New foodie tours explore little-known world cuisines and delicacies

Are you a foodie with a taste for travel and adventure? Have you mastered the arts of cheesemaking, coffee roasting, patisserie, and charcuterie? If yet another holiday spent making wine in Napa Valley, rolling pasta with Tuscan Nonnas, or whipping up tom yung goong in Chiang Mai makes you want to yawn, then you’re going to love the newest culinary travel company to emerge in this burgeoning industry.

Jaded Palate Tours, based out of San Francisco, California, offers “luxury artisanal culinary adventures” for the the discerning, well-traveled foodie who loves to be on the cutting edge of all that’s edible. Imagine the bragging rights you’ll have after spending a week deep in the Sulawesi jungle, harvesting kopi luwak–the world’s most expensive coffee–with local indigenous peoples. You’ll hand-sort the rare and precious beans by extracting them from the dung of the native Asian Palm Civet cat (after the creatures feast on coffee berries, their digestive enzymes soak into the beans, giving kopi luwak its prized aroma and lack of acidity).If you’re more in the mood for la vida loca, journey to glorious Coria in northwestern Spain to partake in an ancient culinary tradition: the Toro de San Juan. You’ll participate in this public running of the bulls, joining the colorful townsfolk at throwing scissors, knives, darts, and other sharp implements at the fearsome creature until it collapses. In this daring game of courage, agility, and skill, the main objective is to cut off the bull’s testicles while it is still alive. Even if you can’t meet this noble goal, you will have the opportunity to prepare and eat the “criadillas” with a famed Extremaduran chef, in an exclusive Jaded Palate cooking class.

Other offerings for 2011 include: “Tanzania Safari/Maasai Hut-Stay,” where you’ll learn how to herd and bleed your host family’s cow, before joining them for a delicious repast of curdled milk and blood.

Tour the romantic countryside of Gascony, for our “Fun with Foie Gras” adventure. You’ll stay in quaint village pensiones, when you’re not helping local farmers force-feed their geese with the finest non-GMO corn. You’ll learn how to prepare and cook this most classic of French delicacies from local farm wives.

In the Peruvian Amazon “Chewing Chicha Adventure,” sleep in luxe hammocks (mosquito netting included) under the rainforest canopy. Learn to use a blowgun to hunt rare forest creatures for your dinner, and make chicha (the saliva-fermented beverage made from banana or manioc) with the Hauorani people, before joining the village in a traditional chicha bowl-passing ceremony (Malaria and tuberculosis prophylaxis and dysentery not included in this itinerary).

Sign up now for our ultra-exclusive winter tour of the famed “Qing Ping Market Feast” in Guangzhou, China! You’ll shop for the raw ingredients for your hands-on cooking class with a local Master Chef, and then sit down to a traditional banquet featuring delicacies such as Siberian tiger penis, snake wine, and Guangzhou’s specialty: stewed “fragrant meat,” also known as dog. December, 2011 will be the only time this tour is offered, due to the forthcoming ban on dog consumption in China, and the lack of Siberian tigers left in the wild. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

Foodies, the world is your oyster. Go shuck it. For more information on Jaded Palate Tours, click here.

As a preview for our 2012 tour, “Mountains, Mutton, and Maggots: Cheesemaking in Sardina,” watch acclaimed Italian chef Antonio Carlucci enjoying the island’s famed Casu Marzu maggot cheese. Buon appetito!

Photo of the day (4.1.10)

Today’s Photo of the Day comes from RobertRexdotcom and was chosen to mourn the recent decision to take down this Southern California landmark and replace it with yet another large cell phone tower.

Apparently, with the advent of GPS, Hollywood residents no longer need the writing on the mountain to guide them home.

If you’ve always wanted to see the 87-year old sign, you’re last chance will be next year on the first of April, 2011.

Are you a Flickr user who’d like to share a travel related picture or two for our consideration? Submit it to Gadling’s Flickr group right now! We just might use it for our Photo of the Day!

Daily Pampering: Vermont resort makes use of natural resources for new spa treatments

Vermont is known for many things – maple syrup, Ben & Jerry’s, Woodstock, and some of the best skiing in New England. Now comes word one Vermont hotel is taking its environmental surroundings to a new level – the spa.

The Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe has added some new spa services to their menu in an effort to help travelers enjoy the spa at reduced costs, and to take advantage of Vermont’s natural surroundings.

“We devised a new treatment around our surroundings to save on product costs,” said Alexandra Sharpe, the spa’s director.

Guests will not only a get a great view of the snow-capped mountains, but become one with them. The Freeze Treatment, a new service available to guests, will, quite literally, freeze you. The results: no more bags under your eyes and the excess water weight, which can cause significant puffiness around the ankles and wrists, will decrease.

The spa therapist will help you get iced up. After they’ve dug a snow-cave, the therapist will pad you down and keep you ‘frozen’ for 25 minutes – the amount of time needed to reduce puffiness and help tighten your skin.

“In this economy, people are looking for wellness and preventative medicines, and to that end are looking for treatments that yield true results,” said Sharpe.

As for the cost? If you can handle the treatment, they’ll give it to you for free.

Dubai no longer owns the top floor of their tallest building

Due to the new vertical regulations passed last week, it has been determined that Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, has at least one floor higher than the country’s vertical boundaries.

The building stands at approximately 2,625 feet. Last week’s international conference determined that vertical boundaries for any given nation should end at 790 meters, or about 2,592 feet. The new regulation was intended to allow duty free shopping on all flights — including smaller, private planes — but it looks as though the Burj Khalifa may have been an oversight.

Representatives from Dubai have yet to make an official comment or to disclose whether this regulation will affect just one or two levels of the Burj Khalifa. There is a rumor that they have begun talks to open a duty free shop right in their top-floor observation deck.

Marijuana declared legal over international waters [Update]

Though cigarette smoking seems to be on the outs, marijuana smoking is becoming more and more widely accepted.

Yesterday, in an international symposium held by the FAA, a presentation was given encouraging airlines to consider purchasing stocks of marijuana for their overseas flights. Specialist Sanford Kronenbergerstein appeared outside the conference afterward to talk to the press.

“In international waters, international jurisdictions apply. If smoking marijuana is legal anywhere, and it is, it should be legal over international waters, by air or by sea,” he said.

International waters, or trans-boundary waters, are defined as areas 12 nautical miles from any given country’s shoreline.

“People could get in trouble for having it in various airports, so it’s up to the airlines to supply the marijuana. I think most airlines will find this to be a tremendous source of additional income, which we all know they could really use in this economic climate. There should be smoking and non-smoking areas designated — and I think they’ll find their smoking areas full of mellower, happier passengers,” said Kronenbergerstein with a smile.

Guess they’d better stock up on chips, too. Mile-high munchies.

UPDATE: Holland’s national carrier, KLM, announced immediate plans to to carve out space in this new market. Apparently, they plan to —
1.) rebrand KLM as “Keep Loving Marijuana”;
2.) designate sections of all planes as either “toking” or “non-toking” (rumors are circling that they plan to charge additional fees for choosing seats in one section or the other, though it’s unclear which section which will come with an additional fee);
3.) hire Woody Harrelson as their new “tokesperson.”

[Thanks, Rick!]