Fine Foods and Alpine Wines of North Italy

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  • Experiences
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Treat yourself to the precious wines, aged cheeses and treasured gourmet delights of Alpine Northern Italy. On this culinary expedition to Lombardia, you’ll discover the rustic cheese farms of the Val Taleggio, experience fine Valtellina vintages and tour the historic cellars of Franciacorta, while cooking alongside professional chefs from Bergamo to Lake Como.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1

Your epicurean escape to Lombardia will begin with arrival to Milan Malpensa Airport. Be welcomed by your private chauffeur and set off for the alpine sophistication of Bergamo, where you will arrive at your chic, five-star hotel nestled in the city’s historic hilltop quarter, the Citta Alta. This evening celebrate the start of your Encounter with a welcome dinner of typical Bergamasco cuisine at an elegant gourmet eatery.

Day 2

This morning your local expert will guide you on a delicious voyage through the scenic mountain landscapes of the the Val Taleggio. Enjoy a special visit of a rustic cheese farm to learn about the region’s traditional Taleggio cheese production, before enjoying a sampling of the farm’s aged varieties. Travel to a charming medieval mountain burg where you’ll dine on hearty seasonal dishes for lunch, before returning to Bergamo for a fascinating walking tour through medieval Citta Alta. Along the way, delight in a scenic funicular ride above the city to admire views of the surrounding Colle di San Vigilio. Top off the day with a sweet sampling of traditional Bergamasco pastries at one of the city’s most revered pasticcerie (pastry shops).

Day 3

Enjoy a free morning to explore Bergamo’s quaint boutiques and charming civic spaces independently. In the afternoon be transported by chauffeur to an acclaimed winery set in the heart of Franciacorta wine country. Embark on a private cellar visit followed by a premium tasting of the producer’s fine sparkling vintages. You’ll next travel to one of Italy’s most acclaimed three-Michelin star restaurants for a chef-led cooking class of Northern Italian cuisine that will culminate with an exclusive dinner and wine pairing.

Day 4

From your medieval hilltop surroundings depart Bergamo for the lush Alpine landscapes of Valtellina Wine Country. Arrive at a small farm specialized in the production of Lombardia’s prized Bresaola, where you’ll enjoy a tasting of this signature cured specialty made from beef. Next, travel to a historic purveyor of fine local foods to discover their underground aging cellars for cheese and wine, before savoring a hearty Valtellinese lunch. This afternoon your local expert will guide you on a special tour of an 18th century palazzo celebrated for its stunning series of original frescoes and stuccoes, before visiting a boutique grappa distillery to learn about their traditional production process followed by a tasting of this revered digestive. End the day with check-in to your elegant four-star stay housed within a former 19th century residence, followed by a multi-course dinner of regional specialties at your hotel’s acclaimed gourmet restaurant.

Day 5

Today you will set-off for a nearby cheese farm known throughout Lombardia for its artisan production of Bitto cheese and other exceptional dairy productions. Roll-up your sleeves for an immersive cheese and butter making lesson, before delighting in a tasting of your own farm-fresh creations. For lunch you will savor a meal of contemporary Italian cuisine at an innovative, Michelin-starred eatery. With the help of your local expert, you will spend the afternoon discovering the 16th century Santuario della Madonna della Sassella perched high in the misty Valtellinese vineyards.

Day 6

This morning you will delve into the traditional flavors of the Valtellina under the tutelage of a local chef. During your hands-on cooking class you will learn how to prepare authentic buckwheat Pizzoccheri pasta, a regional specialty, before savoring your delicious creations for lunch. Your afternoon will be dedicated to discovering the fabled fine wines of the region, including Sfurzat, Grumello and Inferno vintages. Enjoy an exclusive cellar visit and tasting at one of Valtellina’s most storied producers, before visiting the winery of one of the region’s most revered winemaking families, for a special tasting flight.

