So What’s a Culinary Tour Anyway?

It recently occurred to me that all this time in my business, I may have taken for granted that everyone knew what a “culinary adventure” or “culinary tour” is. In hindsight, I realize that it’s not a term used in everyday vocabulary, so how can I expect everyone to know? Culinary means many things to many people, and the word “adventure” alone may conjure up images of swinging on a rope or riding an elephant! Neither of which is what we do while in Italy! So here I wanted to detail what I mean by the term “culinary adventure” or “culinary tour” so that if you are considering joining me in Italy, you know what you’re in for!

Cheers to new friends, great food, great wine, and to our great hosts!

First, let’s identify what it’s not!

A culinary tour is not a cooking vacation.

Some agencies offer cooking vacations. Those are wonderful and certainly have their value. But we are not a company in which you are expected to cook every meal. After all, you are on vacation! You go on vacation, so you don’t have to cook! I don’t think you would want to spend all your time in the kitchen from the minute you get there to the minute you leave. We don’t have you do the dishes, and you’re not chopping ingredients for an entire week. Fun though it may be, we wouldn’t do that to you. You will not be spending a full week behind the stove. You will partake in one or two cooking classes. The rest of the time, the cooking is done for you by the local pros.

Hands-on cooking classes are fun, but we don’t cook the entire week!

A culinary tour is not a professional course.

Several schools in Italy offer certificate courses in culinary arts. We are not one of them. After spending a week with us, you will have more knowledge of Italian cuisine, Italian wines, and the philosophy that Italians hold on food and wine. But this is not a professional course. You will not have the culinary skills to open a restaurant or a business after spending a week with us. You will, however, know how to cook some new delicious meals for your friends and family!

Learning to make arancini in Sicily is fun, but this will not prepare you to open up a Sicilian restaurant!

A culinary tour is not a history or art tour.

For art and history lovers, Italy is a playground. There is so much to see and learn that one could easily spend an entire week navigating the art in the Uffizi Gallery! However, if art and history are your main reason for your visit to Italy, we’re likely not the agency for you. Depending on the region we visit, we sometimes include a cultural activity, such as a museum visit, a guided city tour, or other educational component. That said, the main feature of our adventure is the food & wine of Italy. As such, we offer educational opportunities as they relate to Italian cuisine, which is as interesting as the art and history, in our opinion. 

Visiting the famous villas in Ravello is wonderful, but we don’t focus our week all on historical sites.

A culinary tour is not an “active” tour.

Yes, you will be doing a good amount of walking. Perhaps more so than you are used to daily at home. However, we are not out to get you fit and reshape your body! We don’t bike from one destination to another, and you’re not logging in miles and miles of steps daily. Many tour companies focus on activity (especially biking) and sightseeing along the way. Participants bike from one city or region to another, but that is not the focus of what we do. We leisurely see Italy, immerse ourselves with the locals. We don’t rush from one destination to the other, and don’t run around all day, every day.

Because cooking in Italy is more fun than biking all over Italy. At least we think so.

A culinary tour is not a retreat.

The new (or somewhat new) fad in travel is women’s only retreats. As with the other types of vacations listed above, they have value and are attractive opportunities for ladies to gather and grow in a supportive environment. However, we’re not that type of vacation. And we don’t promise you will have a breakthrough on our trips, other than perhaps recognizing the importance of real Parmigiano cheese! You won’t be transformed into a new person at the end, and we will not be journaling or sitting under the full moon and sharing our thoughts and opinions other than discussing the importance of good olive oil. And we happily welcome both genders, as you can see from the pictures below. 

The wonderful group from Calabria 2022 enjoying a day in the countryside.

Well, what is it, than?

A culinary adventure is a food & wine-focused vacation.

The central theme of our week is Italy’s food and wine. Is it worth traveling overseas “just” for the food and wine, you ask? This is Italy, home to the most admired cuisine in the world, so you bet it is! Italy’s cuisine is vast and varied; every region has its specialties, preferred ingredients, and cooking philosophy. All of which you will learn during our week together. During the week, you can expect some cooking classes, winery visits, food tours, visits to factories and artisans, delicious restaurant meals, lots and lots of samples, delectable wine, gelato galore, and lots more culinary surprises along the way.

Wine-tasting in Sicily! But why are all the glasses empty?

A culinary adventure is a gathering of like-minded individuals.

All of my past travelers have had one thing in common: the appreciation of good food, good wine, and good company. You don’t join a culinary adventure because you’re always watching your every calorie, you are not a “big eater,” or you don’t care about the types of food you eat. You join because you want to learn more about your favorite ingredients. Perhaps, like me, you have an honest appreciation, or genuine love for Prosciutto di Parma, so you want to go to Parma and see how this delicious product is made. Perhaps you want to enjoy a glass of Chianti, in well, Chianti, Tuscany, and you think a trip there is worth it. The shared love for quality ingredients is critical to our journeys together.

It’s all in good fun!

A culinary adventure is a chance to improve your knowledge of quality ingredients.

During the week with us, you will have the opportunity to be educated on your favorite ingredients. We visit Parma and learn all about the prosciutto curing process; we learn how buffalo mozzarella is made in Campania; we see olive oil mills and understand the process of creating and tasting extra virgin olive oil. A culinary vacation is not just about visiting great restaurants, although that is part of it, but also about learning how to get these ingredients to your table.

The group learning all about Parmigiano Reggiano during a site visit at a Parmigiano producer in Emilia Romagna.

A culinary adventure is a social week.

Our tours are limited to 16 participants. I do this because we believe small is better, and we enjoy traveling like a family rather than a large tour group requiring matching bandanas, and a flag-waiving leader. We get to know each other well. We share meals, laughter, and stories, learn together, and become lifelong friends. Now, don’t get me wrong, some alone time is built in so that you can spend it as you choose, visit what we don’t see as a group, and shop as you please. But if you prefer to do things independently, if you think you don’t get along well with people, if you have strong opinions that you have to share with everyone, and believe everyone should believe what you believe, we are not the company for you.

Strangers last week, best buddies today!

A culinary adventure is an opportunity for bonding.

If there was ever an opportunity to bond with someone, it would be via travel. A week together on a culinary adventure is the perfect venue to do. We have had couples join, sisters, sisters-in-laws, neighbors, and even doctors and their patients! Breaking bread together creates memories, ignites friendships, and creates stronger bonds, all while sharing authentic food and wine. When you think of it, the one thing we all have in common is that we all eat! If we share nothing else, it’s the need to eat to live, so that alone can be a source of connection. But if you are single and thinking you must join someone to maximize the experience, think again. We welcome all singles, and you will undoubtedly leave with many new friends.

So now that you know what a culinary adventure is, are you ready to join me in Italy? Visit our tour page to see what we’re offering the rest of the year and next year! And consider signing up! You’ll be glad you did!

Enjoying lunch in the island of Capri!


    • Hi Vernetta, I have done tours to Calabria before, and hope to add one more for 2024! Stay tuned!


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What to Pack for Italy

Cosa Mettere in Valigia per l'Italia

Everyone is always asking me what they should pack for Italy,
so I’ve created a quick reference guide that you can use for your next trip.

Hint: You don’t need nearly as much as you think you do!

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