Cuisine & Culture Experiences

Polignano Water 600x400 Firenze Nightscape 600x325 NL Varenna Town

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Nico & Belinda Moretti of Cooking Passions Cooking School invite you to pack a bag and sense of adventure, and join them in some of the most interesting, exciting and delicious Food & Wine destinations of the world. Current destinations include tours to:
UPCOMING “CUISINE & CULTURE” EXPERIENCES
About Cooking Passions “Small Group” Experiences
Our unique “Small Group” Cuisine & Culture Experiences are designed so you can do as little or as much as you like, while allowing you plenty of free time to explore and immerse yourselves in the sights, shopping and eating that YOU want to experience (we’ll be happy to provide suggestions from our previous tours and research experiences).
We’ve arranged all of your –
so there’s nothing for you to do except book your preferred flights, pack your bags and get ready to embrace some of the most incredible and delicious Cuisine & Culture destinations of the world.
Urban Provider’s “Cuisine & Culture Experience” Testimonials
DISCOVER PUGLIA – This was our second tour with Nico and Belinda, and met all our expectations. Our last tour in 2013 was in Vietnam – a fantastic experience. Puglia is not usually part of the Grand Tour of Italy, and we jumped at the chance of seeing this region in the company of Nico, who has family there. Fascinating country, cuisine and sights with a small friendly like minded group and with Nico to save us attempting phrase book Italian! Remarkable restaurants and food (and wine!), but also plenty of time to do your own thing too. Highly recommended…Steve & Marina  

DISCOVER PUGLIA – It’s hard to wipe the smile off your face when you think about this tour. To escape the tourist track that you may find yourself on with larger companies, Nico takes you to his forefathers part of Italy and away from the crowds. The accommodation at Masseria Cervarolo was sublime and then off to Ostuni Brindisi for another visual feast. Include these two wonderful places to stay with sojourns to an ancient olive oil estate, an amazing winery, castles, caves….. oh and the cooking classes. There are a couple of inclusive meals that you will definitely enjoy should you decide to take this tour. This was my 4th tour with Nico and Belinda and my wife’s 5th. All are exceptional private affairs where you are among like minded people. There is no expectation to perform with Nico’s tours, if you wish to kick back and have time to yourself, then you do so. Otherwise it’s fun and adventure all the way…Ric & Jill 

DISCOVER NORTHERN ITALIAN LAKES – Dear Nico & Belinda, Thank you thank you thank you for putting together such an amazing tour. It exceeded all my expectations and have told so many friends, work colleagues and patients about the wonderful time Denise and I had. So many highlights and you just made it all happen. Looking forward to seeing all the happy snaps and also to catching up. Hugs…Glynnis

DISCOVER NORTHERN ITALIAN LAKES – Hi Nico, Belinda & Sue, Hope all is well with you.  Thanks again for a memorable experience and wonderful company!!!!…not mention the food experience.  I will never be the same; I love the tips I picked up and will use them.  My friends are expecting great things so hope they will not be disappointed.  Best Wishes and Warm Regards…Mary Ann, Southampton Ontario

DISCOVER NORTHERN ITALIAN LAKES – To Dear Nico & Belinda, immense thank you for what has to be the absolute best week’s holiday that Glyn and I could have ever been on for our first holiday together as sisters.  The places you chose, the care and attention to detail, but most of all the wonderful kind and considerate way you both interacted with all of us of varying ages and physical ability.  The food, I am still raving about and have been extolling your virtues as tourist guides in seeking out the very best places to eat,  I was continually surprised by the venues and the wow factor every time, from Morena’s 400 year old Cantina to Villa Crespi and everything in between. From me to you both a huge thank you for allowing me to enjoy such a wonderful experience, the memories that I take from my Itallian week will be lasting and treasured. Please pass on my love to Susie and of course to both of you. Hugs…Denise

DISCOVER VIETNAM – An amazing trip around Vietnam tasting our way from bottom to top, with three fabulous cooking classes along the way. Nico and Belinda are wonderful hosts whose experience and knowledge of this country make the trip all the more enjoyable. Nico goes the extra mile to ensure everyone has a great trip. Another very memorable holiday – (our fourth with Urban Provider). Absolutely recommended *****  …Denise & Lindsay

