If there’s anything my many visits to southern Italy have taught me, it is to go where the local people live. Watch them at work and see how they move through a day to really experience a day in the life. Cook with them. Drink wine with them. And try not to spend too much time in the obvious touristy places.
Campania is a region in southern Italy famous for its scenic roads, friendly people, and of course a gastronomic paradise, which is just a few of the reasons I, along with my guests, love to come here. I have just returned from Italy and as always, my culinary tour to the Amalfi Coast included a visit to a private vineyard for wine tasting, an element to every culinary adventure I organize. The Vineyards of Benevento and Avellino with their rolling hills, the islands of Capri and Ischia with their terraced vineyards and the sloping vineyards of Mount Vesuvius really show off the diversity of the land where hundreds of grape varieties are grown. I love Campania; the wine, the food, the rolling landscape and the particular way the Italians enjoy la bella vita. Oh, and did I mention wine?
In Italy, growing grapes and producing wine is woven into the fabric of their very existence. Wine making is a tradition that dates back to time of the Ancient Romans times and has always been an everyday part of the social landscape.
Travelling through Campania is to discover the distinct varieties of wine particular to the area. For example, the red grape Aglianico, a derivative of the Italian word “Hellenic,” holds the record for being the longest cultivated grape in all of Italy and remains still today one of the most-planted in southern Italy.
Another native grape of distinction is the Fiano. It is a small, thick-skinned white grape that produces a delicious and fairly strong flavored white wine.
A trip to Italy would be incomplete without a vineyard tour and the one I always take my guests to is Tenuta San Francesco Winery in Tramonti, located in the beautiful Lattari Mountains (Milky Mountains) on the Amalfi Coast. The owners, a wonderful family with a true passion for the land and their vineyards, warmly greet us with a tour of the property and an afternoon with a delicious homemade lunch and wine tasting is enjoyed by all. Once you have learned about and experienced the wine making process, the next sip of wine you take will come with a whole new understanding of the complexities, the dedication and the love that goes into the production of a great tasting wine.
Carol Ketelson is the owner and operator of Delectable Destinations LLC. Dedicated to planning, co-ordinating and curating customized group tours to hand-picked destinations. As an experienced travel planner, Carol’s customized itineraries, specialized tours and off-the-beaten-path experiences create memorable journeys for her small groups of singles, couples, divorced, widowed and solo travelers seeking exceptional trips into the culture and cuisine of destinations around the world. Spring and Fall bookings invite travelers to taste delectable local cuisine, culturally rich traditions and mesmerizing sights. For over 10 years, Carol’s tours have captured the true essence of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Spain, Ireland and India.
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