Northern Tuscany | Food off the beaten track
Stop for a moment, and imagine Italy. What comes to mind? Rolling hills dotted with olive trees — a landscape Mother Nature can be truly proud of? Or perhaps a table bursting with chatter, and piled high with lovingly made food? These are pictures of the past though, aren’t they? A Hollywood dream long faded...
Not quite. There are still points of Italy untouched by the inconveniences of the modern world – and Northern Tuscany is a perfect example. Taste tradition, indulging in glorious food made just as it always has been, every bite a revelation. Look around you, and it is easy to imagine that American writer Mark Twain, had Tuscany in mind when he said:
“The Creator made Italy by designs from Michelangelo.”
Join us and go off the beaten track, in search of culinary delights, across a forgotten landscape that will long linger in the memory.
We fly from London to Pisa, and transfer to our hotel in Aulla, where we enjoy a welcome drink before dinner.
Our day begins with a cookery class - making a traditional pie at Montagna Verde agriturismo. We will sample our culinary creations at lunch. This afternoon we continue with a visit to see how honey is produced and a trip to the local mill.
We venture to the east of the Lunigiana area to learn about the importance of the chestnut to the locals and see how the Marocca di Casola bread is made. After lunch we will get a chance to try a local liqueur before heading to Pontremoli
This morning we venture into a unique landscape during a private tour of the marble quarries of Carrara. This is also where Colonnata cured lard — Lardo di Colonnata — is made. We sample it served with an aperitif. In the afternoon we make our way through the olive groves to Olio Moro to learn about olives before taking part in an olive oil tasting.
Testaroli - Mad Tea
We travel the steep winding roads to the Zeri Valley and meet a local sheep farmer. Following a lunch of roast lamb at the Catinella in Patigno, we pay a visit to a farmhouse, where traditional cast iron “testi” ovens are still used for making Testaroli.
Swiss Cakes and Dried Fish
We take a walk around Pontremoli during our final morning. We have the opportunity to sample amor pastry in the Swiss cake shop, and a little free time before we travel to Massa for a very traditional local lunch. We then transfer to the airport for our return home.
- Guide Lecturer - Rosetta Ferrari
- Professional Tour Manager
- Return Flights - London to Pisa
- All Meals Included - dinners with wine
- Hotel - 3 nights at the Demy Hotel and 2 nights at the Ca’ del Moro Resort
- Local Travel - air conditioned coach
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
• The weather in late September can be quite unpredictable. Usually, it is still quite warm during the day with temperatures reaching around 25. There may be occasional storms and short spells of rainfall. The mountains have their microclimates sometimes producing unexpected local weather and sudden changes. We recommend a light rain jacket, something warm if we go out in the evening. Winter clothing is not likely to be necessary.
• We will have a cookery class on day 2. You will be provided with an apron and all necessary equipment.
• There will be some exploration on foot in remote and rugged countryside. You should have appropriate footwear and clothing when doing these walks and although it may still be quite warm in September it is best to keep your feet and legs covered especially when roaming in woodland areas. Some local residents may even go as far as wearing wellington boots but these are not necessary as walking shoes or trainers with long socks will be perfectly suitable.
• The landscape is beautiful and unspoilt in many parts of the region with narrow valleys and steep slopes. Many roads are quite narrow and there will be places we need to reach that require climbing hillsides with a series of hairpin bends.
• We will visit many eating places which will range from quite elegant to very rustic settings. There is no particular dress code and you should dress in whatever you are comfortable in. You will receive a menu booklet beforehand giving you also some information on the type of place we will be eating in.