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Gastronomic tours to SE Asia

( Globetrotting Gourmet® and announce two new gastronomic adventures to Asia for the '09 and early '10 season.

“Northern Vietnam: Revolutionary Cuisine&Dining Revelry" runs from July 12-22, coinciding with NSW school holidays. “Yunnan: China's most beautiful (and delicious!) Province" begins mid January, 2010.

When Lonely Planet wanted experts to write the food chapter for their upcoming Greater Mekong 2 edition, they looked no further than the dynamic duo at Globetrotting Gourmet®. Robert Carmack is author of two best-selling Asian cookbooks, while partner Morrison Polkinghorne is a designer. Both have strong backgrounds in their designated fields and together have been organizing and hosting food tours to Asia since 2000.

“We were thrilled by the Lonely Planet commission," noted Robert. “It allowed us to fully explore the cooking cultures of Yunnan, Laos, Cambodia, and delta Vietnam, plus north and northeast Thailand." Thailand's Isan region was a particular favorite for the boys, as they were instrumental in organizing last year's Isan Food Festival masterclass at the Sofitel Raja Orchid in Khon Kaen. That event attracted leading press and food specialists, and they look forward to it becoming a semi-annual event, with the next slated in 2010.

“Asia, and especially Bangkok, is like a second home to us, as we travel there six to eight times a year, although we only host two group tours annually," says Morrison. And what are they doing the other times? “We're either scouting new locations, destinations, restaurants, or buying fabrics for Morrison's second business," explained Robert. Polkinghorne wears two hats, his second as a designer, creating sumptuous Australian-made trimmings for leading interiors (he's been commissioned several times by Historic Houses Trust, including tassels for Kirribilli House) plus he imports fabrics from overseas.

Globetrotting Gourmet® also publishes a free quarterly e-newsletter on food-travel, written and edited by Robert and designed by Morrison. The tgtgNewsletter includes reviews of Asian restaurants, cookbooks, hotels, and airlines.

“Northern Vietnam: Revolutionary Cuisine&Dining Revelry" runs from July 12-22, and includes four nights in Hanoi at the trendy Conde-Nast Hot List favorite Inter-Continental hotel on West Lake, plus two nights chartered junk sailing Ha Long Bay and deluxe sleeper carriages to Sapa and Vietnam's highlands. There's a private market tour and cooking class with celebrity chef Didier Corlou - winner of Best Asian Cuisine Book in the World in '05 - plus Vietnam TV2 presenter Vu Minh Tho, showcasing the best of the North. Tho was a finalist for the Wanderlust Paul Morrison Guide Award in 2006, presented by the UK's leading travel magazine. He has now graduated to director of Asia Top Travel in Hanoi.

“Yunnan: China's Most Beautiful (and Delicious!) Province" runs mid January, well prior to Chinese New Year. The 11-day tour begins and ends in the capital Kunming and includes Shilin's “stone forest," Dali's ancient town and Erhai Lake, Lijiang's three Unesco world heritage sites, plus ancient mountain villages little changed in time. Daily breakfast, most meals, cooking class, gala dinners, and market tours are included.

Robert Carmack Email:

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