Mozzarella Making in Sorrento
Italian upbringing or not, it is safe to say that mozzarella is a household name. Nearly everyone has enjoyed this cheese atop a pizza, fried, or inside a sandwich. But where does it come from and how is it made? Buffalo mozzarella from Campania holds D.O.P. status and Caseificio Michelangelo, the oldest cheese making factory on the Sorrentine peninsula, offers a tour whereby you watch the mozzarella maestros prepare mozzarella from scratch, transforming whole milk into the soft, silky formaggio that we all know and love. Then, take a stab at the process yourself before tasting several of the Caseificio’s products alongside a light lunch.
Olive Oil Press Tour and Tasting
Even for those of us who appreciate extra virgin olive oil, do we really know what makes a particular olive oil special? Or why one might have a hint of citrusy tang while others leave a spicy aftertaste? Le Baccanti’s Olive Oil Press Tour teaches you all about the creation of this divine liquid then discover how to discern quality and different characteristics through a guided tasting. If you have never sampled a viscous, just-pressed, cloudy green olive oil, your taste buds are in for a shock…in the best way possible of course.
Etna Wine School
Mount Etna, Sicily’s first D.O.C., produces wine from grapes grown on the foot of this active volcano, which many consider to be among the finest in Italy. Etna wines are admired by connoisseurs and novices alike, and provide an ideal example of terroir for anyone looking to further grasp and understand the concept. Etna Wine School’s director Benjamin Spencer wears several hats as a classically trained winemaker, sommelier and journalist. He conducts all of the courses himself, which range from single two-to-three hour sessions to longer, multi-day master classes that include vineyard excursions.
Balsamic Vinegar in Modena
Many think of mass-produced balsamic vinaigrette when they hear “balsamic vinegar,” but the two condiments could not be more different. Traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena in Emilia-Romagna holds D.O.P. status and is made from a reduction of Trebbiano and Lambrusco grape juice that is aged for a minimum of 12 years in barrels made from different types of wood. True balsamic vinegar from Modena is heaven, especially when topping a piece of Parmesan cheese. One of the most famous producers, Acetai Pedroni, has been in practice since 1862, and the family offers tours of their facilities.
My Italians at Vino Roma
Sommelier Hande Leimer will prove to you that Italian wine is not as intimidating as it seems. Her My Italians wine course at Vino Roma offers an incredible, thorough overview of Italian wines and this is perfect for anyone looking to learn the basics. Sample six wines (three red, three white) during the two-hour tasting and receive an overview of Italy’s climate, geography, and all the factors that go into making Italian wine so special. After the tasting, you’ll find yourself applying Ms. Leimer’s, “If it grows together, it goes together” philosophy to all walks of life.
Pasta Making in Bologna
Experience a newfound appreciation for the hard work and effort that go into the art of pasta making by learning how to prepare it from scratch at La Scuola Vecchia Bolognese. The four-hour beginner class lets you learn how to make the pasta yourself, then the school’s founder Alessandra Spisni prepares the fruit of your labor for lunch. You also get to bring some of the uncooked pasta home with you. Be warned: you will feel pain in your back and arms as if you had just visited the gym. Swide has more things to do while in Bologna here.
Carpigiani Gelato Museum and Course
The Carpigiani kingdom sits outside of Bologna and here you’ll find the only museum in the world dedicated solely to the crave-worthy Italian frozen wonder that is gelato. Enjoy a crash gelato making course in the onsite shop then take a tour of the museum to see all sorts of gelato artifacts such as boxes, a cone making machine and refrigeration devices as you learn about its history. Read more about the history of Carpigiani.
Guido Gobino Chocolate Factory
For confectionary enthusiasts, the mere mention of Turin does not bring to mind “the shroud” or “host city of the 2006 Olympics.” Instead, they think of chocolate. Piedmont and its capital Turin in particular are famous for chocolate, with Guido Gobino being among the most popular. There are shops in various Italian cities but a visit to the Guido Gobino factory lets you see these artisanal chocolatiers during all aspects of the bean-to-bar chocolate creation process.
Pizza-Making in Naples
Travelers usually have one item on their mind when they visit Naples: Neapolitan pizza and Context Travel’s Pizza Making workshop lets you bring a travel memory to your home kitchen. Part walking tour/part pizza making class, stroll through the city center for an overview of the history of pizza as you taste some Neapolitan street food, then work with a pizzaiolo to make a pizza of your own as you learn the secrets of getting the dough just right, adhering to the pizza’s prestigious D.O.P. status. Discover the best pizzerie in Naples.
The Italian word for wine harvest. There’s nothing quite like this time of year and the sense of joy and conviviality associated with this annual festivity. The outposts of Movimento Turismo del Vino (MTV) in all the regions organize “catine aperte” or open cantinas where anyone may drop by and partake in the tradition.