Wine Tasting Around the Lake Garda Hills

Le Vigne di San Pietro is a wonderful boutique winery located in a botanic garden on the hillside south of Garda Lake near by Verona. The owner, an italian architect, will be with you in the vineyards to explain his vision about wine and he will drive a wine tasting in the beautiful villa above the cellar. The area is very pleasant for a tour by car or by bike. Borghetto, one of the most beautiful historical village of Italy, is near by. In summer, in Verona, they play opera in the ancient Arena Roman theatre. The visit and the wine tasting are made on reservation only.

Owner: Carlo Nerozzi Architect, 55, wine maker since 1981, I’m involved in the wine and food business exporting my wines all over the world.

Lake Garda and a wine tasting at local producer of Amarone can be reached easily from Verona. So if you are here for the Opera or the weather why don’t you consider taking a wine tour with tasting in the are?

 

Food Lovers Tour in Florence

Florence does not only offers art, culture and architecture but as in any other Italian city it offers a vast array of foods and wines. This tour offers a possibly to explore gelato, espresso, chanti wine, and a visit to the central food market in the city. Not to be missed by any food lover!

Tour Guide: Juliane

I am German, 49 years old, deeply in love with Italy. I lived in Florence for 30 years and I am an Art History major, with 24 years experience as guide and tour manager.

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Florence market food and wine tour – source

 Customized private tour, not more than 8 participants.

Central Food Market Hall of Florence, visit and tastings:
Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Truffles, Tuscan Specialities.
Walking tour along all the most important monuments: Duomo, Signoria Square, Ponte Vecchio. Stops for more tastings: gelato, lesson on Italian Coffee, Wine, Prosecco or Grappa, street food such as tripe and good Italian Panini.

Possibility to include the David of Michelangelo.

Duration: about 4 hrs

Meeting point: Pick up in your hotel, or at the Bell Tower of the Duomo.
Entrance fee for the Accademia Museum (David): 16,00 E. per person

GUIDED TOUR AT 4 MADONNE CASEIFICIO DELL’EMILIA (PARMESAN DAIRY)

Guided tours are run daily at the modern cheese factory in Lesignana di Modena!
Visiting our dairy, you can witness all the different phases of Parmigiano Reggiano processing first-hand: from the milk delivery to the finished wheels, following all the production phases, the warehouse containing around 33.570 wheels, the cutting room and the factory shop.

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Parmesan cheese factory tour

 

Our dairy is easy to reach, only 3km from the A22 motorway exit at Campogalliano and 10minutes from Modena Centre.

It has a large car park and meets all the required infrastructure quality standards.
Guided tours area available every day, booking at least 1week in advance. The entrance fee covers the tour itself, the Parmigiano Reggiano tasting and a small souvenir gadget.
The visit consist in about 1hour – 1hour and a half tour usually starting at 8,50 and at 10,20 a.m. just in time to see the production of Parmigiano Reggiano.
It include a guided tour of our dairy and a taste of different ageings of parmesan and of our homemade ricotta.
By request, we can offer particular tastings with Parmigiano Reggiano, ricotta, other kind of cheeses, ham, salame, wine, mustards, honey, balsamic vinegar, etc.

Attend in person to the production of the “parmigiano Reggiano” a.k.a. “The King of cheeses” is an exciting and unique experience! If you are in Italy, in the “Food valley”… You can’t miss this opportunity!

Visit and Tour the Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum in Bologna

The Ferruccio Lamborghini Museum is one of the most popular museums for cars in the world. Here’s some information about it.

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General Overview
The center was designed by Feruruccio’s son, who was named Tonino Lamborghini, in honor of his father who started the car company. Originally, the site was located across from the Lamborghini Calor factory. The facility was built in something of an Avant guarde structure which was quite tall. The building was also originally a conference center.

Visitors to the site can see many of the cars designed by the Lamborghini came. This includes the Miura, for example. This also include some of the first cars that Ferruccio designed going all the way back to 1948.

