Incredible experience that wont be forgotten! From expert tour guides to comfortable transportation to first class accommodations, I highly recommend touring Italy with this group.
We took the tour to Amalfi. Sam was very responsive and helpful. It's like a one stop shop. They helped us with flights, suggestions where to go and where to stay in Rome and Venice. The Amalfi coast is spectacular. The highlight of the tour was meeting this lovely family who is dedicated to growing a particular kind of lemon which grows only here. We had a fantastic 4 course cooking class. They have a store with exquisite chocolate, cream and other Limóncello variations and they can ship!
Thank you for an authentic experience, Sam. We are looking forward to see you again. Ciao
Magnifique! We booked the Best of Provence Tour. Best it was. The villa looks like as if it was taken from a movie. The setting is so calming, the rooms are large. The photos don't do justice to this place. The hospitality was warm and welcoming. Can't forget the cooking class at the chef's home. The tour guide does above and beyond to help. Sam, Thank you for Everything. I'm so happy we found you and your company!
We booked the tour to Piedmont. It has definitely changed the way that we are going to travel from now on. We visited places that you have to be a local to know them, which makes it so different and unique. It shows that Food N' Wine invests in cultivating local contacts. We added a trip to Lake Como. Do it if you have time. It makes sense and the views are stunning!
Thank you Food N Wine We are glad we have found you.
I am a travel agent and i must say that i was impressed with how this organization and Sam works. They are quick to respond, always happy to answer questions. It's the 'outside the box" approach that makes them unique. I have not seen a company's CEO who likes to stay involved and travels to Europe to have dinner or spend some time with the different groups. And the tour, My clients were raving about the experience.
More like Food and Wine CHEATERS
They are an overpriced over marked-up middle man website. Save yourself half the money (and I am not exaggerating) by finding the actual packaging/outfitting organization. In other words DONOT pay them a penny. Read the rest of it before you decide – and there isn’t really anything to “decide”.
I don't know about the rest of the reviews. I am not sure how people didn't see it, may be everybody was just in their vacation mood and didn't want to think about the price tag and its value. To me this whole "Food and Wine Vacations" Organization is a scam. This is how I think they work - They have a website where she lists a bunch of "Packages" that are actually packages by other outfitters, mostly local outfitters in France, Italy and other places. There's one person, yes one person and her name is Smadar Palace and she sometimes uses the name Sam I think. She lists the exact same packages on her website that is actually offered by these local outfitters and marks up by, wait for it, 80%!!! Not only does she mark up, she also keeps you in the dark about where you are staying, and tells you that the info will be mailed to you - by snail mail! Really? Why you wonder - Answer is she wants to delay giving you this information as much as possible so you don't google it and instantly figure that the markup is 80% and this is coupled with a site wide 90 day NO MONEY REFUND policy to ensure you are cheated and there’s no way back. Also, we found that the actual local outfitters are similarly kept in the dark about the vacationers going to their place - reason for this - She doesn't want them contacting you. How do I know all this? Because my wife and I just experienced this whole thing.
Here's our story:
We booked the "Taste Burgundy like a local" package of hers which in turn is a package offered by a B&B place in Beaune, France called "La Terre d'Or". The whole package - Breakfast, place to stay, your personal guide, all the tastings are provided and "already pre-packaged" NOT by Smadar or Food N Wine Vacations but... “La Terre d'Or” (who by the way is awesome) and guess what?? It costs half the price on their website. Just go book it. Google their name and book with them, if you are looking for a burgundy wine experience that is. If it's some other package/place you are looking for, then find the actual local outfitters. Cut the middle man and save 80%. My wife says she was told repeatedly by Smadar Palace NOT to call her, and whenever I've tried to call her, there is a pretense of connecting to an "Agent" and then goes to voicemail. And by this I am guessing, she has another full time job and just has a website to make money by RIPPING OFF PEOPLE. Oh, I almost forgot - When you pay her money, she sends you an excel spreadsheet as receipt. Can you believe it?? It is a hand typed Excel Spreadsheet and she calls it a receipt! Smadar is a cheat and a crook.
We were extremely anxious before the trip. Who wants to take a vacation being so anxious. We were anxious because Smadar withheld information from us and disclosed basic information such as where we were staying almost at the very end. This made us very uncomfortable and it was our 10th anniversary trip. But..... Many many thanks to La Terre d'Or, they made our trip. It was fantastic. And Shame on Smadar Palace and "Food N Wine Vacations" for preying on people's most treasured moments and making money off it! I can't say this enough.... STAY AWAY FROM THEM.
Operator's comment: This hatred and personal harassment will not go quiet.
My investment club, VIC, which is seven women used our profits to take a trip with Smadar and Food N' Wine Vacations. It was a wonderful trip and none like I have ever taken. Everything was beautifully planned and very authentically Italian. We loved the guides, the villas, and visiting the family owned, wineries, farms, and restaurant. We will definitely be looking into another similar trip.
Sam of Food & Wine Vacations did a fabulous job working with me to determine which type of activities would be fun for me and my husband Warren to do in Provence, France this fall. We were interested in culinary and photographic touring activities- markets, cooking class with a French chef, restaurants, wine, olive oil, and historical sites. Everything she coordinated was custom tailored to our tastes and timeline. Her bookings for the room and the tour guide were flawless - right on schedule and she delivered exactly what was promised. She even communicated to our tour guide in Avignon that I was an enthusiastic amateur photographer. Her advice on how to book and print a TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or high-speed train) ticket was invaluable, as we booked a trip on the TGV from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport to Avignon, Provence, and then from Avignon to Gare de Lyon-Paris. I splurged on first class, which was not that expensive because I took Sam’s advice and booked in advance. The seats were large and there was plenty of room to put our carry-on bags by our legs. Sam made me feel at ease when I inquired about taking the train from CDG to Avignon – the train station was collocated with the airport. I would gladly book with Sam again and recommend her services to anyone traveling to their favorite food and wine destinations.
Our trip to tuscany was truly a vacation. Every day was a unique and fulfilling experience on none stop food, wine and site seeing. The villa and Valter, our host, chef and tour guide made it even more special. I would recommend this to anyone wanting to experience Italy.
Our trip was fabulous and our tour guide was the very best. She was vivacious, showed her love for all things in Provence - the people, the history, and of course, the food and wine. This was no cookie cutter trip - we felt like we were the only tourists wherever we went. I would recommend this trip to all my friends.