Chef James Eddington invites you to join him on a culinary tour in the South of France. Explore the charming Minervois wine region with this award winning chef. We’re planning an intimate house party for a small group of food and wine lovers and hope you’ll join us in France in 2024! Bring along your passion for beauty, history, cooking, good conversation and new sights and tastes for a holiday you’ll long remember.
Enjoy… your stay in a magnificent 12th century castle! Home will be a beautifully renovated chateau in a tiny village surrounded by vineyards. Five private acres, a swimming pool, a garden and a vineyard will be yours to enjoy, and beautiful walks will take you out into the countryside in every direction.
Inside there is plenty of space for 12 guests to find privacy or spend time together. The house has been in the same family since 1730 – parts of it date back to the 12th century when it was a Cathar stronghold – so family furniture and portraits fill every room, making it a real home away from home. Your shared accommodation will be in handsomely decorated, antique-filled bedrooms with en suite baths and king or twin beds.
Enhance… your culinary skills and knowledge of local food and wine at daily cooking classes. Menus will be created with James as ingredients are selected at local markets, artisanal shops and wineries. Cheeses, breads, seafood, sausage, honey, olives, produce of amazing size and quality – a morning at the market is entertaining and educational!
Lunches will be in restaurants typical of the region, from local favourites to Michelin-starred, from simple home style cooking to works of culinary art. We’ll taste our way through olive mills, wineries, and dairies; we’ll make our own culinary discoveries and bring them home to share.
Explore… the countryside, the vineyards, and ancient villages.
An early morning walk into the hills is a lovely way to begin the day and never to be forgotten. Bring your camera to capture vines bursting with fruit and the sun rising on tiny medieval villages that dot the patchwork of olive groves, orchards and vineyards. You’ll experience a way of life that hasn’t changed very much in hundreds of years.
And each day will take us to an historic site or ancient village…
Carcassonne, the largest walled city in Europe;
Minerve, one of ‘The Most Beautiful Villages in France’;
Narbonne, once the Roman capital of Gaul;
The Canal du Midi, in the 17th century considered to be the greatest human feat of engineering in the world
Experience… a way of life little changed in hundreds of years. The loveliest part of France is waiting to be discovered, and Chef James Eddington invites you to visit it with him in 2024. The Minervois wine region is in the sunny south, nestled between the Pyrenees mountains and the Mediterranean Sea – the country’s oldest wine-producing region, beautiful, charming, rich in history and culture, the garden of France. Wine aficionados will already be familiar with the exceptional vintages to be found here, there’s no better place to explore and enjoy French cuisine, and no better guide than Chef James Eddington.
SPACE IS LIMITED! Please contact Nancy for complete details at 226-973-6082 or e-mail email@example.com.
- 7 nights accommodation and local transportation
- All meals, wine and gratuities
- All sightseeing and excursions
- All cooking classes with Chef James
- Includes all applicable taxes and service charges
- 24-hour Ellison Travel & Tours emergency contact number while on tour
- Insurance has not been included as part of your tour package. Ellison Travel strongly recommends the purchase of Manulife Insurance coverage for Cancellation and Interruption Insurance, COVID-19 Travel Plan, Comprehensive Assistance, Health Coverage, Individual Accident Coverage and Baggage and Personal Effects Insurance. Contact us for rates and complete details.
- International airfare – Inquire with us about group space
- Passport, visas, government processing fees, vaccinations, COVID tests, if required at time of travel
- Additional taxes, fuel surcharges or service charges levied by the governments or our suppliers
- Deposit of $1,000 required to confirm your space
- Final payment deadline June 21, 2024
Day 1 – Saturday, September 21 • TOULOUSE – AGEL (L/D)
Guests will be picked up by coach at the Hotel Pullman Toulouse Centre Ramblas, Toulouse at 11:00am for a drive straight to our home for the week, a restored chateau in the heart of the Minervois wine-growing region. Lunch will be waiting in the garden and the afternoon will be yours to explore the neighbourhood. All our dinners will be at home this week.
Overnight – private Chateau d’Agel – 7 nights
Private transportation pick up will be scheduled for 11:00am from Pullman Toulouse Central Hotel
Day 2 – Sunday, September 22 • ST. CHINIAN – MINERVE (B/L/D)
We’ll begin each day with (an optional!) sunrise walk in the hills around the chateau and breakfast in the dining room. Today, an early start will allow us a leisurely drive through the vineyards and hills to the lovely market town of St. Chinian. Follow James as he selects produce for our meals, then perhaps sit with a cafe au lait to watch the bustle of a French market at the peak of harvest time. Lunch will be in Minerve, one of ‘The Most Beautiful Villages in France’ and we’ll return to the chateau for a cooking demonstration and dinner.
