One of the greatest pleasures of our European Experiences trips is getting to know local people and learning about their lives. Our groups especially enjoy our visits to private homes and gathering around the table to share a home-cooked meal of local specialties. This is a particular emphasis of our Chianti Experience week in Tuscany, when we have five meals in private homes. Our restaurant meals– like our dinner at Ristoro di Lamole— are wonderful, but there’s something truly special about our lunches and dinners at someone’s home.
Lunch at Vallone di Cecione, Francesco’s family winery. Dinner at Castello di Colognole with Rita and Rosita. Our picnic lunch at Nora’s cashmere goat farm. Lunch at Cappella Sant’Andrea, Flavia and Francesco’s winery near San Gimignano. Lunch at Janet and Stefano’s home near Impruneta. At each of these special meals, the warm and friendly hosts, the surroundings and the ambiance, and the delicious food combine to create truly memorable experiences.
In 2018 we were delighted that our friends Arianna and Alessio introduced us to their friends Janet and Stefano. Janet– originally from California– and Stefano live in the hills near Impruneta and have an olive oil business. They have a large garden next to their home where they grow much of their own food– often cooked or served with their olive oil. Stefano bakes their bread, meat and many vegetables in a wood-fired oven he built.
Our Chianti Experience week now includes a visit with Janet to their olive oil workshop where we learn all about olive oil. Afterwards we drive on small roads further up into the hills for a visit to the garden and a memorable lunch at Janet and Stefano’s home.
Four Chianti Experience groups have now enjoyed this special lunch, and the meal is never exactly the same. But we’ve always been served 15-20 delicious dishes, featuring fresh, seasonal products sometimes gathered from the garden just hours before. The dishes appear one after another, served family-style, and we can take as little or as much as we like. And since they know we enjoy a lot of pasta during our week, they don’t include pasta in their meal.
It’s a relaxing experience around the table, two hours or more, enhanced by our welcoming hosts, and filled with laughter and camaraderie.
Share some of these moments with our two Chianti Experience groups this past June.
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We’re offering two Chianti Experience trips in 2020: May 30 – June 6 and June 6 – 13. We’re already looking forward to returning to this beautiful area, introducing our groups to our local friends, and sharing meals like this together. Learn more about The Chianti Experience on our website or contact us for more information. We’d love to have you join us!
Kathy and Charley Wood founded European Experiences in 2006 European Experiences, offering week-long “slow tours” in some of the most beautiful areas of Europe. They have personally hosted 124 Experience groups. Their trips include The Luberon Experience in Provence, France, named one of the top 50 tours in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Kathy hosts Experience weeks in the Luberon, the Chianti region of Tuscany, Puglia, Alsace, the Dordogne, and the Cotswolds. Charley is now mostly retired but continues to co-host two longer tours with Kathy: The European Christmas Experience (12 days) and The Cornwall Experience in southwest England (10 days).
Kathy has been traveling in Europe for 30 years and loves sharing her special places in Europe with other travelers. The Woods have a second home in their beloved village of Bonnieux in the Luberon. Read more about Kathy and Charley here.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.