Food & Wine Experience 6 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. Cookery courses, delicious food and superlatives wines are waiting for you ….in the Vercellese Plain !
Did you know that...?
4 half-day cooking class experience at Casa Verdi Academy
Professional and equipped kitchen
Wine Tours and tastings in Gattinara and Monferrato Valleys
The Principality of Lucedio, the Italian rice cultivation birthplace
“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 6 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 !
…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.
The Anonymous Traveller
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 Academy, 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 pasta fresca such as tagliatelle, agnolotti, lasagne. 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.
Have you ever heard of bonet, tiramisu or hazelnut cake ? Today you have the chance to discover the hidden recipes to cook these delicious and traditional Piedmontese desserts ! The afternoon is dedicated to the visit of one of areas recently recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Monferrato Valley. Among its fascinating landscapes, the Monferrato region is home to a high level wine growing and oenology sector, basing on local grape varieties. Until the '60s, wine growing represented one of the leading sectors in the whole Monferrato Astigiano region. In the recent years it became especially relevant in a few
particularly suitable areas, even though almost the whole territory is located within the borders of one or more Protected designation of origin (PDO). Some of the local wines with PDO status, are produced in an area which is wider than Monferrato Astigiano: among them, to be mentioned are Barbera d'Asti and Barbera del Monferrato. Together we will visit Tenuta Montemagno, a traditional wine estate located in the middle of Monferrato hills and you’ll broaden your knowledge about the methods used to make these incredible wines that in the past was for everyday drinking, but today able to to step out of Nebbiolo’s shadow. When you taste it you’ll understand these words !
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;
- 5 nights in bed & breakfast accommodation t in doble room (double occupancy);
- 4 lunches (days 2-3-4-5);
- 5 dinners (days 1-2-3-4-5);
- English speaking tour leader during the visits in the afternoon;
- 4 half-day cooking classes at the prestigious Vercelli Cooking Academy (3 hours a day);
- Cooking classes language: english
- Travaglini Winery visit and tasting (day 2);
- Principality of Lucedio guided tour + visit at a traditional farm (day 3);
- Tenuta Montemagno Winery visit and tasting (day 5);
- 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.
- 4-7 pax: € 1.820,00 per person
- 8-12 pax: € 1.620,00 per person
- 13-18 pax: € 1.420,00 per person
Location: Italy - Piedmont - Vercelli
Period: Whole year
Durata: 6 days - 5 nights