May 28 2018 - June 3 2018
Food Forage and Foto Transylvania, Spring Edition
A Curated Culinary and Photographic Safari of Europe’s best kept secret
Sarmale with polenta © Chris Caldicott
Start Date: May 28 2018
Duration: 7 days
Cost: 2900 EUR/person 550 EUR single supplement

What Should You Expect?

A quintessential slow travel experience of Europe’s best kept secret on a Cooking and Photography trip with passionate food and travel expert, Carolyn, and globetrotting professional photographer husband, Chris Caldicott.

A quintessential slow travel experience of Europe’s best kept secret on a Cooking and Photography trip with passionate food and travel expert, Carolyn, and globetrotting professional photographer husband, Chris Caldicott.

Explore the rich mosaic of traditional cuisine and lifestyle of Romanian, Saxon and Hungarian culture with a back drop of timeless bucolic countryside, forests and mountains punctuated by self-sufficient ancient villages where farmers still travel by horse and cart, harvest the fields by hand with scythes and wooden pitchforks and their livestock know their own way home at night, safe from roaming bears and wolves. Far from the maddening crowd join Chris and Carolyn on a 7 day/6 night journey of discovery to a unique otherworldly ancestral land on this curated photographic and food adventure deep into rural Transylvania, one of the last great natural wilderness of Europe.

As a new crop of hip hotels emerge run by passionate trailblazers committed to preserving heritage and respecting tradition with 21st century style, there has never been a better time to experience this time capsule land of such culinary and visual feasts.

10% of the proceeds from this tour are donated towards the forest conservation work done by The European Nature Trust.

Itinerary

Monday, 28th May 2018
Bucharest to Zabola Castle

Arrive in Bucharest and transfer to Zabola Estate in Eastern Transylvania for a welcome dinner and introduction to the regional cuisines of Romania from Carolyn.

Tuesday, 29th May 2018
Zabola Castle

After breakfast enjoy an initial travel photography workshop with Chris and then walk around the property to a spectacular view point for an alfresco lunch with a backdrop of the Carpathian Mountains.

Go for a horse and cart ride to the nearby village to visit the workshops of a blacksmith and barrel maker. Return to visit the churches in Zabola and then have afternoon tea by the lake.

End the day with a visit to the bear hide deep in the forest followed by a palinka tasting and a roast lamb dinner cooked and eaten under the stars.

Wednesday, 30th May 2018
Zabola to Casa Kraus in Crit

After an optional dawn photo safari with Chris and/or breakfast, delight in a cooking demonstration of local dishes - that we will eat for lunch - with Carolyn and a Zabola chef.

Depart on a cross country drive to Crit via the stunning village of Racos.

Arrive in Casa Kraus in time for afternoon tea with homemade strudels followed by a short organ recital in the candle lit local Saxon church before an evening meal.

Thursday, 31st May 2018
Crit, Mesendorf and Viscri

Optional dawn photo safari in Crit to see animals set off for the meadows before having breakfast outside, on the terrace of Casa Kraus.

Bike ride to the nearby village of Mesendorf stopping en route to visit a local bakery, honey bee hives, and a buffalo farm, collection ingredients for a picnic lunch.

Afternoon drive to Viscri to visit the famous UNESCO listed fortified church and enjoy a curated experience of the village livestock returning to the village at dusk with sundowner drinks before returning to Crit for a meal cooked on an open fire and eaten on hay bales.

Friday, 1st June 2018
Crit to Raven’s Nest via Sighisoara

After an early breakfast, go for a short drive to the charming medieval town of Sighisoara for a walking food and photo tour.

Enjoy a cross country drive via the perfectly preserved and atmospheric village of Rimetea where we stop for a quick lunch.

Drive through the Trascaului range of the Western Carpathian Mountains to the Raven’s Nest. Arrive on time for the afternoon tea and a walk to the nearby waterfall before you return for sundowner cocktails on the elevated observation deck.

Dinner served outside, by the fire.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018
Raven’s Nest and the Apuseni Mountains

Optional dawn photo-shoot to capture rivers of swirling mist rising from the deep valleys between limestone peaks as the sounds of farmers and livestock starting a new day drift up through the clear air gently breaking the morning silence followed by buffet breakfast then a walk down to bat caves and monastery through forested hills of Alba.

Drive back up to the lodge with visits to local producers for a simple cooking demo and lunch.

Afternoon drive to a local bar with stunning mountain views. Dinner at the lodge with Romanian wine and cheese tasting then open air fire pit under the stars.

Sunday, 3rd June 2018
Raven’s Nest to Cluj

Breakfast then optional morning activities or lazy Sunday morning with hot tubs and sauna before farewell lunch and departure for Cluj Airport.

