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River-cruise companies are making guests mouths water even when they step on dry land.

It isn’t only on board river-cruise ships that the culinary experience is improving: shore excursions are also upping their game to sate the more demanding palates of passengers.

Guests on Scenic Tours can enjoy “Scenic Sundowner” moments with cocktails in Europe’s most beautiful settings. Locales for evening soirees include the vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, a wine chateau in Saint-Émilion near Bordeaux, and a manor house in Normandy enveloped by orchards, where guests can sample cider and apple brandy.

Scenic Tours has a “Shop with a Chef” outing on European river cruises in which guests join the ship’s chef and a local culinary specialist on a guided tour of street markets in foodie hot spots such as Bordeaux, Paris, Belgrade and Vienna. Later, back on board, guests get to enjoy the fruits of their labours.

Uniworld’s foodie shore excursions include visits to a Brussels chocolate artisan and a tour of Doktorenhof Estate in Germany for a tasting of vinegars flavoured with honey and herbs. In Croatia, enjoy lunch on a farm and learn how to make preserved vegetables and the speciality spread ajvar. Uniworld’s China program includes a dim sum lunch in Shanghai, a traditional dumpling and Tang Dynasty dinner in Xi’an, and Peking duck in Beijing.

“Insider Experiences” with Travelmarvel lay on an authentic Bavarian Oktoberfest evening in Vilshofen, a lunch and wine-tasting at Nelahozeves Castle near Prague, and the chance to sample Black Forest cake while in the region on the Rhine. APT’s signature experiences include a gourmet dinner at the acclaimed L’Abbaye de Collonges in Lyon, and a private tour of Grignan castle followed by a cocktail reception and tastings of regional produce.

Tauck’s shore excursions include demonstrations of gourmet cooking and pastry-making in France and cheese-making in the Netherlands. Guests can take a culinary-themed walking tour in Paris and sample beer in Antwerp.