In this slow meander through northern Italy, the food becomes the journey. Beginning in the lovely city of Bologna and its surrounding villages, and then climbing into the Langhe hills of Piedmont, home to the king of wines, truffles and cheese, this romantic journey will change the way you think about food. In the company of a graduate of the University of Gastronomic Sciences which pioneered the Slow Food movement, you will have insider access to food and wine producers, restaurateurs, cheese makers and truffle hunters.
The first part of the journey is centered on the scholarly, fat, red city of Bologna – scholarly because it is home to the world’s oldest university, fat because it is home to tagliatelle and tortellini and red because this is the color of the houses and of the political tradition.
In the hills of Bologna you’ll be introduced to this local Bolognese traditional cuisine at Amerigo 1934 – the only trattoria in Italy to carry both the Snail recognition from the Slow Food Guide of the Italian Osterias (the one preserving local traditions, seasonality and use of locally farmed products) and a 1* Michelin earned 20 years ago. Here you can have a tortellini-making session with 80-year-old grandmas or maybe a family member of restaurateur Alberto Bettini, owner of Amerigo 1934.
Other highlights will include visiting one of the oldest Balsamico Acetaia, Pedroni, where you will meet Giuseppe and his octogenarian father, Italo Pedroni, to learn more about the Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena and to lunch in their cozy trattoria. Another visit will be to Antica Corte where you will have a tasting of culatello ham and lunch at Chef Massimo Spigaroli‘s 1* Michelin restaurant. If the time of year is right, go truffle hunting in the forest and visit the truffle company owned by friends Luigi&Angelo.
And, of course, if you would like to dine at chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana, voted 2018 best restaurant in the world, that can be arranged as well.
The second half of the trip will take you into hills of the Langhe, famous for producing Barolo, the “King of Wines”, from the Nebbiolo grape. You will have a coveted wine tasting at Bartolo Mascarello, visit Pollenzo and its world-famous wine bank and hear the Slow Food story and the stories of Eataly and other world-of-food- altering projects born inside the walls of the University.
Then head to the hazelnut groves of the Alta Langa for a hazelnut-and-chocolate spread tasting and to Alba, world capital of truffles and Nutella, where you will stop for lunch at La Piola or at Piazza Duomo with its 3 Michelin stars. In Alba, meet with a local truffle hunter/dealer family who have had their iconic store since the 1930’s then drive on to the villages of Barbaresco and Neive for a unique wine tasting of the “Queen of Wines” at Renato and Milva Fenocchio’s estate.
Fly in and out of Milan. You can self-drive or have a car and driver at your disposal.
Livio Colapinto was born into a large Apulian family scattered throughout the Italian boot. At 8 he cooked his first dish for Nonno Giuseppe and has kept pleasing others – and himself – with food ever since, combing through markets, visiting farms, meeting artisans and cooking for guests and fellow chefs. After engineering studies and some ten years in finance between London, Zurich and Tokyo, Livio studied at Slow Food University. Along with his wife, Kathrin, a graduate of the University, they design and operate journeys around food and wine throughout Italy.
When to Go
April/May to enjoy the warm and longer days
September/October for the vineyards’ foliage
Mid-October to end November for white truffle