Greetings from Robbi and Jim

A warm welcome to all of the members of our Aroma Tours Newsletter from around the world.

Robbi and I are now back home in our lovely little cottage in south eastern Australia enjoying the awakening of spring with daffodils, newly opening leaves, magnificent flowering wattles, fruit trees in blossom and an abundance of rain.

It is nice to be staying in one place after more than three months of Aromatic Adventures in Spain, Dordogne, Turkey and Provence and we are enjoying time to reflect on the many delightful moments we have shared with our Aroma Travellers

We are looking forward to adding the final chapters to our Aroma Tours chronicles for this year and will share some of the stories of our Bali and Tuscany adventures with you in our October newsletter.

Robbi and I are also  thrilled to see that our 2014 tour season is already off to a flying start with an unprecedented number of early bookings, mostly from our returning Aroma Travellers and their friends.

We hope to have the pleasure of your company next year and if you would like the latest details of our tours and retreats, please visit our information request page

Memorable Photos from our 2013 Adventures

One of the best ways to enjoy the spirit of our Aroma Tours adventures is by taking a peek at a few of the 1000's of photos we have taken during our travels.

Robbi and I also enjoy sharing with you some of lovely images taken by our guests during their journeys with us.

We will begin with four pages of lovely photos from this year's adventures for your viewing pleasure:-

Please remember to take a peek at our Photo Galleries Pages where you will enjoy many beautiful images of our past adventures.

Aroma Traveller Comments from 2013

Without doubt, the main reason that we continue to grow and flourish, is the on-going support we receive from our past Aroma Travellers.

This year we are enjoying an outstanding number of returning Aroma Travellers and new guests who are joining us because of direct referrals - currently over 55% of our guests!

For Robbi and myself, it is such a great delight to welcome back so many good friends and to see our Aroma Tours continuing to flourish.

We would also like to give our heart-felt thanks to all of you who continue to support us with your kind words and referrals as you spread news of our tours and retreats amongst your friends.

Your appreciation that we have shared such a special time with you during our journey together means so much to us and make us very happy indeed.

2013 Guest Comments

  • Seeing the world with Jim and Robbi is a revelation. My third and fourth tours this year - Spain and Turkey - were superb in every way and beautifully organized by two extraordinary people. Tuscany beckons next year for more fun! A thousand thanks to you both for making so many of us who travel with you very happy!
     ~ Susan Troxell New York City USA
  • Thank you, Robbi and Jim for a most wonderful tour of the Dordogne region of France. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and all your graciousness. ~ Julie Tomlin Blodget USA
  • We want to thank you for the fantastic Heart of Provence Tour. As you know, this was our first group tour experience and it exceeded our wildest expectations. It was well-paced with sufficient time on our own; the hotels were charming and your descriptions and histories of towns and other sites we visited were informative and fun. The food and wines were fabulous, so thanks for picking restaurants with fine local cuisine beautifully presented in perfect Provencal settings. ~ David and Joan Schulman Summit USA
  • Umberto and I would like to thank you for a most wonderful time with you during our Flavor of Dordogne Tour. Your care and attention to details is amazing. It was our first time to travel with you and Aroma Tours, but we know already it won't be the last. Ciao
     ~ Umberto and Margot Papaluca Bahamas
  • We loved the beautiful scenery, magnificent churches and monasteries, quaint medieval towns and the wine....never had so much..... and food it was a feast for the eyes and taste buds! Thank you Jim and Robbi and of course you Carol for the great time and for taking such good care of us at all times. We hope we will be lucky enough to join another Aroma Tour sometime. ~ Shanti Lingham Ipoh Malaysia
  • My trip to Provence the BEST vacation ever! I loved the lavender tour it was a treat for all the senses as well as informative, beautiful, humorous, delicious, etc.. Robbi and Jim I'd like to thank you for your warmth and generosity. I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to my next Aroma Tour. It was fun traveling with friends I just met.
     ~ Mary Van Abs Newburyport USA
  • Thank you for making our Aroma Tour a very special time. The care and attention to the individual needs of the tour group was much noticed and appreciated. We had a great trip and will hopefully experience another tour with you again in the future.
     ~ Colin and Marcella Reiter Aspendale Australia
  • Thank you Robbi and Jim for creating and sharing a truly unique, fascinating and fun journey through wonderful Western Turkey. Your love of this country and its people shine through you. The sights, sounds, tastes and history were exotic, beautiful and moving. To meet with the rose farmer in his field of roses and to experience the passion of the Whirling Dervish ceremony and then to speak with them afterwards was extraordinary! I am so grateful. Everyday was full of surprise and delight! Thanks for the memories! ~ Barbara Shirriff Toronto Canada
  • Thank you Jim and Robbie for a wonderful trip to Turkey. It was a super trip with a fun group to an amazing country - what more can one ask!
     ~ Kaye Monarski San Mateo USA
  • Thank-you for a wonderfully well organised trip in Provence. I loved being there with everyone, meeting people along the way and tucking into great food and wine was an absolute bonus. ~ Lou Johns Launceston Australia
  • Thank you so much, Robbi and Jim, for sharing Provence with Bob and I. It was the most lovely, special week. We loved your energy, attention to detail, generosity of thought and wisdom. We met some fun, loving and personality plus people. I still can smell and see the lovely lavender and beautiful scenery in Provence. The trip was a perfect combination of sights, sounds, history, relaxation and of course shopping. I am amazed at all that you do and maintain your sense of humor and calm demeanor. You just may see us again sometime. Thanks again!!
     ~ Barbara and Bob Harroun Northbrook USA
  • Thank you to you and Jim for another great tour. I really enjoyed our time together in France. This year it was the Essential Provence Tour. I have to say, the perfume I made is gorgeous! I'm already planning next years tour. ~ Pam Kenel Toronto Canada
  • Jim and Robbi, I don't know if thank you would be enough for all you brought into my life. The Lavender fields were a dream come true for me and sharing it with such wonderful people made the dream deeply heartfelt. It was all an experience of a lifetime and so much more than most tours would provide. The lavender hasn't left my dreams.
     ~ Dawn Adams Newburyport USA

