Going North: Bologna to Piacenza

Bologna is more or less the dividing point between the two ‘sub’ regions of Emilia and Romagna and it seems fitting that we begin our wine journey here.

Black Grapes Grape Harvest Uncorking Wine Bottle Vineyards - Bonzara Wine and Cheese VANZINI WINE VANZINI WINE
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  • "A heartfelt thank you, Helena, for organising a truly memorable weekend for my husband and myself. We enjoyed every aspect of the 5* Gastronomy Experience from the wonderful meals to the pasta-making with Anna, tasting the difference between the Balsamic Vinegars and the truffle hunt. I could go on and on. Non of this would have been possible without your organisation, but what made it really special was your personal touch."

    Pier T. United Kingdom
    The 5* Gastronomy Experience

  • "Thank you once again VERY much for looking after us on our trip and for organising everything so perfectly. We spent a fantastic two days discovering the incredible food and the incredible cars. The fact that you accompanied us on our trip to Lamborghini made it even more special. The wives were also happy….which is the most important thing, even if they didn’t want to experience the exhilarating experience of a drive in a Lamborghini. Once again, thank you, thank you."

    Roman Z. Czech Republic
    Lamborghini Test Drive, Museum Visit & Food Tour

  • "What can I say but wow! We guys were supposed to be driving the Ferraris and our ‘gals’ were supposed to be cooking. It all got turned upside down – but in the best way possible. I am so glad you persuaded us to join in the cooking classes as they were great fun. We learnt so much, especially about the Balsamic Vinegars. I will never look at a bottle at the supermarket in the same way again. Thanks for making it a perfect couple of days for us. "

    Michel D. USA
    Ferrari Test Drive, Cooking with Barbara and Valeria, Balsamic Visit

  • "On behalf of the group, I would like to thank you so much for organising one of the most fascinating, instructive and creative days ever. The day truffle hunting and cooking with truffles was a total revelation. Now we can really appreciate why truffles are so costly. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, Helena, we are so much ‘gastronomically’ richer for the experience, especially since we work in the restaurant industry. It was really special. Thank you again. "

    Jutta B. Switzerland
    The Famous Truffle Hunt

  • "You have no idea how wonderful it was to surprise my wife with the 5* Gastronomy Experience and how thrilled she was with this kind of ‘full immersion’ into the food of Emilia. The organisation of all the Ham, Parmesan and Balsamic visits as well as the cookery courses was more than professional, because there was always some small detail and a personal touch that was prevalent throughout. It is an experience we will treasure forever. Thank you, thank you."

    Patrick & Wyn H. United Kingdom
    The 5* Gastronomy Experience

  • "Thank you so much for organising the ‘Mastering Gelato’ course for my family, which was fantastic. The accommodation with Cristina and Umberto was lovely and the views stunning. We are all ‘gelato’d’ out at home – our daughters are so enthusiastic and our kitchen has almost become a gelato-making laboratory! I wish we had stayed longer and done the full day course, but I guess it’s a great excuse to come back!"

    Miranda R. United Kingdom
    Mastering Gelato

  • "An incredible experience! Delicious food! Amazing wine! I had never heard of the Bologna wines, but I have to say they are a revelation. I have ordered 4 cases of Pignoletto from the wine cellar we visited and I really look forward to opening them and sharing them at my birthday party shortly. Brilliant organisation and a wealth of knowledge. Next time I’ll be back for a few more days for an altogether ‘deeper’ experience. Thank you."

    Matthias & Rosa F. Germany
    Wines of the Bolognese Hills

  • "The Emilia experience was a rare treat. Your knowledge of the foods, products and wines of the region as well as your passion and enthusiasm are praiseworthy, Helena. The whole experience felt truly exclusive and getting to see that famous rock-group that my kids like at the Lamborghini factory and take a photo was just the best. We’ll be back to get our hands on those eggs and flour soon!"

    Marty & Mari D. USA
    Lamborghini Factory Tour, Parmesan, and Balsamic Tour

  • "We just wanted to say how much fun we had doing the Classic Emilia cooking course and also wanted to thank you for organising everything, down to the last detail, with such short notice. We really learnt some amazing recipes and my Bolognese sauce or ‘Ragù’ has taken on a whole new lease of life. I would love to come back with a group of friends and organise a longer and more in-depth food experience. Keep us posted on what you’re doing! Thanks again."

    Belinda S. United Kingdom
    Classic Emilia Cookery Course

  • "We know you organise lots of these various courses and experiences, but we wanted to thank you for making us make feel unique and special during our two day stay in the Bologna hills. Your knowledge of all the foods and products is amazing, but most of all, the attention to your guests is so personal it is almost as though you are personalising everything at every moment to how we are feeling and reacting. We are getting older, so don’t know if another European trip is on the cards, but we will certainly spread the ‘Yummy Italy’ word among our friends."

