Are you passionate about fermentation? Whether an omnivore or an herbivore, as humans we owe much to “good microbes” from our health to wonderful beverages and foods. What better way to explore our mutual evolution than an excursion to the Regions of Trentino or and Alto Adige-South Tyrol in Northern Italy. In addition to visits and tastings to discover locally-fermented beer, wine, bread, cheese, cured meat, and sauerkraut, we investigate a lesser-known region of Italy and celebrate its unique mix of German and Italian cultures.
Your guides through Trentino and Alto Adige-South Tyrol are tour leader Cristiano Bonino and food and history expert Jeff Roberts for a full immersion into the local culture and traditions of a unique region of Italy.
Cristiano Bonino’s nonno (grandfather in Italian) Paolo was born in Trentino, and so he knows the region well. (To give you an idea, Cristiano has at least 50 cousins living in the area!) He is proud to introduce you the beauty, history and culture of this land, after so many summers spent here as a child. Jeff is proud of his Italian family’s roots in Molise. He works in the areas of agriculture and food policy, conservation, and the environment and co-founded the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont. Currently he is an Adjunct Faculty at New England Culinary Institute and a Visiting Faculty at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences, and author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese and Salted and Cured: Savoring the Culture Heritage and Flavors of America’s Preserved Meats.
The northernmost region of the country, Trentino Alto Adige/South Tyrol boasts forests, lakes, and mountains in a stunningly pristine environment. You will have the chance to soak it all in with walking at a relaxed pace and learning about local history and traditions in places such as the UNESCO site of the Dolomites, the Valleys of the Sun, of Non, Fassa, Gardena and Aurina, in addition to the towns of Trento, Bolzano, Brunico and Canazei.
Highlights of the Fermentour will include: visits and tastings of local Slow Food Presidia (worldwide initiatives to support quality production at risk of extinction) and visits to local agriturismi (usually, family-run “farm stays” combining agriculture and tourism). Typically, an agriturismo features room and board in a farmhouse, which has either been partially or totally transformed to provide accommodation and meals.
After the Roman invasion in 15 BC, the control of this region and the rest of the Italian peninsula during barbarian invasions fell to Germanic tribes, until the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in the 8th Century by Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire. The Germanic influence in this area continued with the Counts of Tyrol, The House of Habsburg and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until its annexation by Italy in 1919. Interestingly, Trentino Alto Adige/South Tyrol was the last of the current 20 regions of Italy to be incorporated after World War I.
While Trentino Alto Adige/South Tyrol is both technically and legally a part of Italy, the region’s incorporation came with a good ideal of independence and autonomy after World War II. Divided in two autonomous provinces under two capital cities Trento (Trentino) and Bolzano (Alto Adige/South Tyrol), the people of this region maintain the right make their own laws on a wide range of subjects and to carry out respective administrative functions.
This part of Italy is mostly mountainous and covered by vast forests with several lakes. The second longest river in Italy, the Adige, flows from the Alps through the South Tyrol and down to the Adriatic Sea. Local economy is driven by tourism and the export of hydroelectric power, in addition to production of paper, timber, dairy products, wine, and fruit.
German is pervasive in the South Tyrol, though of course Italian is also spoken, particularly in the capital of Bolzano. Besides the dialects spoken around Trento and elsewhere, the third most common language in the region is Ladin, a Romance language used largely in the Dolomites.
What are you waiting for? Ti aspettiamo! (We are waiting for you!) A presto! (See you soon!)
FERMENTOUR IN TRENTINO AND ALTO ADIGE-SOUTH TYROL
October 21-27, 2019 Special departure with Jeff Roberts, historian and author of several books on artisan foods
TOUR DATES AND PRICES
Minimum of 6 participants, maximum of 15, with a maximum guide-to-guest ratio of 1 to 8
DATES (7 days)
October 21-27, 2019
For more info, other dates and availability please contact us.
Per person in double occupancy: from $3,490
(tour price will vary and contingent upon availability of cozy agriturismi and 3-star hotels or more elegant 4-star hotels)
Single Supplement: $490
In addition, we pledge to donate more than 1% of your trip price to food literacy and environmental non profit organizations
- Learn about fermentation, meeting local experts and tasting regional products with food and history expert Jeff Roberts
- Discover the UNESCO Site of the Dolomites, the Valleys of the Sun, Non, Fassa, Gardena and Aurina, and the towns of Trento, Bolzano, Canazei and Brunico
- Slow Food Presidia & local wine, beer, bread, sauerkraut, cured meat and cheese makers
- Experience authentic Trentina and Tyrolean cuisines through local traditional recipes featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients
- Some of the best local indigenous grapes, Marzemino, Teroldego, Nosiola and Traminer
- Relax in unique, cozy agriturismi or 3- or 4-star hotels distinctly representing the local Italian and German cultures
- Delve into history and traditions in this unique area of north of Italy with tour leader Cristiano Bonino
- Daily walking opportunities and hikes surrounded by forests and mountains
- Explore on foot and by van the tranquil countryside, at times surrounded by century-old forests, lakes, green valleys and majestic peaks
Our dear friend Jenny named this one and we love it. “Fermentour in Trentino and Alto Adige-South Tyrol” traces the food histories of fermentation in this mountainous northwestern region of Italy. In fermentation, microscopic organisms “transform food and extend its usefulness.” Lest this definition frighten you away, do note that beer, wine, bread, cheese, cured meat, and sauerkraut are all fermented foods.
