Château de Chambord

Spotlight on the Loire

Known as the garden of France, the Loire Valley in the centre of France is a lush green land with rich vineyards, charming towns and magnificent châteaux.

There are over 300 chateaux in the region- far too many to visit in one holiday. Choose a few, take your time and really enjoy them. Some of the best include Château de Villandry with its superb Renaissance gardens, romantic Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord, the largest and most extravagant of them all.

Once you’ve had your fix of châteaux there’s plenty more to see and do in the Loire Valley. Explore the lively cities of Tours and Orleans, and the delightful towns of Saumur, Amboise and Blois. The mild climate is perfect for outdoor activities too. Walk or cycle through beautiful gardens or take to the water for a leisurely jaunt down the river. And of course, no visit to the Loire would be complete without sampling the excellent local wines. 

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Finished tiramisu

Canvas Loves…. Italian food

One of the first things that springs to mind when thinking of spending time in Italy is the delicious food that the country is famous for…pizza, pasta, cannoli…the list goes on. A favourite Italian dessert has to be tiramisu. The flavours all combined together are simply scrumptious!

Tiramisu translates from Italian as ‘pick me up’ and this traditional dessert certainly does that. The lovely flavours of coffee, amaretto, chocolate and cream combine to make the most delicious and indulgent treat.

We had a go at creating this amazing dessert from Gino d’Acampo’s quick tiramisu recipe.

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Places to explore around Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy and is surrounded by many medieval villages, small towns and picturesque ports. Many of them can be reached by boat from various parts of the lake and it’s definitely worth exploring as many of them as you can to get a truly authentic feel for the stunning area.

Peschiera           

Peschiera is on the southern end of the lake. Here, you can see the 16th century island fortress and walls, a reminder of a time when Austria controlled the region. Guided tours of the fortress are available by boat or on foot. The old town is colourful and inviting with narrow alleyways lined with shops and cafes. After soaking up the history try a glass of Lugana, a local white wine.

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Spotlight on Lake Garda

Crystal clear swimming waters, vineyards, olive groves and snow-capped mountain views…

Lake Garda is not only Italy’s largest lake but also one of the most scenic and action-packed holiday spots in Europe. Take your pick from water sports, Roman ruins, theme parks, and amazing food and wine.

Lake Garda lies in a deep valley in northern Italy between Venice and Milan. The ladle-shaped expanse of water is 50 miles long and 11 miles across it’s widest. The southern part of the lake features rolling hills with olive and citrus groves fringing the shores. Heading north, the hills give way to majestic mountains.

The lake was formed during the last Ice Age by a massive glacier that flowed down from the Dolomites, cutting through and gouging out the valley. Eventually the ice glacier melted, resulting in the freshwater lake of today.

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