I love putting these tours together. This is my calling. I feel so fortunate to be able to follow my bliss and share my passion for Italy with others. For those of you who don't know, I have been in the Italian wine business for many years and have extensive knowledge of Italy, Italian food and culture from years of travel there and being married to an Italian. I have been privileged to see many wineries in Italy and meet wonderful winemakers through the wine business. I realized that most of these wineries are not open to the public and the few that are usually do not give much of a tour and tasting like California wineries do. I also have been fortunate to dine my way through many regions which fueled my desire to learn as much as I could about the distinct regional culinary traditions and artisanal foods. My tours were born from the idea that I wanted people to experience Italian wineries like I have been able to do, AND experience authentic regional cuisines of Italy.
This trip is especially exciting and personal for me for so many reasons. Umbria and Le Marche are two of my favorite regions of Italy. In the past, the demand for tours tends to be for the popular destinations, like Tuscany. Of course I do those tours and still enjoy them, but I always wish I could show those tour participants more of Italy off the beaten path. I figured this was the year to put this tour together because off the beaten path usually also means less expensive. And indeed, this turns out to be the least expensive tour I have ever done.
Another reason this trip is extra special is that my husband is from Le Marche. I have spent much time there that it has become my adopted second home. I have traveled extensively in Umbria and think it has much to offer in many ways. The two regions share some similarities - some of their cured meats are similar (and in my opinion the two regions make the best salumi in the country), their Central Italian terrain (both have the Apennines as their backbone and both have rolling green hills coming down from the mountains), and both have a "slow" feel to them, almost like stepping back in time.
I am thrilled that three of the nights on the trip will be at La Tavola Marche's Agriturismo in Le Marche. I met the one of the owners, Ashley, through LinkedIn and then followed it to her website and blog. I fell in love with what they have created in the countryside of Le Marche and was looking for a good excuse to bring a group there. Well, I found it! I have made sure to include a cooking class with Ashley's husband, Jason, a professional chef.
This trip is limited to 10 people. Nice and intimate! The better to really take in the culture and experiences in an individual way.
I hope you can join me on this journey!