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Introduction - Culinary Tourism in the Southeastern United States
A Cooking Class at Château Élan - See Page 3 for more information.

A Cooking Class at Château Élan - See Page 3 for more information.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Château Élan Winery and Resort
Introduction: The growing popularity of culinary travel, including cooking demonstrations and classes, creative dining experiences, food festivals, winery visits and vacation shopping for regional specialties has prompted many resorts, restaurants and shops to create new and exciting culinary adventures. While a number of cooking experiences have been available for serious foodies for years, many of the current recreational cooking classes are suited for travelers of all ability levels.

The formats range from short demonstrations or half-day classes for those who want to include a cooking experience in their vacation itinerary to multi-day destination resort packages, designed for travelers who are interested in a full immersion culinary travel experience. Almost all cooking classes include an opportunity to taste the dishes prepared or, in many cases, to enjoy a full meal with wine pairings at the conclusion of the classes.

To enhance the experience, many properties are investing in new professional teaching kitchens, featuring individual top-of-the-line cooking stations. Event schedules frequently include special programs with world-renowned guest chefs and seasonal menus, in addition to regularly scheduled cooking classes.

Culinary travel appeals to travelers of all ages and offers a great way for couples, families (including younger family members in programs designed for kids,) girlfriends and guy friends to enjoy spending time together during vacations in any season. Visitors to the Southeast are able to explore regional specialties such as Lowcountry cooking, barbecuing, and Southern desserts, as well as international cuisine and cooking techniques.

The following state-by-state sampling of cooking experiences in the Southeast includes a few options in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

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