Day 3 – Monday, September 23 • CARCASSONNE (B/L/D)
Carcassonne is the largest walled city in Europe and our morning there will be free to explore all it has to offer – the cathedral, the castle, the cafes, the shops. A cassoulet lunch is a must, and then we’ll leave to enjoy some time at our own castle. A cooking demonstration with James will be followed by dinner together on the terrace, under the stars.
Day 4 – Tuesday, September 24 • OLONZAC (B/L/D)
The market in Olonzac will be overflowing with produce and artisanal cheeses, breads, and sausages, so a couple of hours there will be educational and entertaining. Lunch will be at a favourite restaurant nearby and then we’ll visit an organic vineyard where wine has been produced by the same family for almost 300 years. A class with James based on the treats we found at the market will be followed by the dinner we make together.
Day 5 – Wednesday, September 25 • AGEL (B/L/D)
It’s a day at home, to enjoy the castle, the property, the village, and the neighbourhood. We’ll create a lunch menu typical of the region and to recover from the feast we’ll walk into the vineyards and hills on a photographic expedition. Or sit by the pool. Or cook some more!
Day 6 – Thursday, September 26 • NARBONNE (B/L/D)
Another market day, this time in the old Roman town of Narbonne. There are historic sites to visit so we’ll have a morning tour and then meet in the covered market for lunch. Tonight, we will visit the castle’s cellar for a wine tasting before cooking and enjoying our meal together.
Day 7 – Friday, September 27 • CORBIERES HILLS (B/L/D)
The Corbieres Hills offer a different kind of scenery to enjoy, olive oil to taste, a couple of charming villages to peek at, and one of the finest restaurants in the south of France. This might be the highlight of your week – and our last dinner at home will be a light one…….
Day 8 – Saturday, September 28 • AGEL – TOULOUSE (B)
It’s time to go, and this morning we’ll make sure you’re on your way to the Toulouse Airport early enough for a 10:00am departure.
B – Breakfast / L – Lunch / D – Dinner / M – airline meal – denote meals included in tour cost
***While it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the tour. Due to traffic or other circumstances beyond our control, it may be necessary or desirable to make alterations. Chefs’ Table Tours reserves the right to change the itinerary when deemed necessary.**
Level 1 – Easy This trip is appropriate for travellers with basic good health, balance, and mobility. There are no physically demanding activities, but some days may be longer touring days than others. Walking on flat terrain, standing for long periods of time during guided tours, stairways sometimes without handles, absence of elevators, and getting on and off buses, boats or other modes of transportation unassisted can be expected.
$6,250CAD per person double occupancy1st payment
Deposit of $1,000 required to confirm your space
Balance due June 21, 2024
All payments are 100% non-refundable
Chef James Eddington
Food is the focus of our trip, and cooking classes with our own chef will be the highlight of your days. You’ll learn the secrets of French cuisine and the culinary techniques and philosophies of Chef James Eddington. You’ll take home a wealth of knowledge and a week’s worth of new recipes, too! Chef James has hosted multiple culinary tours through Europe and South America. Guests always speak volumes of the experience provided by Chef James, Nancy and their team.
James graduated from Fanshawe College in 1997 and immediately came to Exeter and opened his own restaurant, “Eddington’s of Exeter”, now celebrating 25 years in business. The restaurant is located in the original Carling homestead, built in the 1870s. After two major renovations, an addition of a new dining room and a serene outdoor backyard summer patio, the restaurant has a clean and modern look while maintaining its warm, traditional feel. James is an advocate of serving local food and states “we are so blessed to be living in such an agriculturally rich area of the world”. Although the local food movement is really starting to take off, it has always been the driving force in Eddington’s kitchen. At Eddington’s the menu changes frequently, as each season inspires the delicacies our region has to offer. Chef James was award “top 30 under 30” by the Ontario Hostelry Institute recognized by the Globe and Mail.
In addition to overseeing all aspects of the restaurant, James is also involved in the community. He is a member of the Exeter BIA, sits on the Huron County Economic Development board, as well as an Exeter Director for RTO4 Regional Tourism Board 4 (representing Agra culinary for Huron, Perth, Wellington, and Waterloo counties). James has also supported many charities in Huron County and region throughout the years. He has donated many culinary prize packages as silent and live auction items for the Conservation Dinner and the Exeter Hospital Foundation. James has also supported the Huron Women’s Shelter, Taste for Life and helped promote International Women’s Day through the restaurant. On a personal note, James hosted hospitality and tourism students at the restaurant and mentors future chefs at Fanshawe College. Recently Chef Eddington has just purchased a small 25 acre farm along the shores of Lake Huron producing many of the restaurant fruits, vegetables and white beans and now tends his own honey bees on premise.