Life-changing

We members of Slow Travel Tours always hope to have an impact on our guests. We want them to enjoy themselves, but we also hope they’ll learn something new. It might be a deeper appreciation of a different way of life, maybe through coming into closer contact with the warm and welcoming people we introduce them to.

Gemma offers her freshly made ricotta to Marcia. Yummy!

Gemma offers her freshly made ricotta to Marcia. Yummy!

Perhaps it will be a sense of the depth of history and how it’s entwined in modern life.

19th-century aqueduct masquerading as a Roman monument, next to a timeless hay barn still in use by the farmer today

19th-century aqueduct masquerading as a Roman monument, next to a timeless hay barn still in use by the farmer today

11th-century Devil's Bridge attracts tourists vital to the economy of my valley (photo: Helen Higgs)

11th-century Devil’s Bridge attracts tourists vital to the economy of my valley (photo: Helen Higgs)

Or the special qualities of the landscape and light of the place.

View over Lucca plain from laboratory of salumi-making family Rocchi.

View over Lucca plain from laboratory of salumi-making family Rocchi.

My tours focus on food. In Italy probably the most important activity in people’s lives is cooking and enjoying a meal with family and friends.

Dinner in the piazza, Casabasciana

Several generations gathering for a long evening of eating, chatting and dancing

My guests come to understand this through visits to family farms and tiny producers.

Heritage corn on organic farm

Guido Favilla explains about the pests that attack his heritage organic corn.

Shopping at farmers’ markets and small groceries is more a social interaction than a financial one.

Farmer at farmers' market, Lucca

If you get to know the farmer and her produce, she’ll give you special treatment

We share meals with families in their homes. Sometimes these experiences are life-changing, like what happened to Janet after coming on my Tastes & Textiles tour in September.

Creating new dye colours

Janet and her pot. Not cooking. It’s her own dye colour she created on the tour.

She wrote:

“You have ruined me!!! When I came home there was nothing in the house except some frozen dinners. Thinking to stay with the Italian I chose a chicken fettuccine. The company is a reputable company. I took three bites and decided that it was not suitable for human consumption!!

Tagliatelle al tartufi bianchi

On my Autumn in Tuscany tour you get to eat fettuccine with white truffles.

“My neighbor buys inexpensive tortillas. Last night he asked why I wasn’t eating them. I told him that if I was going to spend money on something I was going to put in my body, it was going to be good quality and taste good! Today I bought handmade tortillas!!

Flatbread of Cascio

We have flatbreads too. One is called criscioletta. The best is made with pancetta.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as my food stories go. I provided breakfast and lunch for 13 women for four days—all fresh and much from the Italian deli. They asked if I cooked gourmet meals all the time?!

“I wasn’t going back to food as usual. Today I am making my first batch of homemade yogurt. I bought Carol [another guest on the tour] an espresso machine for Christmas.

“The company I used to travel with my students has a slogan: “Travel Changes Lives!” Boy is that ever true!! And thank you for that!!”


Who knows how your life might change when you travel slow.


Erica Jarman invites you on inspiring culinary tours of life behind the scenes that you won’t find in any guidebook — get to know the food artisans and craftspeople of Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Liguria. Come join me and my Italian friends and dip into a lifestyle where lunch is more important than business. Find out more at Sapori e Saperi Adventures and follow Erica’s own adventures on her blog.

Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.

 

This entry was posted in Cooking, Erica Jarman, Food, Italy, Lucca, Slow Travel Benefits, Tuscany. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Life-changing

  1. Janette Gross says:

    You didn’t explain about her dye color – I’m really curious to know more. Who was she dyeing with and what did she use?

  2. Janie says:

    Love this post! You have created such wonderful memories for so many of us and I can’t wait to see you again in the spring with my group.

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