The Tree & Vine Gourmet Tour 2019
Dates: October 24 - November 1, 2019
Group Size: 14 people
Join us on this gourmet getaway to the rugged vines, age-old olive groves, and intriguing hilltop towns of Puglia and Basilicata. Together we will uncover the bounty of Puglia’s agricultural heritage and fine artisan food traditions from capocollo and burrata to the sun kissed produce of the Salento, before sampling the region’s prized Extra Virgin Olive Oils crafted from ancient varietals. We will explore the enchanting trulli dwellings of Alberobello, the brilliant whitewashed Old Town of Ostuni, and the architectural splendors of Martina Franca, before cooking typical Apulian cuisine in the Baroque masterpiece that is Lecce. From sampling bold Negroamaro and Susumaniello to sipping luscious Primitivo vintages in Manduria wine country we will travel to the otherworldly landscapes of Basilicata to experience its antique baking traditions and rustic culinary heritage as we discover Matera’s mysterious, honeycomb network of ancient sassi caves.
We will begin our gastronomic voyage through Puglia and Basilicata at the rendezvous point of Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari, where the CountryBred Tour Manager will be waiting to welcome everyone as they arrive. Once all participants have arrived, we will depart via group bus transfer for the lush plains of the Valle d’Itria, adorned by silvery olive groves and rugged vineyards. We will arrive to the stunning, boutique winery of a renowned family of vintners and embark on a special walk through the vineyards followed by a tour the estate's 18th century Masseria, before toasting to the start of our epicurean adventure with an aperitivo of the winemaker's acclaimed vintages produced from the local Verdeca and Bianco D'Alessano grape. From the verdant vineyards of the valley we will travel to the idyllic landscapes of ancient Cisternino for check-in to our former 19th century hamlet of trulli dwellings turned sophisticated four-star country retreat, Borgo Canonica. We will settle-in with free time to relax after our journey, before celebrating the start of our journey together with a lovely dinner of Apulian cuisine highlighting seasonal produce and typical ingredients, at the Borgo's charming restaurant. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: Light Lunch, D)
This morning we will set off to discover the enchanting towns and stunning landscapes of Puglia's Valle d'Itria. We’ll begin the day with a special visit to an artisan producer of exceptional cured pork products crafted in the typical Pugliese style to learn about the family's specialized production process, before tasting their signature cured meats, including the coveted regional specialty, Capocollo di Martina Franca. Following our tasting, we’ll travel to Locorotondo, one of the valley’s most beautiful towns, for a private walking tour of its famously circular center characterized by cummerse, whitewashed angular homes with pointed roofs. Next, we will tour the UNESCO World Heritage site of Alberobello, a whimsical town fabled for its intriguing stone huts known as trulli, which are said to date back to the 14th century. Today’s lunch will be an elegant tasting menu of contemporary Southern Italian cuisine using superior materia prima at one of the region’s most celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants. After lunch we will embark on a guided exploration of the medieval walled center of Monopoli to discover its ancient seafaring roots and stunning 17th and 18th century architecture, before returning to our hotel for a free evening. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: B, L)
Today we will be introduced to the local flavors and unique products that have made Puglia an epicurean stand out, starting with a visit to the farm of an artisan cheese maker known for their exquisite production of mozzarella and burrata. We’ll enjoy a hands-on lesson in cheesemaking while learning about Puglia’s regional cheese traditions, before delighting in a sampling of farm fresh creations. From the farm we will next travel to the stunning hilltop town of Ostuni, know as the “Citta’ Bianca”, for a private walking tour of its Old Town adorned by brilliant whitewashed architecture reflecting centuries of influences, from Romanesque to Gothic. From Ostuni we’ll set off for the storied estate of a small batch olive oil producer and enjoy a private tour of their olive groves before sampling the mill’s exceptional organic oils produced from ancient local varietals, such as Ogliarola Salentina. Our visit will be crowned with a delectable lunch of typical Apulian fare showcasing seasonal produce and the estate's fine Extra Virgin olive oils. Our afternoon will be spent discovering the jewelbox town of Martina Franca during a private walking tour of its refined old quarter, an open air museum of opulent Baroque architecture, striking noble palaces, and grand squares. Along the way, we’ll stop to admire 18th century frescoes before visiting the ceramics workshop of a local artisan who will introduce us to the region's intricate maiolica craftsmanship and the beloved tradition of the "Pumo Pugliese." This evening will be a celebration of typical Martinese dishes, such as handmade orecchiette pasta, at a delightfully historic eatery in the heart of Martina Franca. (Overnight: Cisternino / Meals: B, L, D)
