Spring Tour USA 2016 - Events Schedule

Seattle Events February 5-12

Feb 5 - Delaurenti - Trampetti Olive Oil Tasting, from 1:00 - 6:00
Feb 6 - The Shop Agora - Terre Margaritelli wine & Trampetti Olive Oil Tasting, from 2:00 - 6:00
Feb 9 - PoggiBonsi (Renton) - cooking class with me, wine & olive oil tasting 6:00 - 8:00
Feb 10 - PoggiBonsi (Renton) - cooking class with me, wine & olive oil tasting 6:00 - 8:00
Feb 11 - Barnacle - Terre Margaritelli & Trampetti wine & olive oil tastings 3:00 - 6:00

Nashville Events Feb 15-17
TBA

Washington DC Events Feb 19-28 at Via Umbria in Georgetown:

Feb 19 - Cooking Class with me & Terre Margaritelli tasting
Feb 20 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 24 - Trampetti Olive Oil tasting
Feb 25 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 26 - Cooking Class with me & Terre Margaritelli tasting
Feb 27 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner
Feb 28 - Terre Margaritelli winemaker dinner

Grand Cayman Feb 29-March 11
(ok, this is vacation, but if you are there and want to organize something or just hang out, let me know!)

Philadelphia & NYC Events March 13-23

March 15 - Boffi Soho showroom (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting
March 16 - Boffi Soho showroom (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting
TBA - Urbani Truffles (NYC) cooking demo & Terre Margaritelli wine tasting

rest of dates TBA


Spring Tour USA 2016!

As some of you already know we are planning our big US Tour!  In each city we will be holding private dinners, Terre Margaritelli wine tastings, Trampetti olive oil tastings, cooking classes and much more!  Below you will find the dates for each city, if you would like to organize a private wine dinner (minimum 8 people), send me an email and we will do our best to accommodate you.  Follow along on my social media for our upcoming event calendar!

Seattle: February 5-12

Nashville: February 15-17

Washington DC: February 19-28

Grand Cayman: March 1-11

Philadelphia/NYC area: March 13-23


Fun on the Funicular in Gubbio!

-6Gubbio is great for a day trip in Umbria.... that said I rarely go... and when I do go, it is either in the evening or freeeezing.... which means that I have never been on the Funicular, or Funivia... the main reason many go to Gubbio in the first place!

 

 

So today being a rare, balmy, sunny November Sunday, we decided to take a drive out.   -1 To be honest, the real reason that I had wanted to go was because there was a festival called Quinto Quarto, celebrating the secondary and tertiary cuts of beef.  This is usually right up my alley, but alas, this festa was sort of a bust as they didn't have a lot of variety and the food was so so.... the lampredotto was inedible.... but they had a polpette (meatball) making class for my kids, so they were happy.

On to lunch... we stopped at Ristorante Bosone Garden because 1) it was lunchtime and we were walking under it (kids were at T minus meltdown) 2) it had rare outside seating on a nice day in Gubbio 3) I hadn't done my advance research as I was not planning on eating in a restaurant during a food festival.  We didn't order a lot because we had already had our antipasto of rubbery lampredotto and mediocre meatballs, so we just ordered pasta all around - tortellini in brodo for the kids and tagliatelli with goose ragù for us.  There were no seasonal options on the menu and the only antipasto on the menu that looked interesting to me, of course, they did not have.  The pasta was fine but not good enough to justify the outrageous prices.  I don't mind paying for an exceptional plate of pasta, but it better be hand made, in house, and this was obviously store bought....

Onto the funicular, the highlight of the day!  We arrived at 2:30, just as it was reopening - check their website for seasonal operating hours.  Now, when you first see the lifts for the funicular, your instinct will probably be to just turn around and walk back down into Gubbio.  But, trust me - it's really not so scary!  I was mostly worried that my sometimes timid 5 and 2 1/2 year olds would protest.  Also because, as our good friend Sir Newton says "What goes up must come down".... my translation, "What screams all the way up will scream all the way down."  However my kids were surprisingly game and they had a great time.  The hardest part is jumping in and out of the cages as they move fairly quickly, but the operators have it down to an Italian science and everyone moves along.