There’s also a lot in terms of photographs in this museum as well. There are thousands of pictures actually, so you can see how the cars chanted throughout the ages. The museum is also full of newspaper reports and other documents that help visitors understand how the company first started developing.
The museum also gives plenty of biographic information about Ferruccio, who was born in in Renazzo di Cento. There are even a lot of unique things available at the site such as a helicopter that Lamborginini was thinking about making. They actually hang this prototype from the ceiling so you can get a good look at it.

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Relocation and New museum.

The site has moved recently to Via Galliera N. 317 40050 Funo Di Argelato Bologna. It’s important to note this relocation if you plan on going, since many older references and articles online may tip you in the wrong direction.

The new location has even more to look at relating to Lamborghini such as a number of tractors made by the company throughout the years. There are even some Lamborghini boats that you can look at up close too if that’s something that you would want to do.
The museum is full of prototypes that show you the different directions that the company has thought about going in the past, and the different ways the company has approached design. The new museum is in the heart of Motor Valley and its full of multimedia that people can peruse in relation to the company.

The size of the new building makes it much easier to show everything all together, and it also makes it easier for people to see the different larger vehicles like the boat and helicopter more up close.

Overall, visiting the museum is going to be an intensely positive experience for anyone who loves Lamborghini cars and history in general since the history of Lamborghini has a lot in common with the history of Italy and really, the history of cars, industry and the world in general.

It helps to set aside plenty of time to look around this cavernous museum because there is so much to see here and it will appeal to people interested in just about every type of practical vehicle that you can think of in general.

It’s been noted that the museum is a great way for an entire family to experience a vacation since they can visit the museum together and then have a lot to talk about as a family later on.

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Musa – the First Charcuterie Museum in Italy.

The first charcuterie museum in Italy, “MUSA”, introduces its visitors to multiple aspects, stages and perspectives of traditional meat curing process. Founded in 2013, the three story building is located in Castelnuovo Rangone, Modena, Italy right next to the headquarters of Villani Salami plant – the oldest and biggest regional salami producing company, which has been sustaining the craft of charcuterie producing for over 120 years. Throughout the galleries of the museum building, its multimedia booths, glassy models and other thematic images visitors are brought into the atmosphere of gastronomic heritage and of meat gourmet preparation all across Italy. The itinerary incorporates ten major parts maintaining a balanced mix of the practical side of sliced-ham making along with the spirit and the pride artisans take in their work.

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A Tribute to the History of Charcuterie

With the opening of Museo della Salumeria the commune of Castelnuovo Rangone (MO) pays tribute to the Villani S.p.A – a family-owned charcuterie production business existing since 1886, currently exporting cured meat to over fifty countries around the world. The gallery hallways feature the memorable images of historical tools, techniques and artifacts used in the old times for curing salami, mortadella and many other renowned culinary delights. As time shows, the salami-making process cannot be fully replaced by advanced technologies and modern equipment. The successful combination of novelty coordinated with manual approach and professional human skills is what makes the Italian-made charcuterie a one-of-a-kind delicacy.

Inside the Museum: Aesthetical and Educational Value

The visit course is divided into ten different sections each covering a particular aspect of the meat preparation process: curing, braising, trussing, slicing and more. The 3D crystal mock-ups of trussed meat on display, hanging platters of flowery cold cuts and other descriptive imagery convey the concept and culture of the multistage cooking course. Apart from getting impressed by the appetizing interior design, guests can gain knowledge about the various phases of the famous salami making. Throughout the course of years evolution of the product can be traced; the global tendency of healthy lifestyle in today’s world has imprinted itself in the manufacturing of the cold cuts as well: sliced ham contains less salt and fat complying with international food standards. By following the historical thread of the charcuterie evolution one gets the impression of what stands behind the legendary gastronomic delight: technique and precision side-by-side with passionate appreciation and dedication to work. Visitors expressing real-time interest to the cooking details may be armed with practical knowledge by gaining it from videos, textbooks and other visual aids available in respective halls – guidelines and old recipes are offered for public use.

