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Cooking Schools Around The World

If you're like me, this time of year tends to fill you with equal parts holiday cheer and soul wrenching dread. I spent 20 minutes today in a traffic jam inside a parking garage in downtown San Francisco when I decided to stop by a store to pick up a gift for Ruth. Big mistake. It's around now when I really start dreaming of a vacation that is a complete and utter departure from daily reality. Someplace I can just lounge, eat, and drink all day. Or better yet, cook.

Yes, cooking school vacations are all the rage now, from Thai cooking school in the hill city of Chang Mai, where every morning is spent in the markets buying fresh produce and afternoons in the heat of the kitchen, to wine pairing courses in Bordeaux where award winning food journalists relate anecdotes as you work on perfecting your lamb daube and quaff the local red.

If I had all the time in the world, and money too, I would do a lot of these cooking vacations, nicely catalogued for us by the folks at Travel and Leisure Magazine.

If you're in the market for a vacation or a non-traditional honeymoon, or if you're just like me and looking for any excuse to escape the holiday crush, sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy this armchair view of the latest in culinary travel excursions.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud