‘Love Italy’ Tour July 2018 With Guy Grossi & Michael Trembath

Join renowned Melbourne chef, Guy Grossi, on this incredible tour. Only 20 places available.

‘Love Italy’ is a remarkable book – Guy Grossi’s 539 page seminal work, born from his travels around the gastronomic paradise that is Italy. In 2012, Guy and a small group embarked on an epic food and wine journey through Italy, travelling from Piedmont in the North-West to Sicily in the far South, covering some of Italy’s most important food regions. He met many of the true artisan producers, people passionate and knowledgeable about their produce and ingredients; people obsessed with flavours and quality, people who respected tradition, but did not shy from creativity.

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Guy visited all manner of producers – winemakers, cheesemakers, saluministi, rice growers, salt farmers – and celebrated the (almost) fact that Italy as a country is made up of different ingredients, rather than towns and villages!

This tour is the first chapter in bringing ‘Love Italy’ to glorious life, as it retraces Guy’s footsteps around Tuscany and Emilia Romagna. Over 12 indulgent days, we will delight in wine tastings with the winemakers, scale the heights of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, learn the secrets of the king of hams ‘Culatello’; discover secret ingredients like Bottarga and Testaroli and visit the ‘Master of Ice Cream’ at the world’s best Gelateria.

Our accommodation will be a combination of quality hotels, ‘agriturismi’ – quaint Tuscan farmhouses that exude charm – and Castles, some with their own vineyards and restaurants onsite to provide an authentic and intimate experience.

Our co-host for this gourmet tour will be Michael Trembath. Michael brings with him extensive knowledge and passion for Italian wine and food, having lived in Italy for some years. For the last 23 years, Michael has been the Australian importer of some of Italy’s greatest wines and, as such, a long-time collaborator with Guy.

 

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Tour Overview

  • Tuscany and Emilia Romagna 12 days/12 nights
  • Tour dates: 4th to 15th July 2018
  • Tour size: 18 to 20 guests
  • Tour cost: AUD$14,890 per person twin share (LAND ONLY)
  • Single supplement: $2,100 (double room for single use)

 

Tour Inclusions

  • Tuscany and Emilia Romagna 12 days/12 nights
  • 12 nights accommodation in quality 4 star hotels and ‘agriturismi’ quaint Tuscan farmhouses
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners (excluding one lunch on day 9 in Florence)
  • All land transfers listed in the itinerary
  • All taxes, service charges, admission fees, guides and tips
  • Transfers from Rome Fiumicino Airport to our hotel on Day 1 and from Parma to Milan Malpensa Airport on 16th July

 

Itinerary

Day 1 – Wednesday 4th July ROME arrival and on to TUSCANY - Cinigiano

Our meeting point is Rome Fiumicino Airport where we transfer to our accommodation in Southern Tuscany. Alternatively, you may choose to meet us at our hotel. Take time to rest or explore before our welcome dinner. During the dinner you will meet your hosts Guy Grossi and Michael Trembath who will give you some insight on what to expect during the tour.

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Day 2 – Thursday 5th July TUSCANY - Montecucco and Montalcino


A day dedicated to wine and the very best wine Tuscany has to offer. We begin by visiting the ColleMassari winery, located in Montecucco in the foothills of Monte Amiata, between Montalcino and Grossetto.

The property includes 110 hectares of vineyards, 60 of olive groves and 400 of mixed crops. Production is based on organic principles (guaranteed and certified by ICEA) and winemaking is carried out in the architectural award-winning four storey gravity feed winery. Proprietor, Claudio Tipa also owns the leading Bolgheri winery, Grattamacco, as well as the cult Brunello producer Poggio di Sotto and a selection of wines from the three properties will accompany a traditional Tuscan lunch.

The mid afternoon sees us going on to the hilltop town of Montalcino and an in-depth look at the famed Brunello di Montalcino wine at the historic 16th century Costanti winery, before some time to relax and explore the perfectly preserved citadel.

Late afternoon we return to our accommodation for a rest before dinner in the nearby town of Cinigiano.
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Day 3 – Friday 6th July TUSCANY - Orbetello


This morning we head to the Maremman coast to the town of Orbetello where Guy will share his passion for the local seafood specialties. The lagoon which surrounds Orbetello is part of a protected nature reserve and is one of the most uncontaminated areas of natural beauty in Tuscany. This coastal lagoon is an inland sea consisting of 1500 hectares of reclaimed marshland. The large stretch of water is divided into two lagoons, the Laguna di Ponente which stretches to the west of Orbetello and the Laguna di Levante which stretches to the east. The lagoon is home to a group of fisherman who use sustainable fishing methods and are recognised as a Slow Food Presidio and produce the famous and sought after Slow Food product Orbetello Bottarga. During our visit in Orbetello, Guy will introduce you to some of these fishermen and over lunch we will sample some local dishes which highlight Orbetello Bottarga and other products of the lagoon.