Our gastronomic adventure will continue as we depart Borgo Canonica for the Baroque masterpiece that is Lecce, endearingly known as the “Florence of the South.” We’ll check in to our chic, five-star sanctuary, La Fiermontina, a former 17th century residence nestled within the historic core of the city, and be welcomed by our resident food expert, a renowned cookbook author and authority on the gastronomy of Puglia. Our foray into the local cuisine will begin with a guided food shopping tour to procure ingredients for today's culinary experience, before rolling up our sleeves for a hands-on cooking class to learn the art of preparing typical Apulian fare, culminating with a lunch of our delectable creations. When our cooking experience has concluded, we'll have a free evening to enjoy our hotel's plush amenities and continue discovering Lecce’s many charms independently. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, L)
This morning we will uncover the Baroque treasures of Lecce while learning about its Roman past with the help of our Regional Ambassador. During our private walking tour we will experience Lecce’s historic core studded with dazzling treasures, including the city’s Roman amphitheater dating back to the 2nd century, and such extraordinary civic spaces as the Baroque Piazza del Duomo. The rest of the day will be free to have lunch independently and continue exploring the city’s stunning center of artisan shops, quaint cafes, and Baroque architectural marvels, at our leisure. Tonight, we will savor an elegant dinner of elevated Salento-inspired cuisine at one of the city's most exciting gastronomic restaurants. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, D)
Today we will set off for Southern Puglia's glorious Salento Peninsula to discover the region's cornucopia of seasonal treasures from the earth, and meet the artisans who are working to preserve its handcrafted food traditions. We'll begin our epicurean exploration of the Salento at the wine estate of an esteemed family of winemakers passionate about crafting high quality wines that are a true expression of the Salento terroir. We’ll embark on a private visit of the estate cellars before enjoying a seated, tasting flight of the their elegant vintages produced from regional varietals, such as Negroamaro, Primitivo and Susumaniello, accompanied by a light lunch of Pugliese delicacies. We will next uncover the centuries old olive oil producing heritage of the Salento with a special visit to the estate of Olio Merico, a family of artisan olive experts since the 18th century. Acclaimed for their high quality, organic production process, we’ll tour the estate's ancient olive trees and historic underground frantoio (mill), before tasting their fine, Extra Virgin Olive Oils crafted from local varietals, such as Ogliarola di Lecce and Cellina di Nardò. Our epicurean day in the Salento will be crowned with a visit to a family-owned farm that celebrates the produce of the region with its cultivation and conservation of vegetables in the traditional method. We'll learn how the estate's farm fresh produce is grown, harvested and naturally dried, before tasting their highly sought after conserves. From the Salento we’ll return to our hotel for some free time in the late afternoon, before delighting in a dinner of rustic regional cuisine thoughtfully reimagined at La Fiermontina's gourmet restaurant. (Overnight: Lecce / Meals: B, Light Lunch, D)
Our epicurean voyage will continue as we depart La Fiermontina and make our way to Puglia’s premier Primitivo di Manduria wine producing region. We will arrive to the estate of a boutique producer renowned for their stellar small batch Primitivo wines, where we’ll be greeted with an aperitif of the winemaker’s Traditional Method sparkling wine before embarking on a guided tour of the estate vineyards and underground aging cellar. Our special visit will culminate with a tasting of the producer's luscious Primitivo di Manduria DOCG, accompanied by a light lunch inspired by the surrounding wine country. We will bid adieu to Puglia and be transported to the rugged landscapes and timeless hilltop towns of the ancient land of Lucania, known today as the neighboring region of Basilicata. We’ll arrive for check-in to our 18th century palazzo turned elegant five-star hotel, Palazzo Gattini, located in the very heart of ancient Matera, a European Capital of Culture for 2019. We’ll kick off our first evening in town with a special tasting of a locally produced amaro liqueur unique to Basilicata, before savoring the flavors of the region with an elegant dinner at a chic ristorante revisiting Matera’s antique culinary traditions with a gastronomic perspective. (Overnight: Matera / Meals: B, Light Lunch, D)
