Greetings from Robbi and Jim

A warm welcome to the more than 6000 members of our Aroma Tours newsletter in over 30 countries around the world.

We are excited to be heading into another fabulous year and 2008 promises to keep up our tradition of having our "Best Year Ever" each year. We are also pleased to see healthy bookings for our early release 2009 tours with several more to be opened shortly.

Robbi and I are continuing to work hard and we feel truly blessed to see out dreams flourishing.

This will also be the year that Robbi begins to focus once again on her workshop schedule. So overall another wonderful year ahead and we are greatly looking forward to sharing many delightful moments with this year's Aroma Travellers.

Our latest Memorable Photos

We have added another page of memorable photos from this year's adventures for your viewing pleasure at Memorable Photos 2007-5 - Enjoy!

Please remember that there are also hundreds of other lovely photos that we have collected over the years for you to enjoy in our Picture Gallery Pages

If you have not already done so, we invite you to read some of the Messages of Thanks we have received from last year's Aroma Travellers.

Aroma Travellers Our Thanks

One of the main reasons that we continue to grow and flourish, is the on-going support we receive from our past Aroma Travellers.

This year we be enjoying the largest number of return travellers we have ever had. Currently the level is 31% and it is a great delight for us to be welcoming back so many good friends.

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

Provence Lavender Tour Shines

Our Provence Lavender Tour is proving to be an instant hit and has just been featured in Frommer's directory which is a wonderful accolade for us.

We love the feeling of creation when a new tour begins to shine and of course our personal journey with Aroma Tours began many years ago amongst the lavender fields of Provence - it feels like we are coming full circle.

Soon we will be there with our Aroma Travellers standing in the scintillating purple fragrance of a huge lavender field ( and for us as always - giving thanks ).

If you haven't already taken a peek, the History of Lavender in Provence it is a great read.

The Story of Champagne

If you are new to our newsletter and have not already read the fascinating 4 part "Story of Champagne" that we published in our past newsletters, I highly recommend that you do so now by following these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4

Current Booking Status

After a fabulous start to this year's tour season we are continuing to enjoy a healthy rate of bookings for all of our tours. We have also decided that due to its growing popularity it is time to add a second Bali Women's Retreat to our offerings.

Our current booking status is:-

2008 TOURS


 

2009 TOURS ( Early Release )

 There are currently another 5 tours that will shortly be joining the "fully booked for 2008" list, so if you are planning to join us this year and would like to reserve your place, please visit our Tour Booking Page shortly.

  • Our up-to-the-moment booking status is available via our Calendar Page
     

If you have any questions it is our pleasure to assist you. We can be contacted either by email at info@aroma-tours.com 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 by your country's international dialling prefix: from the USA it is 011 from most other countries it is 00.

Tuscany Reflections

We always begin our tour season each year in the beautiful Tuscan countryside and it is with joyful anticipation that we are once again starting to count down the days.

This year in addition to our charming and knowledgeable guides Andrea and Giulia we are pleased to introduce the newest member of our Aroma Tours team Carol Coller.

Carol is a wonderful addition to our team and she will add her lovely personality and significant knowledge on a range of subjects Italienne to our experiences this May.

There are still places available for both of our Aromas of Tuscany tours and if you would like to join us this year as we explore Tuscany's perched villages, rolling hills, delicious food and wines, rich culture and joy of life we invite you visit our Information Request Page for more details.

Blossoming Heart Update

The second edition of Robbi's popular book The Blossoming Heart is now available and Caroline has been kept very busy sending out hundreds of copies to fill the back orders we have received over the last few months. It seems that even before we have paid the printer's bill we will have sold enough copies to cover the printing expenses. Wow!

The Chinese and Spanish versions of the book are continuing to flourish and we have just been informed that the Spanish version has now also been published in Argentina and Mexico.

Work on the Portuguese translation is also going well and we hope that it will be published later this year in Brazil.

Robbi has also just been interviewed by Lorna Owens on her Miami radio show, so word of her work is really starting to spread now.

If you would like more information about The Blossoming Heart or Robbi's Workshops please visit her website at http://www.aromatic-kinesiology.com

Bali Banquet

Last September after our Bali Women's Retreat had finished I joined Robbi for a little relaxing and rejuvenating of our own.

Bali as always welcomed us with its beautiful spirit and soon I was sitting in the gentle tropical evening with all of the busyness of the previous months melting away as my mind was carried aloft by the fragrant aroma of tuberose and gentle rhythms of Gamelan music.

Robbi and I are very passionate and proud of the lovely journeys that we share with our Aroma Travellers but this once it was absolute bliss to be experiencing some time-out-of-time for ourselves.

One of the highlights of our time in Bali came unexpectedly when we were invited to a private banquet by our dear friend Wayan Page. We were thrilled, as it is an uncommon honour in Balinese culture to receive such a personal invitation from a village elder. When we arrived for the meal, expecting to be sharing it with Wayan Page and his significant family, we discovered that the banquet had been specially prepared just for the 4 of us and we were the guests of honour!

