• Italy Con Gusto

    A Culinary & Cultural Adventure in Tuscany
    with Anna Maria Olive Oil Outpost
    September 23—October 1, 2017

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Olive Oil Outpost is the Gulf Coast’s source for top quality imported products such as balsamic vinegar, olive oil, cheese, and of course, vino! This fall, we’re taking the obsession a step further. Join proprietor Kelly Kary and Onward Travel on a culinary adventure in Italy. Our home base will be a gorgeous 17th century villa in Chianti on a family-owned wine estate. From there, we’ll enjoy day trips around the region and leisurely days soaking up the scenery.

Join this adventure to experience cooking classes, market visits, ample local wine, delicious feasts, and plenty of time to soak up art and culture. Visit Kelly’s producers, get well acquainted with sangiovese, and enjoy exclusive tours and tastings. We’ll visit Modena, in the heart of the epicurean paradise that is Emilia-Romagna. In Tuscany, we’ll explore San Gimignano, Florence, Chanti’s charming towns, Lucca, and Pisa. Lavish and creative dinners at the villa among the vineyards will have us living the dolce vita.

Kelly brings some of the world’s best tastes to Pine Street, but we are going to the source to experience it all, and you’re invited!

Saturday Sept. 23—Benvenuto!

  • Wine class and dinner in a beautiful villa.

Welcome to beautiful Tuscany. After a short transfer from Florence Airport, settle in for a week at our private villa in the vineyards. If the sun is shining, relax at the villa’s swimming pool this afternoon or stroll the English gardens. The villa is over 18,000 square feet of heaven.

We’ll gather tonight in the villa’s dedicated wine tasting room where a Chianti Classico winemaker will teach us about the world of Tuscan wine. A seasonal gourmet dinner will be prepared by a local chef and served in the villa’s elegant dining room. Local specialties will pair perfectly with the vino made from the grapes surrounding us. Cheers, indeed!

Sunday Sept. 24—Drinking in the Landscape

  • Wine lunch and tasting
  • Dario Cecchini’s landmark steak restaurant: Officina della Bistecca

Today, ease into the Chianti lifestyle. After a leisurely morning we’re off to visit Molly’s favorite local winemakers. Agricola Altiero is a small family operation producing excellent wines. Samuela is a fabulous cook and her signature jams pair perfectly with crostini, pecorino, and salumi. Winemaker Paolo will lead us through a tasting as we enjoy lunch in the sunshine. Early afternoon, we’ll visit our villa’s winery and enjoy a tasting of their Super Tuscans.

Tonight we’ll head into Panzano in Chianti for a dinner featuring an icon of Toscana: Bisteca Fiorentina. Dario Cecchini is a famous Italian butcher and at his restaurant the food is served with pride and gusto. Enjoy steak, wine, and a bit of theater as the steaks are grilled right before our eyes on the searing hot grill. Delicioso!

Monday Sept. 25—Cucina Italiana

  • Cooking class at an ancient abbey
  • Explore quaint Greve in Chianti

Because the only thing more fun than eating in Italy, is cooking in Italy… today we head to the kitchens of Badia a Coltibuono for a cooking class. First, a guided tour of the 1000-year-old abbey and Renaissance gardens, then a hands-on culinary lesson where we’ll learn to prepare classical regional Italian cuisine complemented by their organic wines and olive oils. Our lovely meal will conclude with grappa and coffee in the living room.

On our way back to the villa this afternoon, we’ll stop in Greve in Chianti, a charming Tuscan town located near the villa with a lively central piazza. Enjoy a bit of shopping and an espresso. We’ll relax at the villa tonight and have a delicious dinner.

Tuesday Sept. 26—Experience Modena’s Treasures

  • Balsamic vinegar tasting experience
  • Wine lunch featuring Lambrusco wine and regional Tortelloni pasta
  • Car lovers unite at Museo Ferrari

Today we head to food enthusiast Mecca: Emilia-Romagna. This area is home to gastronomic icons (Prosciutto! Balsamic Vinegar! Parmigiano Reggiano!) and we’ll taste them all today while visiting an acetaia and wine estate.

This morning we will dive into the balsamic vinegar traditions of Modena and visit an Acetaia that produces a balsamic Kelly has carried at her store for years. We’ll have a three-course lunch at Opera02, a vineyard, winery and agriturismo, complete with Lambrusco wine and a show-stopping panoramic view. Once you’re satiated, choose to go to the Ferrari Museum or into charming Modena for shopping and a stroll. Museo Ferrari is a destination for car aficionados: learn Enzo Ferrari’s story, try driving with the Ferrari simulator, and see beautiful cars on display.

Tonight we’ll have a light dinner and Prosecco at the villa.

