Portland Food Adventures in TUSCANY
with Chef Rick Gencarelli
October 1-8th, 2017
This is a general itinerary to give you a flavor for this wonderful Tuscan trip with one of Portland’s most beloved chefs, Rick Gencarelli, as of November, 2016. Working with Astrid Ensign of Taste of Italy, Rick and PFA are dedicated to providing the best experience possible. So as we progress, the restaurants and events are the ones Rick has chosen that he wants you to experience, but are subject to change.
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To get more information, or book your spaces, please call Chris Angelus at 503-395-5900 for serious inquiries, or email email@example.com
Here’s Lardo and Grassa’s Chef and your host, Chef Rick with Taste of Italy’s Astrid Ensign, our guide, at a planning meeting for this trip at Grassa in November, 2016. The itinerary below is before them as we continue to tune it to make it the best trip possible.
October 1-8th, 2017
Oct 1 – Day 1
Arrive in Florence. We suggest arriving before 2pm so you don’t miss out on our welcome reception at the hotel at 4pm. If you would like to arrive the day before, please let us know. A driver will pick you up at the airport and whisk you off to a four-star hotel. Check into hotel at Ponte Vecchio in the heart of the historical center, where you will be for the next four nights, and return on the last night. Once you’re settled, we will convene on the hotel terrace for a welcome aperitivo, followed by a pre-dinner walk to panoramic point, where you’ll have the opportunity listen to Gregorian chanting in a Romanesque church with a view over the city at sunset, a wonderful way to welcome you to this region. Then we will dine close by at one of Rick’s choices for dinner.
Oct 2 – Day 2
Begin your first day in Florence with a walk to a neighborhood mercato-farmers market. After taking that in, in more ways than one, you’ll be introduced to Florence by your guide, Elisa, with native-art history to see some rare corners of the city and discover historical gastronomic curiosities. Lunch at a favorite trattoria for local specialties, where all is cooked on a wood fired hearth.
You’ll have the afternoon to yourself to catch up on sleep, or even stop by the Uffizzi, one of the world’s great art galleries. Then dinner at Ristorante Touche, which has caught the attention of many local food lovers and critics.
Oct 3 – Day 3
AM: Free day for endless options to fit individual preferences-Opportunity for customized activities: Foodie tastings-gelato tour, caffe route, more wine, cheese, olive oil, bread, chocolate shops. Wellness-spa, yoga, massage. Locations for artistic endeavors-painting, photography, drawing, cycling excursions, climbing towers, specialty museums, leather markets, or a gastronomic adventure to the tripe food cart. Just ask our guide, Astrid, and she will be more than happy to suggest and arrange a great day for you.
We will finish off the day with a wonderful dinner at Cibreo, a unique Florentine restaurant that serves dishes of the Renaissance.
Oct 4 – Day 4
Today, we honor Chef Rick’s love of beer, and we will drive towards the coast to visit an Italian craft brewery for beer tasting and lunch. After lunch, we’ll have some time by the northern Italian coast to take in a walk or swim. Then we will head back towards Florence for an afternoon visit to a Medieval hilltop village.
Later in the afternoon, we will visit a farm, and tour the production facility, followed by a porchetta demonstration with 3rd generation butcher Andrea, followed by an aperitivo and dinner on the family’s terrazzo. We will have an hour drive to digest your meal and day as we return to Florence.
Oct 5 – Day 5
Pack your bags to experience the countryside for three days! What better than some Truffle hunting? We will enjoy a full day in the countryside. First, with Chef Rick, Portland’s pasta expert, we will stop to see an artisan pasta laboratory, where a family of pasta makers-Lucia, Antonio, and Marco take pride in their craft. We will find our way to the nearby forest for a truffle hunt to unearth truffles with Salvatore and Massimo. Then, it’s only fitting that we enjoy a very special 5-course truffle lunch with Letizia or her terrace.
After our lunch, we will head south for a stay in the magical Tuscan hills. We will travel through Gallo Nero Chianti territory to arrive at the ancient Etruscan farm stay the “Abbey of the Good Harvest”, built in 1105. You will have the rest of the afternoon to yourselves to relax. We will meet in the evening for a tasty dinner together.
Oct 6 – Day 6
In the morning, we will drive southwest towards the Tuscan coast for a day excursion to witness mozzarella production at a family operated eco-friendly free range bufala farm. Learn why Guido cares so much about his herd, how he assures the utmost quality, and watch expert cheese makers transform the milk into braids of mozzarella. Meet the bufala. For lunch, you’ll taste the freshest ricotta, smoked provola, stracchino, aged cheeses, yogurt, and the specialty café crema di latte di bufala.
Later, we will drive to the little village of Panzano at Dario Cecchini’s, for bistecca fiorentina for dinner or maybe stop and explore the Piazza del Campo and dine in Siena. (TBD)
Oct 7 – Day 7
We’re going to make our way back to Florence for dinner and departure the next day. We’ll start with a Cantina tour, aging cellars, gardens frescoed room, and a historical tour of the estate.
Then Chef Rick will don his apron and we’ll have a morning cooking lesson to learn Tuscan recipes with Chef Benedetta & Chef Rick, followed by lunch. You’ll have a few hours free to relax by the pool, stroll the gardens, visit the 11th century Abbey, sip vin santo by the fireside, or hike trails in wild boar territory.
Then in the afternoon, we will depart for Florence with time to prepare for departure the following morning with our special farewell Gala dinner at the Michelin-starred Borgo San Jacopo for the last evening in Firenze.
Oct 8 – Day 8
AM: Arrivederci! We will transport you to Florence Airport, or you may continue your adventure on your own!
Also, we have another PFA with Chef Jose Chesa of Ataula in Barcelona beginning on 9/20. You are welcome to join us there before this trip, too!
* Itinerary subject to change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances, activities may change so that we can provide you with the best trip possible
$5495/pp Double Occupancy / $800 single supplement (see deposit and payment details below)
$495 Deposit/pp holds spot to 1/31/17. $2500/pp due by 2/1/17. Then, balance of $2500 due by 7/01/17. All payments made and/or on deposit after 12/31/16 are non-refundable. Payments other than initial $495 deposit (fees added if using credit card through our website payment system) may be made by check only (no fees).
Our trips include accommodations in a beautiful, 4-Star hotels, hotel taxes, buffet breakfast, all transfers to and from the airport, all dining experiences cited in itinerary, a welcome lunch in Portland to meet your fellow travelers ahead of time, and transportation to our excursions away from the city. They do NOT include airfare or trip insurance (can be purchased online), tips, mini-bar, incidentals and personal expenses.
We can help you with excursions before, during and after as well.
Ready? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503 395-5900 to get more info or to book your spot(s). LIMITED AVAILABILITY for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
Photos ©2016 Taste of Italy. All rights reserved.