Celebrations International Travel Blog

Archive for August 2009

Uniworld Grand River Cruises has been added to Celebrations International Travel’s main Web site.

A world leader in luxury river cruising, Uniworld offers cruises inEurope, Russia & Ukraine, China, and Egypt.

To learn more, visit our Uniworld Grand River Cruises page or contact us.

Promotional rates are currently available on 2010 China itineraries.  Contact us for more information.

Budapest, Hungary

Moscow, Russia

Guilin, China

Travcoa. Egypt


Celebrations International Travel’s Australia Culinary Tour has just been posted to our Web site!  This sample itinerary is the latest addition to our exclusive line-up of customized culinary tours.

How are they customized?  The itineraries you see posted on our Culinary Travel Homepage are only intended as examples of what our agency’s culinary tours would typically be like.  They are meant to inspire your travels, then we add in some of your own ideas to create a customized tour just for your family, friends, group, or organization.  There are no set departure dates unless your tour is centered on a time-specific event, so we will work with your time constraints and any reasonable budget that you prefer.

Here’s to Celebrating Life Through Travel in Australia!

Tonight we went out for dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Pho.   This little restaurant isn’t exactly a “hole in the wall,” but lacks atmosphere, making up for it with some of the best food.  (Isn’t that true of many local favorites?)

Although we eat there from time to time, what made tonight’s dinner unique was a whole red snapper, pan-fried crispy and topped with a light sweet-and-sour sauce.   I must note that the Vietnamese-style sauce is nothing like the syrupy stuff you might be used to getting with generic Chinese take-out.  Instead, Vietnamese sweet-and-sour is lighter in color and flavor and mixed with sauteed onions, sweet red peppers, tomatoes, and fresh pineapple, topped with cilantro.

What a treat!  The four of us devoured the 2 1/2-pound fish in no time, and the kids were asking for more.  This was just a simple Friday night dinner, but anyone who knows me knows I am all about great food.  What a great way to end a busy week.

If this sounds good, check out our Vietnam Culinary Tour.  The sample itinerary is there to whet your appetite and inspire your travels, but as always, we will customize any tour to suit your needs, wants, and time and budget constraints.  If you’re hungry for more, visit our Culinary Travel Homepage to see all of the culinary tour destinations we have posted.  If you’re interested in a destination that’s not posted, just ask us!

Dove-tailing on my last post about the Northern France Culinary Tour, I thought I’d share with you some of my own travel experiences in France.

My junior year in high school, I was a Rotary Exchange Student in Mulhouse, France (in the Alsace region, near the French-German-Swiss border).  I attended a French “lycee,” or high school, and lived with a number of host families.  These experiences are the origin of the Alsatian Baekenoffe recipe I posted a few days ago.   I remember watching my host mothers make it, most often for family dinners on Sundays.

Alsace is also home to “La Route du Vin,” or the “Wine Route”.  Crement d’Alsace is the Alsatian version of a sparkling white wine, which pairs excellently with Baekenoffe or Choucroute Garni, another Alsatian specialty of sauerkraut, pork, and different types of sausage.

While the Northern France Culinary Tour does not feature Alsace, since all of our tours are fully customized, we would be more than happy to design a tour for you that includes Alsace and/or any other regions or cities you would like.  Just ask us!

I have to go now, but stay tuned for my next entry, where I’ll tell you about my two visits to Paris.

We’ve added a sample itinerary for a Northern France Culinary Tour to our Culinary Travel Homepage.   Check it out, and let us know if you might be interested.  Remember, these are only suggested itineraries and can be customized to suit you and your traveling companions.

I’ll write about my own experiences in France in future posts, but for now, Bon Appetit!

Please visit our newly-updated Culinary Travel Homepage.

Our current destinations with sample itineraries posted include:









We will be adding more destinations soon.  Please note that the links above will take you to our sample itineraries, however, they are only meant as an example and to inspire ideas in culinary travel.  Everything we do is customized to your needs and preferences, so let us create your ideal culinary vacation!  We work with your budget and time constraints in mind and design tours around what you want to see and do.

Not familiar with a destination?  No problem.  That’s where our destination experts come in.  We will suggest sightseeing, cultural activities, shopping, whatever you’d like us to include in your tour.

If you have a destination in mind that isn’t listed, email info@celebrationsinternationaltravel.com or call (480) 272-6020 and let us know.  We can have a tour designed just for you!

Here is the baekeoffe recipe that I made recently.  It is a very rich, traditional recipe, perfect for a nice Sunday dinner!  I learned about it from my various Alsatian host families.  Try this, and let me know how yours turns out!  Maybe it will inspire you to join us on a future culinary tour to Europe!

Alsatian Baekeoffe

Recipes: Baeckeoffe (meat stew)
24 hours of marinating
30 minutes of preparation
3 hours of cooking


500 g (1 lb) boneless beef topside, brisket or chuck – 500 g (1 lb) boneless pork shoulder or loin – 500 g (1 lb) boneless shoulder of sheep or lamb – 1 pork tail and 1 pork trotter (optional) – 250 g (½ lb) onions – 1 large carrot – 2 cloves garlic – 1.5 kg (3 lb) potatoes – 2 leek whites – ½ litre (2 cups) Riesling or Sylvaner – 1 bouquet garni of thyme, bay leaves, and sage, tied with a string – ground cloves – salt and pepper – flour


• Make a marinade by mixing the wine, the leek whites, a few onions, the carrot sliced in rounds, the bouquet garni and the spices.
• Chop the meat and marinate it in the above mixture for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
• Preheat the oven to 210 °C (thermostat 7 – 410°F).
• Peel and slice the potatoes, cover the bottom of a terrine with them and add salt and pepper.
• Slice the remaining onions, place them on top of the first layer and add salt and pepper.
• Place the meat on top of the onions and add salt and pepper.
• Remove the herbs and vegetables from the marinade liquid.
• Pour the marinade liquid, the rest of the white wine and a little water over the three layers until the level reaches the middle of the terrine.
• Add the marinade herbs, plus salt and pepper.
• Make dough with the flour and water and use it to seal the terrine’s lid.
• Put in the oven and bake for at least 3 hours (the longer it cooks, the better the Baeckeoffe will be).

Most suitable wine

Crémant d’Alsace, Riesling or Gewurztraminer

About Us

This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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