Cheese Journey

 

Monte Mathews was born with food and travel in his blood. His Grandfather was a hotelier, leading Monte to his first summer job as a bellboy at Chateau Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies. His business career took him to 6 continents where his fluency in French, Italian, English, and Spanish served him well.  He has stayed in accommodations ranging from tents to villas. After a career in advertising, he now explores the world looking for authentic experiences, great places to stay, and superb food.

Monte's passion for food comes from his family. His physician father read Gourmet Magazine aloud, corned his own beef, and enjoyed nothing more than a great dinner out. Monte’s mother loathed cooking and anything to do with the kitchen. As a result, Monte’s palate was developed as a child in the restaurants in Montreal. His interest in cooking soon became a real passion. Food and travel are the subjects of Monte’s Award-Winning blog, www.ChewingTheFat.us.com. He also shares with HipSilver ways to make our lives more exciting with everything that food and travel can do to enrich our world.


An Invitation for You! 

Join Monte Mathews on a Fabulous Cheese Journey 

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If there ever was a country that casts a particular spell on Spring, it is England, especially the English countryside. That’s why it is my great pleasure to invite our HipSilver community to join me on a wonderful Culinary Adventure in England this Spring. 

On May 3rd, I will be co-hosting with Cheese Journeys, the exclusive travel purveyors, 9-Day Exploration of London, Devon, Somerset, and Bath. If you’re short on time, there is a 5-day version.


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Aside from the picture-perfect destinations, this is the perfect opportunity to travel with a like-minded group of individuals on a fully guided tour. We’ll provide you behind-the-scenes access to some of the world’s finest cheese-makers, beverage producers, and food experiences few culinary travelers discover. We’ll stay in Downton Abbey-like estates, one of which, North Cadbury Court, is pictured here. Our splendid accommodations are rented solely for our group of between 10 to 15 people. Here, we’ll enjoy exquisitely prepared meals, stroll through beautiful gardens, and enjoy its indoor swimming pool, gym, and spa. There’s even a Snooker Room and a three-hole golf course. We tour an amazing array of culinary locales, learn everything from engaging experts, and even attend a hands-on cooking class. Then, returning to our lodgings, we’ll enjoy meals prepared by Cheese Journeys’ private chef, Sylvain Jamois.

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There will be Farm, Brewery, Cider Making visits, time with cheese makers, hands-on cheese making and cooking classes, demonstrations, and even painting and photography classes. Every tour is in the capable hands of our American host, Anna Juhl, Cheese Journey’s Founder and Tour Host. Anna is not alone on this trip. Accompanying us is London’s Chris George, British cheese and food expert, and Chuck Kellner, cheese expert from San Francisco’s Cow Girl Creamery.

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Why is this the perfect journey for the Silver Generation? Because it’s about perfect. For one thing, our host, Anna Juhl speaks to every guest personally to ensure that this trip is fit. Dietary restrictions and mobility issues are taken care of before you step foot in England. Private Chef, Sylvain Jamois, can accommodate most food allergies and is only too happy to serve vegetarian meals. Transportation is by 12-20 passenger luxury vans, except in London where, in our Borough Market, we walk from two to four locations. It’s well to remember that cobblestone streets are commonplace and that parking may be a slight distance away. We’ll be taking walks in the fields and treks in barns, so it’s better to be shod in Wellies than Prada kitten heels! These tours are designed for active people, but you hardly have to be gym fit. You will need to be able to walk minimal distances and navigate a couple flights of stairs. North Cadbury Court has a lift; Wolborough House does not but only has one flight of stairs. And, you can be as active or inactive as you like. The itinerary is flexible enough to accommodate less active days, if you wish, so, you can stay in the manor house, swim, rest, or read. And to top it all off, a Registered Nurse travels with us incognito to avoid having to discuss every ache and pain! On Cheese Journeys, most guests are from 40 to 75 and they do beautifully. By the end of the tour, they’ve made friends for life and they’re all ready to go again to another one of Cheese Journeys’ exceptional itineraries in the States or abroad.


