Italian olive oil
Italian olive oil

Food Holidays

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TUSCANY - Zeri lamb, traditional breads and Carrara marble-cured pork

Who would have thought that in a region as well-known and beloved as Tuscany there could be an area almost entirely unfamiliar to international visitors, yet beautifully scenic, dotted with medieval towns and home to unique, rustic ingredients and culinary traditions little changed in centuries. This is the territory of Lunigiana. Basing ourselves in historic Aulla, we sample a kaleidoscope of secret tastes, from chestnut bread to ‘peasant pasta’, freshly pressed olive oil to pork fat cured in Carrara marble. This is a hands-on culinary trip, with a cookery class and a walk in the mountains with a Zeri lamb shepherdess amongst the memorable experiences, yet there is time too to make your own gastronomic discoveries.

What's included?

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

Full Price
£1,195

Today's Price
£1,135.25

Saving
£59.75

Benefit from one of these limited time offers:

  • Save £59.75 if you pay your full balance today, just £1,135.25
  • Pay a low deposit of £50, was £250.

Single supplement: £100

Tour highlights:

  • Learn how to make herb pie, testaroli and other traditional specialities at a cookery class
  • Watch chestnut bread and panigaccio bread being prepared, and taste them fresh
  • Visit the China Clemente factory to sample this unique bitter liquor
  • Savour Lardo di Colonnata, delicious pork fat cured in Carrara marble
  • Visit the Olio Moro olive grove, see oil pressed and participate in a tasting
  • Follow a shepherdess and her sheep in the mountains and taste the renowned Zeri lamb

Tour details

Dates 11 October 2020 - 15 October 2020
Duration 5 days
Cost
Full Price
£1,195
Today's Price
£1,135.25
Saving
£59.75

Benefit from one of these limited time offers:

  • Save £59.75 if you pay your full balance today, just £1,135.25
  • Pay a low deposit of £50, was £250.
Single supplement: £100 Balance due by 19 July 2020
Tour code G07A20

Book Now or call 01453 823328 if you have any questions

11 October 2020: Itinerary

We fly from London to Pisa this afternoon and transfer to our hotel, then straight to dinner at Pasquino’s. This exceptional restaurant is noted for its Lunigiana specialities including the round, unleavened panigaccio, baked in terracotta dishes called testi. The recipe and cookery method have not changed in two millennia, and these simple, fresh breads make a delicious accompaniment to cured meat and cheese, or a chocolate-smothered sweet treat. We watch the panigaccio being made and taste as part of dinner.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

We head into the mountains this morning, to the agriturismo Montagna Verde, for a cookery class. Dishes likely to feature include a wonderful herb pie, which has a protected recipe, and testaroli – pancake-like disks made with water, flour and salt, cooked in ancient ovens, cut into rhombus shapes and eaten like pasta (particularly delicious as the porous batter absorbs any sauce with which they are served). Testaroli have been made since Roman times and in more recent centuries became known as ‘peasant pasta’, but these days it is considered a dish in danger of being forgotten. We eat our finished dishes for lunch.

Early afternoon, we take a gentle walk around one of the lovely villages of the area. If honey is being produced, we will try some. On our return to Aulla, the evening is free for you to choose one of the town’s myriad excellent restaurants for dinner.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

Around an hour from Aulla are the chestnut woods of Regnano. Here we watch Lunigianese chestnut bread being made and sample some ourselves. A walk around the chestnut groves, by way of some of the few remaining traditional drying huts, reveals more about this important food source. Our delightful host, Fabio Bertolucci, gave up his city job to preserve this dying art. We then enjoy a splendid picnic prepared by locals.

En route back to Aulla we stop in Fivizzano to see how China Clementi, an alcoholic elixir made with bitter herbs, has been made since it was first produced in 1884. We sample its unique bitter flavour. The evening is again at leisure to choose your own dining venue in Aulla.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

Turning our attention away from food for a couple of hours, we discover one of the region’s other great contributions to Italian culture – marble. The quarries of Carrara, rich in white and blue-grey marble, have been in constant production since the time of Ancient Rome, and supplied the stone for countless masterpieces of Renaissance sculpture, including Michelangelo’s David. We stop to admire one of the many quarries in the area, then watch the production (and savour a taste) of Lardo di Colonnata, pork fat traditionally cured with salt and herbs in local marble and white as the stone itself. Lunch is at your leisure in Colonnata.

In the afternoon, we visit the Olio Moro olive grove to walk the plantation, see the oil presses, enjoy a professional olive oil tasting demonstration and, of course, take part. Once again, dinner is independent in Aulla this evening.

Meals include: Breakfast

Hotel: Centrally located hotel

Nearby Zeri is a region of rugged mountains, picturesque villages and sheep farms – Zeri lamb is highly prized in Italy for unique provenance and sublime quality. We have a wonderful treat lined up this morning – the opportunity to follow a Zeri shepherdess and her flock into their mountain pastures, and learn what makes this breed so special. If she is making cheese, we will try some, and there is the chance to try mouthwatering Zerasco roast lamb during lunch at Ristorante Catinella. In the afternoon, we proceed to Pisa airport for our flight home.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Montagna Verde cookery class, with lunch to follow
  • Chestnut grove visit and chestnut bread tasting
  • China Clementi tasting
  • Carrara marble quarry visit and Lardo di Colonnata tasting
  • Olive oil tasting
  • Zeri lamb excursion and tasting

11 October 2020: Additional Info

11 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.

11 October 2020: Enquiries

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