Once at the top, the main attraction is the Basilica of Saint Ubaldo, the patron saint of Gubbio and home to the famous Ceri, used in the Corsa dei Ceri in May.  However, my kids immediately spotted the bar with ice cream and seeing as how I had already had them traverse Gubbio and they were without much needed naps, we stopped there (and never made it to the Basilica, a mere 20 feet away - next time).

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100th Rave Reviews on TripAdvisor!

I'm proud to announce that we have just received our 100th outstanding review on TripAdvisor!  Thanks to my partners and travellers to Umbria for making each experience unique and fun! Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 16.02.26

 


My New Food & Wine Tours in Umbria for 2015!

See Umbria through the eyes of a Chef with
Jennifer from Life Italian Style!


A professional chef since 1998 by way of Philadelphia and Seattle, Jennifer is now a private chef and leader of active Food & Wine tours in the heart of Umbria. She works closely with the local, artisan producers she has met over the years and keeps her ears open at the markets, always ready to learn a new traditional recipe from an Italian Nonna to share with you!


Custom Food & Wine Tours
Single or multiple day tours available for guided exploration of the best local artisan producers in Umbria!


Private Chef in Umbria
A classic Umbrian dinner prepared directly in guest villa, using only the best local and seasonal ingredients. Umbrian DOC wines included. “Pizza Night” available for those staying in villas with a pizza oven. Please enquire for Cooking Classes as well!


Cycling Tour of the Umbrian Valley
Tour along country roads with a professional Italian guide through the beautiful vineyard and olive grove covered hills of the Umbrian Valley, stopping in small villages along the way. A full Umbrian Picnic lunch in the countryside completes the day!
Hiking and Walking Tours also available.


Horseback Riding & Winery Lunch
A 45 minute tour on horseback (no experience necessary) through the vineyards of the Terre Margaritelli winery in the countryside of Torgiano (just outside of Perugia), followed by a tour of the winery, wine tasting and lunch.

Nature Abounds in the Valnerina
We begin our day with a visit to a local pecorino cheese maker to see the production of various sheep’s milk cheeses.  This is followed by a visit to a local family which specializes in saffron production. We will then take a walk through the forest with them to forage for edible and medicinal herbs. Afterwards we enjoy a lunch with a guided tasting of local sheep & goat cheeses as well as delicacies prepared with foraged greens.

Farm to Table Tour
Our first stop is at a unique stone flour mill and wood-fired oven bakery. We learn about breadmaking beginning with grain!  We then move up to a local farm where a local family raises animals for salumi making, meat and cheese production. We will make cheese and pasta with Nonna Rita before indulging in a traditional farm lunch.
*Wild Asparagus hunting in the Spring
*Truffle hunting available in June and July

The Artisans of Perugia
We begin at the base of the historic town with a visit to the weekly farmers’ market. Then we will move up into the center to discover the lost art of weaving jaquard and silks on 17th century looms. We then stroll through the city stopping in artisanal bottegas along the ways before enjoying lunch in an enoteca known for its exclusive use of Umbrian products.

Meat Lover’s Tour
A tour of a local farm which raises prize-winning Chianina (native white cow of Italy), Cinta Senese pigs, sheep, birds, and crops. Included is a brief demonstration of butchery & salumi making. We then move on to the Terre Margaritelli for a lunch of grilled meats from the farm accompanied by a wine tasting & tour.

Wine and Chocolate Tour
We will first visit an artisanal chocolate producer to see how some of their specialties are produced.  From there we will move on to the Terre Margaritelli winery for a tour of the winery and full wine tasting lunch.

Umbrian Cooking Class & Lunch
Cooking classes are held in the rural village of Cannara, located in the heart of Umbria between Asissi and Spello or directly in guest villa. They are based around the best local ingredients in season, and includes making antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce followed by a lunch (eating what we just made, of course!)


Please contact Jennifer directly
at lifeitalianstyle@gmail.com
for booking and information!