Today’s exploration of Matera will commence with a private walking tour to learn about the town's fascinating roots dating back to the Paleolithic age. Along the way, our Regional Ambassador will bring to life Matera’s Roman origins and the history of its mysterious Sassi, ancient stone dwellings carved into rock that are believed to be the first human settlements in Italy. We will next learn about one of Matera's most prized gastronomic traditions, bread making, with a behind the scenes visit to a historic panificio revered for its antique wood burning oven. Our host baker will prepare a traditional Matera style focaccia for us, and we'll enjoy a tasting fresh out of the oven, before learning about this storied family of artisan bakers and the region's cultivation of Grano Duro (Durum Wheat). We’ll enjoy a baker-led demonstration on how to form bread dough in the traditional fashion, before trying our hand at kneading, shaping and baking this fabled loaf. Today’s lunch will be a multi-course ode to the hyper-local ingredients and typical flavors of the Matera province, as we celebrate our gourmet getaway through Puglia and Basilicata with a special dining experience within the unique setting of a historic Sasso. Following lunch, we will have the rest of the day free to shop at our leisure, continue discovering the town independently, and prepare for tomorrow’s departure. (Overnight: Matera / Meals: B, L)
This morning we’ll get a very early start as we check-out from Palazzo Gattini and depart for our scheduled drop-offs at Bari Airport and Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari, and the end of tour. (Meals: B)
Pricing is $4,995 per person, based on double occupancy*
Single Traveler Supplement: $1,500
*Prices subject to change
Optional travel insurance is available to provide peace of mind during your travels in the event of accident, sickness or unexpected cancellation. In evaluating travel insurance options you may want to review all forms of insurance coverage for your upcoming trip, such as your credit card or medical and homeowner’s insurance company benefits, in addition to other third party insurance providers. Trip insurance can also be purchased through CountryBred’s preferred provider Travel Guard®. If you are interested in obtaining a quote or purchasing a policy, you can contact CountryBred at 1-800-615-3543 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We live in an exciting time for travel where there are many resources available for booking airfare. As such, we encourage you to explore your options, such as booking your airfare through a trusted ticketing agent, an online airline resource, or using your frequent flier miles or credit card rewards points. As you research your preferred flights, you will want to review your pre-tour and post-tour travel plans, and select airline routes that make sense logistically with regard to the start and end dates of the tour. The tour will commence on October 24th, 2019 with pick-up at Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari, and end on November 1st, 2019 with drop-off at Bari Airport and Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari. As such, you should consider Bari Airport as the preferable airport option with regard to the tour.
The group rendezvous point for the start of the tour is Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari. It is strongly recommended that you arrive the day prior to the commencement of the tour, to allow for any delays or rerouting that may occur while in transit to Bari. Please note that all participants must arrive to Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari by 11:00 AM on October 24th, 2019 to take advantage of the group transfer to Puglia’s Valle d’Itria. Participants choosing to arrive to Bari on October 23rd, 2019, have the option to book the following pre-tour hotel rates at Grande Albergo delle Nation:
To book your pre-tour hotel stay at Grande Albergo delle Nazioni on October 23rd, 2019, please contact CountryBred at email@example.com.
The end date of the tour is November 1st, 2019, with a group drop-off at Bari Airport followed by a second drop-off at Grande Albergo delle Nazioni in Bari. If you are planning to depart from Bari Airport on November 1st, 2019, you will need to book a departing flight that leaves no earlier than 9:00 AM, to allow for ample time following the scheduled drop-off. Participants choosing to stay in Bari on November 1st, 2019, have the option to book the following post-tour hotel rates at Grande Albergo delle Nation:
To book your post-tour hotel stay at Grande Albergo delle Nazioni on November 1st, 2019, please contact CountryBred at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each tour participant is allowed a total of one medium sized suitcase (25” to 27” inches) and one standard carry-on. Please note that this luggage allowance will be strictly enforced, as the size of the tour vehicle will only accommodate the set number of tour participants and the outlined luggage allowance per participant. Any deviation from the outlined luggage allowance will result in unnecessarily cramped tour bus conditions.
