FOR AFTER THE FEASTING, FITNESS (WITHOUT FASTING)

For those who want to dig their way out of this season of winter feasting without having to sacrifice flavor, Barcelona-trained chef and culinary guide Teresa Parker and New York-based Pilates Master Karrie Adamany have cooked up a Food and Fitness Retreat in a gorgeously restored country villa near Barcelona, May 26-31, 2008. Three angles on this story:

· Pilates and wellness—a food-lover’s experience.

“I’ve always eaten well but never been disciplined about exercise,” says Parker. She first came across Pilates during her recovery from breast cancer treatments last year and was amazed by the results. “Working with Karrie, I felt my mobility and strength return,” she says, “and now these workouts as important to me as a healthy meal.” Adamany has had a strong following among women since publishing her second book, Post-Pregnancy Pilates: An Essential Guide fora Fit Body After Baby (Avery: 2005). The two share a passion for life’s simple pleasures, including delicious food, a nice glass of wine, a good laugh, and a strong “core.”

· Catalan cuisine—the ultimate Mediterranean diet.

“This is not at all about deprivation,” Parker says, “but the Catalans do enjoy the quintessential Mediterranean diet.” For example, the basis of classic sauces here is not butter or cream, but onion and tomato, slowly caramelized in olive oil. Local menus feature lots of fish and shellfish; meats are served in moderate portions or are used to season a dish. Even Spain’s prized Ibérico ham has been found to contain high levels of Omega-3 essential fatty acids. The Catalans are masters of anti-oxidant-rich dark chocolates, though they seldom indulge in chocolate desserts—fruit is more their style. (Appropriate recipes available upon request).

· A well-balanced retreat.

This is a retreat designed with balance in mind. Each day combines energetic activity and unscheduled free time, all in a gorgeously restored and restoratively serene villa. Relax by the pool, book a massage, or strike out for the superb shops and culture of nearby Girona (we’ll tailor suggestions for excursions to your taste). On the active side: daily Pilates training, a long bike ride through medieval hilltowns, and a rigorous hike along the spectacular Costa Brava. Two cooking classes, a visit to a hidden but renowned biodynamic winery, and tastings of local olive oil and cheeses engage both the senses and the creative mind. This is a spring vacation to revive body and soul.

Food and Fitness Retreat details.

Dates: May 26-31, 2008. The trip includes:

· 5 nights (double occupancy) in a Catalan country villa dating to the 14th century and stylishly restored as a boutique inn;

· 6 daily Pilates classes with renowned New York-based master teacher Karrie Adamany; mat sessions focused on centering, stretching, strengthening;

· A guided half-day cycling trip through country landscapes and historic hilltowns;

· A guided half-day hike along the spectacular Costa Brava;

· Two cooking classes revealing the secrets of low-fat, high-flavor Catalan cuisine that you can use at home;

· A tour, tasting, and picnic at an award-winning biodynamic vineyard;

· Tastings of olive oils, cheeses, and other seasonal Catalan specialties;

· Five breakfasts, three lunches, and three dinners. You’ll enjoy healthy, seasonal, local cuisine including some indulgences—a true Mediterranean diet, but not a diet or weight loss program (nor is this designed for vegetarians or vegans);

· An excursion to the seaside arts town of Cadaqués;

· Time for relaxing by the pool (which uses a natural salt-ionization purifying system) and learning about the local history and culture;

· Gratuities at our restaurant meals;

· Travel medical insurance (MedEx TravMed Abroad).

Retreat fee: $3450, single supplement: $750. Limited to 16 participants. Travelers must book and pay for their own air tickets. The workshop starts and ends at the villa.

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