Example Itineraries

ENGLAND: A CHEDDAR ODDYSEY

A 5 Day Itinerary
MAY 7-12, 2018

Day 1 Monday May 7
Somerset and North Cadbury Court
British and European travelers meet at the lobby of the Sofitel Hotel in Terminal 5 of London's Heathrow Airport at 9:00 a.m. sharp. Guests travel with Cheese Journeys co-host to Somerset, England with a short stop at Stonehenge Visitor Center. Upon arriving at North Cadbury, your group meets the American cheese travelers for lunch at Camelot Pub. Both groups arrive at North Cadbury Court – the family home of Jamie Montgomery and home for the next four nights. This exquisite 21-bedroom English manor has great history - linked to Jane Austen, Camelot and King Arthur and the family home of world-renowned cheddar maker Jamie Montgomery.
 
We’ll spend the afternoon touring this historic property with owner Archie Montgomery, who, with his wife Janet, are responsible for the recent restoration of this remarkable property. This family home has been host to many historic events and the set location for the 2007 Jane Austen film, “Persuasion”. Archie and Janet will be our dinner guests for a classic British feast prepared by Chef Sylvain. Finish the evening with a moonlit walk, a relaxing swim or a nightcap and a game of snooker.

Day 2 Tuesday May 8
Montgomery’s Cheddar-making, walk on Camelot, dinner with Jamie
After an early breakfast, submerge yourself into the world of British clothbound cheddar - by spending a dream day with Jamie Montgomery. Walk down the road to the Montgomery farm and creamery to see the making of Montgomery Cheddar and Ogleshield. Return to the house for a classic ploughman’s lunch and local brews. Join Jamie for an afternoon walking tour of the extended area of the Montgomery estate including the dairy, pastures of Jersey cows and the legendary castle ruins of King Arthur's Camelot. We finish the day with a game of golf off the roof and a raclette-style dinner of Ogleshield. Finish the night with a pint and local music at the Montgomerys' Camelot Pub.

Day 3 Wednesday May 9
Westcombe Cheddar, Wild Beer Company, evening with cheese royalty 
The group has two options for the morning:
 
Option #1 - Slightly more obsessed cheese lovers are personally invited down the road to visit Tom Calver, the young and dynamic cheese maker of Westcombe Cheddar and close friend of London chef Jamie Oliver. Westcombe Cheddar is one of the three traditional cheddars awarded an International Presidia by the Slow Food movement. You’ll tour the creamery and peek inside the newly built cheese aging caves to see classic farmhouse Westcombe Cheddars, Duckett’s Aged Caerphilly and Westcombe Red. You’ll have the opportunity to pair these lovelies with some of the best craft beers in the UK, as you enjoy lunch with Tom and his neighbors from the Wild Beer Company.
 
Option #2 -Enhance your painting skills as you enjoy a hands on class with well known food and cheese artist Mike Geno, profiled in the NY TimesRelax playing tennis, swimming, biking or hiking as you appreciate the many amenities offered at North Cadbury Court. A refreshing lunch and afternoon tea and scones will be provided by Chef Sylvain.

Later in the day, Anna has invited a few more British cheese makers to join us at NCC for an English BBQ.  Enjoy a festive evening of great food and interesting conversation with some of Britain's best cheese makers and food producers.

Day 4 Thursday May 10
Somerset Cider Brandy Company, cooking demonstrations, farewell dinner
After breakfast and a relaxing morning, we meet up with the colorful cider maker Julian Temperley to taste some of the best hard ciders made in England during a tour of The Somerset Cider Brandy Company.  We enjoy lunch before returning to NCC for an afternoon cooking class with Chef Sylvain. Chef Sylvain Jamois is a charming French native and his cooking classes have become a favorite with guests. Sylvain is a master of French, Italian and English cuisine who knows artisan cheese and is an adept teacher. His hands-on cooking demonstration features regional cuisine and local ingredients. The food prepared will be enjoyed by all during our final meal that evening.

