This is not just any trip to Italy. You may have been to Tuscany and have “done Rome.” I love Tuscany, and I love Rome, but I guarantee it — this is not the typical tourist’s visit to the Colosseum and the Vatican. If you read my last blog post (yes, that was back in August!), you may have gotten a glimpse into the magical experience we had in the area of Cilento in Southern Italy this past July. And I am so lucky to have been invited back by Vegano Italiano Tours to spend another week in September 2016 in another rarely-visited part of Italy, Puglia. As amazing as this year’s trip to Cilento was, I believe that next year will be even richer and more varied with cultural and culinary discoveries. This stunning area located in the “heel” of the boot of Italy is largely absent of tourists, so we’ll get to see “real” Italy. We’ll go deep into the heart of the land, spending time with the locals, and even cook with them.
We’ll visit a frantoio (olive oil press), and pair vegan cheeses with wines at a local winery. We’ll cook with some local mamas and learn to make some great regional dishes ourselves! And yes, I’ll be leading several cooking classes, too, and we’ll even make pizza in an outdoor kitchen. But the highlight of each day, as it was this past summer, will be the time we spend twice a day — namely for lunch and dinner — feasting on regional delights that just happen to be vegan. We’l sit at big banquet tables, refilling each other’s wine glasses, digging into plate after plate of fragrant vegetables, unctuously prepared legumes, earthy handmade pasta dishes, and “oohing” and “aahing” the whole time. The conversation will be sprinkled with laughter as we form friendships that extend well beyond the trip. In Cilento, I honestly don’t know how I managed to feast twice a day, washing it all down with wine, and still manage to be hungry by the next meal, but I did. I’m guessing it was because the food was all so utterly fresh. I still salivate thinking about it. And next year, I know it will even be better.
But it’s not just about food: it’s just plain fun to spend time with an intimate group of 22 like-minded folks. And then there are the outings — to the Adriatic, local markets, a winery, trulli huts with their conical roofs, and beautiful towns that seemed trapped in history. We’ll stay in sun-washed masseria with a beautiful pool, as well as a luxurious ancient cave dwelling, and travel by bus to see the countryside. At night, we’ll be entertained by local musicians while we recall the wonders of the day.
The only word that describes this trip is magical. I’d love to sprinkle some magic dust on you and whisk you away with me! I hope you’ll come — you can find more about it here. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.