These tops chefs knew each other long before meeting for Jeff's 40th birthday bash in Montreal. What connects Michele (me-KELL-ay) and Jeff is their enthusiasm to master all aspects of Italian cuisine from the art of curing meat to making fresh pasta and gelato. Cooking for them is an occasion not only to share family stories but also to make new ones.
Come and hang out with them in this gastronomic odyssey to Friuli and Slovenia!
A day trip in the capital of Friuli, a major port city in a corner of the Adriatic Sea, designed to discover cultural crossroads and the pleasure of good living in one of UNESCO World Heritage site
Dinner at Hiša Franko
Listed in the world 50 best, it's set at the foothills of the steep mountains, near the emerald Soča river. Chef Ana Roš sources from this territory rich in trout, deer, goats, sheep, fruits and wild plants
Alpine Village of Sauris
We will uncover this unspoiled landscape by soaking in the breathtaking views of the turquoise Lake Sauris and savoring the foods of this little corner of Italy in the Dolomites
VENICA & VENICA Wine Resort, our magical hideaway resting on top of the suggestive Venica Family cellar... Right in the heart of Friuli's top wine region
Dive deep into Friulian cuisine in hands-on cooking classes by Award Winning Chefs Jeff Michaud and Michele Forgione
Meet the Zoff's Family that passionately crafts amazing cheeses, yogurt, and even yummy gelato!
Every year the Prosciutto Festival takes over the mountain village of Sauris, and we'll be there to feast on speck, coppa, and of course, all kinds of incredible artisanal prosciutto
Our week begins when we find the most amazing wine resort in the rolling green hills of the Collio region between Friuli and Slovenia after meeting up at the Venice Airport. The Venica Family has been making wine since 1938 and turned their 100-acre vineyard into the welcoming Venica & Venica Wine Resort with beautiful indoor and outdoor lounges, a garden, pool, tennis court, bikes, and walking paths through the vineyards. This paradise is exclusive to us for the entire week! At our arrival, we meet Giampaolo, the owner, that welcomes us with a light lunch as we sip Venica & Venica's cellar best wines. We get settled in our rooms and slowly take in the unspoiled surroundings... Later that night, we sit down to a special chef's tasting menu featuring updated traditions like Mlinci, fresh homemade pasta served with a white ragu of locally grown goose, paired with selected Friulian wines at the elegant Michelin-star restaurant Trattoria Al Cacciatore.
Want to know how to treat your family and friends to traditional Friulian recipes at home? Throw on an apron and join a hands-on cooking class led by chefs Jeff Michaud and Michele Forgione. Then sit down and savor dishes like crispy frico with Montasio cheese and wild radicchio, buckwheat fresh pasta with summer vegetables, cjarsons stuffed with smoked ricotta cheese, and apple strudel... all prepared by you. Afterward, we put our helmets on and we take off for an exciting drive through the vineyards by Vespas, capturing the best of the scenery, the countryside aromas and soft breezes--zoom zoom!-- When we return, there is time to relax at our wine resort before gathering for a casual dinner at a local winegrower favorite osteria. This meal will capture the culinary crossroads of Friuli, Austria, and Slovenia, with authentic Collio and Brda preparations using local food in ways that perfectly reflect the region's multifaceted culture and history.
Time to explore beyond the countryside... Today we see Trieste. This is one of the oldest port cities of the Austrian Hapsburg monarchy and a European hub of literature, music, and food.
We get an inside look at the city's historic culture, including the Roman amphitheater, the archaeological Colle di San Giusto, and the Jewish ghetto with its many antiquarian and food shops. The cuisine of Trieste blends Middle Eastern and Italian coastal traditions in the most beautiful way and we have a taste of it during lunch at Harry's Bistro in the majestic seafront Piazza Unitá. Enjoy some free time to explore before we return to our retreat for the rest of the day. Earlier that evening our chefs will be in the kitchen... Join them or sit back and watch as they prepare a menu with their own interpretations of the local ingredients to be paired with the amazing Venica & Venica wines.
Buongiorno! Today we meet some very special people of Friuli. We start with the Major of Palmanova, an incredible town with a polygonal star-shaped fortress which design is believed to be owed to the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci. He will personally take us for a tour and share Italian aperitivo before we leave to meet the Zoff Family. Their organic farm is the first of the region and uses milk exclusively from their animals fed with the fodder they cultivate. The result is one of the most prized Fossa cheese along with mozzarellas, caciottas, ricotta, and yogurt... You will die for their ultra-creamy gelato! To follow is a nice break to unwind at our resort. Later that evening we meet Valter Scarbolo. His family love affair with the indigenous Friulian varieties -Tocai Friulano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Grigio- is generations old but his innovative skills are taking Scarbolo wines to new heights. Go ahead and indulge in these wines of remarkable intensity and extract as we dine at La Frasca the restaurant that provided the inspiration for Bobby Stuckey's now famous 'Frasca' in Boulder, Colorado.
