Buon Gusto: Italy’s Finest Food & Wine
Torino, Barolo Wine Country in Piemonte & Parma
If you are interested in immersing yourself in the culture of Italy through its magnificent cuisine and world-class wines, Buon Gusto is designed just for you. We have focused this exceptional travel program on the top food region in the country, Emilia-Romagna, and its leading wine region (Langhe in Piemonte). In addition to epicurean immersion, you will experience the hidden-gem, aristocratic cities of Torino and Parma, which are far removed from the Venice-Florence-Rome tourist circuit. Enjoy this unique journey in this most elegant slice of Italia.
- 9-Day/8-Night Epicurean and Cultural Travel Program to Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna, Italy’s premier wine and epicurean destinations
- 8 nights’ deluxe accommodations including a classic, small luxury hotel in Torino, a charming villa hotel in Barolo Wine Country and Parma’s only five-star hotel located a stone’s throw from Piazza Garibaldi, site of the ancient Roman forum
- A broad range of memorable private epicurean experiences, including a full day of wine touring in Barolo and Barbaresco Wine Country; two interactive, chef-led culinary lessons focused on classic cuisine of Piemonte and Emilia-Romagna (at the renowned Academia Barilla); guided visit to the sprawling Porta Palazzo food market in the center of Torino; artisan food producer visits to makers of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, Prosciutto di Parma and traditional balsamic vinegar; and a visit with tasting to Gobino, a renowned chocolatier in Torino
- Cultural touring consisting of private guided walking tours of Torino, Alba and Parma along with a guided visit to spectacular La Venaria Reale Royal Palace, the Versailles-like palace of the Savoys, and a tour of one of the most magnificent and best-preserved medieval castles in all of Italy.
- Memorable gastronomic dining experiences including a private dinner at the 17th-century Torino residence of a former noble family; group dining at a Michelin 1-star restaurant in Torino; lunch at a prestigious wine estate in Piemonte Wine Country; and an Arrivederci dinner at a private castle in the Parma hills. Enjoy lunch in the gardens of La Veneria Reale Royal Palace and dine in trattorias, featuring classic regional specialties.
- Optional personalized trip extensions to include Bologna, Tuscany or other parts of Italy
Itinerary & Destination Background:
Arrival to Torino, the former showplace of the Savoy dynasty and host of the Winter Olympic Games in 2006, and your accommodations in the heart of the city. Time at leisure in the afternoon followed by a 90-minute orientation stroll through the city center with our private guide. Given that Torino is the birthplace of solid chocolate, it is only fitting that your first stop be at Gobino for a behind-the-scenes view of a leading chocolate boutique and a tasting that you won’t soon forget. You will also visit Piazza San Carlos, one of Torino’s most beautiful Baroque squares, lined with arcades and dotted with old world cafés. The last stop will be in Piazza Vittorio Veneto and the church of Gran Madre di Dio, built in 1818 to celebrate the return of the Savoy king, Vittorio Emanuele I. Nearby is Florio Caffè Gelateria, where we strongly recommend the gianduiotto, a gelato comprised of hazelnut paste and chocolate. Highly memorable!
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sitea, a well-situated, deluxe hotel that exudes old-world charm and recalls the style and service of bygone European small hotels.
