Sardinia, LeMarche, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna,
How to HIGHLIGHT the five most memorable experiences on this amazing journey, its nearly impossible as our journey was packed with highlights.
In Sardinia it was a combination of the visit to Morgonongiori where we visited the traditional pasta making business and then experienced a truly amazing lunch at the Agritourisimo SaMatta Frisca. Maybe because it was our first traditional presentation of local , totally local , cuisine, presented in its true rustic charm, but it blew us all away. . This made the cooking class we took the following day all the more special as it was all explained by our gorgeous hostess Angela from Sardinia Flavour http://www.sardiniaflavour.it/ who really must be contacted if you want the best advice on all things in the food & wine arena of Sardinia.
Le Marche . this one was easy for me, whilst staying at Ascoli Piceno we spent a day with the Staffolani family, Truffle farmers extraordinaire, and for me it was the total experience, the education into how and why the truffles grow , how they are harvested, the family involvement, the marketing , and the many ways this incredible flavoured tuba is used in food preparation . . Bosco D'Oro http://www.boscodoro.com/ is a must for food and wine lovers. For me, probably the best "total experience" of the 2 weeks travelling around Italy. and for those that want more information , especially in Australia contact www.benfatti.com.au both for future tours and also information on their amazing truffle product range. By the way, the accommodation in Ascoli, Palazzo Guilderocci, is a great choice as a base when touring in this region.
http://www.castellodimonterado.it/en/, very, very special.
Emilia Romagna, a real surprise packet. for food & wine experiences, this was a tough decision, and again it was the combination of tastes and flavors that made one day stand out.
The visit to Hombre & the Panini family business to see how the organic Parmigiano Reggiano is produced was quite extraordinary, and then topped off with a visit to the Pedroni family one of Modena's most highly prized & boutique producers of Balsamic Vinegar D.O.P.
Then there was Tuscany, with our base for 4 nights just outside Arezzo at the gorgeous Relais La Torre, with the Marcelli family.The time at this Agritourisimo was really living the dream in Italy, and everything we did had a reason, our bonus being the completion of vintage and the celebration that goes with that. Menus inspired by seasonal produce, its been done for decades and they are passionate about what they eat and how its presented.
Also special to me was the opportunity to experience Montepulciano, and meeting Andrea Contucci and sharing some of his family's history, and his wines.
Its a very hard task to pick the best of what was a wonderful 2 weeks of special experiences. We would, no we will, be going back to spend more time in each of the regions we touched on, to be immersed in what is , in my opinion, one of the best lifestyles in the world. They may be struggling in a poor economy, but they know how to balance life, and food has a central place in that lifestyle.
For now we have the opportunity to relaunch our Italian Restaurant here in Bali to promote the cuisine of each of the regions we were educated in.