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This holiday is all about truffles and Super Tuscan wine! On this holiday, you learn how to source, buy, clean, store, and of course how to best prepare truffles. You go truffle hunting in the woods around Volterra using specially trained truffle dogs, looking for the “white gold” of the Tuscan hills. Then you will enjoy a fabulous four-course truffle lunch prepared by someone who really knows how to do it: the truffle hunter himself. You take some truffles with you, in order to learn how to use them in the best possible way by preparing a truffle-themed dinner yourself in the villa, which you will pair with Tuscan wines best suited for truffle meals. On your second full day, you go wine tasting to the smallest and one of the most exclusive wine districts of Italy, to Bolgheri, where you will not only visit two internationally famous cellars, each proud producers of wines which have received the magical 100 Parker points but you will also visit one of the most award-winning olive oil producers in the world.
Your 4500 square feet villa, the Apollo carries the heritage of old Versilia from the times when stars and starlets of the European film industry met here for lavish parties. Located on the Passeggiata, the wide boardwalk on the seaside, the house overlooks the sandy beach and the blue sea.
Built in the beginning of the last century, the villa has high ceilings, marble stairs, and original mosaic floors showing the splendor of Art Dèco Versilia. The house has seven guestrooms, all with en suite bathrooms; a lush garden with palm trees and rhododendron, and of course saloon and dining room where we all fit easily. You will have the feeling of being at home with friends.
All of the rooms are individually designed with a combination of classic and modern furniture. Most of the rooms feature king or queen-sized beds, but they of course, have rooms with twin beds too.
In the afternoon, around 3 p.m.: Pickup, transfer to, and check-in at a 17th century palazzo, which will be your base for the following days. You share a Prosecco on the terrace enjoying the magnificent view all the way to the sea some 30 kilometers away.
After having settled in you can grab a bicycle and roll around in the historic center of Montopoli, discovering this medieval beauty. In the meantime, dinner is prepared: Tuscan cured ham and cheese, grilled vegetables, maybe a salad or two, all with a delicious Prosecco or Tuscan Trebbiano.
After dinner, depending on the weather, you either take a stroll to a gelateria nearby or relax in the blue saloon with a glass of wine or Grappa.
After an early breakfast, you leave for Volterra in order to meet up with a professional truffle hunter and his dogs. Before you leave for the forest, you learn how to source, buy, clean, store, and of course how to best prepare truffles. After this, you go truffle hunting in the forest with specially trained truffle dogs, almost secured that you will find the “white gold” of the Tuscan hills.
Returning to the farm, a fabulous four-course truffle lunch is prepared by the truffle hunter and his family. You take some truffles with you for your evening cooking. You will have the opportunity to buy fresh truffles or some highest quality truffle products, such as truffle honey or truffle salt.
The afternoon is free for a stroll in Volterra, where you can visit the Etruscan Museum, showcasing this interesting culture (that gave Tuscany its name) residing here before the Romans, or just dive into the medieval city's food shops where you can find anything from pecorino cheese, through wild boar salumi to fabulous Chianti wines.
In the evening, you cook together jointly in the large kitchen of the villa. Everyone is given at least one task, be it brushing the truffles, cooking pasta, or just pouring wine to the others.
You use the ingredients which you have collected during the day while preparing a truffle themed dinner. Later you will enjoy the results in the magnificent dining hall. You will pair the courses with excellent Tuscan wines from the cellar.
After a laid-back breakfast with some fresh brioche from the local pasticceria, you leave for Bolgheri, a small hamlet on the coast south of Livorno. Since 1974, where a wine called Sassicaia, from the Tenuta San Guido won the annual Bordeaux tasting of the Decanter magazine, Bolgheri is on the map of every wine lover world wide.
Bolgheri is the home of the “Supertuscan” red wines, which are: wines made in Tuscany, but with french grapes, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. You will visit two wineries, which both have been awarded the pinnacle value of 100 Parker points.
After the first wine tasting, you will visit an olive oil producer; two brothers producing olive oil that has been up among the top 10 of the world’s olive oils every single year for more than ten years in a row!
You will have lunch at the olive farm, with a breathtaking view of the sea from their terrace. Coffee is sipped in Bolgheri itself, a tiny jewel on top of the longest cypress alley in the world (which is an excellent photo op).
The second wine tasting takes you to one of the most known wineries in the world, where you will have a tour of the vineyard and of course a professionally accompanied tasting of four award-winning wines.
After this eventful day, you turn homewards to the villa, where you decide if the group will meet in the kitchen for something delicious which you all prepare to the case of wine which we have brought with us from Bolgheri, or if you just walk across the square to a typical Tuscan restaurant for the last dinner of the tour.
After breakfast, you are packing up the suitcases full of memories and maybe some truffles, cheese or salumi, and one or two bottles of Bolgheri wine. Please note that all that you are purchasing during the tour can be sent home to you by courier – the Academia Culinarium staff can take care of that.
The minivan takes you to the airport, train station, or cruise port of your choice.
Your host, Michael Szabo is a true international gourmet having worked at various hotels in Sweden, Germany, and Italy before he opened his first own house in 2006, followed by the Apollo in 2015. Known through food series in European TV, Michael is constantly on the search for new tastes, new pairings, and combinations. He is fluent in English, German, Swedish, and Italian.
Tuscany is known for its landscapes, history, artistic legacy, and its influence on high culture. It is regarded as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and contains well-known museums such as the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tuscany produces excellent food and famous wines, including the Super Tuscans, Chianti Classico, and Brunello di Montalcino.
Tuscany is a very popular destination within Italy. The main tourist spots are Florence, Pisa, Siena, and Grosseto. The breathtaking Tuscan landscape with its smooth hills and cypress alleys are world-famous.
A maybe less typical part of Tuscany is the beautiful seaside. This area of Tuscany, situated south of the Apuan Riviera, is known for its endless sandy beaches and summer nightlife. The area boasts almost 25 kilometers of coastline and stunning views: from north to south, you'll see Forte dei Marmi, Marina di Pietrasanta, Lido di Camaiore, and Viareggio.
Viareggio is the main seaside resort in Tuscany and is located excellently between the Apuan Alps and the Ligurian Sea. According to ancient Feng-Shui, ideal places on earth are located between a mountain and the sea, balancing energy flows from both sides, thus creating harmony and peace of mind.
Founded in the 16th century, Viareggio has always been a “hip”, a fancy place. With its Liberty style Art Nouveau architecture, the wide beaches, the seaside promenade, it is a kind of contrast to the lush hills of rural Tuscany.
For this vacation, you will enjoy daily delicious meals including a truffle-themed dinner and a truffle-themed lunch. You will also enjoy one exquisite olive oil tasting and two wine tasting sessions. You will also learn how to prepare truffle dishes during this holiday. In the end, you will receive a certificate of completion.
Pisa International Airport (Galileo Galilei Airport)
Please book your flight to arrive at Pisa International Airport (PSA). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Academia Culinarium will pick you up from the airport. Pisa airport is about a 30-minute ride from the villa.
Cruise port is either Livorno or La Spezia, both about a 40-minute ride away.
Train station is Viareggio, about a 5-minute ride from the villa.
For this organizer you can guarantee your booking through BookCulinaryVacations.com. All major credit cards supported.
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