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Hi Belinda and Nico, Thank you so much for a really wonderful holiday. We weren’t sure how we’d go being part of a group tour, but the whole experience far surpassed our expectations in every way. That is in no small part due to the fact that the trip was so well planned and everything seemed so effortless, but we know what goes on behind the scenes to create this illusion!! Our next task now is to look for another tour so that we can join you again for another memorable experience…Shauna & Daniel

DISCOVER VIETNAM – HI Nico and Belinda, Thanks so much to you both for such a wonderful time in Vietnam. It was such a memorable time in so many ways, no doubt due to very careful planning, insight and experience on both your parts. Your care of everyone was so evident in everything you both do. You are so right about the group – what a fantastic and diverse group of people. It all clicked so well. Thanks also for your amazing photos – they capture so many moments candidly and bring back the things we did so vividly…Lots of love, Steph

DISCOVER JAPAN – We have not long returned from Niko and Belinda’s first “tour” of Japan. Just leaving aside the trip itself for a minute, a big thanks to Niko and Belinda for a job well done. Not easy organising 10 people to get on and off trains, in and out of restaurants and hotels, but it all went smoothly.
Japan – what can I say. Switzerland in Asia. We loved it. Niko took us to some fabulous restaurants, many out of the way and I am sure on our own we would never have found them.
Japanese food can be challenging, and we ate things we never had before and other things we are still to identify 🙂
Accommodation was first rate, especially in Tokyo at the Peninsula and the ryokan in Kinosaki.
Temples and shrines abound, like churches in Europe. The best were in the bamboo forest in Kinosaki.
We’ll be back to explore further sometime.
Thanks Niko and Belinda!…Gary & Jenny

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Hey Nico, I had a wonderful time at Villa Fabbroni in Tuscany, such a lot of fun! I really enjoyed the cooking classes, Sergio and Stefano were gorgeous. They were so sweet and it was lovely to get to know them. I loved their philosophy about not wasting anything and just using what you have in the pantry. It makes perfect sense. The sight seeing days were excellent too. Linda, in particular was fabulous and I really enjoyed both Florence and Lucca with her. Using a bus for the going out days was such a good idea. Also the accommodation was excellent, very comfortable and convenient. All in all, a fabulous time. Would love to do another one with you in the future. If you go to Spain anytime or maybe France another time.Cheers, Margie

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Just a quick email to say what a wonderful time Bob & I had at the Villa. Just the right balance of cooking, eating, and time to explore. I cant recommend it highly enough and have told lots of people already. I know how much effort goes into something appearing to be effortless so thank you again for a wonderful experience. Look forward to catching up as a group soon…Marion & Bob

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Sincere thanks to Nico and Belinda for providing such outstanding planning and guidance for our recent Tour of Vietnam.
The preparation prior to travelling was excellent, with a thorough tour guide outline and also a phone link up prior to our departure, being on the east coast we felt that we were totally informed every step of the way for our trip of a life time.
Our visit to Vietnam was outstanding, every day was planned extremely well with consideration of free time, evening group dinners were such joy with Nico’s guidance but we all had opportunity to select from the menu each evening.  Nico provided brilliant support for the total tour, always with a big smile and with enthusiasm. 
We greatly appreciated the opportunity to visit the local villages and enjoy traditional Vietnamese Pho for breakfast. The standard of the accommodation was first class and thoroughly enjoyed each and every venue we visited. Hoi An was a very special place, just so traditional and pretty. Loved the volume of traffic and people in the big cities and we became very good at crossing the roads.
Our two Vietnamese cooking classes were brilliant, and we learnt so much, came home and already began to utilise our newly acquired Vietnamese cooking skills, our family are delighted.
The whole tour was such joy, with so many things to experience, such variety with dining, tours, cruises, visits to local markets and villages. As this being our first group tour, we give Nico and Belinda our highest recommendation.
This tour was outstanding value for money.
Sincere thanks to you both, for such a relaxed and enjoyable experience.
Kind regards…Lyn and Rob, Beerwah QLD

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Ciao Nico, Great to hear you are back safely! I am catching up with Eileen and Yvonne for dinner on Thursday night to swap photos and stories. John and I had an absolute ball on the trip and have been singing your praises all over town. You may have some starters here for the Tuscany trip! Couldn’t fault anything. Amazing food, wine, scenery and a really good group of people. We likened going with you like going with a friend who has done the trip and knows the language. None of the ridgity of a bus tour but with a trip with some structure and much needed guidance. Loved the independence of the car, coming together with the group and the non stop suggestions from you as to possible ‘treks’. Nico you did a fantasic job and we loved your company. Looking forward to catching up as soon as everyone is able. Favourite day was the trip to Otranto and to the point. Best meal. The first one in Orsara di Puglia with Alfredo and Lucia…Jenny

