Italy is well known to be one of the most sought after foodie destination all over the world; of course, there is plenty to see in terms of art, history and nature but, between churches, archaeological sites and museums, tourists can also enjoy delicious food and wine, part of what is commonly known as the Mediterranean diet, which includes fresh vegetables, lovely cheeses, tasty pasta preparations, yummy ice creams, charcuterie, an intensive and variegated wine production and much more.
Lots of these produces are made from ingredients grown and cultivated within the peninsula, and often legally protected by the EU through a control system called DOP that can guarantee high standards of production and the specific area of origin. Indeed, Italy can count an almost endless number of DOP products spread out along the territory, from North to South.
Let’s take Piedmont for example. This region produces among the best wines of Italy from a local grape variety called Nebbiolo; wines that can age indefinitely and that, of course, are protected by the DOP system. Besides, in the Langhe area around the city of Alba, Barolo Barbaresco, La Morra and Neive, the rolling hills covered with vineyards are now inscribed to the Unesco World Heritage list. If you are interested in learning a bit about the so-called `king of wines, wine of kings` and want to enjoy the beauty of this region, you may consider joining the Barolo Winery Tour where you’ll have the chance to visit 3 famous wineries and to taste some of their delicious wines.
Moving to Lombardy and more specifically to the province of Mantua, we will find another jewel of the crown of Italian food: Grana Padano. This hard cheese has an ancient history and its creation dates back to the 10th century in the Cistercian Abbey of Chiaravalle. All cheese fans or those curious about Grana Padano production should check out the Tasting the Flavours of Grana Padano Cheese tour, a visit that will get you to explore the city of Mantua, one of the most well kept secrets of Italy. During the tour you will be able to taste local dishes and to finish the day with a visit to a dairy farm completed by some tasty cheese tastings.
South to the Liguria region, in the strip of land dividing the Mediterranean Sea from the Alps, we can find another essential Italian ingredient: basil. And what better place to taste this distinctive summery herb than the land of pesto? Genovese basil is acclaimed for its great quality and it is particularly suitable for the preparation of many other typical regional dishes. Nature lovers should not miss the chance to explore the coastline of this region with the Eat and Walk in Park of Portofino. The nice 4 hours stroll from the town of Camogli up to San Fruttuoso will be rewarded with some tastings of typical regional dishes.
But a trip to Italy would not be complete without an olive oil experience. This Mediterranean golden ingredient is produced all over the country and different DOPs are designated in several areas of the peninsula. The Lemon Tree Riviera History & Taste Tour will take you through one of these areas, the Garda Lake. After a visit to Desenzano and a promenade along the lake and the beautiful villas that surround it, the day will end with a visit to a wine and olive oil producer where you will get an insight on these 2 local products.
And that’s not all folks! We’ll take you again around Italy in our next blogs to let you discover more delicious DOP products and the beautiful regions where they are produced.