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Emilia-Romagna is rich in every way: artistically, culturally, economically and, by no means least, gastronomically. To journey along the Via Emilia, the long, straight Roman road from Milan to the Adriatic coast, is to immerse oneself in some of the greatest foods in the world. The trademark of Bologna is its hand-made egg pasta, which appears in many guises from filled tortellini to rich, luscious lasagne. A visit to Bologna's food market with its vast array of fresh pasta, mortadella and salami, breads, cakes and ice cream explains why this city is known as la grassa (the fat). We pair Bologna with excursions to nearby Parma (think prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano) and Modena for producing traditional balsamic vinegar, the rich, complex condiment that must be aged for a minimum of twelve years. Oceans of inferior imitations may be found on tables all around the world, but the real thing, aged in wood, is known as 'black gold'. Truffles too, are an important feature, with the region boasting the largest white truffle field in Italy. A hands-on cooking class with an acclaimed chef and president of the renowned Italian culatello consortium rounds off your experience of a lifetime. A 6 day/5 night package is available with a private car, or more independently as a self-drive.
Day 1: Arrival - Bologna
Private transfer from airport to hotel in the heart of Bologna. Day at leisure to rest and explore.
Day 2: Bologna
Breakfast at the hotel. Meet with your guide, for your private guided walking tour of the historic center including a guided coffee tasting at a 19th century cafe, a walk through Bologna's Market District and lunch. Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Bologna. (B, L)
Day 3: Modena - Parma
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive (or private transfer) to Modena for a tour, tasting and lunch at an Acetaio Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena (Traditional Balsamic Vinegar Maker of Modena). Continue to Parma for private guided walking tour of the historic center of Parma, including the Cathedral and the Baptistry with its frescoes by Correggio and the Farnese Theatre. After a short drive, arrive at Polesine Parmense and your country palazzo. Dinner at the Michelin star restaurant and overnight.
Day 4: Polesine Parmense
Breakfast at the hotel. Morning hands-on cooking class with Chef Massimo, the owner of the hotel and president of the renowned Italian prosciutto consortium (Culatello di Zibello) followed by lunch.
Meet with one of the staff for a tour of the Caseificio Parmigiano Reggiano, vegetable garden, pig farm, Culatello di Zibello cellar. Overnight in Polesine Parmense (B,L)
Day 5: Ferrari Museum
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Ferrari Museum for a guided tour. Overnight in Bologna.
Day 6: Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. Private transfer to airport.
When Emilia Romagna Tourism called Tour de Forks to recommend a celebrity chef to bring to Emilia Romagna, we suggested chef and owner of Annisa, Anita Lo. Here is the result: