Piedmont - Daily Schedule
After lunch, arrive at either Asti or Alba and transfer to our accommodation at Rocchetta Tanaro. Bikes are issued and we start with an informal ride in the area, including a spin around the paths in the nearby national park followed by a visit to a grissini maker and the local vinoteca. Dinner in the town at the famed local restaurant, Trattoria Il Bologna.
Tansfer to Barolo. Today we head towards Nizza Monferrato, famed for gobbi - a relative of artichokes grown for its stem and much-prized by local gourmets. Then we set out for Roccheta Palafea in the Monferrato hills. The ‘mothership’ will offer a smoother ascent of these hills – note the words of encouragement graffittied by supporters of the Giro d’Italia cycle race. Meet in Roccheta Palafea before our first picnic lunch. Travel through moscato vineyards to the important wine town of Canelli. Then a guided visit to the “underground cathedral”, follow the banks of the Belbo River to Santo Stefano Belbo. From here, take the winding route over the hills to Mango, heading for the home territory of the king of Italian wines – Barolo. Our home for the next three nights is in a charming agriturismo. Dinner tonight is in the time-honoured tradition of serving a series of ‘dishes of the day’. One of the pasta courses is bound to be tajarin, found only in this area.
Today, a local cycling enthusiast will lead us on a circuit ride through the Barolo appellation on paths and small roads, passing through a series of appealing villages. Take the chance to visit the local Barolo enoteca towering over the town in the Falleti castello. Vintage should be due to start any day now, so there should be a formidable crop bunches of nebbiolo grapes in the vineyards. After lunch at a local trattoria, we will wend our way back to Barolo for a quintessential Piedmontese experience - truffle hunting. We meet a trifulau who will introduce us to his dogs and accompany us on a search for the renowned white truffles of Alba. Dinner tonight is your own choice and cost.
After breakfast, we travel to Bra, hometown of the Slow Food Movement. Explore the specialist food shops for a picnic lunch. Down to Pollenzo, housing the world’s first gastronomic university, the Slow Food Hotel and the Wine Bank. Every second year, a world cheese exhibition is held here. We will experience some traditional Piedmont medieval flag-throwing before returning to our accommodation. Perhaps we will have time to visit the old city of Cherasco. The irresistible call of chocolate... Take this unique opportunity to learn a few secrets of the Piedmontese kitchen!
Day 5 (transfer day)
We transfer up the Tanaro River to Alba. Spend the morning exploring this ‘city of the 100 towers’, home of Italy’s best-known truffle market during October. Venture into the tented market with about 40 different stalls - beautiful fashion shops, and chocolate makers among the most skilled in the world. Then over to the village of Barbaresco where the cellar master of Marchesi di Gresy, a New Zealander, will host us for a winery visit, tutored tasting and lunch. Descend to our home for the next two nights, a small hamlet in the Roero zone. The owners of this handsome agriturismo offer a genuine style of yesteryear. From the hand-picking and trampling of grapes, hands-on cheese making and preserving, and the preparation of a seeming tonne of pasta per day, old methods are employed as much as possible. Dinner in the albergo – tasty food, wines from the property and wild mountain music.
Either bike into Alba to visit the market, the ‘pulsing heart of Alba’, or go by mother-ship to Asti for the largest market in the region. In the afternoon, take a chance to go further afield in the Roero, or hunt down and test one of the reputed eateries in Alba. Tonight, our arrivederci dinner is in traditional Piedmont style, pulling out all the stops.
A final breakfast, off to the railway station or to the car hire centre for transfer to other parts of Europe, OR follow the active gourmet across the border to experience the foods, wines and customs of France, avec plaisir...
NZ$3450 (GST not applicable). A single supplement applies (if you have an individual room).
Footnote: The organiser reserves the right to change any details in this outline, should this prove necessary.
Included in the cost of each escorted active gourmet tour:
- Daily support vehicle (no panniers or backpacks needed!). Luggage and most purchases you make in the markets and antique shops can easily be transferred.
- An experienced facilitator with knowledge of the attractions, the people, and the history of the area.
- Quality accommodation in properties of character, for the most part with private facilities.
- Gourmet dinners (5) featuring the best of regional specialties – including the special arrivederci banquet on our final night, three lunches including spectacular picnics. Several times you’ll get the chance to ‘follow-your-own-nose’ for midday and evening meals.
- All breakfasts, including exquisite homemade preserves.
- Our active gourmet journeys offer a range of routes from undemanding to taxing, through the very heart of stunning countryside. High fitness levels aren’t absolutely essential though reasonable fitness is necessary.
- Pre-trip guidance (and cycle instruction is available if required).
- Tutored wine tasting and special events.
- Rest days and independent exploration possible (we supply very detailed maps which allow a choice of routes).
- Literature, including a detailed itinerary, clothing guide, use of large-scale maps of the area, and general advice on travelling in Europe.
- Daily briefing and guidance.
- Hire of quality mountain bike.
- Water bottle and hat.
- Luggage transfer between localities.
- A sense of adventure is compulsory!
- Castle and museum entry fees (you choose!)
- Gratuities and most drinks.
- Golf club hire and green fees where applicable.
- Fishing tackle hire and lessons where applicable.
- Visas and passports (as necessary).
- Travel insurance (mandatory).
- Personal items, eg, laundry, telephone, emails, faxes etc
- Canoe hire where applicable.
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