Tag Archives: Food Tours

Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour

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Florence may not be the capital city or the business hub, but it is the pulsing heart of Tuscany and central Italy.

Recently being mentioned the New York Times ‘Where to go in Florence’ gives the reader insight into the revamped area of San Lorenzo sharing a list of new restaurants, caffès and gelati parlours that are stylish and geared to locals and tourists alike.

Since the opening of the new  of the top floor of the Central Market ‘Mercato Centrale’ in 2014 – the San Lorenzo neighbourhood has had a considerable make over. Gone are a lot of the market stalls making it easy to access the Mercato Centrale without too many distractions.

A great way to explore this area is to do a Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour for a morning in the San Lorenzo area.

Prepare yourself to have all of your senses heightened and ignited on the Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour.  Your guide will give you a detailed history into the central market where you will start off with a tour of the new first floor of the market for a coffee or cappucino and some time to browse the various shops working up an appetite.

The real Italian food market experience awaits you downstairs where the shops upstairs, local restaurants and Florentines come to buy only the freshest ingredients brought in before dawn from local producers.  Enjoy the vibrant, lively market experience with tastings of speciality products such as wild boar prosciutto, pecorino sheep cheese and fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables.

After the market tour you will visit a more refined gourmet food shop and learn about what staple produce is used for traditional Tuscan recipes.  You will have time to purchase unique gourmet gifts to take back home.  At the end of your Florence Market & Gourmet Food Tour you will be accompanied to a local trattoria where you can dine on the traditional Tuscan dishes you have encountered during the morning.

What better way to explore the traditional Italian market with a local food expert getting to know local vendors and shop owners who take pride in guaranteeing only the very best, local fresh produce.

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4 things to do in Piedmont

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Piedmont is an very important Italian region for the food and wine world yet that has been undervalued by the travel world! In a way, this is a blessing for those wanting to escape the droves of tour buses and groups jam packed into Italy’s major destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence. Not only that, Piedmont is an ideal region to visit if you are a food and wine lover. The best cities to visit in Piedmont are Alba, Turin, Barolo and Bra. If you are planning a trip to Italy, consider Piedmont! Here is what we recommend for things to do in Piedmont:

1. Alba- tap into your inner hunter with a truffle hunt!

Sure, to the uninitiated truffle may just be a foul tuber, but to the gourmand, it represents the ultimate in gastronomic delights. Some would say it has the fragrance of the gods. Although found in France, northern Spain and other parts of Italy, the region around Alba is considered the quintessential truffle capital. It’s also the economic bellwether that determines the official price of truffles worldwide. Its method of discovery adds to the mystique.  A truffle hunt takes you through the the woods exploring with a truffle expert and their truffle hunting dog. Sniffing through the misty woods of Piedmont, the truffle-hunting dog will suddenly dig her paws into the crunchy soil to find a true gastronomic treasure: a large walnut-sized white truffle. At the end of a truffle hunt you’ll learn how to analyze truffles from a technical point of view, as true gourmand tasters do. You’ll learn more about the white truffle, how to use it, how to taste it, and how to preserve it. Totally a must do experience for active, nature loving Italian food lovers!

2. Love chocolate? Visit Turin’s historic chocolate producers!

If you are a chocolate lover, discover “chocolatropolis” Turin: a city of authentic Italian food culture. Visit some of the major points of interest during your trip to Turin and don’t miss captivating Baroque masterpieces like Piazza San Carlo, the Cupola del Guarini, the Royal Palace and Piazza Castello. Remember to stop and smell the flowers by taking a break in an historical caffè and experience Turin’s most traditional coffee: made just for chocolate lovers called “bicerin”, as well as some excellent confections, gelato and pastries. Turin will delight you with Baroque palaces, workshops, bakeries and confectioners.

3. Had enough food? Go on a Barolo wine tour and taste Italy’s finest wines!

Barolo wine is the undisputed king of Italian red wines. Both of the most celebrated Piedmont reds, Barolo and Barbaresco, are made from the Nebbiolo grape that yields deeply perfumed, mid-weight, wines with good aging potential. Among the other noteworthy Piedmont wines are the incisive, vibrant Barbera and the softer, lusher Dolcetto. The best wines of this area were made famous by Marc de Grazia’s “Selection of Fine Wines from The Great Crus Of Italy”, among many others Scavino, Cavallotto, Clerico, Altare and Molino. Whether you are a wine lover, collector or simply a wine drinker, a Barolo wine tour is a great activity to do when visiting Piedmont.

4. Cheese and Beer lover? Visit Bra!

Discover the best cheese in Italy when you visit Bra! The city is very small and very easy to reach by train from Turin. In the historical center part of town, there are plenty of gastronomic deli shops open to the public where you can explore all the different cheeses of the region and taste the ones that look curious to you! In addition to being a great destination for tasting artisan cheese in Piedmont, there is a huge craft beer movement happening in Piedmont and what better way to compliment your cheese tasting in Bra than with a visit to a very tasty brew pub!  (called “birreria” in Italian.) During September, there is the annual slow cheese festival organized by the Slow Food Movement which is a candyland of cheese, beer and wine tastings! In any case, Fall is the quite possibly the best time to visit Piedmont so why not plan it around a cheese festival!

Are these options not enough? Contact the expert travel staff at Le Baccanti to learn more about how you can have the Italian gourmet vacation of your dreams!

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Honey Tours in Tuscany

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Tuscany is one of the top tourist destinations in Italy. And for good reason too! Abundant agriculture, spectacular wine country, luxurious resorts, mind-blowing food and of course beautiful landscapes. Tourists know Tuscany for its wine, but did you know Tuscany is also one of the top producers of honey? You could go as far as to call Tuscany “Il Miele dell’Italia” (the honey of Italy). Tuscany has a deep rooted history with bee-keeping and produces several varieties of honeys such as chestnut, acacia, rosemary, wildflower, eucalyptus and even exotic types like artichoke and strawberry honey!

Honey is a great indicator of a rich agricultural region as bees thrive off thousands of plants and flowers in order to produce their wondrous nectar. Bees are said to be in danger, they are declining in populations. Without bees, agriculture would cease to exist as bees pollinate the flowers that sustain our ecosystem. Honey is a wonderful food, filled with enzymes and nutrients. It is said that eating local honey is a natural remedy for seasonal allergies. Therefore, it is always suggested to buy single sourced, artisan unprocessed honey. When you are in Tuscany, consider trying some of the many varieties this diverse gastronomic region produces. You can learn about all the different varieties of honeys in Tuscany via The Honey Traveler and then take our honey tasting tour in Tuscany!

You’ll be surprised to see the production, bee-keeping methods and of course to taste all the different varieties! Honey will never just be honey you swirl around in your tea. It will become a gorgeous sweet gold that will enhance any cheese plate, make a great base for salad dressings, topping for ice-cream, a mix-in with ricotta and pine nuts for a decadent dessert, as well as a condiment for fruit salads and breads.

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