Highlights

Cooking demonstrations with local ingredients in Zabola, Crit and at the Raven’s Nest.
Meeting local craftsmen such as a bread maker, a beekeeper, a blacksmith and a cheesemaker.
Bear watching in Zabola
Photography workshops with Chris
Selected dishes and drinks to give a sense of the wealth of flavors in Transylvania

Requirements

This tour is slow paced, with 2 nights in each location and moderate distances for walking and/or cycling, hence only an average level of fitness is needed.

Average distance per day

50 km

Difficulty level

moderate

Price and Inclusions

Price

2900EUR/person
550EUR single supplement

Group size

Min. 8
Max. 14

Inclusions

Transportation in private, Mercedes Sprinter VIP from arrival to departure
Professional English speaking guide throughout your stay in the country
Accommodation in double rooms for 6 nights
All meals and snacks
All experiences mentioned in the itinerary
Private and exclusive guidance offered by Carolyn and Chris Caldicott.

The prices do not include travel insurance, international flights and other personal shopping.

Payment and cancellation policies

Upon booking this trip, we request a 20% deposit, refundable until the 1st of February 2018.

The final payment is expected by the 31st of March 2018.

Terms and conditions

Please check here our terms and conditions. Paying your deposit implies you agree to everything included in these terms and conditions.

Your Hosts

Carolyn

Carolyn, owner of the World Food Café in Covent Garden for twenty years and author of four World Food Cafe Cookbooks, The Spice Routes, Vintage Tea Party, Bombay Lunchbox, Beside the Seaside, and her latest book, World Street Food, will be sure to excite the taste buds of enthusiastic foodies. Each meal has been specially selected to highlight the three region’s signature dishes and guests will learn more from fun and fascinating cooking demonstrations.

Chris

Serious globe trotter Chris, with 108 countries under his belt, will be sharing his experiences and expertise gained as photographer-in-residence to the Royal Geographical Society and a photo-journalist for publications such as Conde Nast Traveller, House and Garden, Vanity Fair and The Telegraph - with a rolling travel photography workshop including one to one advice on how to improve technical and creative photographic skills.

Chris and Carolyn in action © Chris Caldicott

Your Accommodation

Zabola Castle Estate

Set among acres of wild forest and manicured park estate in the grounds of Zabola Castle, the half timbered Old Saddle and Machine House combine a shabby chic ambience with sumptuous interiors fitting for a royal estate.

Using family cookbooks dating back to the 18th century we will cook traditional feasts using ingredients like wild mushrooms, venison and trout from the estate, have afternoon tea by the lake, barbecues around a roaring fire under the stars. Deep in the woods there is a log cabin sauna and bear hide to experience the thrill of seeing and photographing wild Carpathian mountain bears in their natural habitat which is also home to wolves, lynx, deer, stags and exotic birds of prey.

Casa Kraus

Located in the heart of Saxon Transylvania or Haferland, between the iconic towns of Sighisoara and Rasnov, Casa Kraus is the restored parish house of the brilliantly preserved fortified medieval village church of Crit. The nine double rooms offer an authentic experience of the minimalist Saxon style of clean white walls, polished wooden floorboards and antique hand painted furniture blended with contemporary comforts.

Food is an important part of the experience; taste authentic Saxon cookery and learn how to make ‘lichiu’ a traditional sweet treat that dates back to the Middle Ages. From Crit there are bike trails along the forest paths linking local villages which we will explore with a picnic lunch and visits to the workshops of artisans.

Raven’s Nest

Located high up among the forests, open wildflower meadows and limestone caves of the Apuseni Mountains, this is a collection of 11 double rooms in 3 beautifully refurbished original 18th century wooden village houses spread out around a natural hill top dell with a huge log cabin-open plan restaurant, cool cocktail bar and fireside lounge. There is an open air bean bag cinema in the woods, hammocks in the trees, wood fired hot tub and sauna, fire pit under the stars, hidden sun decks with stunning views of rivers of swirling mist rising from the valleys below at dawn, and a perfect spot for mojito sundowners with golden lit mountain views.

Enjoy amazing buffet breakfasts loaded with homemade treats and local delicacies, including jugs of fresh pressed sea buckthorn juice foraged from the woods by local gypsy families. Lunches and dinners of traditional Romanian cuisine with an innovative contemporary twist use fresh ingredients from local farms and artisan producers. Wilderness treks begin at the gates of the lodge and lead through forests of dappled sunlight and open meadows of wild flowers to waterfalls, bat filled caves, and boulder strew rivers of crystal clear water.

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