Food, Wine, and Fun at Travel & Adventure Show
Vacationing in faraway lands trumps working long hours without a break, and anyone interested in travel opportunities in 2011 had a great time at the Travel & Adventure Show in Santa Clara last weekend. Tour operators and trip organizers offered various travel options from luxurious to affordable, in accordance with tough economic times that call for more choices for the rich and better values for the rest of us.
Besides more than 150 exhibitors from Australia, India, Japan, China, Taiwan, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Tahiti, Israel, the Philippines, and all imaginable destinations from Alaska to California, the show brought in some fun activities to create a mini-vacation for the attendees.
Zip line, scuba pool, and rock climbing wall were open to the adventurous, while at the Global Beats Stage professional dancers performed Argentine Tango, salsa, and belly dances.
Special events included Fiery Foods Challenge, organized with media sponsorship from Cuisine Noir gourmet magazine, and Wines of the World seminars featuring some new and exciting wine producers from less traveled regions.
At the Fiery Foods Challenge, Chef Dominic Ainza of Mercury Lounge, San Francisco, presented spicy mango chicken; Chef Thomas Charoen of Straits Restaurants – tiger prawns with pickled Asian vegetables; and Chef Richard Pannell of Table 260, Sacramento, nearly knocked out the judges from the public with his Fire Hazard meatballs.
Wines of the World seminars were presented by Greg Shaw, Ph. D., who teaches tourism and hospitality courses at CSU Sacramento. His California Wine Tourism class usually fills up fast, maybe because it includes four obligatory winery tours each semester. Choices for the tours include an urban winery, like in mid-town Sacramento; one to an Eldorado high-altitude (3000ft) wine producer; one to Lodi – a hot wine region in more than one sense; and one to the well developed touristy areas of Sonoma or Napa.
In a private tasting with Prof. Shaw, this reporter has learned more about obscure and up-and-coming varietals and wine producers than she could hope to at any designated wine event. Oh, the roads we travel!
First, we tried Harvey Lane albarino from Lodi – a “great summer evening wine,” as the hospitality expert put it while he suggested to always serve it chilled.
Then, we moved to Lyrique Wine Co. Jazz – a classic Rhone Valley blend of 60% grenache, 32% syrah, and 8% mourvedre. This new winery names all its wines after music, said Prof. Shaw.
Finally, we tried Foley pinot noir from Sta Rita Hills, a region famous for its most expensive grapes. Foggy climate with three hours of direct sun on an average day yields a high-demand pinot auctioned around the world.
Thousands of visitors attended the Travel & Adventure Show in Santa Clara following its successful runs in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Dallas over the years since it started in 2003. For more information, visit their website.