Enough prosciutto, parmesan and gelato can make any trip to Italy a culinary delight, but on this journey, the Italian table takes on new life with artisan foods that sing and wines that join in perfect harmony. Ruth Reichl and Nancy Silverton, experts on and lovers of Italian food, lead you on an exclusive tour from Bologna through the stunning Tuscan hills to beautiful Florence, sharing with you the region’s most remarkable restaurants — many of them with Michelin-starred chefs — wineries and markets along the way. Through exclusive tastings of delectable handcrafted foods, private wine tours, hands-on cooking classes and convivial meals with world-renowned chefs at some of Italy’s finest restaurants, you’ll become an expert in the art of eating well in Italy. Buon appetito!
Oct 9-16, 2020
Roll up your sleeves at hands-on pasta-making and bread-making workshops exclusive to L.A. Times guests.
Meet creators of Italian food — from those who uphold the culinary legacy of their grandparents, such as Alberto Bettini and Fabio Picchi, to those who innovate and push the culinary traditions to new creative boundaries, such as world-renowned chef Massimo Bottura.
Visit artisanal producers, such as award-winning butcher Dario Cecchini and a family making balsamic vinegar, who share their methods and passion for bringing only the finest ingredients to the table.
Dine at memorable prize-winning restaurants, some of which are Michelin-starred.
Arrive in Bologna. Transfer to the hotel and
check in. This evening, dine in the woodlands outside Bologna at Trattoria Da
Amerigo, a one-star Michelin restaurant with a retro feel. Over a glass of
prosecco, your hosts Ruth, Nancy and Laurie will share the food highlights that
await you this week. You’ll meet with chef Alberto Bettini, tasting regional
classics such as lasagna and
tortellini all while chef Bettini shares recipes passed down to him
from the original restaurant owners, his grandparents.
On a walking tour through Bologna market,
discover why the region has such a long tradition of cold cuts. At a local salumeria sample a selection of cured
meats: culatello, prosciutto,
mortadella and salame rosa. Continue
to a private cooking class with Maestra Alessandra Spinsi in her Vecchia Scuola
Bolognese. Discover the art of Italian pasta-making. Each region of Italy is
renowned for its different pasta shapes and sauces, but it is the Emilia-Romagna
region that reigns supreme with fresh egg-based pasta, either long, short or
stuffed. Learn about the different ravioli and tortellini that are so prized in
the region, how to cook the perfect “al dente” pasta, and how to pair shape and
sauce. Roll up your sleeves and learn the delicate art of making tortellini
before sitting down for a warm broth filled with these parcels of delight. Spend
some time at leisure this afternoon in Bologna and enjoy an evening at leisure
or perhaps join locals in a passeggiata, a stroll through town for
an aperitivo. We are hoping to arrange an optional dinner at the Casa
Maria Luigia with Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura.
Head north to Modena, a city in the heart of the
Emilia-Romagna region. Visit the Osteria di Rubbiara, a family-run tavern that
is surrounded by Lambrusco vineyards and has earned its spot as one of the
finest producers of balsamic vinegar in the area. Learn about the production
and aging process of the vinegar before enjoying a lunch that includes the
family’s spectacular tortellini, cooked to perfection in a broth, as well as
several dishes featuring balsamic vinegar. After lunch, learn about the aging
process of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at an organic farm and sample different
varieties of the king of cheese. Return
to Bologna for a leisurely evening.
This morning discover FICO Eataly World, Italy’s
largest field-to-fork experience, just outside Bologna. Try your hand at making
focaccia and pizza before sitting down to a light lunch. There will be time to
explore the park and shop for some of your favorite Italian food items. This
afternoon continue your journey through the center of Italy, over the Apennine Mountains,
through the picturesque rolling hills of the Mugello wine region, landing in
Florence. Visit a local gelateria laboratory and learn about the process
of making gelato. Sample the classic rich and creamy nocciola or
one of the specialty flavors before enjoying an evening at leisure in
This morning visit the Fontodi winery in the
heart of the Chianti classico wine-producing region. Discover some of the key
factors that help produce the prized wine — altitude, clay soil and
micro-climate — and conclude the visit with a tasting of wine and delicate bio
olive oil. Afterward, visit Dario Cecchini, an award-winning butcher who seeks
to source the best meat and offer his customers the best cuts. Sit down for a
convivial meal and savor the succulent bistecca alla fiorentina.
Return to Florence. As the sun goes down, sip a negroni or cocktail of your
choice at an aperitivo overlooking the city. Dinner is at leisure this evening.
This morning discuss seasonal foods and produce
with your hosts and drive out into the Tuscan countryside south of Prato to Da
Delfina. The menu at this family-run restaurant is a celebration of Tuscan food
with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients. Meet with the original owner’s
son and current chef and tour the garden before joining chef Carlo in the
kitchen to create his hearty ribollita
soup. In Florence this evening enjoy a menu featuring the fruits of the season:
porcini mushrooms and truffles.
Join a member of the family that runs Cibrèo
restaurant to learn the history of the family and of the business that includes
the restaurant for this evening’s dinner. Then wander through the neighborhood
with the family member, visiting the different restaurants and cafes owned by
the family and see the food store with its abundant organic produce and rooftop
herb garden. Lunch and the afternoon are at leisure to explore this beautiful
city. You might like to pay a visit to the Mercato Centrale to view the
seasonal produce for sale at this lively market; there are small vendors
upstairs where you can enjoy a light lunch. Tonight, raise your glass for a
festive farewell dinner at Cibrèo. Learn how childhood food memories remain
important to head chef Fabio Picchi and how this family-run restaurant follows
the rhythms of the seasons in its menu design.
Depart Florence on individual flights home.