How does a, “4km non-competitive enogastronomic hike along the wine pathway of La Morra” sound to you? To the central command of Taste of Life Tours this sounds like our pet event, which is why have put together one of our bespoke set-tour itineraries and an optional tour extension for a lucky few be a part of.
The focus of this tour is the same as it always is with us at Taste of Life Tours, to highlight the amazing food and wines of the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, with the focal point being the famous La Morra Mangia Longa. This is perhaps THE highlight of Piedmont’s summer food and wine events! It attracts visitors from the world over to participate in what is essentially a long Italian Sunday lunch spread out over a 4km downhill ramble from the hilltop piazza of the Barolo village of La Morra, down through the spectacular late summer scenery, famous crus vineyards, cantinas and farming villages.
During the ‘hike’ you will enjoy a 6 course traditional Piemontese lunch from apperitivo to dolce – that is an average of one course for every 666m. Each of these food courses is paired with a long tasting table of the best wines of La Morra – Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Barolo stops, as well as some international flavour for apperitivo (Beaujolais in 2018) and the amazing dessert wines of the Moscato DOCG with Dolce.
Arrival and check-in to our accommodation.
We will rendezvous in the early evening at our hotel before heading out into the centro storico of Turin city on foot for apperitivo and our first of several memorable and all inclusive meals together.
Should you wish to book extra nights at our hotel before the tour beginning we would be more than happy to assist you with this and at our commercial rates which the hotel offers us.
This morning we plan to visit one of Turin’s most famous artisan chocolatiers for a private talk and comprehensive tasting of their amazing chocolates and the famed chocolate drink of Turin – Bicerin, so don’t overdo breakfast.
From the chocolate tasting we will stroll back across the city to the Porto Palazzo markets – Europe’s largest open air markets where you can marvel at (and taste) the incredible array of fresh seasonal produce. Then it is on to lunch and the first of several set-menu long lunches to begin our true Mangia Longa experience. Throughout the tour we aim to show you both the historic, the rustic and the modern cuisine of Piemonte which is recognized world wide as a true gastronomic paradise of Italy. There will be no menu and no rush for the lunch which we aim to hold at a more modern restaurant which has a different take on the traditional flavours and cuisine of Piemonte.
Following lunch we will head out of Turin city on the short trip to the famed Langhe hills and one of the tiny hilltop Barolo villages where we will base ourselves for the following few days.
The evening plan for tonight is to take apperitivo in the village and enjoy a simple meal at the local pizzeria before heading in to get a good rest before our festival day tomorrow.
This is Mangia Longa day. We will leave for La Morra and the start of the Mangia Longa around 11:00. Dress according to the weather (we will keep you updated prior to the tour on expected conditions).
We plan to stay together as a group through the course of the day and enjoy the great food and plentiful wine offerings at each stage of the walk. We will casually work our way through the Mangia Longa and depart back to Monforte together in the late afternoon/early evening.
This evening I had not planned or charged for dinner, as in my experience you never feel like much at all after the Mangia Longa. There are plenty of easily accessible and high quality options in Monforte if you do feel like something. We will perhaps take an apperitivo drink and snack together before disbanding for the evening
After the rigours of the Mangia Longa we plan to have a very relaxed and slow paced day today. We will fit in a tuffle hunt for the summer black truffles, so plentiful through the Langhe hills. It is too early for the famous white truffles of the region, but I am very confident we will be able to find the black version. These are genuine truffle hunts with a real life triffolau (truffle hunter). We do not run simulated hunts as pretty much all other tourist truffle operations are,
and as such I cannot guarantee we will find any. But I have complete confidence in our very experienced triffolau to get us onto some truffles. We will try and maintain a bit of flexibility with the hunt and do it when the conditions are most favourable to find truffles. As truffle hunting occurs in the forest, often in and over quite dusty/muddy ground, it is a good idea to wear sturdy shoes which you don’t mind getting dirty.
We will also partake in our first appointment wine tasting with one of the region’s famed Barolo producers with a lunch stop in between at one of our favourite local eateries to enjoy more great food and wine.
In the morning we offer an option to do a walk along one of the picturesque sentiero trails that weave between the Barolo zone villages and directly through the famous vineyards. We will also add a touch of culture into the tour with a visit to the village of Barolo itself and the WiMu Barolo wine museum housed in the small castle in the Barolo village.
