Food & Wine Experience 9 days
Be a Chef, tasting good food & superlatives wines … what else?
The ultimate culinary experience in Vercelli, worldwide capital of Risotto. Spend the morning in a professional and equipped kitchen learning and preparing traditional Italian/Piedmontese food under the supervision of a professional chef, visit the local wineries and taste the delightful wines. In addition, do not miss the chance to visit beautiful cities of art such as Vercelli, located along the famous Via Francigena., and Turin, former capital of Italy. Cookery courses, delicious food and superlatives wines are waiting for you ….in the Vercellese Plain !
Did you know that...?
- 5 half-day cooking class experience at Casa Verdi Academy
- Professional and equipped kitchen
- Wine urs and tastings in Gattinara and Canavese Valleys
- Visit at the Principality of Lucedio, the rice cultivation birthplace
- Cheese tour & tasting
- Amazing Truffle experience
“Frankly speaking I am not a really good chef … I have always desired to learn cooking traditional Italian dishes such us homemade pasta, agnolotti, and a typical dish of the Northewest Piedmont that is called Risotto. Fortunately I remembered of Andrea and Marco, two friends of mine I met some years ago when I was in Piedmont. They are always really kind and invited me to the “Lands of Risotto”. I had never heard of these small corner of Piedmont … but you know, the power of curiosity ! I got Vercelli (the main city) and walked to the new cooking school that Andrea and Marco opened not long time ago. I was really impressed about their job … a new cooking school in the heart of the city … amazing ! I stayed with them 9 days and I would have never thought that in a such small area there where so many things to do … and taste ! I discovered the hidden secrets of Vercellese recipes, I learned to cook pasta, agnolotti and the famous Risotto (don’t confuse it with a typical dish of rice, it is totally different !). In the afternoon we went to visit rice growers farms, we tasted excellent wines (I did not know that Gattinara wine is made from the Nebbiolo grape … the same used to make Barolo !) and explored the magnificent centre of Vercelli ! I spent unforgettable moments, I learned to cook (or better … I hope so !) and I drank good wine, I ate delicious food and discovered another little corner of Italy, my favorite country !”
Welcome to Vercellese Plain !
The Anonymous Traveller
…CURIOSITY…WHERE WE ARE ?
The Vercelli plain is dominated by rice cultivation. Kilometers and kilometers of paddy fields make this vast territory a fascinating and atmospheric environment, thanks to that sensation of balance between nature and man's activity and the passing of the seasons which transform the paddy fields into a surprising blend of colours.
The winter is dominated by silence and the brown colour of the resting earth, often covered with the white frost or snow and enveloped in the silvery grey of fog. In spring, the reawakening of the paddy fields is bright and crystal clear, like the water that covers them and transforms them into an immense chessboard of mirrors that reflect the surrounding environment, from the clouds to the mountains, trees and even the tiniest blade of grass. In summer the growing rice is bright green, instilling strength and energy into the view, beautifully matching the blue of the sky and the fluffy summer clouds. In autumn the ripe rice turns gold and, before being harvested, adds warm and magical shades to the view. Despite the fact that the working cycles in the paddy fields are now completely mechanised, the environment still retains the charm of days gone by, a charm which can still be seen in the timeless Italian film entitled Riso Amaro, directed by Giuseppe De Santis, who set the film against the backdrop of the Veneria Farm in Lignana.
Arrival at Milan/Turin Airport, meeting with a member of I GO TRAVEL staff and transfer to the hotel.
Welcome to Vercelli !
After breakfast we will take you to the Vercelli Cooking School, located in he heart of the city.
At first you will meet your “Guru” - the Chef - who will teach you the hidden secrets of Piedmontese culinary tradition. First of all: have you ever heard of “pasta fresca” ? I think to know the answer … But if I would ask you: are you able to prepare and cook pasta fresca ?
Mmmmm …. I can see your face :-) Do not worry, today you will learn how to cook the traditional Piedmontese pasta fresca such as tagliatelle, tagliolini, gnocchi.
