For Annabel

July 2017.

A Culinary Journey

Dear Annabel,

You have asked for a week of slow travel with your husband, a meander through some of Italy’s most captivating regions serving sublime food – Parma, Bologna, Modena and then, because John so loves his wine, we will end up in the hills that nurture the great Barolos, the king of wines, and Barbarescos.  You will self-drive and be on your own at the start to give you time together, to wander. After a few days, your delightful guide – who, himself, has come out of the Slow Food University near Bra –  will join you to introduce you, personally,  to some of the area’s great chefs, wine makers and truffle hunters.

Day 1:  Milan-Emilia Romagna

After landing at Malpensa, pick up your car and, following the directions we have given you, drive to your hotel.  Lunch is reserved for you in the less formal hotel restaurant while dinner will be in their beautiful long room overlooking the countryside.  They are known for their culatello cellar which you must visit before dinner.

Day 2: Parma & Bologna

After breakfast (the culatello omelet is glorious!) and check-out, we suggest that you drive straight to Parma (45 minutes) or take a detour to visit the gardens of the Ducal Palace of Colorno (30 minutes). From there it is a 30-minute drive to Parma.

When in Parma consider spending at least 2-3 hours visiting the Piazza Duomo, Battistero & Cattedrale, eventually walking past Teatro Regio and Teatro Farnese, Palazzo della Pilotta. Check the windows at La Prosciutteria on Via Farini, the best local food-store bottega in town.

A light lunch suggested at Ombre Rosse in the centro storico for a good glass of wine.

Drive on to Bologna or detour 35 minutes to Casa Museo Antonio Ligabue (aka the Italian van Gogh). From here it is 1 hour and 15 minutes to Bologna.

8:00 PM: Table reserved on the terrace for dinner this evening at Osteria Bartolini, a cozy and young spot in the heart of town. Located 10 minutes by foot from the hotel.

Day 3: Modena

Morning drive to Modena (1 hour). Park near Parco Ducale Estense.

Check out Piazza Roma, then walk the portico of Via Farini. Visit Caffetteria Drogheria Giusti, the most historic and iconic food store in town. If you feel like a gelato, the best one in Modena is Gelateria Bloom just down the street. Cross Via Emilia and continue walking along Via San Carlo and Via Canalino’s portico walkways. Finally, bear right on Via Mondatora, where you’ll find the historic Mercato Albinelli. Everyone in town comes here to shop.

1:00PM:  Lunch at La Francescana.

Consider an afternoon visit to Museo Ferrari in Maranello, located 25 minutes away, and open every day from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Dinner suggested at the Slow Food All’Osteria Bottega or the 1*Michelin I Portici for a shorter 10 minute walk.

Day 4:

9:30 AM: Meet your guide in the hotel lobby.

Drive 50 minutes to our favorite balsamic-making atelier to learn more about the Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena – and then enjoy a balsamico tradizionale tasting lunch in their cozy Slow Food awarded Osteria di Rubbiara.

After lunch return to Bologna for a little rest before driving 40 minutes up into the hills to a little village famous for truffle hunting and wild mushroom foraging. Here you will experience the making of tortellini with an 80-year old local grandma before departing for a real summer black truffle hunt in the forest with the hunter, Paolo, and his dog, Pupa.

8:00 PM: Dine at a memorable 1* Michelin Trattoria.

Day 5: Langhe

Take some time this morning to relax and enjoy a last walk in Bologna before check-out.

Drive two hours to the iconic 3* Michelin Dal Pescatore. Following lunch here, continue driving to your hotel in Langhe.

8:00 PM: Table reserved for dinner this evening at Villa D’Amelia’s 1*Michelin gourmet restaurant with talented Chef Damiano Nigro.

Day 6:  Langhe

9:30 AM: Today will be an all-day excursion whose objective is to discover the Langhe and its gentle hills famous for producing Barolo, the king of wines – also the wine of the kings – from Nebbiolo grapes.

After breakfast you will take the lovely drive up through the hills and towns of Barolo stopping at the villages with the wine and cork museums and then, Monforte or La Morra with its stunning Belvedere.

11:30 AM: Visit a local wine grower followed by a wine tasting.

1:00 PM: Have a light lunch at the local osteria in the heart of the medieval town.

3:30 PM: Enjoy a visit to a hazelnut grower and then return to the hotel to have some time to relax in the afternoon.

8:00 PM: Table reserved for dinner this evening at a 1* Michelin restaurant.

Day 7: Langhe

9:30 AM: After breakfast begin your short drive to Alba, the undisputed world capital of truffles, Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and Nutella. Together with your guide you will discover the beauty of its historic center, walking through the pedestrian district between artisan shops and up to the farmer’s market.

1:00 PM: Table reserved for lunch this afternoon at 3* Michelin Piazza Duomo of chef Enrico Crippa, who was just ranked 15 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 awards in Melbourne and best chef in the world according to the French Académie Internationale de la Gastronomie.

Afternoon quest for the “Queen of Piemonte wines” – the Barbaresco appellation obtained from Nebbiolo grapes like Barolo – which we will help you discover!

Free evening and suggested dinner at either Villa d’Amelia, Trattoria La Coccinella, or Trattoria della Posta

Day 8:  Departure

6:30 AM: Depart for Milan Malpensa Airport (1 hour and 50 minute drive) to meet your flight back home.