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Ellen Regenstreif

Beverly Hills, California Travel Agent

Epicurean Travel Agent

The Champagne region of France was where my husband and I honeymooned, and where we began to develop our shared passion for exceptional food and wine. We explored other regions of France over time and food and wine are now always an important part of all our trips.  

Many people do not realize how easy it is to explore the different regions of France. Reims, the center of the Champagne region, is just an hour and a half from Paris. Champagne lovers can taste their way along the “Route du Champagne” including the Dom Perignon tasting room.  

Food and wine pair well with the French countryside and are intertwined with French history, but almost every nation has a worthy epicurean side to enjoy. I’m arranging a trip to Budapest for a family now and Lake Balaton’s wine region provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the Hungarian countryside and taste some wonderful wines.  

I jokingly call myself “the restaurant collector,” because I love to add interesting restaurants to my repertoire of recommendations around the world. Many of my favorites are as wonderful for their ambiance as their food. I especially love places with a reverence for hospitality and the rituals of dining that go back centuries. One of the oldest restaurants in Europe is Restaurante Botin in Madrid, where they have been serving suckling pig on the same wood blocks for more than three centuries.  

Many people associate cities with Michelin-star restaurants, but some of my favorite restaurants are deep in the countryside. Maison Lameloise, for example, in the heart of Burgundy’s wine country, earns three Michelin stars almost every year and has been in the Michelin guides since 1926. Best of all, after a wonderful dinner, you can stay in the Maison’s elegant 16-room Relais & Chateau hotel.  

Epicurean travelers often enjoy learning to recreate their favorite discoveries in their kitchens at home. In Italy, pasta and pizza classes are wonderful for families and chefs or all ages. In France, you can cook with a famous chef, or spend an afternoon with a local homemaker, creating a dinner from scratch, starting with shopping for ingredients at the market, and then enjoy a family dinner.  

One of the most fun cooking experiences was a dumpling class at the Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong where an amazing chef taught us the intricacies of filling, shaping and pinching dumplings to perfection.  

Best of all, epicurean travel offers an entrée into the heart and soul of the land, people and history of a destination. Whether you love Cognac or Armagnac, tapas or tortas, I can make sure you savor the very best, wherever you go. :

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