We have been visiting Bali for many years now and one of the delights has always been the wonderful relationships that we enjoy with our dear Balinese friends.

Aroma Tours Vision Statement

Our Aroma Tours Vision Statement has proved to be highly popular and we greatly appreciate all of the lovely compliments that we have received. One comment however, was that it was it not easy to find for the casual visitor to our site so we have made it more prominent by placing a link to it from our main left hand navigation bar.

In the near future we will also be creating other new slide shows for you to enjoy.

Cuisine Italienne

Now that it is February I can feel Italy starting to beckon and what better way to bring the Dolce Vita into this moment than with some Italian deliciousness.

Carprese Salad - Tomato Basil and Bonconcini

An absolute classic dish and one of my favourite ways to begin a meal in Italy. A good Carprese ( any dish for that matter ) is all about the quality of the ingredients, hence my notes below.

Ingredients ( serves 4 )

400g ( 13oz ) ripe Roma tomatoes, thickly sliced.
( preferably vine ripened if available, otherwise use hydroponic tomatoes. Avoid tomatoes that have been picked green and ripened artificially. Of course nothing can beat the luscious taste of sun-kissed tomatoes grown in the Mediterranean )

250g ( 4oz ) fresh bocconcini cheese, sliced.

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces by hand just prior to serving. 
( Do not use a knife or other metal implement as it will taint the basil's flavour ) 

The best quality "first cold pressed, extra virgin" olive oil you can find. 
( Preferably Italian from the Liguria or Umbria regions. "New World" olive oils can also be wonderful but be sure that they are cold first pressed not solvent extracted and that they have a low acid content. )

Balsamic vinegar, just a dash.
( If you really want to indulge, buy the genuine Aceto Balsamico from Modena. It is a bit expensive because it has been aged for a minimum of 12 years but a little goes a long way and there are many wonderful ways you can enjoy it. )

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Method

  • Shortly before the meal, arrange the tomato slices on a serving plate 3 or 4 per person and top each slice with a portion of bocconcini cheese.
  • Add the freshly torn basil leaves atop the cheese and drizzle each stack with olive and a dash of balsamic vinegar.
  •  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

 
So simple but oh so wonderful! The perfect start to a meal and especially with Italian cuisine it is wise to begin with a light touch.


Duck Breasts With Blue Berries and Zuccini Flowers

Duck is one of my favourites when we are on tour and there are many way to enjoy it. I hope you enjoy this particular incarnation. 

Ingredients ( serves 4 )

2 tablespoons sunflower oil.
4 duck breasts, skin on.
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar.
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
4 tablespoons fresh blue berries.
12 zucchini flowers
90g ( 3oz ) plain flower.
1 cup ( 8fl oz ) water.
freshly ground black pepper
oil for cooking.

Method

  • Heat oil in a thick based frying pan and cook duck, skin side down over a low heat until skin is golden.
  • Turn and cook on other side briefly.
  • Add vinegar, black pepper, cinnamon and blue berries then cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes until duck is tender.
  • While the duck is simmering prepare the zucchini flowers.
  • Gradually sift the flower into the water with continuous whisking to form a a smooth batter. Add more water if necessary.
  • Pour 2.5cm ( 1in ) of cooking oil into a frying pan and heat until very hot.
  • Dip flowers into the batter and cook a few at a time until golden.
      

On a serving plate, arrange duck breast and 3 zucchini flowers artfully and spoon the blue berry sauce over the duck. Be careful not to flood the plate which will make for soggy flowers.

Accompany the dish with lightly steamed mild vegetables.

A glass [ or two ] of Sangiovese: a nice DOCG Chianti Classico or Vino Nobile de Montipulciano would be perfect.

If you cannot find blueberries, dark cherries are a great substitute.


Cinnamon Zabglione

I love carrying over an ingredient from main course to dessert, it makes for a lovely continuity to the meal.

Ingredients ( serves 4 )

130g castor sugar.
4 egg yolks.
100ml white wine.
100ml sweet wine.
Ground cinnamon

Method

  • Place egg yolks, sugar and wine into a small saucepan.
  • Combine the ingredients with a whisk then cook over a low heat with constant whisking for approximately 4-5 minutes until a nice smooth thickness is achieved. Do not allow to boil.
  • Serve in small bowls or ramekins and dust lightly with ground cinnamon.

Finish off the meal with a lovely cup of espresso coffee.

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 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

Thought for the Day

"Perhaps it was the flowers that made me a painter."  ~ Monet

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 visit our Aroma Tours Website for more information and to take a peek at the latest photos of our travels in our Photo Galleries

If you would like detailed information about any of our tours please visit our Information Request Page

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 info@aroma-tours.com 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 by your country's international dialling prefix: from the USA it is 011 from most other countries it is 00.

Warmest regards,

Jim and Robbi


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