Culinary Journey to Cinque Terre & The Italian Riviera, Italy
$5,500 US pp** | October 1-7, 2017
Five once almost unreachable villages grow out of rock along the rugged coast of the Italian Riviera. For centuries, a connecting footpath was their lifeline, but for us it's the scenic route into a remote and vibrant coastal culture. CInque Terre, which means Five Lands, comprise the five small coastal fishing villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso located along Italy's seaside region of Liguria. Imagine medieval gems set high on cliffs with a sheer drop to the sea and surrounded by incredible greenery protected by a nature park, centuries-old churches perched into the hillsides and a rainbow of brightly painted fishing boats shimmering against the harbor’s shore.
And, the cuisine? This region is renowned for its focaccia al formaggio or yeasty bread filled with oozing cheese ready to be drenched in fragrant olive oil, Sciacchetrà dessert wines that taste of honey and nectar produced from hillside vines, and the very best pesto on earth made by hand with a mortar and pestle. With its terraced vineyards covering the hillsides, pristine waters abundant with fish and aromatic herbs, the Cinque Terre is my happy place!
** Price based on double occupancy. Airfare not included. Deposit of $1500.00 per person required to secure a spot. See tour Terms and Conditions here.
Cinque Terre cooking classes
The tour will include several hands-on cooking classes that focus on the best of the region's cuisine. We’ll cook in the villa’s gorgeous well-equipped kitchen and outdoor wood-fired pizza oven, using the freshest seasonal ingredients from outdoor markets and butcher shops in the village. You’ll soon discover that Ligurian cuisine is some of the best in the world.
We'll use aromatic wild herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, sage, borage and basil to add flavor to a variety of Ligurian dishes. We'll make the famous Genovese pesto sauce to toss with trenette and pastas, Farfalle with Sweet Peas and Prosciutto. We'll bake focaccia al formaggio and pizzas outdoors in the wood-fire oven. With so much incredible seafood available, we'll have to make a traditional Ligurian Fish Stew. And for dessert? We'll whip up a Lemon Basil Granita drizzled with Limoncello, Warm Chocolate Walnut Cake with Mascarpone and the traditional Ligurian Olive Oil Cake topped with a seasonal fruit compote.
Cinque Terre Villa Accommodations
We'll stay at a beautiful villa in the seaside village of Levanto, the gateway to the Cinque Terre. Owned and lovingly operated by my dear friends, Paula and Angelo, Villa Valentina is the perfect retreat for us to relax and soak in the Ligurian lifestyle. This is the kind of place that feels like home from the moment you enter, with first-class ammenities to ensure that your stay is luxurious. Think boutique hotel without the “hotel” feeling. Rooms are spacious, ensuite with luxurious rain showers and complimentary minibars, private terraces, sundeck, gazebo, and bikes to take for a spin. We'll cook in their well-equiped commercial kitchen using the highest-quality and freshest ingredients.
Cinque Terre Day Trips
In addition to our cooking classes at the villa, we'll explore the villages of the area together. There are so many options for our excursions, it's hard to choose where to begin! Perhaps we'll start with visit to the local bakery in time to see them make focaccia al formaggio. Then it's off to with a visit to the village of Manarola and Riomaggiore for a special walk on the Via dell’Amore and lunch at one of my favorite little osterias with gorgeous views of the Mediterranean. Or how about heading Corniglia and Vernazza, where we can have lunch at Gambero Rosso in the main square? Don't worry, we'll definitely head out to wonderful little winery or two and for sure, take a boat trip along the Mediterranean enjoying a spectacular lunch onboard?
This is such a special place and I promise you an unforgettable week!
Cinque Terre Trip Details
Group meeting point for pick-up is: Hotel Bologna in Pisa. The group will meet in the late afternoon on the first day of the journey at the Hotel Bologna in Pisa and be transported to the villa for check in, followed by a welcome drink and casual dinner together. The tour concludes after breakfast on the final day of the journey and transported back to Pisa Airport. Private transfers can be arranged at an additional cost.
A non-refundable deposit of $1500.00 US per person is required to register for the journey. See the Terms and Conditions above for details. Accommodations, cooking classes, excursions and day trips, wine and tastings and meals with the exclusion of one or two are all included. Airfare (varies) is not included in the package price. FInal payments are to be made by personal check or money order.