Captivating Croatia cordially invites you to join us and our Chef-Host, the renowned Chef Scott Crawford, from Crawford and Son in Raleigh, North Carolina. Come, experience the ultimate culinary adventure! Escape with us to exotic Croatia for a week-long, food-centric vacation of a lifetime.
Chef Scott Crawford will be our Chef-Host for this culinary excursion, which takes place Sunday, September 2nd to Sunday, September 9th, 2018. Get ready to explore one of the most beautiful places in the world as we visit Dubrovnik and the areas surrounding Croatia’s most storied city, brimming with culinary history and lore.
Captivating Croatia’s chef led tours gives the other guests the added value of a culinary masters’ perspective and input. With this tour, Chef Scott will bring his years of training in the culinary arts to “the table” and offer a unique experience that other tours can’t offer. Guests will experience an almost all-inclusive vacation where they will get to interact, explore, cook, drink, eat and learn with Chef Scott for 8 days and even take part in several cooking classes and workshops. In addition to the above, guests will experience numerous other excursions including winery visits and tastings, a foodie walking tour of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, a Game of Thrones tour and much more!
Our home base for the tour is the Dubrovnik area, which has been voted one of prettiest cities in the world. The tour will offer an intimate behind the scenes experience, featuring lavish backdrops and breathtaking landscapes now made famous by the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones. The tour focuses on delicious local foods, wines, and the amazing history and sights in and around the Dubrovnik area.
This tour is so unconventional, we consider it ‘The Un-Tour Tour” – We promise, we will not herd you like cattle, each group is limited to 8-14 people, and this chef led tour, like all our tours, will be intimate and completely hands on, with the bonus of experiencing it firsthand with Chef Scott. Guests get the most unique and personalized interactions, from the vineyards to exploring the roads less traveled, and you get to take it all in – from a micro-perspective vs covering a lot of area throughout the entire country. You will get an authentic look into the lives of artisanal producers, winemakers and people of Croatia. This will be a truly behind the scenes vacation, one to nourish the body and the soul. Come ignite your passions with our land, our people, our food, our drink, our heritage, and experience a trip of a lifetime with Chef Scott! The Tour is being led by us, cooked by us, and savored by YOU. So, pack those bags and get ready for adventure … Croatia is calling you!
Croatia is incredibly diverse, especially with regards to its culinary history, yet so many Americans know virtually nothing about the beauty and culture of this Mediterranean paradise. The food and wine culture are perhaps one of the most diverse in Europe. It is here, one can taste the richness of Central Europe, the subtlety of the Mediterranean and the exotic influences of the East.
Think about Croatia as a gastronomic melting pot simmering for centuries. Visiting Croatia and dining alongside chefs and locals alike is like taking a trip through tastes and time.
Arrive at the Dubrovnik Airport, feeling the warm Dalmatian breeze and sun refreshingly hit your face. And immediately get whisked off to wine country, a short but scenic drive just outside of Dubrovnik. We will be visiting Pelješac peninsula, one of Croatia’s most superlative spots for wine sipping. Along the way, we’ll stop at a rustic konoba, or taverna, to indulge in some local light bites and a sampling of some Dalmatian cordials. After settling in into the comfortable hotel (TBD), we will gather for a wine tasting and homemade dinner from the winemaker at their 700-year-old winery/homestead.
Get ready to get wet! Today, we will venture through the wine region of Dingač and hop on a boat, taking us to experience the azure waters of the Adriatic. We will be joined by a local fisherman who doubles as a free-diver and spear-fisherman. After he demonstrates his craft, feel free to jump in the Adriatic with him. In addition to fish, we’ll go hunting for delicious sea urchin and other edible Adriatic surprises. After some time exploring the coastline, we will take our spoils to a leafy hidden gem to grill off our catch. We will also receive a cooking lesson on stewed octopus and black risotto, two Dalmatian specialties and enjoy a relaxing meal under the trees while sipping on wines produced from the area. After the meal, take some free time and then we’ll head to the peninsula’s top winery for a tour and some vino sipping. Day 2 concludes with a degustation dinner at the winery’s gourmet restaurant.
Kick off Day 3 by hopping on another boat. Today we go island hopping, heading first to the historic island of Korčula, the apparent ancestral home of Marco Polo. Our adventure in Korčula begins with a guided tour of the city and its narrow streets followed by a visit to one of the island’s most famed wineries for a tasting. We’ll also visit a residence that preserves ancient artisanal crafts where we’ll also take part in a tasting of rakija, a locally made and potent fruit brandy. Our visit to Korčula concludes with specially paired dinner at Demitri Lesic showcasing the fusion of the finest gastronomic products available in Croatia and the gourmet stylings of one of Croatia’s top chefs.