After lunch we visit one of the local wine producers Antonio Camillo. Together with Antonio, Michael will explain the role the cherry-scented variety Ciliegiolo has played in Chianti and now plays in the beautiful new-wave wines of the Maremma.

In the late afternoon we return to our hotel to rest before a casual buffet dinner.
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Day 4 – Saturday 7th July TUSCANY - Castelnuovo Beradenga & Castellina in Chianti


Today we tour the picturesque rolling Tuscan hills, visiting Felsina in Castelnuovo Beradenga, one of the leading wine producers in Chianti and producers of outstanding organic extra virgin olive oil. This is one of Guy’s favourite oils, so much so that he forgets to mention the wine in the book! It is, after all, a blend of four varieties of olives, all organically grown. A tour of this ancient Etruscan estate will be followed by a fun lesson on how to taste olive oil – lots of slurping! – and a regional lunch featuring their olive oil and the famous dessert wine ‘Vin Santo’.

After lunch we drive to our accommodation in Panzano (Chianti Classico) and our home for the next four nights, the charming 16th century Villa Le Barone, where you will have time to settle in before what promises to be a spectacular dinner at L’Albergaccio, a Michelin starred restaurant housed in a rustic farmhouse in Castellina in Chianti.
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Day 5 – Sunday 8th July TUSCANY – San Gimignano


This morning Guy takes us to visit to a traditional Tuscan working farm. Just a few kilometres from the medieval town of San Gimignano is Fattoria Poggio Alloro. Family run and completely organic, the property consists of 24 hectares of grapevines, 50 hectares of grains such as barley, oats, corn, sunflowers, durum, wheat, and farro, to produce the delicious durum, semolina and farro pasta, 1500 olive trees, a vegetable garden, a fruit orchard, a small saffron field and 30 beehives scattered through woodlands. We will tour the farm and learn about traditional organic farming methods with a focus on Saffron and Honey. The tour will be followed by lunch made from the farm’s freshly harvested organic produce. During lunch Guy will explain his favourite uses for some of the products you learned about today.

After lunch, we take a walk around the ‘medieval Manhattan’, the walled city of San Gimignano, known for its beautiful towers and 14th-15th century art. The museum SanGimignano1300 offers a reconstruction of the city as it existed 700 years ago. A team of artists, architects and historians took 3 years to create this exhibition which includes 800 handcrafted structures, including 72 towers (of which 14 remain). Cool down after the tour with Guy at his favourite Gelataria, Gelateria di Piazza. Owner Sergio Dondoli is super passionate about making gelati and his contagious enthusiasm will have you sampling some of his more unusual flavour combinations – gorgonzola and walnut gelato anyone?

Dinner is at a local restaurant, the newly established but highly lauded Cantinetta Sassolini.
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Day 6 – Monday 9th July TUSCANY – Panzano


Today’s lunch is all about Tuscan beef. Tuscany is famous for its Chianina beef and no one knows more about this subject than Dario Cecchini ‘The Butcher of Panzano’, whose favorite catchphrase is “To beef or not to beef!”. Guy has a particularly close relationship with Dario – Dario was a special guest of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival some years ago and chose to do all of his cooking at Grossi Florentino and, in ‘Love Italy’, Guy chose to do all of his steak eating at Dario’s!

The setting for today’s lunch is Dario’s ‘Solociccia’ (the butcher’s kitchen). We eat everything from the muzzle to the tail, while dining together in conviviality. Guy will introduce you to his friend Dario and together they will tell you everything you need to know about Chianina beef. Michael will introduce you to his friends Josephin & Jarkko Peränen from Candialle winery near Panzano who will showcase their exceptional wines with the highlight being the marriage of Chianti Classico and Chianina beef.

Spend the remainder of the afternoon enjoying the hotel’s facilities before dinner.
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Day 7 – Tuesday 10th July TUSCANY – Panzano


This morning we get hands on in a cooking class where Guy teaches us the art of making pasta. Learn about the different types of flour used and what shape pasta is best used for different sauces. Guy will teach us how to cook two of his favourite pasta sauce recipes which we will enjoy on our freshly made pasta over lunch.

Spend the afternoon at leisure before a dinner featuring Porcini, ‘The King of Mushrooms’, an ingredient very close to Guy’s heart. The uniquely earthy, nutty and meaty flavour of Porcini lends itself well to mature Chianti and Michael has found some older examples for us.
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Day 8 – Wednesday 11th July TUSCANY – Florence


Today we leave the country behind and head to the Renaissance city of Florence. The morning will be spent on a walking tour of the city with one of the highlights being the ‘Mercato Centrale’ where Guy will point out many of Tuscany’s best culinary treasures. We will be joined by a local guide who will show us the historic highlights of the city and reveal its secrets.

