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Gábor Bánfalvi

Gábor and his wife Carolyn own a Budapest-based tour company offers a variety of food and wine experiences from two-hour wine tastings and afternoon food-themed walking tours in Budapest, to full-day wine tours to the region’s great wine-producing areas (including Tokaj and Burgenland) and ten-day tours covering several countries. Taste Hungary’s tours are food and wine-centered, and are focused on top quality local products, education, hands-on experiences, passionate people, and memorable experiences. They will also create customized itineraries and tours of the region.

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Peggy Markel

Peggy Markel, has designed and directed carefully hand-crafted food and culture trips around the world for 25 years.

She is a pioneer not only in culinary travel, but was instrumental in bringing Slow Food to America and championing the farm to table movement as early as 1993. With practically a lifetime of immersing herself in traditional food customs and meeting chefs and artisans in their kitchens and on their turf, Peggy has cultivated tight relationships that make you feel like a friend rather than a tourist when you join her on any trip.


Maisie Wilhelm

Maisie Wilhelm, Ann Arbor native, has the perfect background as creator and co-leader for this trip. As a former Zingerman’s employee back in high school, she then went on to study Italian at Brown University, falling in love with European culture and above all, food! Having spent three years working in Paris post-graduation at the International Herald Tribune, she became an expert in the city’s rhythms, traditions and best eateries, from where chefs go to eat to who makes the best chocolat chaud, writing about it for the IHT, Paris Voice, Paris Go-Go, and Paris Notes. After moving to NYC, she worked as a journalist before switching to food as a career, becoming the Brand Manager to chef Daniel Boulud. That experience returned her to France with the Michelin-starred chef to continue her education on French culinary culture. Her connections to the food and wine worlds in France are leveraged to make this trip exceptional. Now, Maisie runs Palatine, a culinary concierge, connecting people to memorable food experiences abroad.


Bernardo Conticelli

Born in Florence, after a degree in Political Sciences and a Master in Wine Marketing and Management in Paris, lives between Italy and France where he's involved in the promotion of Italian wines on the export markets and Champagne wines in Italy being since 2015 the official Champagne Ambassador in Italy. He runs his wine marketing consulting company Vinifocus based in Florence and an import company based in Paris named Bere Bene SAS specialized in artisan high-end wines, with a lot of dedication to wine education teaching at several wine classes in Italian, French and English language to wine professionals, consumers & wine lovers. In his spare time, Bernardo loves to make his own wine and runs a small farm named Sottofiesole just outside Florence where he produces a high-quality extra virgin olive oil.


John Cancilla & Ana Cereijo

Ana is from Talavera de la Reina, Spain, and John, a native Californian, has been living in Spain since 1987. Two decades ago they began working with gourmet food and wine producers in various ways, including helping them to reach the US market, and that brought them in to contact with Zingerman’s.


Gioacchino Passalacqua

Gioacchino Passalacqua, an Italian food and wine importer/exporter, gastronome, tour guide, adventurer, and native Sicilian who divides his time between Sicily, Italy and New York. As a native Mediterranean, Gioacchino has developed relationships with food producers, restauranteurs, olive oil companies, chocolatiers, vintners, and confectioners.

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Ceil Friedman

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Ceil Friedman grew up in Minneapolis and, after studying anthropology and art history, worked in the world of contemporary art. A self-described food and wine explorer, Ceil has lived in Verona, Italy, for thirty years and traveled extensively throughout the country and beyond. Over three decades she has forged close relationships with many of the leading chefs and producers in the Verona area. Ceil’s devotion to her adopted city led her to write, with her sister Lise, the book “Letters to Juliet,” which inspired the eponymous Hollywood film. She is co-owner, with her husband, of the Azienda Agricola Cordioli Erminio in Verona, artisanal producers of gold medal-winning extra virgin olive oils, available at Zingerman’s. Ceil Friedman is a Veneto Region-certified olive oil panel taster.