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Italy: the home of great food

05/04/2017

Mamma Mia! We pick out some of the tastiest shore excursions on offer in the foodie heaven of Italy

Italy is synonymous with great food, especially pizza. Picture credit: Ignazio Sciacca

Italy, the home of rosemary-scented focaccia, ripe olives, dense globes of creamy mozzarella…

 

Italy has long been acknowledged as the culinary epicentre of the western world. Vast swathes of people from every generation and cultural background count Italian as their favourite kind of food. And this is no real surprise – the cuisine has something for everyone: hearty stews and cold meats, crispy fritto misto and comforting gnocchi al gorgonzola, speedy spaghetti alle vongole, creamy gelato – and that’s just getting started. Italy has everything you, and your tummy, needs. On a cruise there, there’s no better way to get to the heart of Italian culture than on a foodie shore excursion.

Wine grapes on the vine

Wines produced on the slopes of Mount Etna are becoming increasingly sought after

Grape expectations

No trip to Italy would be complete without a glass or two of vino. Though wine is produced all over Italy, it’s Sicilian wine that has been making a name for itself recently. Soil rich in nutrients, large day and night temperature variations and a high elevation mean that the slopes of the active Mount Etna volcano are an ideal location for vintners to grow their grapes.

 

The Etna Wine and Food Experience shore excursion from Catania is a great way to find out about this unique wine region. After a scenic drive through orchards, vineyards and woods to the Barone di Villagrande winery, a beautiful estate set at an altitude of 700m on Etna’s slopes, you’ll be given a tour of the cellar and winery to learn about the qualities of Mount Etna wine. After building up an appetite on the tour, you’ll be treated to a Sicilian brunch at the old stable, where you’ll be spoilt with an abundance of local produce and enjoy a selection of four different wines produced on the estate.

 

If you’d like a little more history to go with your hooch, the Wines and Ancient Villas of Vesuvius shore excursion from Sorrento and Naples is just the ticket. After a trip to see the ancient ruins of Roman Villas near the base of Mount Vesuvius, you’ll drive up the southern face of the volcano to a winery that produces the famous Lacryma Christi. Here you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the vineyard and have a chance to learn about the wines. This will be followed by (arguably) the most important part of your trip – a tasting session where you’ll try five different varieties, accompanied by traditional salami, cheese and bread.

 

Finding formaggio

Cheese-making is serious business in Italy, where the regional specialities are fiercely protected under EU law. Just as in the UK true Stilton must prove its East Midlands heritage, the creation of many Italian cheeses is subject to strict rules in original locations. To find out which cheeses are specific to their regions, look for the DOP stamp, which stands for Denominazione di Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin).

 

On the Taste of Sorrento shore excursion , you will not only get to sample some delicious mozzarella, but also find out about the process that goes into creating this famous Italian cheese. A visit to a local farm in the beautiful southern Italian countryside also offers the chance to sample breads, salami and other Italian cheeses.

 

Buon appetito!


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