In This Issue
Tips for At The Italian Table
Travel tours 2017
At The Italian Table, Louisville
Villa Pipistrelli 
The beautiful spring countryside 
Cappucino smiley face
A happy breakfast! 
A variety of Piedmont cheeses 

Quick Links


Trip Advisor reviews



Food & Wine Tours

Tuscany :  
October 1-8 -full;
Oct 8-15, 2016 (2 spots open)
2017 Dates:
NEW! Piedmont - June 16-22
Tuscany - June 24-July 1

Bologna - October 5-7*
Tuscany October 7-14
               October 14 - 21   
*Can combine Bologna and Tuscany
Join us for a full immersion to the regions of Tuscany, Emilia- Romagna and Piedmont - great food, wine, history and culture!   

Vacation Villas
& Farmhouses

Casa Marta
Great accommodations for either a night or a week. When planning your stay in Italy, begin your 'country living' on a Saturday and depart the area the following Saturday for the best selection of villas and houses! 
Call for more information.
Contact Mary: 972.342.8308 
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Ecco La Cucina Cookbook

gina's cookbook  


Gina's revised and updated cookbook is available. It has more than 20 new recipes! This collection of traditional Tuscan cooking, features dishes of the Siena area and some of her favorites. 


Ciao a tutti!
We've just returned for our spring tour to Tuscany and putting the finishing touches on newest tour - to the Piedmont region next June!
Tuscany was in perfect form - spring was a bit late this year and the poppies were in full bloom everywhere! It was wonderful to share our little corner of Italy with such a special group. We sure had fun! And our stay in Tuscany and at the historic and beautiful estate of Cetinale was spectacular. Nothing compares to the views, cypress trees and lighting - not to mention the millions of stars every night!

Our small group tours for next year are filling up. Please read below for more information on our newest tours!

Enjoy the season and whatever fresh fruits and vegetables your part of the world offers now!
Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary
Traveling to Italy this summer?
Here are a few hints to help you fit in and feel like an Italian!
At the Italian table: Italy is full of hard fast rules and loose suggestions and most of those hard, fast rules pertain to food and wine, eating and drinking at the table.

- Bread: Italians don't dip bread into plates of olive oil before and during dinner. That was invented by Macaroni Grill in the 80's and while it is popular in American restaurants, the Italians only drizzle high-calorie olive oil on bread as a snack between meals, never at the table. If you are served a plate with oil it's because they recognize you as an American and are just anticipating your request. I've only seen this in cities and restaurants that have high tourist traffic. Bread is used to push food and to clean sauce off the plate!

- Pasta: So many shapes and delicious sauces in each region of Italy - but, don't cut your pasta with a knife and don't ask for a tablespoon! The Italians serve pasta in deep bowls and use the curve of the bowl instead of a spoon, which only takes a bit of practice.

-A special note on COFFEE: Cappuccino, that delicious cup of frothy hot milk and coffee that Italians drink for breakfast: it is never ordered after a meal! This rule makes sense if you consider that the most important thing to an Italian is their digestion and whether it's working well or not!
Hot milk on a full stomach hinders digestion. The appropriate thing to order after dinner is an espresso, a digestive or a grappa.

- Eat Seasonally: Italians eat with the seasons, so this summer expect to see lots of great ripe tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, peppers and basil - all abundant in the summer both in the markets and on the table. Fresh fruit is plentiful and local with lots of apricots, different varieties of peaches and plums, watermelon, cantaloupe and of course figs and grapes later in the summer.

- Get yourself on Italian time to really enjoy your stay! Stores and many museums close from 1-4, generally speaking, so get your shopping done early and then head for lunch when the Italians do, around 1:30. Dinner isn't usually served until at least 7:30 or later, so plan accordingly and spend the evening pre-dinner making the passeggiata (walk) with the Italians, or having an aperitivo in the local piazza or café.
2017 Tours  
We are offering our first tour to the Piedmont region next June! Set in the shadows of the Alps this region is beautifully landscaped with grapevines, castles and tiny hamlets. Famous for its wines - Barolo, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto, this region also boasts hazelnuts, white truffles and a dizzying array of delicious cheeses. We've had a wonderful time planning this latest edition to Ecco La Cucina tours and are anxious to share it with you! Historical towns of Alba, Barolo, Cherasco will be visited during our week together. We are finishing our daily itinerary and will have that posted on our website soon.

Next fall we are offering a special pre-Tuscany tour of the Best of Bologna - Emilia Romagna. We'll meet in Bologna for a few days, seeing and eating the delicacies of this region. We'll do a food tour of Parmigiano Reggiano, prosciutto di Parma and balsamic vinegar and have a cooking lesson focused on hand made pastas (tortellini!) and Bolognese ragu along with eating in some of the finest ristoranti Bologna offers. This is scheduled for October 5-7. Then we'll move south and on to Tuscany for our full immersion foods and wines of Tuscany tour. We'll stay in one of our favorite villas on an olive estate near Siena.

Our tours are all inclusive: accommodations in the lovely villas or quaint hotels, all meals, excursions and transportation to these excursions are included and we're there every step of the way to show you the best each region has to offer. We lead small groups of 8-12 people and our excursions are carefully thought out to entertain and educate, introducing you to local people who love to share their vineyard or city or farm with you.

When you travel with us, Mary is there from the beginning to help you pick the best airports and to plan things to do and see before and after you join our culinary adventure. Gina's fluent Italian and knowledge of the area from her years living there, helps ensure that the week goes smoothly and you are able to immerse yourself in the culture, history and culinary delights of Italy. Our guests also receive our comprehensive guide on traveling to Italy and have access to our local guides to maximize your touring experience, wherever you go.
Gina and Mary at Villa Cetinale 
At The Italian Table, Louisville
So many friends are visiting Louisville to see Gina and eat her delicious foods at her osteria - At The Italian Table!  
Be sure to call for a reservation  
502-883-0211 and also check with Gina on last minute cancellations. Find her on Facebook At the Italian Table - she posts opens there. 

Here's Jeannette and Mary who visited last week from Dallas. They've been on 2 tours with us and planning to go to Piedmont too! Can't wait!