Tastings and Social Events

Besides getting acquainted with the museum itinerary through texts and films, guests are welcome to take action by participating in guided tours, tastings and social themed gatherings. Gastronomic workshops are available upon request and the production department of salami Villani factory is open for visits as well for groups of at least 10 visitors

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How to Visit a Balsamic Vinegar Producer in Maranello

Guided visits at Acetaia Clara in Maranello, Emilia Romagna Italy.

If it happens to be in Maranello visiting the Ferrari Museums remember that we also conduct balsamic vinegar tour there. Specifically we visit acetaia clara an artisan producer with a passion for quality vinegar. The acetaia has more than 300 caks holding the precious liquid. The owners have been running the place for over 30 years. Beside being certified producers of balsamic vinegar of Modena DOP they offer very competitive prices for their excellent products, so it is indeed a place for shopping for some bargain souvenirs.  The visit is in the language of tour choice and it lats about 1 hours, it also include tasting of Saba (cookeed grape must) a vinegar aged for 15 years, a second one aged for 25, and a reserve vinegar aged in juniper casks only. The tasting include ricotta topped with saba, Parmesan cheese topped with 25 years old balsamic, Balsamic and chocolate. And to finish some Nocino liquour  that is a speciality of Modena.20140614-174029-63629326.jpg

 

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What to do in MODENA in three hours

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Visit the perimeter of Maserati factory, you can spot many Maserati super cars running around, and see them test driven.

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The Maserati factory has a small showroom where you can see the cars but you can also buy Maserati gadgets, T-shirt and so on. You do not need any appointment to go to the showroom, you can just turn up. However factory tours are harder to get.

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This is the Maserati tower it is the headquarter of the company, note the Trident which is the symbol of the Maserati and it is sitting on top of the building, the Trident  was chosen as it was also represented in the Piazza Maggiore fountain in Bologna.

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Nearby you can find another supercar Museum. It is just five minutes away, it is Casa Natale Enzo Ferrari, and it is located at his house where the car maker was born, now it is a museum with plenty to see.

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This is the main building of the Ferrari Museum and host many super car collection that are changed regularly. From here you can also take a shuttle bus and go to Marenello, where the other Ferrari Museum is.

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This is the oldest delicatessen in the world it was open in 1605, it belonged to the GIUSTI family for a very long time. They were salami and ham makers in Modena and their products were exported all over Europe. Now is still a deli but also a renowned restaurant, featuring traditional fare but make sure that you book well in advance. It is open only for lunch.

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In Modena people eat your gnocco fritto, it is a local speciality, it is simply a fried dumpling but is very tasty as it is fried in pork fat. You can order it for breakfast with your espresso. Or have it for dinner with slices of Parma ham.

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This mercato Albinelli, here are you can buy many local specialties and super fresh meat, fish vegetables and fruits. It is in liberty style and built at the beginning of the 19th century. It is a focal point of the city, if you want to see the locals and what they eat, mercato Albinelli is the right place.

Grappa! What is it and why Italians love it?

Grappa is the perfect ending to yet another delicious Italian meal! This venerable digestive has been produced and enjoyed in Italy for centuries; it was mentioned in 14th Century documents and by the end of the 15th Century it was already licensed, taxed and exported – yes, even way back then the Tax Man was quick to recognise the potential and grab his share! Although Grappa had humble origins – it was widely produced in home stills by just about every wine farmer and grape producer in the North of Italy – it has come a long way since it’s rather rough-and-ready high potency origins and today Grappa is enjoyed all over the world and some of the better Grappa can be a most sophisticated ending to an enjoyable meal.

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Grappa and espresso – so Italian! – source

 What is Grappa?

Grappa is made from pomace, the left-over skins, seeds, and stems that remain after grapes have been crushed for wine. Sometimes fruit or other aromatics such as fresh herbs and spices are added to this raw material before it is distilled using either the old fashioned direct-fired stills or more modern methods utilizing steam heating. The distillate is a clear liquid with a hefty alcohol content of around 37% to 40% (and often higher, especially home-made varieties that are not subject to control). A similar product is also produced in France, called Marc, but the name “Grappa” may only be used for those spirits originating in Italy, and there are various regulations controlling the alcohol content (it cannot be less than 40%), distillation process and the grapes used. The resulting distillate is crystal clear and completely colourless.