Day 7

From the vineyards of Valtellina you will set off to discover the quaint villages and uniquely Swiss-Italian culture of the neighboring Val Poschiavo, nestled at the edge of the Swiss canton of Graubunden. With the help of your local expert you will board the scenic Bernina Express railway and embark on a journey into Switzerland where you will experience the bucolic countryside charms, crystal mountain lakes, and signature architecture of this verdant region. Enjoy a lunch of rustic Swiss Italian cuisine before returning to the Italian town of Tirano, located at the border between Italy and Switzerland, for a guided visit of the exquisite 17th century Palazzo Salis, featuring stunning Baroque architecture, original frescoes and stuccoes dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, and serenely symmetrical Italian-style garden.

Day 8

Depart your alpine hideaway in Valtellina for the idyllic shores of Lake Como. Arrive at the kitchen of a celebrated local chef where you will delight in a hands-on cooking lesson of lake inspired specialties. Your class will culminate with a lunch of dishes you’ve prepared by hand, along with some delicacies prepared by the chef. You will next travel to the storybook town of Varenna, to spend a free afternoon experiencing its picturesque waterfront and quaint cobblestone center, independently. From the shores of Lake Como your chauffeur will transport you to Lombardia’s cosmopolitan capital, Milan, for check-in to your sophisticated city center hotel.

Day 9

Embark on a day of culinary discovery with a visit to the historic city of Monza. Arrive at an artisan brewery where you will learn how the producer creates their signature craft brews, before enjoying a tasting flight. Next, depart for a charming countryside estate known for their production of high quality rice. Savor a risotto lunch celebrating estate grown rice, vegetables and other gourmet products, before returning to Milan for a free afternoon and evening to explore the city independently.

Day 10

From your chic city stay, depart by chauffeur for Milan Malpensa Airport, in preparation for your return flight or the next leg of your adventure.

Experiences We Recommend

  • Cheese farm visit and tasting along the Val Taleggio
  • Privately guided walking tour and scenic funicular ride in Bergamo’s Citta Alta
  • Private winery visit and sparkling wine tasting in Franciacorta
  • Chef-led cooking class at exclusive three-Michelin star restaurant
  • Visit to farm specialized in production of artisanal Bresaola
  • Guided art history tour of 17th century palace with original frescoes
  • Grappa distillery visit and tasting
  • Cheese and butter making lesson at rustic cheese farm
  • Guided visit of 15th century Madonna della Sassella sanctuary
  • Pizzoccheri pasta making lesson at traditional restaurant
  • Private winery tours and tastings in Valtellina wine country
  • Bernina Express train experience into Switzerland’s Val Poschiavo
  • Chef-led cooking class on Lake Como
  • Artisanal brewery visit and tasting in Monza
  • Organic farm visit with lunch of estate harvested rice and vegetables

Pricing

The recommended tour length for this sample itinerary is 10 days/9 nights with pricing options beginning at $8,000/person* based on double occupancy. Please note that the “Share Bred With Friends” preferred pricing program will be applied to travel parties of four or more.

*The final price of your custom tour will be determined by your travel party size, departure dates, trip length, amount of meals included, percentage of guided time requested, cities chosen in your itinerary and signature CountryBred excursions selected. This sample itinerary can also be crafted for solo travelers.


Encounters Include

  • Stays at five & four-star boutique luxury hotels
  • Chauffeured transport for touring & transfers
  • Private touring with professional local guides
  • Engaging activities led by cultural experts
  • Signature experiences with insider access
  • Regionally authentic dining
  • Traveler Welcome Package
  • Taxes & base gratuities

Read Client Reviews

  • Warren & Judith F.

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    "CountryBred was recommended to us by friends who had a good experience earlier this year. Our Encounter included Lausanne in Switzerland, Italy’s Lake Como area, as well as Bilbao and Spain’s Basque country. The hotels were great, the restaurants were all excellent and our local experts/ambassadors and all the private chauffeurs were top notch"
  • Kristie H.

    Gourmet Getaway to Tuscany & Rome
    "The trip to Italy was a college graduation gift to my granddaughter. CountryBred did an amazing job of organizing everything! From the moment we were met at the airport in Rome"
  • Mark & Shawn W.

    Wine Treasures of Northern Italy
    "We just returned from our second "customized" CountryBred Encounter touring northern Italy regions (Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto) in May 2016. In our 2 week trip, the 4 couples experienced incredible Wine & Food traditions."

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