Participants meet at the central train station in Turin (Torino). A short 1-hour comfortable ride in our private mini-coach brings us to our first hotel in the heart of the best of Piemonte wine country. We are in the town of Alba in the wine region of Langhe. The tour starts with a wine pairing dinner.
His majesty ‘The Barolo Wine’ awaits us at the Enoteca Regionale located in the magnificent castle in the town of Barolo. We learn all the different styles of Barolo with a local guide at the Enoteca. The challenge of this visit is to distinguish an old style Barolo producer from a new style Barolo producer! You will be certainly able to do it after a side-by-side tasting of the different styles. In the afternoon we are off to visit the campus of the first world University specialized in … food! Universita’ del Gusto founded by Slow Food, the international movement started right here in Piemonte by Carlo Petrini in 2003. We are in the quaint village of Pollenzo.
After breakfast we drive uphill to the village of Barbaresco. Some people call the Barbaresco wine the younger brother of Barolo. I totally disagree. Do you want to know why? Find the answer to this today, when we enter this world!
We start with a visit and tasting at a family run winery located in one of the best ‘cru’ – vineyards of this region. Then we stop in the main village piazza to visit a unique church, home to the Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco, after which we embark in a 'Caccia al Tartufo' (truffle hunting) in the woods with a local expert guide and his dog. Alba is in the heart of the Tartufo region, where the very rare, expensive and world famous truffle is harvested. It is used in the best restaurants all over the world.
A delightful day awaits us! We will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Piemonte, based on staples such as risotto, agnolotti (small ravioli), polenta, braised meat with a Barolo reduction sauce and many seasonal garden vegetables, as well as .. of course..tartufo! We will gather at a family winery in a panoramic location on the hills and prepare some of these dishes. You have the tremendous opportunity to experiment with the typical Piemonte flavours and ingredients and assemble to create local recipes. Lunch will follow, paired with wines.
In the afternoon, after our espresso, we return to Alba, where you will have free time to walking in the Roman historic centre and visit the elegant fashion boutiques and/or food & wine shops.
Queen of the sea, and a city with a glorious history, Genova arouses conflicting feelings and this is also due to the fact that it has two facets: port on the Mediterranean from open to traffic with the countries that overlook it and the city of merchants and bankers, known by all as the most English city in Italy. Fascinating the narrow streets of the Old Town, the famous carruggi, the elegant buildings that alternate with humble houses, the beautiful churches with their austere marble facades in black and white stripes or opulent in their baroque lines. Throughout the city is visible the sign of the historical period, the seventeenth century, in which the great Genovese families reached the maximum wealth.
Breakfast and check out by 09:00. On the route to Tuscany, we will stop for a visit to a unique site: the marble quarries of Carrara, supplying the raw material for architectural and artistic works that embellish squares, palaces and private buildings all over the world. After a tasting of the famous Lardo di Colonnata IGP paired with local Sangiovese, we depart for Castellina in Chianti where we check in at our spa-hotel located in the centre of the village, in an ancient palace of the 11th century, now restored.
After breakfast we drive through the Chianti Classico hills and we stop in Radda and Gaiole in Chianti. We visit an ancient monastery and palace, which hosts historical underground wine cellars and we learn and taste their production. After lunch we depart for San Gimignano the home of the first white Italian DOC wine, which is now a well-known DOCG (the top Italian wine appellation), made with Vernaccia grapes. The village is one of the most fascinating medieval towns in Italy with many stone tall towers marking the landscape. Free time here to discover the many stores and artisan products.
The Brunello di Montalcino wine, made 100% of Sangiovese Grosso, has a great potential to age due to the grape’s thick skin rich in tannins. Expect some great wine tasting here! We visit the town of Montalcino, its castle and the Enoteca, then move on to Pienza and Bagno Vignone in the Val d’Orcia. The landscape of Val d’Orcia: “…a distinctive aesthetics, flat chalk plains out of which rise almost conical hills with fortified settlements on top, inspired many artists. Their images have come to exemplify the beauty of well-managed Renaissance agricultural landscapes…” (UNESCO world heritage site since 2004)
Today is the day to become acquainted with the true Tuscan cuisine with our lovely mamma Vilma. Vilma works and lives in Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, near Firenze where she owns a homemade pasta shop. Her passion for Tuscan cuisine is in her eyes, you will notice it right away! First of all, in the morning, after our cappuccino (remember…cappuccino is a breakfast item for Italians…..!) we blend in with the locals in the piazza, perhaps discussing politics and soccer. If you are familiar with Italian language, you recognize that beautiful Florentine accent everywhere. We then participate in a demo and hands-on pasta making seminar. We put our hands at work while making all kinds of fresh pasta shapes: tortelli, ravioli, fettuccine and more. As an Italian meal does not only include pasta, we gather around Vilma’s kitchen where we cook the rest of the meal, eat, taste wine … and perhaps even have a siesta! What a day!
After breakfast and check out we depart for Florence where we the tour ends.