Our chef will follow you step by step, giving the right explanations and revealing the “magic tricks” to cook amazing dishes !
In the afternoon we will go to the “Land of the Nebbiolo grape of Northern Piedmont”.
The hilly area of the Vercelli province is not very extensive yet it produces wines, which are considered among the best in Italy for their quality, delicacy, and harmony. We are in the Terre del Nebbiolo del Nord Piemonte (Northern Piedmont’s Land of the Nebbiolo), a type of grapevine in which the grapes develop into full-bodied and long-lived red wines, wines suitable for aging and young wines.
We will visit a family-owned wine estate, Travaglini winery, and get deepen explanations about the processes and methods used to make these superlatives wines.
Sight, smell … and the tasting experience, unforgettable and unique !
The Risotto day !
Today is time to broaden your knowledge about rice and Risotto.
First of all we should define the term “Risotto”.
Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made with a suitable variety of rice such as Arborio and Carnaroli. Risotto is a challenge for many people. Well no longer, our chef unlocks the secrets of making truly delightful risotto. We will take you through the different types of rice and what they are best suited for, the importance of stock and how to cook 3 unique risottos using fresh seasonal products. Then “tutti a tavola” to enjoy your perfectly cooked risotto with a glass of wine.
In the afternoon we will take you to visit the ancient Principality of Lucedio situated in the middle of the rice paddies, which was founded in 1123 by the Cistercian Monks that reclaimed the land starting here, first in Italy, rice growing at the beginning of the XV century.
Is it enough ?
In late afternoon a guided farm tour will let you discover the traditional methods that are still used to cultivate rice.
This is a class you can sink your teeth into! Learn about different varieties of meats, correct cooking techniques and how to prepare simple, delicious dishes. It’s a full-on class with a big focus on flavour.
In the afternoon you can choose between 2 options
- A free afternoon in Vercelli: squares, streets and monuments !
- Vercelli half-day private guided tour.
Our guide will take to visit the beauties of Vercelli ! The very interesting historic centre is noted for the Basilica di Sant‘Andrea, right in front of the railway station: the basilica is the symbol of the French gothic style which in the XIII century made its appearance in Italy. Another decidedly original aspect of building is the facade which, about half way, suddenly changes colour, passing from grey-blue of the bottom half to red and white which decorates the top half. Vercelli, after Turin and Asti together, is one of the major art cities of Piedmont as the guardian of a rich artistic and architectural heritage. Despite the presence of some heavy changes in the post-war period are still present impressive churches, towers, squares and buildings of the historic center of the medieval city.
Generally when we think about Piedmont culinary tradition it comes to mind pasta fresca and meat. We suggest you to start considering fish as well. Are you ready for an half-day fish cookery experience ?
The afternoon is dedicated to visit an “hidden wine region” of Piedmont called Canavese. In this land we find the “Gold of Canavese”, which is called Erbaluce. A better explanation about this area is given by Tenuta Roletto, a modern wine estate nestled in the middle of the wine region and is famous for its vineyards that stretch out to the horizon. There is more than a century of wine traditions that has a beginning in the early 1900’s thanks to Giovanni Tinetti, followed by his son -in-law Enrico Roletto and then Antonio who in the 80’s transformed this estate into an true enterprise increasing the brand name but at the same time maintaining a solid and fundamental aspect: tradition. You will have the opportunity to wrap yourself in the culture of wine, discover what it is, how it is made and how to recognise it.
Visit the renowned cellars of the Estate, go for a walk through the vineyards feel the persuasion of the encounter with the vines, the spell of the shrubs from which grapes take their origin and as a consequence also the wine itself. After having delighted your eyes and ears it is time to move onto flavour and smell. You will taste these wines in the land of their birth, the vineyard, or in one of the buildings on the Estate that has been prepared for the occasion.
Please, before beginning to taste, reflect on the words of Ludwig Freuerbach: “Happiness is like a good wine, it must be savoured drop by drop”.
- Relax Take you time to relax and regain energies !
