I began my search for the tastiest dishes of the year by sifting through my photos starting in January. However, by the time I reached the month of June, I had already chosen 30 different tantalizing feasts for the eyes! How to choose?
Be honest, do you want to see that many of my “highlights”? I don’t believe so. Therefore, I carefully looked for colorful, unique meals and surprisingly incredible drinks that are worth celebrating once again. A few of them are favorites due to their unique nature or element of surprise!
I have narrowed down this list to a more manageable number and I hope you enjoy revisiting them as much as I do!
Hello friends & Happy New Year – I hope that you were able to hang out with family and friends, devour some delicious meals and maybe even find a little adventure! We enjoyed all of these things too!
It has been a fabulous year of travel!
Wow, to narrow down my top travel highlights of the year was truly a challenge. 2019 was one heck of a travel adventure full of eclectic destinations, firsts and second time visits, discovery and nature so big it takes your breath away. Literally.
January began with a relaxing but rainy week in Maui and then the travel wheels got moving very quickly! No time for resting, extraordinary destinations were waiting for us to arrive.
I know that you are super busy and you cannot always make time to read every single one of my posts… so here are some of the top travel highlights and links to their respective posts. I once again want to thank you for being here and for reading and commenting on my adventures. I truly appreciate you.
My goal is to provide you with helpful, interesting info that you couldn’t find anywhere else!
When you decide to take trip to Italy, cities like Rome, Florence and Venice come to mind immediately, don’t they? However there is a glaring omission from this list under the title of spectacular Italian cities and this charming city is Verona.
I have been to Italy six times and once each of the past three years. This is not to boast but to share that Italy draws you close like a magnet and leaves a lasting impression.I just can’t stay away! My hope is that everyone should visit, at least once many times.
Some of what I love about Italy
The food is some of the most divine in the world and there is much more to Italian food than pizza and spaghetti. You cannot imagine how different Italian food can taste until you sit down in a small town in the Veneto Region where the artichokes were picked on a farm nearby, the tasty local cheese is organic and the olive oil came from the groves of a local family just minutes away.
I love this about Italy. The Italians are proud of their local regions and the foods that come right from home. They adhere to strict guidelines when creating cheese, olive oil, wine and sparkling wine, as well as many other products. Farmland is precious, family is the most important component of life and Sunday dinner is sacred.
I grew up in an Italian family and our gatherings were epic. Pasta, Italian cold cuts and antipasti salad always accompanied traditional American Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I have been happy to continue these traditions with my own family as well.
Is learning about cheese on your bucket list? Maybe not, but let me tell you that once you know the work and craftsmanship that goes into the making of cheese, you may change your mind. I certainly did. I knew that I loved to eat and serve Italian cheese, but truthfully had no idea what it took to make authentic, real Italian cheese. A trip to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy was the best way to learn! To get all of the delicious details of my entire tour with Oldways please click ==> HERE!
Cheese glorious cheese!
I must apologize to my lactose intolerant friends, but ooey gooey, tangy, buttery cheese is divine! Pair it with your favorite wine, grate it over pasta, bake a lasagna, melt it for sandwiches, enjoy a quesadilla or just eat a chunk with a piece of fruit. Tasty cheese is big business and nobody does cheese like the Italians!
Happily touring for cheese
On my recent culinary trip to Italy with Oldways, our traveling group had the pleasure of suiting up and touring a cheese plant with our new friends at Monti Trentini. Located in the Dolomites of Northern Italy, with views of craggy stone mountains in every direction, this AMAZING facility impressed us all.
I had no idea how much thought, effort and skill, mixed with a little Italian love, went in to making cheese. The cleanliness standards are extremely important and every precaution is taken to make sure the plant is germ free. This cheese is raw, not pasteurized and therefore must be aged in order to kill any possible contaminants. We all wore special clothing and fabulous hair nets.
The milk comes from happy Italian cows that are only fed local, organic grasses, while they breathe fresh mountain air. They always use the freshest milk combined with certain techniques coupled with a strict aging process and this creates the most incredible cheese!