Begin the day with a short ride to historic Mali Ston, a seaside village that is famed for its clams and oysters. Ride on a boat along the pristine waters, taking in the rustic villages and tall craggy mountains. Once in town, get a demo on oyster farming and production, which has been happening here since antiquity. The oysters here are so good, even ancient Roman emperors used to put in delivery orders. We will venture out to a private island for a seafood feast prepared by Chef Scott, with enough free time for some dips into the sea. After drying off, head to the nearby Ston Sea salt beds, the oldest still operational salt pools in the world. This area is also known for the Walls of Ston and we have arranged for special access to walk the walls, said to be the longest in the world outside of China’s Great Wall. The day concludes with a comfortable meandering drive down the coast to Dubrovnik.
Today is all about Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” We’ll begin by embarking on a professional guided food/history walking tour of the Old Town. Prepare to be seriously wowed by the city’s fairytale-like setting: its shiny white limestone streets, enchanting narrow alleyways, and imposing medieval walls feel otherworldly. Our day continues with a short boat trip to the island of Lokrum (also known as the Island of Kings) for a gourmet picnic lunch with a view of the ancient monastery built in 1023. After lunch, take some free time to explore this leafy island, hiking or relaxing on the beach, or experiencing one of the special attractions on the island: Mrtvo More (Dead Sea) where you can take a dip. Delight in the view of the famous peacocks walking freely all around this magical island. You are free to head back to the Old Town at your leisure, where you can explore the city by night.
Today we continue our journey as we travel to the southernmost town in Croatia called Cavtat, an erstwhile ancient Greek town that was called Epidaurus. Cavtat is known for its lush Mediterranean vegetation, wonderful waterfront views. Afterwards, we head inland to the bucolic and fertile Konavle Valley where we’ll check out the landmark Old Mill by the river Ljuta. And then we’ll visit an award-winning winery that dates to the 14th century where we’ll whet our appetites with some locally made vino. But save some stomach space for dinner: we’ll be partaking in a local feast called peka, meat and potatoes slow roasted for hours under a bell-like lid until the lamb or veal (or sometimes octopus) is rendered so tender your taste buds will feel tantalized. With your bellies full, and your senses heightened, we will return to Dubrovnik where you can dream about what tomorrow has in store for you.
The tour culminates with our Gypsy Table dinner. As Chef Scott and Chef Richard must prepare for the pop up dinner, today is a more relaxed and carefree day. We have arranged for you to enjoy a photo session with a professional photographer to get that perfect portrait with Dubrovnik as the backdrop, or if you are a “Game of Thrones” fan, we have arranged for a tour with one of the top guides. After, join us at the secret location for the Gypsy Table dinner and prepare for a night of amazing food, drink, and ambiance.
Guests will gather for breakfast at their own leisure, before departing for the Dubrovnik Airport (DBV) via private transfer to the airport.
About Chef Scott:
Known for his clean flavors and contemporary technique, chef Scott Crawford has earned esteemed praise for his approach to seasonal cooking in the South. After more than a decade as executive chef in luxury properties, including five years at The Umstead Hotel and Spa, Crawford opened Crawford and Son in downtown Raleigh in November 2016 where he celebrates the seasonal harvest and local resources through his simple yet inspired preparations.
A five-time James Beard Foundation semifinalist for “Best Chef: Southeast,” Crawford has embraced the South’s rich agriculture,and blazed a trail of culinary prestige while cooking across the region.
Crawford earned the coveted Forbes Five-Star award at Herons in The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Cary, N.C., from 2010 to 20 14, as he had previously,at The Georgian Room at The Cloister Hotel in Sea sland, Ga., from 2007 to 2009, and at The Woodlands Resort & nn in Summerville,S.C., from 2004 to 2006. Under his direction,Esquire Magazine named The Georgian Room a “Best New Restaurant” and Newsweek recognized Herons among the “101 Best Places to Eat in the World.”
Prior to opening Crawford and Son in the Oakwood neighborhood,Crawford showcased his progressive take on Southern comfort food as executive chef of Standard Foods,where he also spearheaded the restaurant’s whole-animal butcher program and backyard feeder farm.
As the owner of Crawford and Son, Crawford’s leadership extends beyond the kitchen. Inspired by his own struggle with finding a healthy work-life balance in the culinary industry,
Crawford has implemented a company culture geared towards fostering a healthy work environment for his staff. Add itionally,he has taken on an active role in the community by speaking publicly on the susta inability of the hospitality industry as well as founding the Raleigh chapter of Ben’s Friends,a support group for food and beverage professionals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction.
When not in the kitchen, Crawford can likely be found spending quality family time with his wife and two children,and traveling across the region.
There is a minimum $300 Cancellation Fee Penalty.
If you cancel:
180+ days – You will receive a 100% refund of all monies paid for the tour minus a $300 cancellation fee
120-179 days = 80% of monies paid by you returned to you minus the $300 cancellation fee
91- 119 days – 65% of monies paid returned to you minus the $300 cancellation fee
90 -61 days to tour departure – 30% of monies paid returned to you minus the $300 cancellation fee
60 days or less to tour departure – No return of any monies paid
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