The Five Star Gastronomy Experience
4-day intensive course (our most popular)
Perched in the Appenines between Bologna and Modena lies a cosy award-winning Trattoria run by Alberto. His is a kitchen of tradition – refined Emilian authenticity, at times with a twist, the local produce of the Samoggia Valley, his exquisite use of white and black truffles and mushrooms and his passion and great knowledge of the local wines are the key to his international success. Not only this, but as one of the founding followers of the Slow Food movement, his credo that time and the seasons are of the essence – to produce the best ingredients for the best food, the seasons, the land and its animals should be respected.
The Five Star Gastronomy Experience offers you the possibility to take an in-depth look at how a world-famous Michelin star restaurant is run and will offer you an insight into how restaurant produce is selected, and see how a successful kitchen works. A fascinating insight, not because you will be a spectator, but because you will be able to participate in the kitchen’s activities, visit the restaurant’s suppliers in order to understand the quality of the ingredients and participate in the preparation of a typical menu.
You will be accompanied throughout your experience by an expert gastronomy guide who will be able to provide you with lots of fascinating information about the food of Emilia Romagna. (English/German/French only. Other languages on request).
Alberto has 7 beautifully and eclectically furnished rooms in his Luxury Design Inn located opposite the restaurant where you will stay as part of the experience.
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Arrival at Bologna train-station or airport and transfer to the restaurant and design inn where you will settle in. If you have time, you can take a walk around this traditional Italian Apennine village famous for its truffles.
In the evening, your table will be ready and waiting for you to enjoy your Michelin-star ‘tasting’ menu with a bottle of one of the award-winning local wines.
You will embark on your first visit to a local Parmigiano Reggiano DOP producer stopping off for breakfast on the way. The production of Parmesan cheese, an icon of Italian gastronomy, dates back to over 800 years ago when monks discovered a way to preserve the cheese made from the local milk for lengthy periods. You will see the entire production process from its humble beginnings as creamy milk through to the glorious golden wheels of the final product which bears the seal of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium. You will taste the cheese at the various stages of maturation.
After the early morning Parmigiano Reggiano tour, you will be taken to see Alberto’s hand-reared, free-range prize-winning black pigs (which have been saved from extinction) which are eventually transformed into one of the most fragrant and delicious Prosciutti you will ever eat. The rearing and curing process will be explained as will the process by which various other traditional cured meats and products of the area are produced. Here you will have the opportunity to taste the various traditional cured meats of the area including salami, coppa, pancetta, etc.
Rest for lunch.
In the early afternoon it’s back to the Trattoria where you will don your apron and work together with Alberto to work on your menu of the day and study the recipes for your hands-on Michelin-star cooking experience. You will be helping out in the kitchen then learn to cook a traditional four-course traditional menu including antipasto, primo (pasta or rice course), secondo (meat/main course) and dolce (dessert) based on the ingredients selected throughout the morning.
After the intense efforts of the afternoon and early evening, sit down to dine on your menu and toast your achievements with a glass of a good local wine.
After a leisurely breakfast, put on your walking shoes and head out with one of the area’s illustrious ‘Tartufai’ or truffle-hunters and his rigorously trained dogs to hunt for truffles at a secret location in the undergrowth of the forest. Depending on the season, the amount of rain and humidity and the generosity of the earth on that particular day, see how the dogs smell out the truffles. There is no guarantee you will find truffles and return empty handed, but if you are lucky, you may well return laden. The fun is in learning about how incredible nature is and in the hunt itself.
After your truffle hunt, keep on those walking shoes and visit one of the area’s award-winning vineyards and wineries. Here the owners will explain the wine-making process, the choice of grapes used and the characteristics of the various wines produced. You will also be able to taste the wines together with some typical local products.
Rest for lunch.
Take a break, put your feet up for an hour or sleep off the alcohol and be ready for an early-afternoon return to the Michelin-star kitchen where you will once again prepare the day’s menu and study the chef’s ingredients of the day. If you have been lucky enough to find some truffles, you will learn how to select them, clean them and include them in the day’s menu. If not, you will spend time making preparations in the kitchen and helping the chef put together and cook the menu with the day’s seasonal ingredients.
After the intense efforts of the afternoon and early evening, sit down to dine on your menu and toast your achievements with a glass (or several) of one of the wines produced by the winery you visited earlier in the day.
A leisurely breakfast at the village café and it’s straight back to the Trattoria where you will once again don your apron, but this time accompanied by a rolling pin. You will be applying your creative and manual skills and, together with an expert ‘sfoglina’ or egg-pasta maker, you will learn how to hand-make traditional egg pasta such as tagliatelle, tortelloni, gnocchi, and the chef’s pasta choice of the day. Learn how to prepare the ingredients, whisk the flour into the egg on your wooden board, knead the dough and then finally roll it with a wooden rolling pin. You will also learn the ingredients for the traditional Tortelloni filling and how to fold the pasta into the traditional Tortelloni shape and learn to make exceptional gnocchi.
After the morning’s intense efforts you will most certainly deserve your pasta lunch which will be served with some of the sauces from the chef’s pantry followed by cured meats some vegetables and local wine selected by the chef.
Your final stop is an ‘Acetaia’ or the producer a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. You will learn about why this product is unique to the Modena province of Italy and learn about the extremely complex production process. You will be able to visit the Vinegar attic and understand why it is so revered. Your visit will be followed by a tasting of the various maturations of Traditional Balsamic Vinegar. Finally, you will be able to compare the genuine product to what is traditionally found on supermarket shelves.
A complete immersion in the finest of the gastronomy that Emilia Romagna has to offer and, without doubt, the experience of a lifetime.
From June to December, courses are held from Tuesday to Thursday. From January to May, courses are held from Wednesday to Friday.
N.B. This schedule may vary (even at the last minute) due to weather conditions availability of suppliers or religious or local festivals. Should any variations take place, we will ensure that all activities are nevertheless carried out.