Lunch is literally ‘hanging out with the locals’, as Guy will take us to I Due Fratellini, the city’s oldest Fiaschetteria – literally an ‘old school sandwich shop’. Think panino ‘cinghiale piccante con caprino’ (spicy wild boar salami with creamy goat cheese in a split, crunchy roll), with Chianti. Whatever happens, you must leave some space for tonight’s local specialty, the famed Bistecca alla Fiorentina, cooked over the coals in one of the city’s oldest Trattorie.
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Day 9 – Thursday 12th July TUSCANY – Florence


A day at leisure and time to visit the sights/gardens/museums of Florence, or to shop the artisans of leather/jewellery/gold. Your choice. We will provide a recommended list of restaurants for lunch with the plan for the group to re-convene at the rooftop bar of our hotel before proceeding on to dinner at Cibreo, one of the city’s most innovative restaurants. Guy is no stranger to innovation in food and has drawn great inspiration from Cibreo’s remarkable chef, Fabio Picchi. In what promises to be truly one of the tour highlights, we will consign ourselves to Fabio’s refreshing originality and (food) point of view, married to wife Cristina’s impeccable service style.
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Day 10 – Friday 13th July TUSCANY – Scarperia and Lucca


Today we travel to northern Tuscany. En-route we stop at the ancient medieval town of Scarperia. For over 600 years, Scarperia has been renowned for their handmade knives where today blades are still produced using the ancient method they have secretly guarded over the centuries. We visit Guy’s favourite knife maker Saladini, where we tour their ancient forge and learn about this incredible craft.

After lunch we continue north to the walled town of Lucca where you can spend the late afternoon strolling the town.

Lucca is the birthplace of Giacomo Puccini and we are very lucky to be there during the Puccini Festival. The Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago is the only Festival in the world fully dedicated to the composer Giacomo Puccini. It takes place every summer during the months of July and August, in the very places that inspired Maestro Puccini’s immortal melodies. The Festival saw its first light in 1930 and over the years has become an increasingly prestigious event which each year attracts tens of thousands of spectators from all over the world.

We are staying at the San Luca Palace, a hotel which very much fits tonight’s theme, as it was originally (prior to 1000) the Marchese Palace, before being turned into a hotel in 1540. This evening, after a light buffet dinner in the Bar Puccini, we are attending the Opera!
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Day 11 – Saturday 14th July TUSCANY & EMILIA ROMAGNA – Lucca, Bassone & Parma


This morning we get to explore Lucca during a walking tour of the town. Our guide will explain how the walls were constructed, take us through one of the most prominent churches, the ‘Duomo of San Martino’ and ending in the ancient amphitheatre which is now filled with restaurants and shops.

Late morning we continue north into the mountainous region of Lunigiana in northern Tuscany to the tiny town of Bassone where they are still making Testaroli di Pontremoli in the traditional way. Testaroli di Pontremoli is a porous pasta that is cooked on a griddle over an open fire before being boiled and traditionally served with olive oil, basil and parmesan. Guy visited Bassone while researching ‘Love Italy’ and is very excited about taking you there, where you will watch this ancient culinary tradition demonstrated, followed by lunch featuring this unique dish.

After lunch we turn north east and head across the regional border to Emilia Romagna, home of Prosciutto, parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar, where we stop in Parma.

This evening, join Guy and Michael for a dinner celebrating these delicious ingredients, at Parma’s famous Michelin starred restaurant, Parizzi.
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Day 12 – Sunday 15th July EMILIA ROMAGNA - Parma

Today we take a closer look at what makes up ‘lo stomaco d’Italia’, starting with Lambrusco, the oft-maligned wine of the area. Michael will show us how delicious today’s modern, dry Lambrusco really is, with a visit and tasting at Lini910, producers of Italy’s best Lambrusco. But wait, there’s more! The Lini family are in Correggio and, apart from wine, this area has a long history of producing magical Balsamic vinegar. Lini themselves have been making a luxuriously sweet vinegar, thick in texture and ebony in colour for over a hundred years and we’ll taste this as well as the wine over lunch.

After lunch we take a look at how parmesan is made, at the Museo del Parmigiano Reggiano where we will learn the history and production techniques behind this world-famous hard cheese.

In the early evening Guy will take us to meet the ‘King of Culatello’, Massimo Spigaroli. Culatello di Zibello is the most prized ham which is made solely from the rump of the pig. Massimo ages them in a cellar and most are pre-sold, hanging with little tags attached with names like ‘HRH Prince Charles’ on them. Over our Farewell Dinner at Massimo’s elegant restaurant Al Cavallino Bianco, we will taste the culatello at various stages of aging.

This first chapter of bringing ‘Love Italy’ to life might be over, but it is just that – the first chapter – stand by for the next!
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