage Mycenae, Mystras, Epidaurus & the Acropolis of Athens
  • Guided visit of legendary Dimotiki Agora (Central Market) of Athens
  • Guided walking tours of historic treasures of the Peloponnese, including Monemvasia, Areopoli & Nafplio
  • Guided explorations of cultural treasures of Athens, including Monastiraki Square and Flea Market, Syntagma Square & the ancient district of Plaka

 

PRICING 

Pricing is $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy* 

*Prices subject to change

 

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • 8 nights at elegant stays handpicked by CountryBred, including five-star Kinsterna Hotel in the Peloponnese & five-star Perianth Hotel in Athens
  • Group transfer from designated rendezvous point in Athens to the Peloponnese, for start of tour
  • Group transfer from Athens to designated drop-off point of Athens International Airport, at the end of tour
  • The full-time assistance of a CountryBred Tour Leader
  • Select touring with professionally licensed local guides & culinary experts, where indicated
  • A representative from The Tree & Vine on tour
  • All ground transportation from pick-up to drop-off in private, air-conditioned bus
  • Signature cultural touring & all associated tickets/entrance fees, as indicated in the tour itinerary
  • Daily hotel breakfast
  • Seasonally inspired dining experiences showcasing regional gastronomy & wines of Greece
  • Welcome aperitif hosted at acclaimed winery along Mantinia Wine Route
  • Archaeologist-led explorations of such ancient sites as Mycenae, Mystras, ancient ruins of Sparta, Epidaurus & the Acropolis of Athens
  • Hands-on, garden to table cooking class featuring local recipes & seasonal produce in the Peloponnese
  • Hands-on cooking experience highlighting heritage recipes in Athens
  • Exclusive wine estate visits & tastings in the appellations of Mantinia & Nemea
  • Sommelier-led wine pairing of natural Greek wines featuring Peloponnesian & Laconian grape varietals
  • Exclusive olive harvesting experience, hands-on natural soap making workshop & olive oil sommelier-led tasting of prized Extra Virgin Olive Oils at organic, family-owned farm estate
  • Organic olive oil estate visit & Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting flight at acclaimed fourth generation producer of the Laconia region
  • Exclusive bread-making workshop of traditional loaves, led by local baker
  • Guided walking tours of historic treasures of the Peloponnese, including Monemvasia, Areopoli & Nafplio
  • Visit & tasting at artisanal honey producer in the Peloponnese
  • Guided explorations of cultural treasures of Athens, including Monastiraki Square and Flea Market, Syntagma Square & the ancient district of Plaka
  • Guided visit of legendary Dimotiki Agora (Central Market) of Athens
  • Tastings of Greek epicurean specialties in Athens, including regional cheeses at gourmet cheesemaker, artisan charcuterie at storied delicatessen & traditional Greek coffee with pastries at historic coffee house
  • Seated tasting of indigenous Greek varietals, such as Assyrtiko, Xinomavro & Moschofilero, at esteemed Athens wine bar
  • Traveler Welcome Package in advance of departure

 

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED 

  • International or regional airfare
  • Alcoholic beverages, wines or a-la-carte food orders outside of pre-arranged menus during organized meals
  • Any meals or beverages during free time
  • Hotel incidentals including room service, laundry services and hotel bar tabs
  • Hotel room upgrade requests and/or fees/supplements incurred from any room changes 
  • Personal expenditures and personal spending money
  • Expenses for activities/excursions not included in the tour itinerary
  • Transportation expenses incurred during free time, such as taxi or bus fares
  • Travel insurance including health, accidents, lost baggage and trip cancellation
  • Passport and Visa expenses
  • All other items that are not mentioned or included in the tour itinerary

 

FEATURED HOTELS

  • Hotel Kinsterna (Monemvasia)
  • Perianth Hotel (Athens)

 

ADDITIONAL TOUR INFORMATION

Travel Insurance

Optional travel insurance is available to provide peace of mind during your travels in the event of accident, sickness or unexpected cancellation. In evaluating travel insurance options you may want to review all forms of insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, such as your credit card or medical and homeowner’s insurance company benefits, in addition to other third party insurance providers. Trip insurance can also be purchased through CountryBred’s preferred provider Travel Guard®. If you are interested in obtaining a quote or purchasing a policy, you can contact CountryBred at 1-800-615-3543 or info@countrybred.com.

Airfare

We live in an exciting time for travel where there are many resources available for booking airfare. As such, we encourage you to explore your options, such as booking your airfare through a trusted ticketing agent, an online airline resource, or using your frequent flier miles or credit card rewards points. As you research your preferred flights, you will want to review your pre-tour and post-tour travel plans and select airline routes that make sense logistically with regard to the start and end dates of the tour. 

Passports & Visas

All CountryBred tours require a valid passport, with a minimum 6 months validity. As visa and entry requirements can vary from country to country, and change with little or no notice, it is your responsibility to contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, and to carry the proper travel documents.

Organized Meals

This tour is designed to celebrate the regional culinary traditions, seasonal produce, and local food products that makes Greece such a dynamic gastronomic destination. During the tour you will enjoy a diversity of gourmet foods and typical dishes, intended to delve deep into the authentic food landscapes we will be exploring. This means that you can look forward to sampling regional delicacies that highlight a cornucopia of ingredients, from the familiar to the unfamiliar. As culinary experiences and the menus for organized meals are planned well in advance, it is important that you advise The Tree & Vine and CountryBred of any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions you may have, as soon as possible, so that we can do our very best to meet your needs.