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Welcome back Nico!!! Hope you have recovered or recovering from your tiresome trip. Your patience and constant cheerfulness was really essential for the entire operation. I cant imagine the amount of accommodation you have to put up with all our requests and the unexpected bout of illnesses that sprung. Hope you werent too crooked to celebrate your parents anniversary. All my friends, including myself of course, had a really great time in your company and all in the group. It was just wonderful to be amongst of strangers-turn-friends in such a short time. We thoroughly enjoyed the fun and free spirited company in the group. Its definitely an experience which I would recommend to all my acquaintances! Jen and I have been exchanging emails since our return and were already talking / planning a reunion at her house. It will be great for all of us to bring our albums and exchange some photos. Were really looking forward to that! Grazie Mille!!! Arriverderci!…Eileen

DISCOVER PUGLIA – Buon Giorno Nico, A sincerely HUGE thank you for organising such a spectacular trip to Puglia. I absolutely loved it from start to finish. I have had plenty of friends show a lot of interest in joining you on a future trip to Italy, following my rave reviews. Puglia is indeed a fascinating place and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the region. You were a terrific host as usual Nico (you’ve certainly found your calling)- there was a perfect balance between doing things together as a group and having plenty of autonomy to go off an explore individually. Above all, we had heaps of fun! As an aside, I have to say how much I enjoyed Margaret and Libby’s company. They added so much to the dynamic of the group and I really got something out of befriending both of them, so thanks for the introduction. Thanks again Nico for a superb trip – ciao!…Mandy

DISCOVER TUSCANY – We would like to extend our sincere thanks to you for organising a wonderful cooking experience to Tuscany. The venue and accommodation was fantastic and so fitting for an old region like Tuscany. Our two host chefs were out of this world. They come with a wealth of experience and were totally unselfish in sharing that experience with all of us. The 8 days was well organised, relaxing and inspiring. We had the time of our lives and it was a very memorable big 50th birthday present for me! We came home and got right into it – made meat sauce, tomato sauce as well as homemade pasta. Please extend our thanks to Belinda as well. I would highly recommend one of your trips to my friends. Not sure if Spain is in the budget next year but if we can we will do something similar again…Trish & Geoff

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Nico. Back at work now myself – hard to come back to earth. Andalusia sounds fantastic! Glad to hear you and Belinda had a good time. Many thanks for organising the Tuscan tour and for making me feel part of the group. It was a very memorable experience. I can’t think of anything to suggest about improvement of the Tuscany tour – except perhaps to explain those little cardboard clocks on the windscreen of the hire-car! Also, having a GPS was a great help. Look forward to the reunion lunch – thanks for that…Shaun

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Hi Nico, I was just thinking last night I must send you an e-mail thanking you for organizing our very wonderful time spent with you, Belinda, the in-laws, Sergio, Stefano and especially Rauol. Really enjoyed the cooking classes and have already made a few dishes. Must admit feeling quite flat on my return to Perth. The location of Villa Fabbroni was truly magical. Penny and I had a great time visiting the historical towns. Will see if I can twist my husbands arm to do the Spanish trip…Julie

DISCOVER TUSCANY – Just a quick note to say thank you for the wonderful experience I had in San Polo with you and your group. As a complete stranger, from a different continent, I felt included and welcome in every way. I sit and laugh about not being seen as the 5th wheel and also about convincing me to do the walk down to the bottom of the hill for coffee (even if it was just once) and feeling lucky that I didnt attempt Cardiac Hill. I did manage to smuggle in all the food products I bought from there, and Thomas and the kids have already enjoyed consuming quite a bit of this. I would definitely consider another cooking tour with you again, so please keep me in mind. I have a few friends who are also now very, very keen…Julie

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Nico & Belinda, I’m lost for words to say. A simple ‘thank you’ must suffice for one of the most magical Asian experiences. The fact that we all seemed to drop out of our urbane worlds for what, at the end, seemed like a blink of an eye, was a testament to your abilities to do what you do. The chance to share Vietnam with such a wonderful group of people was the icing on the cake…Ric and Jill

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Hey Nico & Belinda, It was a perfect holiday, great mix of organised activities and free time, couldn’t have asked for a better time! …Court & Jess