    Deepak & Lydia S. USA
    The 5* Gastronomy Experience

  • "On behalf of my group, thank you a hundred times for the perfect days we spent in Bologna and Modena. Driving the Ferraris into the hills was a totally exhilarating experience, eating the amazing food and (for those not driving) tasting the really delicious wines was wonderful. You are right, next time we’ll bring our wives so that they can learn how to cook the fantastic pasta! We’ll drive the cars again! See you soon!"

    Adriaan L., & company, Netherlands
    Ferrari rental, Wines of the Bolognese Hills

  • "Just to say how enlightening the ‘Taste of Yummy Bologna’ walking tour was. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable and who knew that delicious pasta could be inspired by Venus’ navel and golden hair? The secret of Neptune in Piazza Maggiore was really funny too. Seriously though, this one day tour is a true full immersion of the best food in Bologna. Worth every penny and definitely a reason to come back and do a proper cookery course. Thank you."

    Betje & Frans K. & family, Netherlands
    A Taste of Yummy Bologna

  • "Organising my 50th birthday party in a Bolognese medieval tower was a risk that paid off. I am so glad that I listened to your advice. Thank you so much for organising a truly perfect event – a wonderful Bologna food tour, some amazing tastings, but most of all, all the tiny details that made it a truly memorable birthday weekend for my guests and myself."

    Arndt B. Germany
    Corporate Events

  • "My colleagues and I are all self-confessed wine snobs, but we were so glad you persuaded us to explore and taste the local wines. They were surprisingly good and should definitely get more publicity. Thank you so much for organising the Parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar visits too and the food tastings with the wine. The Balsamic, above all, was a true revelation and perfect for wine snobs such as myself and the group!"

    Jean-Marie T. & group, France
    Wines of the Bolognese Hills, Parmesan, and Balsamic Tour

  • "That’s it. We are hooked on truffles. What an awesome experience! Gianluca, the truffle hunter was so friendly and his wonderful dogs were incredibly talented. I’m so glad that we managed to find some truffles too. Thank you for explaining everything so thoroughly. We’ll be back to learn to cook with them soon! "

    Gary & Zelda G. USA
    The Famous Truffle Hunt

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The hills surrounding this historic province can reach up to 520 m above sea level with terrain that is rich in clay, sandstone and limestone and subject to extreme temperatures both in the summer and winter. Reaching some of the wineries often means passing historic feudal castles driving through sleepy villages, along roads lined with acacia and elderflower trees in spring and cherry and apricot trees in the summer. Almost always, you will be surrounded by vineyards on the slopes of the hills. The prince of autochthonous wines here is the Pignoletto DOCG, produced in both sparkling (frizzante and spumante) and still versions.

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Tour Itinerary

We will stop at a wine producer whose primary production is this delightful, slightly aromatic light, white wine, with hints of elderflower and pink grapefruit, increasingly promoted by the Michelin Star chefs of the region. We will also taste some wines born of international grape varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon), which are interesting to compare to those produced both in other regions in Italy and abroad.

Next stop, Modena, birthplace of Luciano Pavarotti and home to Ferrari, Maserati and, of course, the world-renowned Lambrusco – today a far cry from the sweet, cheap fizz of the 1980s. We will take a short tour of the production of this award-winning producer whose Lambrusco was included as one of the best 100 wines in the world, and taste one or more of the Lambrusco types (Sorbara, Grasparossa or Salamino), each grown on a slightly differing terroir and each with its own individual hints of flower and fruit.

We will stop for lunch at a local trattoria and pair various Lambruschi with some local charcuterie, cheese and pasta.

After lunch, we continue our journey of discovery to the Parma Hills and the famous Langhirano area, with vineyards dominated over by the Castle of Torrechiara. As part of the DOC Colli di Parma zone, this is the heart of the Aromatic Malvasia di Candia grape, whose presence in Emilia Romagna dates back at least to the Renaissance (and can therefore be considered autochthonous), curiously named after the wine, rather than the wine being named after the grape!

There are at least 17 different varieties of Malvasia in Italy, however, the Aromatic Malvasia di Candia grape grown both in the Parma and Piacenza hills is considered the one with the strongest personality. It is the most widespread white grape in these two provinces. Here we will taste this beautifully aromatic wine in its various versions – from dry to passito, sparkling and still.

Last stop and possibly the highlight of your tour - the DOC Colli Piacentini (Piacenza hills) denomination, vineyards featuring Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Gutturnio (blended Barbera and Bonarda) and the authochtonous Ortrugo wines. We will visit a vineyard founded in 1988 immersed in the hills producing some excellent representations of these wines, vinified by the creative oenologists in various ways, from barriqued Gutturnio Riserva (red) to a 100% sparkling Otrugo (white), and finishing off with their ‘pièce de la résistance’, the Malvasia di Candia Aromatica Passito.

This is an experience dedicated to lovers of wine, who wish to explore new and exciting terroirs and taste some unique and very varied wines of excellent quality.