Following our short walk and WiMu visit, today is all about wine as we will be going to two private wine tastings – one in the Barbaresco region and one in Barolo. This will provide you with a great opportunity to see the differences between these two famed wine regions which are geographically so close together, use the same varieties, vineyard and winery techniques, but produce very different styles of wine.
On the gastronomy front we will be heading to a very traditional Trattoria for another long lunch with no menu, just fresh, seasonal and abundant food with typical dishes and matching wines from the Langhe. In the evening the plan is to visit one of the most eclectic restaurants that I have ever visited and a true favourite of mine. This place also houses one of the most incredible wine cellars which you really need to see to believe.
Following check-out at our accommodation we will make our way to the regional centre of Alba, home to the Ferrero factory (of Nutella fame) and a beautiful historic centre as well as the main centre for local market activity. We will take a stroll through the markets and check out some of the local producers as well as shops within the centro storico including the oldest purveyor of truffles and truffle products.
After our final lunch in the low-lands of Piemonte we will head west towards the imposing peak of Monviso and the French/Italian Alps for the Valle Grana and the Castelmagno region. This is a really picturesque drive, especially once we start heading up into the valley.
We will be staying in the tiny mountain village of Valliera which is set about 1000m ASL right on the steep mountainside. This area is home to the famed Castelmagno d’Alpeggio cheese – one of the most unique and rarest cheeses in the world and referred to locally as “The King of Cheeses.”
If we arrive in time, we can do an optional hike up to wherever the shepherds are milking the herd (this happens on-mountain not in a milking shed or dairy). If you are planning on doing some walking it is a good idea to bring along some decent walking/sport/hiking shoes. If you do not feel up to the hike, feel free to relax back at the apartment, take a coffee or a drink down at the Rifugio, have a look around the village, or just do sit back and relax.
We will take our dinner down at the mountain Rifugio this evening. Expect hearty mountain fare with the likely appearance of Castelmagno d’Alpeggio cheese as well as some cracking wines.
For those feeling up to it we have the opportunity to do a bigger hike this morning. For those that don’t feel up for it, just relaxe in your comfortable apartments before we get back together to see the cheese making process for this amazing cheese.
Lunch will be taken at a neighbouring Rifugio which is an easy and blessedly flat 500m stroll away following an afternoon for relaxing.
We will have our final dinner together tonight at the Rifugio in the village.
Partake in an optional shorter walk this morning before we check-out mid-morning and make our way back to Turin city/Turin Airport for your onwards travel.
Single Supplement €450
After dropping off any Mangia Longa clients not participating in the extension trip in Turin city, we will begin the drive over to Valtellina. As it is a big drive we will aim to break it up by taking lunch on the lake of Orta St Giulio. We can stretch our legs in the quaint little village and enjoy a relaxed all inclusive lunch together before finishing off our journey into the stunning Valtellina area and the regional capitol of Sondrio where we will be staying in a stunning hotel right on the central piazza.
We will enjoy a simple pizzeria dinner this evening after the day of travel.
Today is a day to really taste Valtellina. We will be doing 2 appointment wine tastings with leading producers in the region. The wines of Valtellina are not as widely known as Barolo but their star is definitely rising fast and their quality and value for money is undoubtable. The setting is also out-of-this-world with the steep terraced vineyards set below the alpine peaks and lush forests thick with chestnut trees.
We will enjoy a final Long Lunch set menu for our lunch stop together featuring some of the amazing local specialities of the valley.
Dinner this evening is slated for a unique Osteria in the town of Sondrio itself, featuring local cuisine but with some very unique twists.
Today we plan to experience what is regarded as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. We will travel from
Tirano in Valtellina to St Moritz in Switzerland. This rail journey passes up and over the Bernina pass and presents you at every turn (and there are many turns!) with incredible vistas.
After an amazing journey in a First Class cabin we will have a few hours on foot to check out the millionaire’s playground of St. Moritz and enjoy a Swiss lunch and wines before taking the return journey back to Tirano in the later afternoon.
Following check-out we will begin our return journey to finish the trip, but not before a quick stop on Lake Como. We will visit one of the beautiful lakeside villages for a bit of a stroll along the lakeside and a final lunch together.
This is the official end of the tour extension and the transport will be returning to the Barolo region. We can arrange for drop offs at Milan Malpensa airport, a convenient rail station to get you into Milan city or back to Turin where it all began.
Single Supplement €210
The 2019 Mangia Longa Tour and Valtellina Tour Extension both have very limited numbers (max 7 guests) so you are going to have to register your interest fast as we don’t expect these places to last long. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.