This beautiful Italian city is the belly of the nation and the heart of the kitchen. Bologna is a delightful maze of narrow cobblestone streets and the best location to start your visit is in the ancient mercantile center called the Quadrilatero. It’s an easy town to navigate where a popular 11th century university brings students from around the world. We were charmed by the arched covered walkways and the large brick piazzas were filled with happy tourists and locals. Why have I not visited before?
A Well Seasoned Culinary Tour in Italy with Oldways
For me, travel should include eating, touring, learning, smiling, tasting, experiencing and a little added relaxation. Would you enjoy a tour to the Veneto Region of Northern Italy which included these satisfying ingredients? Yes, me too! Every detail of my culinary tour in Italy with Oldways was executed to perfection and I often wondered if it was custom made just for me.
Now I know this isn’t true, but the itinerary sure checked the boxes of my list of favorites. This trip to Italy focused on authentic dishes and included traveling with Chefs and Co-owners Michael Lombardi and Kevin O’Donnell from a traditional Venetian restaurant in Boston called SRV. Additionally, the creativity of the excursions and inventive itinerary were beyond anything I could envision. Imagine seeing a tour through the eyes of chef? How unique is that? It seems that every passion, every interest that I hold dear about cooking and travel, I share with Oldways
I am off to Italy once again. I would continue to pinch myself, but I am beginning to bruise! Two years ago my Italian adventures began with a week-long Italian cooking immersion adventure in the hills of Tuscany, as a guest of Tuscan Women Cook.
I toured, ate ridiculously amazing food and drank Tuscan wines with delightful people. We strolled through small towns visiting cheese makers, wineries and I even spent my birthday with these new friends. Because of the relationships I made on this trip, I met Cristina, a fantastic local tour guide and she introduced me to Palio Tours. Palio Tours put together my husband’s dream trip; to see The Palio for the following summer.
A Springtime Adventure! Venture to Veneto with me!
Come discover the sights, smells and tastes of the region of Veneto in Northern Italy on a culinary tour with Oldways. See the production of Prosecco (and taste yes please!) first hand and meet the artisans that make delicious cheese and local olive oil.
What better way to get to know a new region than to be introduced through culinary travel? I am joining a tour of travelers who share the same passion for food that I do. Another added bonus… Chefs Kevin O’Donnell and Michael Lombardi of the acclaimed SRV restaurant in Boston will be traveling with us sharing their knowledge and expertise as well. Oldways culinary tours takes small groups of travelers off the beaten path. Each tour is led in partnership with a culinary expert or chef, planned with a ﬁrm belief that the heart of any culture can be illuminated by exploring its food, wine, and culinary traditions.
Someone recently asked me why I thought that multigenerational travel works for some, but not for others. After giving this some thought, I think the magic is in what you do. Is this an activity that is embraced by everyone? Or is this one person’s idea of a good time and everyone else has to go along with it?
The key to successful group travel, especially those with different age groups lies in the willingness of the group to communicate. To ensure that everyone is well represented and that members of the group are not railroaded into doing something that isn’t of interest to them.
There is never enough space in each post to share every favorite moment and travel photo. I try not to bombard you with too much copy or too many photos, therefore lots of photos are left behind! I wish I could include a photo album every time I publish! However the next best thing is to just tell a story with my never been published photos from my recent BIG summer family trip to Italy.
On social media I have actually noticed several bloggers and non-bloggers have taken extensive trips this past summer. When you travel to Europe, so very far away, it is nice to try to squeeze in as much as you can while you are there. Although the argument can be made that you move pretty quickly and don’t get to dive too deep into each city you visit.
We actually did a little bit of both. We stayed in one villa for a week in Italy in order to enjoy the countryside, slow down, relax and spend quality time with the family and then we usually spent several nights in each city after that. Craig and I left Italy and flew to Mallorca and then I flew to Berlin to take a Viking River Cruise from Berlin to Prague and lastly I stayed in Budapest, Hungary for four more nights. A BIG beautiful summer of travel. For today I am just sharing a little more of Italy.
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