Physical Considerations

This tour will be physically active and interactive, so you must be in good health to participate. While the pace of walking will be monitored by the Tour Leader and local guides in accordance with the natural pace of the tour group, participants can expect to be on their feet for an extended period of time for specific touring activities, such as during guided walking tours, which may require climbing stairs to access sites or dining locations, experiencing uneven terrain, and walking up or down hilly streets, etc. If you have any physical, mental, visual, or other medical impairment that may hinder your ability to successfully complete this CountryBred small group tour, you must submit a letter from your physician stating that you are able to safely participate in the tour at least 90 days prior to departure. CountryBred reserves the right to decline any Participant whose condition, in CountryBred’s opinion, may negatively affect the health or safety of that Participant, other Participants, our staff/agents, or third parties.

Arrival & Start of Tour

The tour will commence on October 29th, 2020. The group rendezvous point for the start of the tour is InnAthens Hotel, the designated pre-tour hotel option. It is strongly recommended that you arrive to Athens one day prior to the commencement of the tour, to allow for any delays or rerouting that may occur while in transit to Athens. Please note that all participants must arrive to InnAthens Hotel by 9:00 AM on October 29th, 2020 to take advantage of the group transfer to Greece’s Peloponnese. 

  • Tour Start Date: October 29th, 2020
  • Suggested Airport: Athens International Airport
  • Pick-up Location: InnAthens Hotel
  • Pick-up Time: 9:00 AM

Pre-Tour Hotel Option

Tour participants choosing to arrive to Athens on October 28th, 2020, one day prior to the commencement of the tour, have the option to book the following pre-tour hotel rates at InnAthens Hotel:

  • Deluxe Room with City View Rate: $210 per night, per room, with breakfast included; check-in on October 28, 2020 with check-out on October 29, 2020
  • Deluxe Room with Atrium View Rate: $198 per night, per room, with breakfast included; check-in on October 28, 2020 with check-out on October 29, 2020

To book your pre-tour hotel stay at InnAthens on October 28th, 2020, please contact CountryBred at info@countrybred.com

Departure & End of Tour

The tour will end on November 6th, 2020 with group drop-off at Athens International Airport. If you are planning to depart from Athens International Airport on November 6th, 2020, you will need to book a departing flight that leaves no earlier than 9:00 AM, to allow for ample time following the scheduled group drop-off. 

  • Tour End Date: November 6th, 2020
  • Suggested Airport: Athens International Airport
  • Drop-off Location: Athens International Airport
  • Drop-off Time: 9:00 AM

Changes to the Tour Itinerary

CountryBred has designed this exclusive gourmet tour for The Tree & Vine to highlight seasonal vinicultural and gastronomic experiences of the highest caliber. As this tour has been specially crafted to take you off the beaten path and introduce you to authentic local food and wine experiences, it may require that necessary adjustments be made to the tour schedule either prior to departure or during the tour. Rest assured, we will make every effort to provide you with the touring experience outlined in the itinerary. Please be advised that we cannot provide refunds for any touring days, activities, excursions, tastings, etc., in which you have chosen not to participate, or any costs associated with opting out of a planned activity or excursion (i.e. taxi or bus fare).

Luggage Allowance

Each tour participant is allowed a total of one medium sized suitcase (25” to 27” inches) and one standard carry-on. Please note that this luggage allowance will be strictly enforced, as the size of the tour vehicle will only accommodate the set number of tour participants and the outlined luggage allowance per participant. Any deviation from the outlined luggage allowance will result in unnecessarily cramped tour bus conditions.

Traveler Welcome Package

Your Traveler Welcome Package will be mailed out to arrive prior to your departure on the tour and will include a printed copy of the detailed tour itinerary, as well as other supplemental travel information.

HOW TO BOOK

To reserve your spot on this exclusive tour for The Tree & Vine, please refer to the following steps. The group size for this tour is 14 participants.

Step 1: 

Please contact Terri Karlsson of The Tree & Vine at terril@thetreeandvine.com or Terri’s mobile 828-577-1848, to make arrangements for submitting your trip deposit. A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost ($2,497.50/per person) will be required as the first step in reserving your spot on the trip.

Step 2: 

After your trip deposit has been submitted to Terri at The Tree & Vine, you will need to complete and submit CountryBred’s online Group Traveler Agreement Form. You can fill out and submit the form by visiting CountryBred’s Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2020 page at http://countrybred.com/gourmet-getaway-to-greece, or you can find the online Group Traveler Agreement Form at the following address: http://countrybred.com/grouptraveleragreementform/ 

Once your trip deposit and Group Traveler Agreement Form have been received, your spot will be reserved on the trip. Should you have any additional questions regarding your reservation and the submittal of your deposit to The Tree & Vine, please contact Terri Karlsson at Terri@thetreeandvine.com or 865-985-0524. Should you have any questions regarding the submittal of your online Group Traveler Agreement Form, you can contact CountryBred at booking@countrybred.com or 1-800-615-3543.

Trip Balance Payment

Trip balance is due to Terri Karlsson of The Tree & Vine by no later than August 15st, 2020 (approximately 60 days prior to tour departure).

Payments may be made by MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or by check made payable to The Tree & Vine.

Cancellations

If you cancel by or before May 25th, 2020: You will receive a 100% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel between May 26th, 2020 and August 21st, 2020: You will receive a 50% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel between August 22nd, 2020 and September 25th, 2020: You will receive a 25% refund of your paid deposit

If you cancel after September 25th, 2020 all monies paid will be non-refundable

Trip cancellation must be made by calling Terri Karlsson, at The Tree & Vine at 828-577-1848, and must be followed up by written confirmation via email or mail.

—-

Please note that itineraries and itinerary verbiage, supplemental tour information, flyer design, proprietary copy and copyrighted photos are to be used exclusively for promoting the CountryBred and The Tree & Vine co-branded small group gourmet tour.