Cheese Festival 2019
Join us September 18-25, 2019 in Bra, Italy for the world’s biggest international event where we will eat, drink and learn about cheese, wine, charcuterie, bread and pasta. Led by Culinary Director Chef Barb Alexander, we will embark on a culinary adventure into the heart of the Northern Italy's famed food and wine. The lovely town of Bra, in the Piemonte countryside, is home to Slow Food’s international headquarters and they organize the Cheese Festival every 2 years. The pristine streets of this ancient town are the stage where farmers, cheese makers, cheese mongers and affineurs focus on local, natural and heritage ingredients and methods to produce the best cheeses in the world.
Slow Food’s objective is the future of food on the planet and this year they have chosen the theme “Natural Is Possible." The Festival, known as simply “The Cheese,” will spotlight naturally-cultured cheeses, wine without sulfites, natural preservative-free charcuterie, naturally-leavened sourdough breads and how natural, heritage foods are not only better for the environment and our health, but how delicious and flavorful they taste.
We will visit iconic cheese makers, cheese caves, wineries/vineyards, farms, Michelin restaurants, hunt for truffles and have intimate encounters with the endlessly delicious Piemonte culinary world.
Depart for the Cheese Festival to arrive in Milan on September 19.
Arrival at Malpensa airport in Milan, to meet our group and our private guide. On our way to Piemonte we will visit Luigi Guffanti in the picturesque town of Arona. An iconic artisanal cheese maker since 1876, we will have a private visit to the farm, the caves and experience the cheeses with a tasting. We will stop in the Piedmonte countryside to visit an amazing modern art collection and a cantilevered glass orb over the hillside while sipping some local wine. Then we continue to the hotel to settle in. After cocktails, we will venture to the town of Bra for dinner at a local Bib Gourmande family-run restaurant. We overnight in the Piemonte hills.
Following breakfast, we encounter our first full day at the semiannual Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, the home of the Slow Food Organization. The Festival, simply known as "The Cheese," attracts cheese makers from all over the world dedicated to making the finest quality and best tasting cheeses. We will be led through the festival by a guide from the University of Gastronomic Sciences who will tell us about the producers and production methods behind each product we encounter during the tour. We will literally be eating our way through the festival while we learn. Dinner at local restaurant, meeting the chef and touring the kitchen and overnight at the Piemonte hills.
After breakfast, we enter our second encounter with the Cheese! With more than 35 tasting workshops, we will get to discover and taste cheeses from around the world.We will attend a number of special events today from pizza making, making raw milk goat cheese and wine pairing education. Dinner at a Michelin restaurant. Overnight in Piemonte.
Once again we enjoy breakfast at our hotel and then a trip to the Sunday market in Alba, purchasing the best that Piedmonte has to offer. One last look at the cheese festival in the late morning after which we will travel a short distance to cook lunch with Chef B at a local farm. After lunch we will take a quick drive to the vineyards of Michele Chiarlo for a tour and tasting of one of the most beautiful, pristine estates in the area. Michele Chiarlo’s quest for excellence shows in every part of this magnificent winery and vineyard that produces world-renowned crus. We continue to Beppino Occelli to sample the best mountain, cave-aged cheeses and artisanal butters in the world. Beppino Occelli's passion for local dairy traditions combined with his great creativity has produced a wide variety of cheeses (fresh, semi-seasoned, seasoned, truffle, Blue, Grand Reserve and D.O.P). We finish the day with an evening of vertical tasting and dinner at the Wine Bank, the keeper of “the historical memory of the best Italian wines.
Morning begins with an early quick coffee and pastry at the hotel, then strap on your boots for a brisk truffle hunt with a Piedmontese Cacciatore di Tartufi ( truffle hunter). Chef B will demo a delicious truffle breakfast, along with other specialties from the Langhe that we will eat al-fresco in a gorgeous setting in the Piemonte countryside. But first we experience the wine of Marchesi di Barolo, known as the “soul of Borolo” winery. Then a visit to Fontanafredd's stunning terraced vineyards followed by lunch at Ristoranti Guido famous for its Agnolotti.
Stopping in the towns of Barolo and Morro we will visit a famous Grissini ( breadstick) bakery and have an early dinner al fresco at one of the highest villages in Piedmonte. Overnight in Piemonte.
Our final breakfast at the hotel and we head out toward Milan far a gourmet discovery of this foodie haven .We will explore the old Brera district to visit and taste the most distinguished food. We embark on a half-day walking and tasting tour of six of the city’s foremost food shops. We will try the local specialties like Milanese meatballs, charcuterie, pastries and of course gelati. Once we finish our gourmet food quest, the rest of the day can be spent exploring Milan and Chef B’s culinary suggestions for the rest of your trip. Overnight at Château Monfort or similar.
Our journey ends and we transfer to the airport or stay on to continue the adventure.
This is a complete package with transportation from Milan airport (if arriving with the group), deluxe hotels, all meals, wine, cheese, the Cheese Festival, private caves, cooking classes, chef led and more.
What Is Included?
- 5 nights accommodations in Piemonte
- 1 night accommodations in Milan
- Culinary discovery in Milan lead by Chef B
- Most meals included-with lunch at the Cheese Festival
- 2 full days and one-half day at the Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy
- Private guide at the festival
- Private cheese tasting events at the festival
- Private visit to Luigi Guffanti, a formaggier since 1876, with cave tour and cheese tasting
- Dinner at a Michelin restaurant (drinks not included)
- Authentic farm-to-table cuisine at unique family-owned restaurants
- Barolo wine tasting at Marchesi di Barolo
- Truffle hunting, fresh truffle tasting with typical products of the region
- Private dinner at The Wine Bank with vertical wine tasting
- Truffle hunting and cooking demo with Chef B
- Private tour and tasting at Michele Chiarlo
- Visit to the winery Fontanafredda with private tasting
- Visit to Beppino Occelli, a butter and cheese producer and affineur steeped in the tradition of stewardship of the land and animals.
- All local transportation with English speaking guide
- Wine as indicated in complete description
Call or email us for more details
877 612 2110