- Turin full-day private tour
Turin, the first capital of Italy, a fascinating city disseminated with testimonials of the past that tell of a history that began over 2000 years ago.
The city was capital of Savoy Reign and thanks to them today is one of the most important European cities for art, culture and architecture.
Great architectural works from the past and present co-exist in Turin: masterpieces from the Baroque and Liberty period without forgetting buildings, architectural development and avant-garde infrastructures constructed for the occasion of the 2006 Olympic Games.
Do you know that Turin is one of the most famous cities for chocolate tradition ?
In the afternoon we will take you to a very nice and familiar chocolate gourmet artisan shop, where is gonna be possible tasting this amazing Italian delicacy !
Pasta fresca, risotto, meat, fish and … today ?
If you have never heard of mustard, gianduja and nougat it is the right moment to discover the hidden recipes to cook these delicious desserts !
In the afternoon we will take you to Lake Maggiore, one of the biggest and most enchanting Italian lakes. We know that you know it, but probably you do not know that a short distance from the shore of this amazing lake there’s a an historical cheese refiner that a started up in 1876.
The visit at ancient caves is really illuminating: the caves, in use from the nineteenth to 1990, were obtained in a fifteenth-century bastion walls of the city, where the military needs of the time led to dig a maze of tunnels and galleries, then transformed, after ‘demolition of the walls at the time of Napoleon, from dairy to use … great-grandfather Louis. The family “takes care” of every single shape of cheese, geometrically perfects and delicious to taste !
After the visit we suggest to stroll through the fascinating streets of Arona, the official doorway to Lake Maggiore.
After a day of relax it is time to begin your journey in one of of the most beautiful and enchanting regions of Italy.
After breakfast you will broaden your knowledge about Piedmotese gastronomic traditions thanks to one of the most enjoyable and amazing activities, a must for all discerning gastronomists: the truffle hunting ! You start your truffle hunt at the doorway of one of the region's finest wine areas. A brief walk through the vineyards to enjoy the scenic views and then you are in the woods exploring with your truffle expert and his dog. Sniffing through the misty woods of Piedmont the truffle-hunting dog will suddenly search in one specific spot. He will dig his paws into the crunchy soil. The truffle hunter will rapidly stop the dog and using his fingers to gingerly explore further he will remove his treasure: a large walnut-sized truffle.
After the search not having the chance to taste it would be a pity !
A dish of tajarin with truffle is the perfect lunch … and if we combine it we a good glass of Barbaresco or Barolo probably is much better !
Transfer to Milan/Turin airport. “Arrivederci”.
“That's something I've noticed about food: whenever there's a crisis if you can get people to eating normally things get better.”
- Pick-up and drop off at Milan/Turin airports
- Ground Transportation during the visits
- 8 nights in bed & breakfast accommodation t in doble room (double occupancy)
- 6 lunches (days 2-3-4-5)
- 8 dinners (days 1-2-3-4-5)
- English speaking tour leader during the visits in the afternoon
- 5 half-day cooking classes at the prestigious Casa Verdi Academy (3 hours a day)
- Language: english
- Travaglini Winery visit and tasting (day 2)
- Principality of Lucedio guided tour + visit at a traditional farm (day 3)
- Tenuta Roletto Winery visit and tasting (day 5)
- Cheese refiner visit and tasting (day 7)
- Truffle experience (day 8)
- Medical Insurance
If some of the suppliers mentioned are not available the will be replaced by others of the same quality.
Please note all menus are sample and can be modified according to specific needs.
- City Tax
- Single room supplement: € 20,00 a day
- The cooking classes and visits can be organized in several languages. The price and the availability can be confirmed at the time of request;
- 3 hours half-day walking tour of Vercelli (day 4): on request
- Full-day guided tour of Turin (day 6): on request
- 5-7 pax: € 2.550,00 per person
- 8-12 pax: € 2.350,00 per person
- 13-18 pax: € 2.050,00 per person
Location: Italy - Piedmont - Vercelli
Period: Whole year
Durata: 6 days - 5 nights