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Hi Nico & Belinda, Thank you both so much for hosting an amazing trip. It was indeed a great bunch of people and it was a pleasure to be in the company of such a great welcoming bunch. I had a blast & wouldn’t change a thing. I loved all the places we visited, tours and cooking classes and all your knowledge of places we went & all your stories that were shared. Take care guys & stay safe…Jules

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Dear Belinda, dear Nico, Thank you so much for this wonderful trip. I enjoyed it very much and the combination of cooking and sightseeing is really a wonderful combination…Best regards, Manuela

DISCOVER VIETNAM – Hi Nico & Belinda, Once again many thanks for your great cooking and culture tour of Vietnam. The areas we visited certainly provided a valuable insight to the country and it’s rich and tragic history…Cheers, John & Max

DISCOVER BALI – Having just returned from 2 weeks in Bali, we feel priviliged to have spent a week with Nico and Belinda discovering parts of Bali that we haven’t seen in about 15 previous trips to the island.
Nico’s knowledge of the culture, the restaurant scene along with Belinda’s thorough researching of the spa’s, made for a fantastic holiday.
The Cafe Wayan cooking school along with the Mozaic Restaurant demonstration provided some of the best food in Ubud. The Cycling tour is the first of the 4 previously riden on, that was truely “all downhill” – a fun filled very enjoyable day. The cooking school at Bali Asli with Penny Williams was the highlight of the trip for me. Penny’s skills as a guide and chef along with her respect for all that Bali offers, made the day complete.
The accommodation venue’s – Alam Jiwa (Ubud) and Alila Mangiss (Candi Dasa) were perfect spots to spend our spare time in and along with Nico’s structure of the tour, made the trip an unbelievable time away. Nico’s knowledge of Bali continued to the second week, with he and Belinda going out of their way to visit us and recommend further restaurants they had discovered in Seminyak and Jimbaran. Would definetly love to join them on their trips to Italy, Vietnam or Tasmania in future years…Stewart & Heather

DISCOVER BALI – Recently returned from Nico and Belinda’s excellent tour of Bali, taking in the sights of Ubud and Candidasa. I have been to Bali many times, but this time decided to do something different so joined this tour with some friends. It was the perfect mix of cooking classes, outdoor activities, cultural experiences and cocktail drinking. Thoroughly enjoyed the week, it was well organised with a good mix of group activities, but plenty of time to do your own thing as well. Highly recommended!…Karine

DISCOVER BALI Here is another rave review for Nico and his Secrets of Bali tour. Perfectly planned, perfectly executed. If you’ve been to Bali before, this is a completely different way to experience it – if you haven’t been before, this is a great introduction. This is about the beautiful, the gentle, the relaxing Bali and the food!
Nico and Belinda have done their homework well and provide the group with fantastic experiences and great suggestions on how to spend the free time as well. You can be as much a part of it all as suits you.
Meeting people’s expectations is not necessarily easy – in my book, this trip meets and surpasses all expectations!
A huge thank you to Nico and to Belinda…… and to everyone else on the tour who all contributed to this fabulous Bali experience…Linda & Sandy

DISCOVER BALI – Nico is a superb tour organiser! He has excellent contacts in a myriad of locations and years of experience, which equals an unforgettable holiday. I recently went on the Secrets of Bali tour and feel I have had a unique experience seeing the hidden Bali that many tourists don’t get to see. We trekked to a quiet East Bali village, cooked with a variety of talented chefs, stayed in beautiful and unique hotels and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Nico arranges for his groups to dine at the best tables in the restaurants visited and this time one of those tables was in a tropical coconut grove by the ocean.
The tour was well balanced with shared activities and meals and time for individual exploration and relaxation. I love having the security of the group and the activities all planned and organised but still having time to venture out.
Nico’s wife, the lovely Belinda, is nurturing and kind and an authority on spa’s and treatments…take her advice!
This was my second trip with Urban Provider and it was as fabulous (if not better) as my first. I highly recommend them…Jude

DISCOVER BALI – If you love cooking, traveling, meeting new people and delving beneath the thin tourist veneer of a culture, Urban Provider can offer this experience. A holiday with extras and all the benefits of an experienced host enables you the opportunity to enjoy all that is on offer. We recently joined the “Secrets of Bali” tour and what a delight. A perfect balance between cooking, activities, leisure time and time spent with fellow travelers…Jill & Damir