This tour includes seven lunches and five dinners that are designed to celebrate the regional culinary traditions, seasonal produce, and local food products that make Puglia and Basilicata such diverse gastronomic destinations. During the tour you will enjoy a large variety of gourmet foods and typical dishes, intended to delve deep into the authentic food landscapes we will be exploring. This means that you will be sampling regional cuisine heavily influenced by the sea and seasonal produce, with a wide range of delicacies featuring fresh fish and seafood, such as cod, cuttlefish, anchovies, octopus, shrimp, mussels and other shellfish, as well as fruit and vegetables like olives, garlic, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli raab, fennel, zucchini, peppers, beans, lemons, oranges, grapes, apricots, and figs. You will also be enjoying specialty cured meats and sausages made from pork, cheeses made from goat and sheep’s milk, breads, pastas and grains, and dishes made with capers, artichokes, almonds, eggs, flour, sugar, honey, and dairy. As the menus for each organized lunch and dinner are planned in advance, it is important that you advise The Tree & Vine and CountryBred of any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions you may have as soon as possible, so that we can do our very best to meet your needs.
This tour will be physically active and interactive, so you must be in good health to participate. While the pace of walking will be monitored by the Tour Leader and local guides, in accordance with the natural pace of the tour group, participants can expect to be on their feet for an extended period of time during specific touring activities, such as guided walking tours, which may require climbing stairs to access sites or dining locations, experiencing uneven terrain, and walking up or down hilly streets, etc. If you have any physical, mental, visual, or other medical impairment that may hinder your ability to successfully complete this CountryBred small group tour, you must submit a letter from your physician stating that you are able to safely participate in the tour at least 90 days prior to departure. CountryBred reserves the right to decline any Participant whose condition, in CountryBred’s opinion, may negatively affect the health or safety of that Participant, other Participants, our staff/agents, or third parties.
Your Traveler Welcome Package will include a hard copy of the final, detailed tour itinerary, as well as other supplemental travel information pertaining to weather, Emergency contact information, local dining recommendations for free time, etc. Your Traveler Welcome Package will be mailed out to arrive prior to your departure on the tour.
CountryBred has designed this exclusive gourmet tour for The Tree & Vine, incorporating the very best gastronomic experiences that Puglia and Basilicata have to offer. As this tour has been specially crafted to take you off the beaten path and introduce you to authentic local food and wine experiences, it may require that necessary adjustments be made to the tour schedule either prior to departure or during the tour. Rest assured, we will make every effort to provide you with the touring experience outlined in the itinerary. Please be advised that we cannot provide refunds for any touring days, activities, excursions, tastings, etc., that you have chosen not to participate in, or any costs associated with opting out of a planned activity or excursion (i.e. taxi or bus fare).
To reserve your spot on this exclusive tour for The Tree & Vine, please refer to the following steps. The group size for this tour is 14 people.
Please contact Paul Karlsson of The Tree & Vine at email@example.com or 865-985-0524, to make arrangements for submitting your trip deposit. A deposit of 50% of the total trip cost ($2,497.50/per person) will be required as the first step in reserving your spot on the trip.
After your trip deposit has been submitted to Paul at The Tree & Vine, you will need to complete and submit CountryBred’s online Group Traveler Agreement Form. You can fill out and submit the agreement form provided below, or at the following link: Group Traveler Agreement Form
Once your trip deposit and Group Traveler Agreement Form have been received, your spot will be reserved on the trip. Should you have any additional questions regarding your reservation and the submittal of your deposit to The Tree & Vine, please contact Paul Karlsson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 865-985-0524. Should you have any questions regarding the submittal of your online Group Traveler Agreement Form, you can contact CountryBred at email@example.com or 1-800-615-3543.
Trip balance is due to Paul Karlsson of The Tree & Vine by no later than August 23, 2019 (approximately 60 days prior to tour departure).
Payments may be made by MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, or by check made payable to The Tree & Vine.
If you cancel by or before June 14th, 2019: You will receive a 100% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel between June 15th, 2019 and August 23rd, 2019: You will receive a 50% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel between August 24th, 2019 and September 20th, 2019: You will receive a 25% refund of your paid deposit
If you cancel after September 20th, 2019 all monies paid will be non-refundable
Trip cancellation must be made by calling The Tree & Vine at 865-985-0524, and must be followed up by written confirmation via email or mail.