The big players in the grappa business.

Today there are several enterprising Italian producers, among them some big names like Nardini (Bassano del Grappa) and Nonino in the Friuli Region, who have started to promote and refine the end product. Instead of using whatever grapes are available, (traditionally the old Grappa was made from a mixture of wine-grape remnants) they have started to produce single variety Grappa (cru monovitigno) and Grappa made from the grapes of particular denominated areas. In addition, some producers are aging the distillate in oak, ash or chestnut barrels, which imparts subtle flavours of vanilla, tobacco and sweet spices as well as changing the colour to anything from a light straw to a deeper amber hue. Most of the larger wineries now have their own “house brand” grappa specially distilled for them to sell alongside their wine.
Further innovations to improve the image and desirability of Grappa include the wide-spread use of beautiful hand-blown glass bottles, some embellished with beautiful stoppers, a variety of seals, gold caps, ribbons and lace reminiscent of the more gracious Renaissance era.

How to enjoy grappa.

The best way to enjoy Grappa in the traditional way is to serve it in a small tulip-shaped glass which will enhance the aroma. Young Grappa should be served cool (around 9 – 13C) while older Grappa would best be enjoyed at room temperature (17C). Many Italians enjoy sipping a Grappa alongside their Espresso, or even combining the two.
In the last decade there has been a big increase in the popularity of Grappa, leading it to become quite fashionable. A “Grappa Movement” – (i Grappisti) has been formed to promote the drink and there have been competitions where “mixologists” compete to produce the best cocktail containing Grappa as the primary ingredient. For your own modern take on Grappa try this suggestion from British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as the finale to your next dinner party: Put a bottle of Grappa and 2-3 bunches of grapes in the freezer for about 2-3 hours. Serve the chilled grapes and Grappa on a large platter with a few bars of good black chocolate – superb!

Grappa tours.

Emilia Delizia would be very happy to organise tours for those interested in the process of making this famous Italian Spirit. Typically produced in the North West of Italy, the producers are easily reached from Venice, Verona, Bologna and Milan. Our company can organise transport, visits and lunches. A minimum of 10 people is required.

 

Lardo di Colonnata….a taste of the Good Fat

What is Lardo di Colonnata?

Lardo di Colonnata is a true Italian heritage food; (it is very unfortunate that non-Italians will generally confuse the name with simple lard, which is far from the truth). This product is a deliciously seasoned, cured slab of pure fat from the back of the pig, which has been cured in a particular way, and it is a delicacy in Italy where it can often be seen on a platter of Salumi (Italian cured meats). Lardo di Colonnata is a superior product and it is protected by an IGP designation, meaning that production is restricted to the region around the little village of Colonnata. In addition, the IGP brings with it certain regulations regarding the production, and ensures that the product is matured in a particular way in the Marble caves near Colonnata.

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Lardo di Colonnata – Source

The Marble Caves of Carrara and the Apuan alps

The magnificent mountains that surround the town of Carrara are a sight to behold! In the height of summer they appear to be covered in snow, but it is not snow but precious white marble that is gleaming in the sun. The marble from Carrara has been known since Roman times, and is where the huge block that was the basis of Michelangelo’s famed “David” was hewn. The town of Carrara is a monument to marble, and you will see marble wherever you look – marble benches, marble statues, marble steps and a gleaming marble Duomo (cathedral). Today you can go on a quarry tour to get an idea of how incredibly difficult it must have been to produce the marble here all those years ago, with no equipment! Above the town of Carrara, in the village of Colonnata, you can learn how the marble caves of the area are essential today in the production of Lardo di Colonnata, just as they have been for centuries.
Legend has it that the original Lardo was produced by the Roman quarry workers who needed a nutritious meal to sustain them during their labours in the quarries.

