Food Holidays

BOLOGNA - Pasta, cheese and truffles in Italy’s gastronomic capital

Wherever you travel in Italy, the food is extraordinary. Yet there is one region in particular which stands out for the foodie: Emilia-Romagna. Here you will find the highest quality Parmigiano-Reggiano, truffles, fresh egg pasta, balsamic vinegar and gelato, along with lesser known treats such as the spiced cake panpepato, the walnut liquor nocino and Villa Zarri brandy. Local Lambrusco, once derided but now recognised as one of Italy’s foremost wines, is one of myriad delightful surprises of our visit. Our short break introduces the key highlights of Italy’s gastronomic capital and includes time enough to make your own gourmet discoveries from our centrally located hotel.

What's included?

  •  Flights
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Expert guide
  •  All tastings in the itinerary

Today's Price

Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £140

Tour highlights:

  • A Bolognese pasta cookery class at the acclaimed Podere San Giuliano
  • Seek elusive truffles in the company of an expert tartufaio and his dog
  • Sample superb Villa Zarri brandy in Castelmaggiore
  • Watch Parmigiano-Reggiano being made and taste various vintages
  • See the amazing balsamic vinegar cellars at venerable makers Giusti
  • Attend an ice cream workshop at the Gelato University!

Tour details

Dates 6 October 2020 - 9 October 2020
Duration 4 days
Today's Price
Deposit: £250 Single supplement: £140 Balance due by 14 July 2020
Tour code G06A20

Book Now or call 01453 823328 if you have any questions

6 October 2020: Itinerary

We fly from London to Bologna this morning, arriving around lunchtime and transferring to our hotel with a light lunch included en route. After checking in at our hotel, situated in central Bologna, we depart for the delightful agriturismo Podere San Giuliano, which offers an acclaimed pasta cookery class. We enjoy the delicious fruits of our labour for dinner this evening.

Meals include: Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

There are few better places in the world to shop for gourmet delights than Bologna and our day begins with a short walking tour around some of the city’s best food emporia. Then we depart for the countryside outside Bologna, which is rich in truffles that must be hunted, scented and uncovered. To join an expert tartufaio and his dog truffle-hunting is a wonderful experience, inviting a new appreciation of the rarity and value of these earthly treasures. Truffle may well make an appearance at lunch, which is included at a local restaurant.

The family-run Villa Zarri distillery is noted for an exceptionally high-quality brandy, created by distilling wine made from the Trebbiano grapes which grow on the hillsides of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. The painstaking ageing process, utilising barrels made from a very particular type of oak (from the French forests of Allier and Limousin) elicits subtle chemical changes in the raw spirit and confers a unique colour, perfume and flavour as the alcohol content is reduced from the original 72% to the optimal 43%. The entire recipe of production has been passed down from generation to generation, and today Villa Zarri produces arguably Italy’s finest spirit. We taste some of this beautifully smooth brandy for ourselves. Dinner is by your own arrangement back in Bologna.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

The gloriously versatile granular cheese Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) is produced exclusively in Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena and parts of Mantua and Bologna provinces between the Po and Reno rivers. The state-of-the-art 4 Madonne dairy is the ideal place to watch the time-honoured production process and admire the iconic ‘wheels’ in its impressive ageing store.

Another of the essential flavours of the region is balsamic vinegar, and Giusti has been producing the highest quality balsamic since 1605. Perhaps surprisingly, balsamic requires as much expertise and dedication to yield quality as a fine wine or slow-maturing cheese, being decanted into barrels of decreasing size through the ageing process. Giusti has wonderful cellars to admire, and we taste various ‘vintages’ for ourselves.

We complete a trio of Italian tastes at the Chiarli winery, where we learn about red Lambrusco. Light and refreshing, with a pleasing acidity, this superb wine bears no resemblance to the cloyingly sweet, mass-produced imports of decades past which so coloured our perception of Lambrusco. Lunch is provided at the winery – the chance to pair Lambrusco with delicious local food.

We return to Bologna late afternoon, and in the evening convene for dinner at one of Bologna’s oldest restaurants – Buca Manzoni. This venerable establishment serves up traditional Bolognese specialities, and the more adventurous may want to try bollito misto, a selection of boiled meats including some less conventional options, considered a treat by locals.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

After a morning at leisure to explore the historical grandeur of Bologna (including the oldest university in Europe) and independent lunch, we check out of our hotel. But with an evening flight, there is time for one more treat, and what better than gelato? Nearby Anzola dell-Emilia is home to the Carpigiano Gelato University – whilst not quite the seat of higher learning that the name suggests, there is nothing frivolous about the courses taught here. Italians take their gelato seriously, and four weeks of tuition under professional instructors is the minimum requirement to attain gelatiere status. We take a stroll around the on-site museum and participate in an ice cream workshop, making and eating our own gelato. We then continue to the airport for our flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast

  • Podere San Giuliano cookery class, with dinner to follow
  • Walking tour of food shops
  • Truffle hunting excursion
  • Villa Zarri brandy tasting
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano tasting
  • Parma ham tasting
  • Balsamic vinegar tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Gelato University ice cream workshop

6 October 2020: Additional Info

6 October 2020: Accommodation

All of our destinations are known for their rich, cultural heritage, as well as their cuisine, and these holidays invite you to appreciate some magical towns and cities. We will be staying in high quality (generally 3*-4*) hotels.

6 October 2020: Enquiries

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