Day 5 Friday May 11
Bath, food walking tour, spa day
After an early breakfast, we bid farewell to North Cadbury Court and travel to the historic city of Bath, home to Jane Austen, the spectacular ancient Roman Baths, and - a thriving food culture! Spend the morning on a walking-and-tasting tour with our local guide discovering local specialties, top food and drink hotspots, historical and cultural insights, shopping tips and of course, one of our very favorite cheese shops. It’s a great way to get an overview of the city, as well as to shop for local treasures before leaving for home. This last afternoon and evening are free to shop, visit the Baths, schedule time at the Roman Spa, tour the Jane Austen Museum or kick back in a local pub. 

Day 6 May 12
Return to Heathrow
After breakfast and a 9am check out at the hotel, the group departs for the two hour drive to The Sofitel Hotel, Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport, for the conclusion of the tour.

Tour Price Includes: Double Occupancy, $3000.00 US and Single Occupancy Room, $3500.00 US 
Tour begins and ends at The Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Transportation provided to North Cadbury Court to meet the 9 day tour group. All additional transportation during the tour, all classes and/or day tours provided by local hosts, cheese educators and chefs. Lodging for five nights, breakfast provided five mornings; five noon and five evening meals (alcoholic beverages served with meals).
 

Additional Information: 
Tour Price Does Not Include:
Round trip transportation to The Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Any personal shopping and/or food and beverage during the walking tours of London and Bath food markets and shops. During our stay at North Cadbury Court, specific alcoholic beverages, other than those served at meals and tasting events, can be purchased separately from the host.

Disclosure

Slight details with the itinerary may be subject to change; Cheese Journeys reserves the right to substitute an event if needed. During the tour, you have the option of declining a particular excursion or tour but, please note, we are unable to make refunds for any missed meals, classes or events. Maximum of 8 guests/ bookings for the 5 day tour. Minimum number of guests have been booked for the 9 day tour. Additional bookings for 9 and 5 day tours is available until April 1, 2018.

If you are interested in the tour, please click here.

ENGLAND: A CHEDDAR ODDYSEY

A 9 Day Itinerary
MAY 3-12, 2018

Day 1 Thursday May 3
London’s Borough Market, Neal’s Yard Dairy, cheese and whiskey pairing 
We begin our Cheddar Odyssey at the Neal’s Yard Dairy retail location at Borough Market.  It’s here we meet up with old friend and British cheese expert Chris George, for a back door tour through the world- famous Borough Market – a wonderful piece of central London’s gastronomic scene near the London Bridge. Explore the historic nooks and passageways of this thriving trading space to find a colorful and eclectic blend of foodstuffs from all over the world. Not only is Borough Market a great place for cheese lovers and gift shopping, it offers a range of delicious snacks, from British delicacies such as freshly shucked Colchester oysters or Melton Mowbray pork pies to cosmopolitan treats such as freshly grilled chorizo sandwiches or falafels.
 
After cheese grazing and lunch at the market, we’ll make our way to the new and thriving area of Bermondsey in the converted railway arches of South-East London.  Spa Terminus has a rich history in food production and wholesaling- today it is home to Neal’s Yard Dairy’s cheese maturing room and expanded wholesale facility.  We’ll enjoy a tour and an inside glimpse of the fascinating world of selection, maturation and the global export of Britain’s farmhouse cheeses.

Upon returning to Borough Market area, guests have free time to check into the hotel, grab a meal on their own in a local pub before meeting back at the Borough Market Neal’s Yard Dairy location for a special evening of cheese and whiskey pairing.

