Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays
May News from Active Gourmet Holidays

 Active Gourmet Holidays

Greetings from Active Gourmet Holidays!

Active Gourmet Holidays brings you a great new tour called "The Essence of Greece" along with a delicious recipe featuring eggplant. We also are highlighting "La Rioja Wine Festival" and "Cooking and Biking/Walking in Bordeaux". 


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May 2013 News La RiojaLa Rioja Wine Festival
Rioja, Spain - 4 nights

Available April to October/November to March upon request

Welcome to La Rioja, an internationally famous region for its acclaimed wines and gastronomy. Join us for an outstanding gourmet wine vacation, tailor-made for groups or individuals who would like to enjoy excellent wine and amazing food. Visit La Rioja, one of the most famous and prestigious wine-producing areas in the world. Choose the fixed departure date for the actual Rioja Wine Festival which takes place annually in September or choose any other dates year round.

Read more: La Rioja Wine Festival     

May 2014 News BordeauxCooking and Biking/Walking in Bordeaux
Bordeaux, France - 6 nights  
Available year round Saturday to Friday
Enjoy an active culinary vacation in the southwest corner of France between Bordeaux and St. Emilion. You will stay at a comfortable renovated 18th century country home and will get acquainted with all that is French. We will customize your week for you - whether it be enjoying cooking lessons in French homes, market and artisan food producer visits, vineyards and wine tastings, antiquing, garden visits or walking and biking, the "Entre Deux Mers" region offers all this and much more. 

May 2013 News - Essence of GreeceNEW!
 - The Essence of Greece
Poros Island, Greece - 7 nights
Available April to October - Saturday to Saturday

This week long culinary tour of Greece features fabulous food and excellent wines, colorful open-air markets bursting with gorgeous local products and four unique hands-on cooking classes that explore the healthiest and most delicious food in the world in one of the world's most captivating destinations. Nothing can bring you closer to the essence of Greece than this fantastic hands-on cooking vacation. This culinary tour takes you way beyond the usual tourist experience to get to know the real Greece - tasting, smelling, seeing, touching and learning how to create delicious, authentic Greek dishes yourself. 

Read more: The Essence of Greece


 Client Testimonial 


May 2013 News - Client Remark Photo - Los Pueblos Blancos

"Dear Jo-Ann - We had a great time. Rashida was warm, welcoming and went out of her way to accommodate us. She couldn't have done anything better.  

Bonnie L., Larchmont, New York 



("The Essence of Greece" Program

Time preparation: 45 mins


·       6 fairly small eggplants (6-7 inches long each)

·       1/2 pound ground beef

·       2 cloves of garlic, minced (if garlic is a problem, substitute with 2-3 scallions)

·       1 medium onion, finely chopped or grated

·       1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

·       2 cups (4-5 medium) of ripe peeled, cored tomatoes, very finely chopped (or canned or ripe roma tomatoes)

·       5-10 tablespoons of olive oil

·       1 cup of grated kefalotyri cheese (or pecorino or parmesan)

·       12 very thin slices of tomato

·       salt

·       pepper

·       1 cup of basic béchamel (see below)


Wash and dry the eggplants, trim off stems, and cut in half, lengthwise. With a small knife or spoon, scoop out the pulp of the egglant, leaving a shell about 1/8 inch thick. Take care not to break through the skin of the eggplant. 

Note: If you haven't done this before, take your time. The pulp will be chopped up and used in the filling, so it can come out a piece at a time.

·       Using a spoon: scoop out seeds from the center and discard. Start at the center of the eggplant half and work your way outward.

·       Using a knife: remove and discard seeds, then carefully slice around the edge, leaving a small layer of pulp next to the skin; continue to cut, moving in toward the center.

Chop the pulp and set it aside.
Preheat large frying pan (with cover) on low heat. 

When the frying pan has preheated, increase the heat and sauté the onions (both types if you're using scallions instead of garlic) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, using the frying pan that has the cover. When the onions soften and turn translucent (without browning), add the chopped eggplant pulp and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the ground beef and sauté until it starts to brown. Stir in tomatoes, parsley, garlic, pinches of salt and pepper (to taste), and reduce heat. Simmer covered for 20 minutes or until the sauce melds and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and set aside.

Make the béchamel sauce:

·       2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour

·       2 tablespoons of butter

·       1 cup slightly warm whole milk

·       salt

·       pepper

·       grated nutmeg

·       1 or 2 egg yolks


In a saucepan, melt the butter on low heat. As soon as it starts to bubble (not brown) add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the sauce begins to thicken - creamy without being too thick (it will thicken further after removing from the heat). Remove from the heat and stir in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the egg yolk until well blended.

May News 2013 Recipe Photo - Poros Island

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). 

Preheat second frying pan over low heat. Increase heat when ready to sauté the eggplant.

Lightly sauté the eggplant halves in olive oil in the second frying pan. Start with a little oil (3 tablespoons) but have more at hand since eggplant absorbs a lot of oil and the pan could dry out. This step is simply to soften the eggplant a bit, so sauté quickly on both sides, remove, and drain on a rack (do not wipe off the oil). 

Place the eggplant halves on the bottom of a baking or roasting pan. Sprinkle some of the cheese to cover the bottom of the well in the eggplant, then spoon in the filling to the top of the side rims. Spoon over the béchamel sauce (about 1 tablespoon for each piece), and place a slice of tomato on top. When all the eggplants are finished, sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top. 

Cook on the lowest oven rack setting until the béchamel is browned, the cheese on top is browned, and the eggplants are soft, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

Remove the eggplants from the pan with a spatula and serve warm.



Contact Information
Active Gourmet Holidays
Jo-Ann Gaidosz
Phone: 1.203.732.0771
Fax: 1.203.734.6903
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Skype: active.gourmet.holidays 


"Thank you so much for organising what turned out to be the holiday of a lifetime. Everything was first class from the luxury accommodation and transportation to our fantastic tour guides and spectacular excursions. While we went without a true understanding of Peruvian cuisine, we were blown away by the variety and quality of the produce and techniques used in the restaurants selected for us. We are already looking on the website for our next destination!" - Brenda A. and Lynne A., Glasgow, Scotland

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