How Lardo di Colonnata Is Made.

Thick slabs of trimmed pork back fat are seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary, garlic (and sometimes other herbs such as star anise, oregano, coriander, cloves, etc) and packed into specially carved Carrara marble containers, which are porous and allow for the curing process to take place. Production only takes place in winter, and the vats of seasoned fat are aged and matured entirely naturally in the Marble Caves, where the micro-climate is perfect for the job of curing the meat without any additives or preservatives.
The resultant Lardo di Colonnata, shaved into delicate thin ribbons, is a delicate, creamy textured sliver, full of the rich flavours of the herbs, which perfectly complements a slice of grilled Italian bread – crostini. It tastes a little like the fatty part of a slice of perfect prosciutto, but with a lot more flavour! It is generally eaten just as described above, and forms part of an antipasti platter, along with other cured meats (salumi). It can also be used to impart flavour and moisture to roast game birds or other dishes that require a little extra fat.

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The Marble containers where the lardo is cured – source

How Many Kinds of Parmigiano Reggiano are out there?

There are really stringent laws governing what kind of cheese can be called Parmigiano Reggiano, so in fact the answer to the question should be: Only one kind – Parmesan cheeses produced in the regions which are covered by the Parmigiano Reggiano PDO (protected designation of origin). In reality, however, it is a little more complicated! Let me try to explain about the variations that can be found amongst cheeses that all proudly bear the PDO stamp which proclaims to the world that they are genuine Parmesan cheeses from the PDO region, which includes Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua and Bologna.

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It may surprise you to know that there are about 420 creameries within this designated region, and these “parmesan factories” receive their milk from over four thousand farms every day. Inevitably, there will be a large variation in the end product from all these dairies, due to the season, altitude, breed of cattle and expertise of the cheese-maker. Another factor that hugely influences the final cheese is the period of maturation; the minimum time required for a cheese to fulfil the stringent appellation requirements is 12months, but some cheese wheels spend up to 36 months in the maturation cellars, during which time there is a very noticeable change in the taste and character of the cheese.

Factors which influence the final product are:

Maturation: at 12 months this medium-fat semi-hard cheese will have a pale cream colour, taste slightly salty, slightly acid and slightly sweet, and have a wonderful nutty fragrance – Parmigiano is never a smelly cheese! There is a slight grainy texture, one of the distinctive characteristics of this King of Cheeses. At 18 months, the texture has changed as more crystals develop and the straw colour of the cheese is a shade darker; the flavour is becoming more savoury and the fragrance has become a little fruity. The flavours and aroma of the cheese continue to deepen and mature, and the colour gets progressively darker. By 30+ months the cheese is fully mature, a golden straw colour with many crystals and can have woody, spicy, and dried-fruit flavours on your palate. The rind will be really hard at this stage.

Altitude: At higher altitudes, the dairy herd has access to sweeter, greener grass (Parmigiano herds are never fed anything other than grass!) and purer water, resulting in the cheese from the mountains (Parmigiano di Montagna) having a subtly deeper flavour. Many cheese connoisseurs also believe that cheeses made in Spring and Autumn are also superior due to the improved feed at these times of the year. Since each wheel is date-stamped, it is easy for cheese buyers to select cheeses made at these time of the year.

The Herd: if you are faming cattle for the meat market you choose good beef producing breeds, and likewise milk producers for the famous Parmigiano cheese production rely on superior milk-producing cows. In this region the most favoured breed is the Alpine Brown, bred exclusively in the mountainous areas. Recently “red cows” as they are locally known are making a coming back. The Rossa di Parma is native cow of the area and it produces a superior milk. These animals produce the very best balance of quality and quantity of milk – a really superior product just perfect for the production of a really superior cheese.

So, to get back to the original question – there is only one type of cheese that may be called Parmigiano Reggiano, produced in the areas covered by the PDO, but within the parameters set there can be fairly wide variations in the appearance, aroma and taste (and price!) of your slice of Parmigiano.