 


 


Wine Soaked Memories

....oh, where to begin?!  We are wrapping up the main season of 2014 (of course, we are always here to continure to welcome our off-season guests as well!) and what better way than to give a little recap of our 4th annual Food & Wine Tour of Umbria with Ciao Thyme of Bellingham, WA.

Every year we try to do the seemingly impossible and out-do the previous trip, and yes, we achieved this goal yet again!  More food!  More wine!  More Umbria!

Continue reading "Wine Soaked Memories" »


Ciao Thyme Umbrian Food & Wine Tour!

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We are welcoming back our good friends Matiao and Jessica from Ciao Thyme in Bellingham, WA, for our 4th annual culinary tour of Umbria!

As always, I have a lot of great experiences planned for the group, including rustic cooking classes, saffron picking, the olive harvest & pressing of the new oil, farm tours, winery visits and tasting, cheesemaking and more!

 

Follow along with our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+, hashtag  #CTumbria.  

Then, come join us in 2015 for our May and October tours - A presto!

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Back to Blogging!

IMG_4065You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while…well, May thru October is my busy season, so other than quick photos or a blurb on my social media sites, you won’t hear much from me.  But I have a lot of ideas rolling around and have been furiously scribbling notes in my daughter's various Hello Kitty writing pads. ;-)
Here’s what you can look forward to reading this winter:

Decoding Italy:  a new series that I am starting!  I actually got the idea from a client in one of my cooking classes.  I will be going through the basics of learning how to decipher things once you reach the motherland:  everything from types of cheese & salumi, wine labels, and pasta to basic restaurant and coffee etiquette…. because it’s a different country and they just do it… differently!

News:  Two Onions Collide:  The Walla Walla and Cannara Sister City Association

and What happened when I attended my first ever soccer/football game in Italy.





The Infiorata of Cannara - Flower Power!

IMG_0517For anyone in Umbria on June 21-22, there is a wonderful festival called L'Infiorata going on.  Some of you may have heard of the more well-known version held in nieghboring Spello, but in my opinion, the Cannara version is a must!

The Infiorata is a 17th century Baroque celebration of the religious feast of Corpus Christi (known as Corpus Domini here in Italy).  It is one of those "moving holy days" so every year it falls on a different Sunday.  What happens is that local townspeople get together to line the streets with beautiful carpets of flowers, intricately laid to create stunning works of art, mostly with religious and cultural themes.

While in Spello the Inforata is created mostly by professionals, in our village of Cannara it is a local affair... which means a party!  For weeks before the event, flowers are harvested from the area.  Then on Saturday, which this year will be June 21st, all of the flowers are "prepared", meaning that they are all de-petalled, de-stemmed, and put through grinders to make sure that they are uniform.  After sunset, all of the townsfolk begin to lay the flowers down onto their respective designs along the streets to create their masterpieces.  The process continues throughout the night (until dawn) with a break around midnight for the Spaghettata, when some of the local women bring out pasta in the piazza for everyone to enjoy - then it's back to work!

The next morning, there is a Mass to celebrate Corpus Domini followed by a procession, during which the priest walks over the the flower carpets.  Don't worry, he usually treads lightly!  The carpets are left on display for the entire day and then are washed away until next year...

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The Infiorata has an extra special meaning for me because the very first Infiorata that I participated in was back in 2008, when I was still living in Foligno and no intentions of moving to this sleepy onion town... but when I looked back at the photos, I realized that I did the infiorata in front the house that we eventually bought!  It was kismet to say the least!

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That's me unknowingly "infiorat-ing" in front of my future home back in '08.

I will be live tweeting, instagramming and facebooking the Infiorata of Cannara June 21-22, with the hashtag #CannaraFlowerPower - follow along virtually if you can't be here!

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The Dead Can Dance!

This weekend is the Weekend of the Dead, or I Morti, as it is commonly called here in Umbria, and it is a BIG holiday weekend... I'm actually having trouble choosing between events as, of course, there are the standards, but some new festivals are popping up too.... and let's not forget the big elephant in the room, Halloween

Here is a fairly complete list of festivals in Umbria for the weekend of November 1: