In This Issue
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Travel tours 2017
LOUISVILLE: At The Italian Table
Pasta Scenes from the Tours

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Food & Wine Tours

2017 Dates:
NEW! Piedmont - June 16-22
Tuscany - June 23-June 27
Palio Tour - June 28-July 3

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 from Tuscany with many new friends and wonderful experiences. We're already planning our next year's small group culinary adventures! There are open spots for next year, so if you're thinking about it, call Mary and get the scoop on our availability.

Below Gina shares insight into our favorite Tuscan wine - Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and the beautiful town of Montepulciano in southern Tuscany.

Buon appetito!
Gina and Mary
The Noblest of Wines
I know that in our newsletter we usually talk about food and what's in season, but this issue I would like to talk about my favorite Tuscan sangiovese-based wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG. We just returned from touring two culinary groups through the area and had some wonderful cantina tours and tasted excellent wines when we were in the beautiful town of Montepulciano.
An old walled city high on a hill just to the west of the A1 to Rome, Montepulciano was an important Etruscan town in the times before the Roman Empire. The city sits on a hill of tufo, a yellowish sandstone that is easy to burrow yet strong enough to support large structures and palaces.  From ancient times, the people who inhabited the city dug caverns and
Wine cathedral
tunnels under the buildings to use for storage and to make wine, and most of these tunnels are still in use today. The city's close proximity to a main artery going into Rome meant that it was a stopping place for travelers and pilgrims.  The city's reputation for making excellent wine was reknowned and the wine was served on tables of nobility, aristocrats, cardinals and popes from medieval times.  Most of the elegant palaces built by nobility still stand today and  date from the 1500's.

A noble wine with a long history, Vino Nobile is made with a 70% minimum of the prugnolo gentile clone of the sangiovese grape (there are many clones, including sangiovese grosso used for Brunello di Montalcino), as well as a blend of other grapes indigenous to the area around Montepulciano and Tuscany.  These can be a combination of malvasia nera, ciliegiolo, colorino, canoiolo nero or mammolo.

Don't confuse Vino Nobile di Montepulciano with a wine of lesser heritage, Montepulciano d'Abruzzo DOC, which is from Abruzzo, not Tuscany.  The grape in that wine of simpler breeding is montepulciano.  The story goes that----click to read more
2017 Tours  - Update 
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. Historical towns of Alba, Barolo, Torino will be visited during our week together. Hurry! We have space for 2 more people!
June/July and THE PALIO! Update on our spring Tuscany tours. We are changing our tour for the Palio of Siena from August to the July Palio. We'll have our mini culinary tour before the Palio. There are several spaces available, get your spot for Tuscany tour and THE PALIO! Its a great time to visit Tuscany in full bloom.  

And finally, 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. 
At The Italian Table, Louisville
Gina's restaurant has been named the #1 Italian restaurant in Louisville! We are thrilled at the success and love meeting new friends at the osteria - At The Italian Table! If you're looking for an authentic Italian dining experience, go see her at the table! She's always happy to see all of you that have been to Italy with us. 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 openings here. 
Pasta Perfection -
Terrific people and new friends in Tuscany! We had fun - making pasta, eating great foods and drinking delicious wines!