Day 2 Friday May 4
Travel to Devon, Quickes’ Dairy, Brixham- England’s Riviera
We depart from our London hotel and travel south west to Devon, England’s “bread-basket”.  Traveling through the countryside of Devon, we meet up with the energetic Mary Quicke and her staff to experience various hands-on cheese making activities at her dairy facilities and 450 year old family farm. Overlooking the rolling pastures and countryside, you’ll learn why Mary’s cheddars are unique and share in her passion and a personal commitment to soil management and sustainable farming techniques. Refreshed after a ploughman’s lunch and local brews at the farm restaurant, we drive to the historic seaside town of Brixham. Settle in, enjoy a dinner prepared by Chef Sylvain, a late night swim or a walk on the beach at the luxurious Wolborough House - our seaside home for the next three nights.

Day 3 Saturday May 5
Devon - Sharpham Winery and Creamery, fishing village of Brixham
After breakfast, enjoy a morning walk or swim followed by a food photography workshop. Gain a few pointers on how to capture the best photos of your favorite food experiences and tips when sharing with friends back home through social media. Grab your camera as we head out into the picturesque countryside of Devon. Known for narrow roads, often lined with eight hundred year old hedgerows, we'll visit one of the best wine-makers in England - Sharpham Wine and Cheese. This thousand year old farm, now also a dairy and vineyard and is also home to the award winning Ticklemore cheese.  We’ll meet up with Anna’s friend, Mark, for lunch in their outdoor café and enjoy a cheese tour and vineyard walk overlooking the beautiful River Dart.  We’ll return to the house by the sea for a relaxing late afternoon tea, a walk on the beach or sightseeing in the fishing village of Brixham. Chef Sylvain will lay out an impressive evening spread featuring fresh seafood and local specialties. 

Day 4 Sunday May 6
English breakfast, Plymouth Gin tour, group dinner
After a late morning breakfast of traditional English favorites, we travel south to the historic town of Plymouth for a tour and taste at Plymouth Gin Distillery - the oldest gin producers in England.  Enjoy meeting the staff and a sweet at Jacka’s Bakery - a bakery where bread bakers have been trading since 1597. Experience the many cafes, pubs and boutique shops and walk the ancient cobblestoned streets and markets during an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing before returning to the house for a swim, a game of snooker and a chef-prepared dinner.

Day 5 Monday May 7
Brixham Fishing Market, Somerset and North Cadbury Court
On Monday, the group is out the door early for a guided visit to Brixham Fish Market - the most authentic way to experience coastal life in the southwest of England. See the auction in action, buyers haggling with fisherman as huge sea bass, stacks of scallops and trays of plaice go under the hammer every morning and then rushed to Europe’s best restaurants.  You’ll enjoy breakfast at the Fishermen’s Mission as the sun rises over the harbor- all worth dragging yourself out of bed for. 
 
The group travels north to Somerset to meet additional cheese enthusiasts (5 day tour group) who will be joining us for the remainder of the tour.  After a lunch at Camelot Pub, we’ll settle in to North Cadbury Court. This exquisite 21 bedroom English manor has great history - linked to Jane Austen, Camelot and King Arthur and the family home to world renowned cheddar maker Jamie Montgomery.  
 
We’ll spend the afternoon touring this historic property with owner Archie Montgomery, who with his wife, are responsible for the recent restoration of this remarkable property. This family home has been host to many historic events and the set location for the 2007 Jane Austen film, “Persuasion”. Archie and his wife, Janet, will be our dinner guests for a classic British feast prepared by Chef Sylvain. Finish the evening with a moonlit walk, a relaxing swim or a nightcap and a game of snooker.

Day 6 Tuesday May 8
Montgomery’s Cheddar-making, walk on Camelot, dinner with Jamie
After an early breakfast, submerge yourself into the world of artisan British cheeses - by spending a dream day with Jamie Montgomery. Walk down the road to the Montgomery farm and creamery to see the making of Montgomery Cheddar and Ogleshield. Return to the house for a chef prepared classic British ploughman’s lunch and local brews. Join Jamie for an afternoon walking tour of the extended area of the Montgomery estate including the dairy, pastures of Jersey cows and the legendary castle ruins of Camelot and King Arthur. We finish the day with a game of golf off the roof and a raclette-style dinner of Ogleshield. Finish the night with a pint and local music at the Montgomerys' Camelot Pub.