More guest comments and reviews of their Aroma Tours adventures can be found using the pull-down list below:-

You may also like to visit our picture gallery page where you can enjoy viewing the many beautiful photos of our journeys.

Celebration of Flavour - Images from our 2013 Adventures ( so far )

In all of our journeys we love to share with our guests the joy of experiencing the cuisine and gastronomic traditions of the regions we visit.

The tastes and aromas of fresh seasonal ingredients prepared with practiced skill, care and pride in preparation, combine in a myriad of ways to bring us moments to savour.

It is a challenge to express the delectable moments we shared but hopefully your eyes will enjoy dining along with us.

Robbi and I hope to share some of these delicious moments with you in the near future.

Our Current Booking Status

Our 2014 tour season is off to a flying start with an unprecedented number of early bookings, mostly from our returning Aroma Travellers and their friends.

All of our tours for 2013 were fully booked, however, due to a late cancellation we currently have 1 vacancy for our Bali Women's Retreat 16 - 23 September 2013.

Our booking status at the time of this newsletter is:-

2013 Tour Season
2014 Tour Season

Robbi and I hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to one of our delightful aromatic adventures and to sharing a wonderful and memorable time with you.

For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

It is our pleasure to assist you with any questions you may have and we invite you to get in touch with us either by email at or by phone on: +613 5331 3254 (afternoon/evening USA time zones, mornings from other countries). 

Please note

  • Our up-to-the-minute booking status is available via our calendar page
  • If the tour you would like to attend becomes fully booked you may like us to add you to that tour's waiting list as sometimes we receive late cancellations or transfers.

Creme de Cassis

Creme de Cassis is a popular liquor made in France from blackcurrants which are generally grown in the cooler regions of Burgundy as well as the Loire and Rhone valleys.

The blackcurrant plant needs to be subjected to below freezing temperatures for 10 weeks or more during winter in order to produce abundant fruit and even then the berries only maintain optimal flavour for one day!

Also, because they are very quickly oxidized once picked ( due to their high vitamin C content ), they must be flash frozen to -30C as soon as possible in order to preserve their colour and flavour.

To create creme de cassis, the flash frozen berries are warmed to -5C and macerated for up to 3 months in a mixture of water and alcohol which extracts the flavour and colour from the berries without the possibility of fermentation. The resulting juice is then decanted, pressed and filtered, then sugar is added.

