Exploring Italy through Food and Wine

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Mar 28, 2011 / 0 comments

What's the first thing you think of, when Italy is mentioned? Yes - the food, the wine, the gorgeous land, the amazing people. It's such a joy to visit Italy, and learn more about the people and culture - and eat! And what better to learn about the food, wine, and culture than from the experts? We've found a great company  - Food and Wine Trails - that does exactly that - teaches about Italy, via eating and drinking! We sat down and talked with Larry Martin, President of Food and Wine Trails, about the company, philosophy, and upcoming tours to Italy. Here's what he had to say...



WE: Please tell us about Food and Wine Trails...

LM: Food & Wine Trails explores the cultures of the world thru their food and wine. What is consumed from the land is the bridge between the culture and the
environment that influences it , so learning about what is eaten and drunken, the why's and how it is produced, provides a unique window into where one travels.



WE: What was the genesis of your company?

LM: My interest in food and wine came from a French mother who taught me to cook at the same time she taught my twin-sister and my interest in farming and open space came from  environmental roots growing up in Berkeley California. We started working with the wine industry in the easily 70's and that along with the connections made as a Regional Governor for Slow Food, gave us the knowledge and network of experts that differentiates our programs from our competitors.



WE: Who leads your tours?

LM: All Food & Wine Trails trip-hosts are recognized culinary experts, to insure that our guests enjoy inside-access and local knowledge.



WE: You've got three new tours to Italy - can you please share more about them?

LM: Italy has long been one of the world's most popular food and wine destinations, but with increasing popularity, its become more difficult for the culinary enthusiast to find quality and authenticity. We run multiple trips each year to Italy, but each of these three are unique.

Our Cinque Terre Walk and Nosh is situated in the Cinque Terra National Preserve in Liguria, a region considered to be one the most beautiful walking regions in Europe. Liguria also has a regional cuisine that is not as well known, with wonderful local products such as unique style of white-wine, anchovies, fruity olive oils, and aromatic pesto. On April 11, and again on September 11th, a five-day trip will be offered that explores the famed five villages of the Cinque Terre. Here the food and wine lover can generate a hearty appetite by walking the over 70 plus kilometers of trails and paths with a professional hiking guide and historian, and then delve into the regional cuisine with an American cookbook author who lives full time in Italy. Prices for this inclusive trip are 2,650 Euros per person double occupancy (approximately $3737),
not counting airfare or transfers to the trip's home-base in Levanto.

FWT travelers love food and wine, and I am leading a small group of friends and clients to Divino Tuscany from June 2-5 in Florence Italy, This four-day celebration of the "Best of Tuscan food and wine" includes a dinner at Piero Antinori's or Lamberto Frescobaldi's private villa, a traditional Tuscan boar-roast at Sting's country villa, and the opportunity to taste 95+ rated wines with the former European Bureau chief of Wine Spectator. Also included is a gala dinner on the banks of the Arno, overseen by the 3-star Michelin-rated restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri and a concert in Florence's 19th century concert hall. F&WT clients will receive preferred seating and VIP hosting with Martin and tickets for the four-day event are approximately $2200 not including flight, and hotel.

Last - we have the V. Sattui Winery Italy Cruise: There are many wine-cruises to Europe, but on Nov. 12th, those who love Italy will gain special insight on a 10-day cruise hosted by Dario Sattui. Dario is a fourth generation Napa Valley winemaker whose family emigrated from Italy and who now spends much of his time in Tuscany. Dario will be leading a group of wine-lovers on an Oceania cruise that focuses on the Italian Peninsula. Included are visits to five Italian ports that include overnights in Venice, Florence and Rome, plus stops in Kotor, Dubrovnik and Monte Carlo. Onboard the ship, Dario will lead tastings of
his Italian influenced wines and host a winemaker's dinner in Toscana, the ship's Italian restaurant. Also offered will be optional family-style lunches and wine tastings at top Italian wine estates. Prices begin at $3,449 per person including airfare from 20 US cities.



WE: Why is understanding the food and wines of Italy so crucial to understanding the culture?

LM: As mentioned earlier, the food and wine of a region offers a unique window which allows the traveler to understand the land and its people. The reasaon that Italy is so popular is that Italians have worked hard to preserve their history and their culture, and this is no more evident than with their food and wine. The fact that Italian cuisine is one of the world's most loved cuisines is icing on the cake
(to use another food metaphor)..



WE: How can travelers best prepare to embark on a food and wine exploration of Italy?

LM: One of two ways; spend countless hours doing your own research - which typically relies on the suggestions of others - meaning that you'll end up going to where everyone else goes. Or travel with us and let our food and wine experts introduce to the best of Italy, with the quality and authenticity assured.



WE: Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

LM: There is nothing as fundamental to society than sharing a meal together. However society's frantic pace increasingly makes that difficult. I'd like all of us to slow-down some and break-bread together more often, as this facilitates understanding. And I'd like all of us to understand more about where our food comes from, and its impact to the Earth, so we make correct choices when we shop.



WE: Thanks so much, Larry - these cultural experiences are amazing!


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