Wednesday Sept. 27—Medieval Manhattan

  • Market day in hilltop town San Gimignano
  • Cooking class at the villa

This morning we’ll drive through the Tuscan landscape and feast our eyes on medieval hilltop towns overlooking rolling countryside covered with grapevines and olive trees. The mountains, forests, cypress trees, and winding roads are idyllic. We’ll visit walled San Gimignano, often called Medieval Manhattan because of the skyline formed by the towers that date back to the 12th-century. It is market day in San Gimignano! Enjoy free time to stroll the town and have lunch. Early afternoon we’ll head back to the villa where a talented local chef is waiting.

The rest of the afternoon and evening will be spent cooking with Chef Alessio in the villa’s beautiful professional kitchen. We’ll prepare a delicious four-course menu featuring handmade pasta, wild boar ragu, and a beautiful Italian dessert. Chef Alessio is an accomplished gourmet chef, eager to share his Tuscan technique. We’ll gather around the long table to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Thursday Sept. 28—Pisa to Pizza

  • Visit Tuscan towns: Lucca & Pisa
  • Wine tasting at Casa di Monte
  • Pizza party at the villa

After a delicious breakfast spread (you’re getting used to this special treatment by now), we’re off to Lucca. Lucca has 4 kilometers of beautiful Renaissance walls surrounding the city, so you may like to walk or bicycle the 16th century ramparts. The town has over 100 churches, plus gardens, courtyards, wonderful boutiques, and cobblestones galore. After a historical orientation walking tour, enjoy the town at your leisure. A picnic on the walls is recommended.

Early afternoon let’s visit Pisa for a selfie with the Leaning Tower. It is one of the most famous buildings in the world, and it is a site to behold. Are you thirsty yet? Good, because Jessica is waiting for us at Casa di Monte. We’ll taste Jessica’s wines in an ancient tower with 365 degree views. Learn how Tuscany’s dessert wine Vin Santo is made and taste IGT and Chianti Classico wines.

After a wonderful day, there is still one more treat! A pizzaiolo is coming to the villa tonight with a portable wood-fired oven to make us a pizza feast. You’re invited to help cook and recipes will be provided. Sip a glass of bubbly while you enjoy a variety of pizzas, focaccia bread, and lemon vodka sorbet. The pizza party of your dreams!

Friday Sept. 29—Landscape Inspiration

  • Watercolor painting class
  • Dinner at a local trattoria

Enjoy a slow morning at the villa. We’ll have an al fresco lunch, prepared with fresh ingredients procured from the San Gimignano market. Help cook if you like!

As lunch concludes, a local artist/winemaker will arrive to lead us in a watercolor painting class. Inspiration abounds and you don’t need to be an artist to enjoy this creative expression with charismatic and talented Roberto at the helm. We’ll sketch and paint, and sip some of Roberto’s wines, too.

Stroll the vineyards this afternoon, squeeze in a little more shopping, or relax. Molly is happy to arrange a round of golf at Golf dell’Ugolino or transportation to the Italian designer outlets. Relaxing by the beautiful pool and soaking up the Tuscan sun is a grand option, too.

We’ll dine at a local trattoria this evening, order whatever sounds good to you… perhaps the pici con ragù di cinghiale (hand-rolled pasta with wild-boar sauce).

Saturday Sept. 30—The Heartbeat of the Italian Renaissance

  • Walking tour in Florence
  • Ample time to shop and sightsee

We must say goodbye to our beautiful villa this morning but the fun is not over yet.

Today we’ll visit the capital of Tuscany, Firenze, the seat of the Renaissance and a city with a long history in art and craftsmanship. A local guide will take us on a walking tour, concluding at Galleria dell’Accademia where we’ll oogle Michelangelo’s David. Enjoy a long afternoon to sightsee and shop as you please. We’ll reconvene for a scoop  of the city’s best gelato. This evening, we’ll stay at an airport hotel for early departures on Sunday.

Sunday Oct. 1—Departures

We’ll be conveniently located near the Shannon airport, and a transfer will be provided at your convenience. Head home with wonderful memories. If you’d like to extend your stay and transfer back to Dublin this morning, transportation is provided.

Our wonderful time together has come to an end. Grab the hotel shuttle to the airport at your convenience and journey home full of wonderful memories. Buon viaggio!

Extend your travels and join Onward Travel in the Cinque Terre! If you choose this option, you will be collected mid-morning from the hotel and transferred to Monterosso, one of the Cinque Terre’s five charming villages, to convene with the rest of your group.

  • $3,750 based on double occupancy.
  • A $110 surcharge applies if you’d like to pay by credit card.
  • Air travel is not included but Onward Travel is happy to assist. Please see the Itinerary PDF for additional information on coordinating your flight.
  • Contact Molly with questions at 267.825.5880 or molly@onwardtravel.co.