Indulge in a lazy morning in Friuli's paradise before we find our way to the medieval village of Cividale del Friuli, situated on the picturesque river Natisone, and have a light lunch at a local enoteca. Then we head to the Soča Valley, for a short walk in Slovenia's nature to see some spectacular waterfalls and we work up our appetite for a memorable dinner at Hiša Franko. A gastronomic oasis nestled in the lush valley of the Soča River. Recently named one of the Worlds 50 Best Restaurants, Hiša Franko is the home of chef Ana Roš, who starred in the hit Netflix TV show, "Chef's Table," and is completely self-taught. Her impeccable preparations crafted with hyperlocal ingredients will prove to be one of the most amazing meals you will ever experience.
Every summer in July, the historic Prosciutto Festival takes over the entire mountain town of Sauris. After walking the festival (and tasting the prosciutto!), we visit the famous Wolf Prosciuttificio for an up-close look at how the most succulent cured meat is made. Our lunch spot is a hut in the Dolomites mountains with a gorgeous view of Lake Sauris and authentic simple dishes. The owner, Derna, makes all her spirits in-house with local mountain herbs, roots and flowers and we will certainly sip some of them! As our driver safely take us back to Cormons, we soak up the views and gather for our final dinner al fresco at the bistro of the Sirk Family before we relax into some comfy chairs back at the wine resort and enjoy our last night in a paradise of nature!
Enjoy breakfast and a few last glimpses of Friuli before we catch our flight and say goodbye to Italy... Arrivederci! Until next time...
$6250per person based on double occupancy
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What does the price include?
Six nights luxury accommodation in double occupancy at the Venica & Venica Wine Resort; private van with driver for all trips and excursions in itinerary; arrival and departure airport group transfer (see arrival & departure details below); private tours with local guides and cultural experts; exclusive VIP access and tastings; guided activities; entrance fees; daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners with wine; gratuities.
What does the price not include?
International roundtrip airfare; travel insurance; transportation to the trip’s starting point; activities not included in the trip itinerary; hotel incidentals including room service, laundry service, and hotel bar tabs; food and beverages not included in the itinerary.
What are the arrival & departure details?
The trip starting and ending point is the Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE). We recommend that you arrive, on or before Monday, July 6, 2020. We’ll meet as a group between 9 and 10 am at the Airport. The last day of our culinary trip is Sunday, July 12, 2020. You should schedule flights home after 11 am from Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE).
Who is going on this trip?
We limit the group to no more than 14 travelers, your host Jeff Michaud and our guest chef Michele Forgione. Our culinary trips are focused on food and traditions and you can expect to be joined by a diverse group of like-minded people – including solo travelers, couples and friends traveling together. This trip is recommended for travelers aged 18 and above.
Who is leading this trip?
This trip is led by our founder, Chef Jeff Michaud. He traveled extensively through the region, made wonderful friends and crafted your itinerary for the week. Our special guest will be our friend, Michele Forgione, Chef and owner of Impasto, Veste, Pizzeria Gema and Chez Tousignant in Montreal. We’ll be joined throughout our adventure by local, expert guides who are deeply knowledgeable with respect to local cultures, customs and history and are passionate about sharing that with us.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel on or before March 28, 2020, and receive a full refund minus a $500 per person service fee. If you cancel between March 29 and May 6, 2020, there is a 50% cancellation fee. On or after May 7, 2020, there is a 100% cancellation fee. We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance as we are not able to make exceptions to this policy in cases of family/medical emergency or cases of the trip being canceled (See our Terms and Conditions for full details).
What Travel documents are needed?
U.S. citizens are not required to have a visa for tourist visits to Italy but are required to show a valid US passport. It is recommended that your passport is valid for six months after your travels are over.
Can this itinerary be booked for a private group?
Of course! We can customize this trip and itinerary at a time that is most convenient for you and your friends. The minimum number of participants for a private trip is 8. For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to pay a solo traveler supplement?
Yes, there is a $950 supplement for solo travelers, to be paid at the time of booking to secure a private room. Single spots are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. (See our Terms and Conditions for full details).
Still have questions?
Email us at email@example.com