It's hard to think of much after an exciting NFC Championship victory by my beloved San Francisco Forty Niners! However, it is time to finalize plans to lead a small select group of food, wine, art & culture enthusiasts to Umbria, Italy this coming April! My favorite destination, Le Vigne, owned by dear friends, Roger & Joan Arndt, awaits you. There are openings for either April 12-19th or April 19-26. Once you arrive at Le Vigne, you will have many options and opportunites to see this remarkable part of Italy. I find incredible inspiration everytime I go there. Medieval towns with castles and churches, to fantastic markets, bakeries, food shops and restaurants. Artisan producers, wines and museums are other things to explore and enjoy in one of Italy's most spectacular regions. Below are the details of the trip. Please contact me as quickly as possible if you would like to accompany me on this incredible journey!
￼FOLLOW THE CHEF! Spring in Umbria with Chef Michael Tuohy Dream Trip to Italy 2013
Only eight people (double occupancy) will have the opportunity to travel to Italy with Chef Michael Tuohy and experience first-hand the culture and food of Umbria. Getting to Italy: Chef Tuohy will depart for Rome’s Leonardo di Vinci Int’l airport (FCO) on Friday, arriving early Saturday morning. Everyone is invited to travel with Chef Tuohy or make their own arrangements for earlier flights.
Saturday – Le Vigne
Our personal driver will meet us outside customs at the Rome airport. If necessary we will then pick up others at a location in Rome should some decide to arrive earlier. Our driver will treat us to a driving tour of Ancient Rome and St Peter’s Square before heading north to Le Vigne, a villa set on top of one of the hills surrounding Perugia. Le Vigne, our home for the week, is owned by Joan and Roger Arndt, friends of Chef Tuohy. The Arndts are formerly from Atlanta where Joan worked in International Marketing with Coca- Cola and Roger was an International Captain with Delta Air Lines. The Arndts moved to Italy in 2002 and have established one of the finest self-catering villas in the area, hosting over one hundred guests each year. On arrival at Le Vigne we will select bedrooms, enjoy a light lunch, receive an orientation and perhaps indulge in a short nap before Joan and Roger provide a four course welcome dinner with wines.
Sunday –Perugia / dinner at the grill with Chef Tuohy
Chef Tuohy will prepare a Sunday breakfast with Bloody Marys by Roger before Marco, our personal certified Umbrian guide, leads us to Perugia, the capital and largest city in Umbria. Marco will explain the wonders of this city with Etruscan roots, then ltake us to lunch at Sandri, the most famous specialty bakery and luncheon spot in Central Italy. For dinner we’ll enjoy a meal of pasta, grilled meats and more prepared by Chef Tuohy. This is an all-out, no-rush, two-hour lunch after which we will return to Le Vigne to engage in a bocce tournament (or nap) and talk about how we’re too full for dinner. Wine, cheese and meats poolside, typical Italian antipasti, will be sufficient.
Monday – Bakery tour / shopping / cooking class
After a breakfast prepared by Chef Tuohy we’ll leave Le Vigne for a visit to Faffa, the oldest functioning bakery in Umbria. Luigi Faffa, owner and our host, will give us a private tour of the 1851 vintage wood-fired oven which is still used and relate a moving story about the occupation of the town and the bakery by the Germans during WW II. Following lunch Joan and Roger will take us ceramic shopping with Valentina, a local and talented artisan and to a cashmere and knitwear manufacturing outlet. We’ll return to Le Vigne for a cooking class with Clara: five courses with wines. Clara is a self-taught cook and her methods are most interesting. Valentina, her daughter, acts as sous chef. It’s an entertaining mother-daughter show and always a weekly highlight.
Tuesday – Cortona
After another Chef Tuohy breakfast we’ll leave for a short drive to Cortona, the setting of Under the Tuscan Sun where Joan and Roger will introduce us to the owners of a fine art gallery, an antique shop, a family-owned jewelry store and wonderful enoteca where we
￼will have a presentation and tasting of Tuscan wines. After the wine tasting we’ll enjoy lunch at La Grotta, Chef Tuohy will prepare a light evening meal.
Wednesday – Florence
Roberto, our driver for the week, will take us to Florence. We’ll be met by our personal certified guide, Alessandra, and visit the Accademia (focusing on Michelangelo’s David), the Duomo, the Baptistry doors, the Medici chapel and more: the art and splendor of the Renaissance. We’ll lunch in Florence and spend the afternoon shopping for gold and leather. Our return drive will get us to Le Vigne in time for a shower and change before we venture to Trilogy, possibly the best pizzeria in Central Italy.
Thursday – Outdoor market /Santa Maria / Assisi / Cooking class II
Roger and Joan will take us to the local weekly outdoor market where we will shop with Chef Tuohy for ingredients for our evening meal. After the market Marco will take us to Santa Maria degli Angeli and Assisi for private tours of the city of Saint Francis and Saint Clare as well as lunch in Assisi. Our second cooking class/demonstration will be with Chef Tuohy at Le Vigne.
Friday – Gubbio and farewell dinner
With Marco we will visit Pasta Fresca, a local fresh pasta shop where we will see how the staple of Italian cuisine is made for retail sales. We’ll then tour Gubbio, an ancient Roman city north of Le Vigne. On the way home we’ll stop at a local restaurant for a light lunch before returning to organize and pack. Our farewell dinner will be at Lo Spedalicchio, a fabulous 13th century restaurant.
Early good-byes to Joan, Roger and Le Vigne will ensure that we arrive at the Rome airport in time to clear security and board our flight. Roger will assist those electing to remain in Italy with transportation arrangements. This luxury trip includes all meals, wines, tips, ground transportation, two fully insured rental cars and fuel (driving in Umbria is quite tranquil), private guides, entrance fees, cooking classes, wireless internet, phone calls to land lines in the States and translations. For more information about Le Vigne and photos of this beautiful property, go to www.levigne.net.
Ground package per person based on double occupancy: $3,500 NOTES: Guests are advised to bring measurements of tables, windows, beds, etc. for use in Montefalco at the linen shop. All linens, as well as ceramics, wines and art, can easily be shipped back to the States. International driver’s licenses are not required. Roger and Joan request notification of any food allergies or aversions in advance and any special requests for basic food items to be stocked in the kitchen would be helpful. ￼
￼Alcohol other than wine is not included but is available with advance notice. Computers, most phones, ipods, ebook readers and cameras require only adapters to connect to the house electricity. Certain other older devices require converters. Ask in advance for the latest information. Hair dryers and straighteners are available in every bathroom at Le Vigne.