Our 2 week trip to the Veneto & Emilia Romagna regions of Northern Italy included a full week in Bologna as this city has often been referred to as the gastronomic heart of Italy & good food & wine are a major source of pleasure in our lives. We intended from the outset to take an escorted tour visiting local artisanal producers of wine, cheese and balsamic vinegar but were determined to find something special, unlike the mini-bus group tours that we have opted for on numerous other occasions.
Research came up with Emilian Land Tour which has received very positive reviews & appeared to offer customized packages for couples in a car with driver & guide which sounded perfect for our needs. Our email enquiry was promptly & comprehensively responded to & we booked a tour which included a small dairy making the iconic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, a premium balsamic vinegar producer & a vineyard specializing in the production of a sparkling wine from the pignoletto grape.
As the strictly controlled cheese-making process uses milk from that morning’s milking, we were picked up from our hotel at 7.30am in order to get to the dairy in time to observe this centuries-old process in action. Next was a traditional family-owned balsamic vinegar production facility followed by the vineyard visit where the winemaker took us on a tour of the vines & production facility then hosted an extended tasting session of the excellent sparkling & still wines. This experience was made all the more atmospheric by observing a tractor-load of freshly picked grapes being crushed just a few meters from our table.
Our guide/translator, Morgan, is a Bolognese who did an absolutely marvellous job providing a commentary on all the processes involved whilst interacting with the artisans proudly presenting their products. At all times, we felt we were meeting with Morgan’s friends rather than participating in a “canned” commercial tour.
The tour concluded with a most enjoyable lunch at a restaurant on the outskirts of Bologna which featured dishes using fresh pasta hand-made, so we understand, by the winemaker’s mother.
Our car was a very comfortable Volvo Estate driven by Nicola who at all times maintained a leisurely pace that was perfect for us & which was a far-cry from the Ferrari-inspired style of some taxi drivers we experienced.
Overall, a wonderful experience which we thoroughly recommend.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.