Food & Wine Day Tours
Tuscan Wines and Thermal Baths
We start off with a morning of visiting several Brunello wineries before heading into the charming hill town, Montalcino, for lunch. Brunello is considered to be one of Italy’s top wines so this will be a great tasting experience! Our first visit will be to one of a number of female‐run estates in Montalcino, which was founded by the owner’s father in the 1980’s. The owner of the second winery is famous for being a very down to earth, kind Tuscan. He continually manages to turn out excellent Brunellos each year. Time permitting we’ll visit another winery or two.
We’ll next head to Montalcino where we will have lunch and a look around this lovely hill town. We’ll spend the afternoon in Bagno Vignoni exploring the small town & basking in the pool’s 60° C waters. These waters are rich in sodium chloride, calcium & iron carbonates, magnesium and sodium sulphates. Time permitting, on the way back to Rome we’ll visit the owner of a pecorino di Pienza cheese producer, famous in this area.
Mozzarella Production, Medieval Hill Town & Winery Visit
The morning starts with a visit to the best of dozens of wonderful small artisan mozzarella di bufala and ricotta cheese producers in the area. We’ll observe the mozzarella cheese making process and learn why this cheese is so fabulous and cannot be produced elsewhere – not even elsewhere in Italy! We’ll have lunch here and try out all of the local bufala products.
We’ll then drive up winding roads to a fabulous medieval hill town, built on the top of a rock to defend the Agro Pontino area. One can walk on the same narrow winding streets that were paved during the XIV century, visit the majestic Prince Caetani’s castle and have the sensation of being a XIX century traveller.
We’ll end our day with a visit to Lazio’s top winery and one of the region’s top estates. Its wines are continually finalists for the Gambero Rosso wine guide’s top “3 glass” awards. You’ll enjoy sampling a few of these wonderful wines.
Balsamic Vinegar and Parmigiano Reggiano
If you are unfamiliar with true balsamic vinegar then this is a tour you’ll not want to miss! True (or “traditional”) DOP balsamic vinegar, produced in Emilia Romagna, is the only Italian gastronomical product that cannot be produced anywhere else in the world due to the area’s unique climactic and terrain characteristics. Balsamic vinegar production and aging (a good vinegar is aged for over 20 years!) is steeped in fascinating history and tradition that is truly worth an insider’s look.
Join us for our trip to Modena where we will visit the balsamic vinegar consortium and meet with the “grand master” of balsamic vinegar. February is the month that balsamic vinegar is decanted and just one liter is kept out for use during the year. The cost? Hundreds of euros!
We will also take advantage of our visit to the Emilia Romagna region to see how another of the region’s DOP gastronomical products is made: Parmigiano Reggiano. Of course it goes without saying that we will be able to purchase both of these products!
October Saffron Harvest
Saffron cultivation has survived in a few areas of Italy, notably the Abruzzi and Sardegna, and now people are working to reestablish the saffron crop in Sicily, San Gimignano and Città della Pieve. Città della Pieve is famous for being the birthplace of Perugino, Umbria’s most important 15th century painter who used saffron to create the yellow for his paintings. Città della Pieve had faded away as a saffron producer but has reemerged and is promising to overtake the Abruzzi in saffron production.
Flavor of Italy will lead a tour to Città della Pieve for the saffron harvest. Tour participants will participate in the harvest process, tour the city and dine on a meal made from start to finish using saffron.
The Saffron harvest takes place in October, make your plans and come along with us.
Umbrian Prosciutto Tour
Flavor of Italy offers a one day outing to visit the town of Norcia in Umbria.
Although Parma may be the first place that typically comes to mind when you think of prosciutto, salame and sausages the “home” of these delectable pork products is actually Norcia. Hence the term norcineria for shops selling pork products!
We will spend a day visiting this charming town, see how prosciutto is made and aged and enjoy a delectable lunch in a local trattoria featuring the best norcino products.