WNC-based Chef announces culinary and wine tour | Life

Tango in Buenos Aires, private al fresco wine dinners in Mendoza, the breathtaking scenery of Patagonia, and sampling Argentine flavors with a native chef all along the way — this is the experience on offer this fall from Ricardo Fernandez Battini, an Argentina-born chef and Western North Carolina local. Battini […]

Tango in Buenos Aires, private al fresco wine dinners in Mendoza, the breathtaking scenery of Patagonia, and sampling Argentine flavors with a native chef all along the way — this is the experience on offer this fall from Ricardo Fernandez Battini, an Argentina-born chef and Western North Carolina local. Battini announced his 2021 Argentina Culinary Wine Tour dates: Nov. 5-17.

The 12-day luxury excursion, led by Battini and his wife, Suzanne, includes four days to experience the old-world elegance of Buenos Aires, three days in the high plateaus of the Mendoza wine country, and three days in the breathtaking Lake District town of San Carlos de Bariloche, situated in the heart of Patagonia. Centered around Argentine food and wine, the small-group tour (limit 14) includes overnight stays at five-star hotels, private transportation and in-country flights, exclusive wine tastings and private dinners at various vineyards, a private olive oil tasting course, a tour of one of the world’s premier opera houses, and a tango and dinner show. Guests have plenty of leisure time to explore on their own as well. The tour will be following any CDC guidelines under the COVID-19 pandemic that are in place at that time.

“Seeing the grapes on the vine, growing against the backdrop of the Andes, and then venturing inside for a private lunch and tasting with the vintner—it’s simply unbelievable,” said Battini. “You can’t get this kind of intimate experience anywhere else.” That’s because the tour is built around Battini’s personal connections.

After 25 years as residents of Haywood County, Ricardo and Suzanne are well known in Western North Carolina culinary circles for launching one of the first farm-to-table restaurants in the region, the erstwhile Lomo Grill, in the early 1990s.

After operating a catering business and monthly cooking classes, the couple curated an immersive, first-class food and wine excursion to Argentina, launching their first tour in 2015.

The couple also owns and operates the Yin Yurt at Wildcat Ridge Farm in Clyde, which offers a luxury glamping experience in the mountains. The property also is home to one of the largest peony farms in North Carolina.

The Festival of Peonies in Bloom at Wildcat Ridge Farm (3553 Panther Creek Road, Clyde), which takes place May 1-30, is an opportunity for the public to enjoy, pick and purchase peony plants and blooms.

Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; admission is free. (wildcatridgefarm.com).

For more info, visit argentinafoodandwinetours.com. Reservations are underway.

To book a tour or for more information, email [email protected] or call 828-246-7542 or 828-492-4073.

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