Following breakfast at leisure, you will meet your private guide to begin a promenade in the city center, a place of palaces, grand boulevards, arcaded streets and elegant squares, Torino is considered one of the world’s finest Baroque cities. As part of a walking tour, during which you will learn more about the city’s rich history, you will follow the new pedestrian Via Carlo Alberto until the Piazza Carlo Alberto and will pass through the Royal Gardens prior to visiting the exceptional Porta Palazzo Market, a sprawling and bustling indoor and outdoor food market, which is Europe’s largest open air market. Enjoy tastings of the regional bounty including Piemontese cheese such as Robiola di Roccaverano or Toma Piemontese, one of the oldest cheeses produced in Italy. The walking tour will continue in the afternoon to include the Porta Palatina and key ruins of Roman-era Torino including the theater and the cathedral, Piazza Castello and San Lorenzo Church, Via Garibaldi, a leading pedestrian shopping street, Palazzo di Città Square and Piazza Savoia. We will allow time for a stop at one of the fine cafés of the city. Why not try a Bicerin, a decadent culinary treat made with layers of espresso, hot chocolate and cream, at Caffè Al Bicerin, the small café where it was created two hundred years ago.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sitea
Today, you will head to the northern extremes of the city to experience more of the outstanding legacy of the Savoys via a private visit to magnificent La Venaria Reale Royal Palace and Gardens, a royal residence comparable in size, scope and grandeur to Versailles. The complex features some of the most outstanding examples of European Baroque architecture: the enchanting Reggia di Diana, designed by Amedeo di Castellamonte; the solemnity of the Galleria Grande; the chapel of Sant’Uberto; and the immense complex of the Scuderie, designed by the 17th century genius, Filippo Juvarra. Lunch will take place in the palace’s elegant gardens.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel Sitea
Following breakfast, we will escort you the short distance to a private culinary facility where you will participate in an interactive culinary lesson during which you will learn about and create typical Piemontese dishes, followed by lunch of your creations. One example might be homemade Agnolotti del Plin stuffed with beef braised seemingly forever in Barolo wine and accented with fresh herbs and a savory sauce. While this is an interactive session, it is perfectly acceptable to spectate only. Following this educational and entertaining session, you will transfer via private car to Langhe, Italy’s leading wine region, a beautiful landscape that is home to Barolo and Barbaresco, the elegant King and Queen of Italian reds. Your delightful accommodations for the next two nights will be at Villa Beccaris, an 18th-century villa hotel near the village of Monforte d’Alba, one of 11 Barolo-producing villages. In the early evening, we will be joined by our highly-knowledgeable wine guide, who will provide a brief introduction to the Langhe region while leading a tasting of fine local wines. Enjoy dinner on property featuring regional specialties that could include vitello tonnato, a tajarin-based pasta dish and braised beef.
Accommodations: Villa Beccaris
Enjoy what promises to be a highly memorable journey through Italy’s finest vineyards. Your wine guide will meet you in the morning to begin a full-day wine tasting tour of the Langhe region, home to world-class wine estates, medieval villages, hilltop castles and “tartufi bianchi,” the world-renowned white truffle of Alba. You will visit a Barolo-producing winery such as the Marchesi di Barolo, one of the region’s premier producers, which in the 19th century was the first wine estate in Italy to vinify its red wines in a dry style. Following a private visit and tastings in the cellars, you will move to the beautiful Cordero di Montezemolo estate in La Morra, another Barolo-producing village that offers stunning views of the surrounding vineyard landscape. You will visit the impressive cellars and enjoy lunch in their breathtaking tasting room overlooking the hills. You’ll end the day by visiting a Barbaresco-producing winery in one of the three villages that are allowed to produce this wine – Barbaresco, Neive or Treiso. A favorite is superb Marchesi di Gresy, located on land upon which wine grapes have been cultivated since Roman times.
Accommodations: Villa Beccaris
You’ll proceed to Alba, an ancient town of red brick towers that is the capital of the Langhe region and an affluent commercial center. Traces of a settlement there date to the Stone Age and the town was a major trading center in the Roman era. Later, it was significantly fortified and known as the “City of A Hundred Towers.” Several brick towers from the 14th and 15th centuries can be seen today. Today, the town is quite chic and a popular weekend getaway spot for Italian urbanites. Enjoy a guided stroll through the village and time at leisure to explore gourmet food shops, many of which specialize in decadent chocolates and truffle-based products. Alba is the home of the sprawling Ferrero Rocher factory, which produces, among other things, Nutella, the popular chocolate hazelnut spread. Perhaps you also will enjoy one of the cafés on Piazza Savona or shopping on Via Maestra.
After lunch, you will proceed to Emilia Romagna, the country’s leading gastronomic region, and the elegant city of Parma. After getting settled in your hotel, the five-star Grand Hotel de la Ville, a stylish property in the heart of the city, you’ll meet your private guide for an introductory walking tour of the city center which has a unique French influence from Napoleon’s second wife. Parma is also the birthplace of 18th-century opera master composer, Giuseppe Verdi, and continues to enjoy a rich musical tradition.