This style of macerated liquor is given the name "creme" to differentiate it from fermented liquors such as Marc, Armignac, Calvados and Eau de Vie. The French name for blackcurrant is cassis, hence the liquor was called Creme de Cassis.

It was the mayor of Dijon, Canon Felix Kir, already famous for his involvement in the French resistance, who is credited for preserving the tradition and knowledge of making aperitifs during the difficult years of the 2nd world war.

Mayor Kir would often be seen offering guests to the capital of Burgundy the traditional blanc cassis, a combination of dry white wine and creme de cassis which eventually became know as a "Kir".

Other drinks incorporating creme de cassis are:- Communard, a dash of creme de cassis plus a cool dry red wine such as passe-due-grain or, a personal favourite, Kir Royale - a blush of creme de cassis in champagne.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

During our Flavours of Spain Tour we visit the spectacular Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art in Bilbao, recognized as a masterpiece of 20th century architecture and one of the world's most spectacular buildings.

It is a triumph of inspiration, planning, cooperation and execution and was realized as the result of the Basque government's vision to revitalize the struggling port city of Bilbao. The idea was to create a world class museum for contemporary art which would attract visitors and create new prosperity.

With that in mind, in 1991, they approached the Guggenheim Foundation in the USA to propose that a Guggenheim affiliated modern art museum be built on a 32,500-square-meter site along the Nervion River in the old industrial heart of the city.

The commitment was as large as the vision, with US$100 million set aside for construction, US$50 million for an acquisitions fund, a one-time US$20 million fee to the Guggenheim Foundation and agreement to subsidize the museum's US$12 million annual budget.

The Guggenheim Foundation agreed to give their name to this new museum which they would design and manage, as well as rotating part of their permanent modern art collection and organizing temporary exhibitions.

 Canadian architect Frank Gehry was chosen to design the building and was tasked to create a daring and innovative design; which he most certainly did! His  stunning concept utilized three key elements: glass, titanium, and limestone in seemingly random curves, "to catch the light", positioned around a central flower-like atrium.

This amazing building ( even more amazingly ) was constructed on time and under budget and was opened on October 18, 1997 King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Almost immediately, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao became a popular tourist attraction, drawing approximately 4 million visitors from around the world in its first 3 years and adding almost �500 million to the local economy! Not only was Bilbao's economy strengthened but the taxes raised from hotels, restaurants, shops and transport more than paid for the cost of the project.

The exhibits usually highlight Avant-garde, modern and contemporary art, as well as 20th century abstraction, and non-objective art. The exhibits change regularly with traditional paintings and sculptures less emphasized compared to installations and electronic forms. The highlight of the collection, and its only permanent exhibit, is "The Matter of Time" a series of weathering steel sculptures designed by Serra, which are housed in the 130 meter long Arcelor Gallery

Visiting the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a total feast for the senses, especially with our colleague, art historian and bon vivant Carol guiding us expertly through the amazing exhibits.

For the latest details of our tours and retreats, please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us for one of our delightful aromatic journeys, please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

Arranging Your Travel

Once you have reserved your place via our tour booking page, all your need to do is make your travel arrangements to meet us at the tour rendezvous point. You can either ask your travel agent to assist you, or for the more adventurous you can book your flights and connections yourselves. All of our rendezvous are easily achieved and naturally we provide all of the information and assistance that you will need.

Just a reminder that we have a frequently asked questions page to help answer the most common questions including how to book, travel arrangements, group sizes etc.

Previous Newsletters and Stories of Interest

Our past newsletters contain a lot of interesting stories and are well worth a read. You can find them by visiting our newsletter archives

You may also enjoy reading a few of the stories that we have compiled over the years on our stories of interest page

Our Invitation

Robbi and I look forward to welcoming you to one of our delightful tours or retreats in the near future and invite you to take a peek at the latest photos of our travels in our photo galleries

For detailed information about any of our tours please visit our information request page and if you would like to join us please visit our booking request page to reserve your place.

As always if you have any questions or if you would like us to assist you personally with advice about your travel arrangements or with any other details please contact us either by email at or by phone on +61 3 5331 3254 ( afternoon/evening USA time zones, mornings from other countries ).

Please note you need to replace the '+' in our phone number with your country's international dialing prefix: from the USA/Canada it is 011 from most other countries it is 00.

Warmest regards,

Jim and Robbi

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