Day 7 Wednesday May 9
Westcombe Cheddar, Wild Beer Company, evening with cheese royalty 
The group has two options for the morning:
 
Option #1 - Obsessed cheese lovers are personally invited down the road to visit Tom Calver, the young and dynamic cheese maker of Westcombe Cheddar and close friend of London chef Jamie Oliver. Westcombe Cheddar is one of the three traditional cheddars awarded an International Presidia by the Slow Food movement. You’ll tour the creamery and peek inside the newly built cheese aging caves to see classic farmhouse Westcombe Cheddars, Duckett’s Aged Caerphilly and Westcombe Red. You’ll have the opportunity to pair these lovelies with some of the best craft beers in the UK, as you enjoy lunch with Tom and his neighbors from the Wild Beer Company.
 
Option #2- Create and relax during a painting class with Mike Geno, expert food artist profiled in the NY Times. A refreshing lunch and afternoon tea and scones will be provided by Chef Sylvain.

Later, both groups can  enjoy tennis, swimming, biking or a hike as you appreciate the many amenities offered at North Cadbury Court. 

Late in the day, Anna has invited additional cheese makers to join us at NCC for a classic English BBQ.  An evening of festivities - great food, interesting conversation and fun with a few more of England's finest cheese and food producers.

Day 8 Thursday May 10
Somerset Cider Brandy Company, cooking demonstrations, farewell dinner
After breakfast and a relaxing morning, we meet up with the colorful cider maker Julian Temperley to taste some of the best hard ciders made in England during a tour of The Somerset Cider Brandy Company.  We enjoy lunch before returning to NCC for an afternoon cooking class with Chef Sylvain. Chef Sylvain Jamois is a charming French native and his cooking classes have become a favorite with guests. Sylvain is a master of French, Italian and English cuisine who knows artisan cheese and is an adept teacher. His hands-on cooking demonstration features regional cuisine and local ingredients. The food prepared will be enjoyed by all during our final meal that evening.

Day 9 Friday May 11
Bath, food walking tour, spa day
After an early breakfast, we bid farewell to North Cadbury Court and travel to the historic city of Bath, home of Jane Austen, an ancient Roman spa with a thriving food culture. Spend the morning on a walking –and- tasting tour with our local guide discovering local specialties, top food and drink hotspots, historical and cultural insights, shopping tips and one of our favorite cheese shops, of course! It’s a great way to get an overview of this city as well as shop for local treasures before leaving for home. This last afternoon and evening are free to shop, schedule time at the spa, tour Jane Austen museum or kick back in a local pub.  

Day 10 May 12
Return to Heathrow
After breakfast at the hotel, the group departs for a two hour drive to Heathrow for afternoon flights to the United States 

Tour Price Includes: Double Occupancy, $5,900.00 US or Single Occupancy, $6,800.00 US
Tour Price Includes:Tour begins at Neal's Yard Dairy retail shop in Borough Market, London and ends at The Sofitel Hotel, Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. Transportation during the tour, all classes and/or day tours provided by local hosts, cheese educators and chefs. Lodging for nine nights, breakfast provided nine mornings: eight noon and seven evening meals (alcoholic beverages served with meals).


Tour Price Does Not Include:
Round trip transportation to Neal's Yard Dairy in Borough Market, London, hotel accommodations before or after the tour and any personal shopping and/or food and beverage during the walking tours of London and Bath food markets and shops. During our stays at North Cadbury Court and Wolborough House, specific alcoholic beverages, other than those served at meals and tasting events, may be ordered separately from the host.

Disclosure
Itinerary may be subject to slight changes: Cheese Journeys reserves the right to substitute an event if needed. During the tour, you have the option of declining a particular excursion or tour but, please note, we are unable to make refunds for any missed meals, classes or events. A minimum number of guests have been booked for this  9 day tour. A few spots remain for both the 9 day and 5 day tours. Registration for the tour is available until April 1, 2018.If you are interested in the tour,please click here.