Indeed, fermented foods are found around the world and both medicine and folklore agree that they help people to stay healthy. In addition to tasting the works of local foodmakers, this tour offers a chance to explore a lesser-known region of Italy, unique for its German influence, and accompanied by tour leader Cristiano Bonino and food and history expert Jeff Roberts.
Trentino and Alto Adige-South Tyrol boast forests, lakes, and mountains in a stunningly pristine environment. The first three days of the tour focus on Trentino heavily influenced by Italian culture. We start our journey from the capital Trento. This elegant city was the seat of the council of the Roman Catholic Reformation in the mid-1500s and is recognized as having the best quality of life in Italy for the past five years consecutively.
The nearby Adige River with its large valley and plain offer a suitable environment for wine production; we enjoy a visit and tasting at a local winemaker on day two. Allow some time to enjoy a leisurely walk through the alleys of Trento, discover its majestic castle of Buonconsiglio, even better while savoring a nice gelato, before it’s time to depart for the countryside on the next day.
Dinner tonight will feature traditional recipes in a Slow Food Osteria d’Italia (similar to a trattoria, an osteria is a simple, traditional Italian restaurant), recognized for its emphasis on protected ingredients as part of one of the Slow Food projects. The non-profit Slow Food was founded in Piedmont in 1986 and promotes “good, clean and fair food” (the motto of Slow Food International). Today, Slow Food includes upwards of 100,000 members in more than 150 countries.
En route to Val di Sole (Valley of the Sun) today we visit a winery specializing in biodynamic wines and savor the noble nectar produced here. Then we continue on a scenic drive through Val di Non to reach the main town Cles, where you can grab a bite for lunch or even indulge on local pastries in an elegant café.
A visit and tasting of cured meat at a local producer will top off our day before we head to our agriturismo (family-run “farm stay”).Typically, agriturismi feature room and board in a farmhouse, which has been partially or totally transformed to provide accommodation and, in our case, also meals. We’ll be surrounded by apple orchards, a staple crop of both this valley and neighboring Val di Non where Cooperative Melinda has grown to be one of the biggest apple producers in Italy.
Our dinner here will be almost entirely locally-grown and will feature a traditional Trentino recipe, which we’ll be able to see made through a cooking demo led by the family that runs the agriturismo.
Cristiano’s own nonno (grandfather) Paolo was born in this area and, in addition to the beauty of the Val di Sole, Cristiano will be very proud to introduce you to some of his relatives who still live in the region including his cousin Patrizia who at a very young age began growing vegetables and making sauerkraut at almost 3,000 feet, and now runs her own business supplying fresh food to local hotels, restaurants and families.
During our time here we will visit the local caseificio (cheese maker cooperative) where they make not only the TrentinGrana (a cheese in the same family with Parmigiano Reggiano) but also the local raw milk “Casolet,” a Slow Food presidium (projects that Slow Food International protects and promotes to combat the threat of extinction).
We will do some “foraging” (grocery shopping) for our picnic in the forest, surrounded by the breathtaking mountains, and followed by a walk to burn off the calories from the yummy regional delicacies. We will also stop by a brand new bee museum, an interactive education project to teach about this precious insect that keeps nature alive! Tonight dinner is on your own in the small town of Malé, the capital of Val di Sole. Please ask us for suggestions.
The next 3 days will be spent in the province of South Tyrol, to discover a bilingual and bicultural environment with cuisine and architecture clearly reflecting the German influence. In Bolzano explore the town and join us for a visit to a local bread maker using old recipes and local ingredients such as rye flour and fennel seeds. We visit to the local Archeological Museum that features the 5000-years-old ice man Otzi, whose frozen body was discovered a few years ago in the Alps.
Check in and enjoy some relaxation or feel free to join us for a scenic cable car ride to the Renon plateau above Bolzano for a ~1-hour walk in a pristine environment.
Late afternoon we visit an historic local brewery (yes, of course we taste some beer) before dinner in town showcasing South Tyrolean specialties and local recipes!
