A longer day at nine hours with two extended visits and a full immersion in the food culture of Tuscany. Our tour takes us away from the city crowds to enjoy the scenery of the Chianti countryside while visiting a small family dairy to see the making of sheep's cheese. To complete our day, we have a guided visit to another family business to see an olive oil mill, and of course taste olive oil. Here we'll find out how genuine extra virgin olive oil should taste. We also get a short lesson on how to recognise quality olive oil; it's not difficult when you know what to look for. (All photos are from the this tour).
Please note: this tour has a higher price tag than my other tours. The reasons are: 1. the slightly longer duration and mileage. 2. the cheesemaker delays his working day willingly for our benefit, but there are no advantages for him to do so (you can't ship a crate of cheese home). Consequently I compensate his time adequetly. These factors are included in the fee I'm asking.
7.45 am - Our tour of Tuscany starts as we leave our hotel and drive to the dairy. On arrival we have an hour and a half at our disposal, and we'll witness Alessandro our cheese maker (that's him in the photo) during a normal working day, this isn't a demonstration. He'll show us the timeless art that's been in his family for generations. Alessandro is the first of his family to have studied cheese making scientifically, though his first lessons were from his mum as a child. He'll also give us tips on how to choose and preserve cheese at home. Oh...while we're here we'll do some cheese tasting too!
Around 10:30am we leave the dairy and head for the gorgeous Tuscan countryside. It takes about a half hour, and on arrival we'll continue our drive with stops to admire the scenery, and take photos till just after midday. We then arrive in the little hamlet of Panzano for lunch at my favorite restaurant.
Lunch which is included in the fee will comprise of a Platter of Tuscan cold cuts, and toasted breads (bruschetta) with seasonal toppings, a pasta dish which you can freely choose from the menu, a glass of house wine, and if you can manage it, a sweet to close.
After lunch we set off along a narrow back road and more lovely scenery to the family oil mill where we arrive after about a half hour. Tuscan cuisine is totally dependent on olive oil, and it's maybe more important than wine. Wine is a pleasure, (and who wants to be without the pleasures of life), but here olive oil is a necessity, as well as a pleasure.
We'll have a guided tour of the milling plant, (olive oil is made in November so we won't see it in progress) and detailed explanations on the whole procedure. Then we follow with a guided tasting where we'll learn how to taste oil in a professional manner, together with a short lesson on how to recognize genuine olive oil from the many less desirable products. It's easier than you think, once you know how.
Our Tuscany tour ends here, and we commence our return journey at about 04:00pm