Your Parma cultural guide will also share with you an overview of the exceptional local gastronomy, including visits to atmospheric, old gourmet shops showcasing regional specialties such as prosciutto, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, porcini mushrooms, black truffles of Fragno, and little-known cured meats such as Culaccia, Cicciolata, Spalla Cotta, Spalla Cruda, and Coppa di Parma, among others. Naturally, tastings are included.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel de la Ville
In addition to serving as a longstanding capital of culture and the arts, Parma most certainly is a gastronomic capital. Known as Valle del Cibo or “Food Valley,” the Parma area is foodie heaven, and your touring today is dedicated to exploring the area’s gastronomic riches. Start the day with a visit to a local, family-run Parmigiano Reggiano producer, one of the highest quality cheesemakers in the area. You will witness firsthand the production of this “King of Cheeses” and learn about the classification and regulation of Italian cheeses. If you like, touch the milk, feel the steam and tap the wheels! A tasting session will allow you to contrast cheeses of various ages. En route to the next artisan food producer, you will enjoy a guided visit at the enchanting Castle of Torrechiara. One of the most beautiful and well-preserved castles in Italy, Torrechiara was built in the mid-15th century and features three protective rings of walls as well as four imposing corner towers. The interior frescoes by Cesare Baglione are priceless. You’ll continue on a short distance to the scenic hills of Parma toward the Langhirano area, where you will visit a traditional producer of world-renowned Prosciutto di Parma. During this private visit, you will learn why this hillside area, facing the Ligurian Sea, is the only place in the world where artisans can make this very special cured ham. Call it prosciutto terroir! Lunch today, which will take place at a charming wine estate located in the hills surrounding the Castle of Torrechiara, will feature regional products and DOC Colli di Parma wines.
In the afternoon, you will proceed to the neighboring Province of Modena for a private visit to a generations-old Traditional Balsamic Vinegar “attic.” Surprisingly, few people have tasted aceto balsamico tradizionale or authentic balsamic vinegar. It certainly is very different from what most people expect – and much better! Until not that long ago, production of traditional balsamic vinegar was limited to the wealthy families of the region who had been producing the condiment for nearly a century for family use. Given the long aging process – up to 50 years and longer – aceto balsamico tradizionale was, and is, a treasured family heirloom, a prestigious gift and even part of the dowries of local aristocratic young women. A longstanding saying in Modena is, “He who first starts the vinegar will not taste it, but his children and grandchildren will.” In the 11th century, traditional balsamico was considered a sophisticated drink, thought to cure the plague. During this visit, you will learn about the process of making traditional balsamico, which very much mirrors the winemaking process. The unfermented juice of grapes, such as white Trebbiano, Occio du Gatto and Spergola, as well as the red Berzemino and Lambrusco grapes are used in the process. You will taste balsamico of varying ages and appreciate why it often is paired with cheese, and, in the case of the oldest balsamico, with vanilla ice cream!
Accommodations: Grand Hotel de la Ville
To cap off your culinary visit to Northern Italy and your visit to Parma, we have arranged a very special, hands-on culinary session at Parma’s renowned Academia Barilla, located just steps from the hotel. You will work in professional kitchen laboratories attended by Academia Barilla chefs who will actively involve you in the preparation of a complete, four-course menu that is characteristic of the traditional regional gastronomy. You will enjoy the fruits of your efforts during lunch in the academy’s training kitchen. In the evening, you will be taken to a private castle located upon the hills of Parma for an unforgettable Arrivederci Dinner.
Accommodations: Grand Hotel de la Ville
Private transfer to Milan’s Malpensa Airport or elsewhere in Italy (transfers will be personalized). If you wish to remain in Italy, we are happy to personalize programs to Bologna, Tuscany or other parts of the country.
This Journeys-Yacht & Travel Company sample itinerary for independent travel is provided merely as a glimpse of the type of customized travel experiences we create. We would be delighted in developing a travel program for you or a group based on your preferences.