Transfer to Bruneck (Brunico in Italian) and visit the Messner Mountain Museum (conceived by one of the most famous alpinists in the world, Reinhold Messner), a display of mountain people from different continents reflecting on their cultures, religions and tourism activities in their home areas. Today we’ll explore Aurina Valley (Ahrntal in German) with our local connection, a native food lover who started the local Slow Food presidium of Graukäse cheese that of course we’ll have the chance to taste with a local producer. Graukäse is a rennet and ferment-free cheese, one of the lightest raw milk cheeses you can imagine!
Afterwards, we visit the village of Campo Tures for a nice lunch followed by a walk in the beautiful valley to soak up the sun and breathe in the clean air, just a few kilometers from the Austrian border.
When we return to Bolzano enjoy more time in the capital of Sud Tyrol and please ask us suggestions for dinner on your own tonight.
On our last day, we’ll explore the UNESCO Site of the Dolomites, near Canazei, and enjoy a ~1-hour walk surrounded by majestic peaks. We visit the local World War I Museum that powerfully depicts what life was like under the glacier on the front line. This area is unique for the presence of Ladin, a Romance language used in the the Valleys of Fassa, Gardena, Badia and near Ampezzo.
German is pervasive in the South Tyrol, though of course Italian is also spoken, particularly in the capital of Bolzano. Besides Italian and the dialects spoken around Trento, Ladin is the third most common language in the region.
We will spend some time exploring Canazei and the drive through the Gardena Valley on the way back to Bolzano. Tonight we mark the end of our journey with a final celebratory dinner with local recipes for the night. During the evening we share and reflect on what we’ve learned about fermentation as a way to preserve food and stay healthy and the alpine culture and traditions unique to this spectacular and unspoiled environment.
Let yourself being immersed in the alpine atmosphere, enjoying nature and two wonderful provinces of Italy that are famous for their quality of life and the industrious and active characters of their people, a great mix of Italian and German cultures. Benvenuti in Trentino Alto Adige!
After breakfast at 8:30am catch our ~2-hour group transfer to Verona airport or feel free to extend your stay in the area. Ask us for suggestions, we are happy to help!
- 6 nights of accommodation in 3- or 4-star hotels and agriturismi
- 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners with either a 3- or 4-course menu
- Entry fees to Archeological Musem in Bolzano, to Messner Mountain Museum in Brunico and Castle of Buonconsiglio in Trento
- Entry fee to World War I museum near Canazei, Bee Museum near Malé and cable car to Renon Plateau in Bolzano
- 1 visit & tasting to a winery near Trento and 1 cooking demo in an agriturismo
- 1 visit to a vegetable farm and sauerkraut producer and 1 visit and tasting to a cured meat producer in Val di Sole
- 4 optional walks surrounded by forests and mountains
- 1 visit and tasting to a bread maker and 1 visit & tasting to a brewery in Bolzano
- 2 visits & tastings to cheese makers Slow Food Presidia in Trentino & Sud Tyrol
- Daily exposure to history, culture and local cuisine with expert Jeffrey Roberts and tour leader Cristiano Bonino
- Comfortable transportation by 9-seat van for all travel as cited in the itinerary
- Bilingual, professional Tour Leaders
- Last group transfer to Verona Villafranca Airport
- Local taxes and gratuities for luggage porters and restaurant servers during tour
- 4 lunches and 2 dinners on your own
- Alcoholic beverages at group dinners (including wine and spirits)
- Round-trip airfare and expenses to/from the tour
- Trip cancellation, baggage loss or travel delay insurance (this optional coverage is highly recommended and is not provided by Food.Stories.Travel.)
- Gratuities for your Tour Leader
- Personal expenses, such as, but not limited to, phone calls, laundry, emails, snacks, gifts
Cristiano Bonino has organized and led tours for North Americans all over Italy for more than thirteen years. Currently, he resides in the Boston area with his American wife. He mixes the best of both American and Italian cultures, which he loves, but never forgets his native roots in Italy, including in the Trentino region where his grandfather was born and where he spent more than twenty summers.
Jeff Roberts lives in Montpelier, Vermont, and is very proud of his roots in Molise. He works in the areas of agriculture and food policy, conservation, and the environment and co-founded the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese at the University of Vermont. Currently he is an Adjunct Faculty at New England Culinary Institute and a Visiting Faculty at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences. During his career, Jeff was a meteorologist, historian, museum curator and author of The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese and Salted and Cured: Savoring the Culture Heritage and Flavors of America’s Preserved Meats.
Your itinerary has been meticulously hand-designed by Food.Stories.Travel. and Jeff Roberts. This journey is based on their favorite flavors and unforgettable past experiences. Every establishment you will visit has been personally vetted, tested and enjoyed by Cristiano himself and his team of experienced Tour Leaders.
We visit out-of-the-way places and people to experience and enjoy the unique qualities of Trentino and Alto Adige-South Tyrol
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