It’s no secret that here at EF Go Ahead Tours, we believe the best way to learn about the world is to experience it. A big part of that? Trying—and learning about—all the local flavors of a destination. So we’re ecstatic to have paired up with America’s Test Kitchen to celebrate Italy’s culinary traditions on a once-in-a-lifetime tour.
Our pairing is a natural fit, since we’re both companies based on the idea of experiential learning. America’s Test Kitchen (ATK for short) educates home cooks about the best way to prepare their favorite foods, while we curate travel experiences for curious adventurers looking to explore new places. When it came time to choose where to go together first, there was a hands-down favorite foodie destination: Italy.
This country is where food-centric memories are made for many travelers, including our President Heidi Durflinger and ATK’s Chief Creative Officer Jack Bishop. Our itinerary for this Food & Wine Adventure through Tuscany & Piedmont was designed specifically for those interested in seeing the real northern Italy. Think: Local shops, vineyards in the countryside, bustling markets, and handmade pasta of all shapes and sizes.
“I’m often asked where my favorite place to travel is, and if I had to pick just one, Italy would definitely be at the top of the list—and food would be one of my highlights,” shared Heidi. “While on our tour, travelers will learn about recipes that have been passed down for generations while visiting a Tuscan agriturismo. They’ll have the opportunity to attend the annual Alba White Truffle Fair and learn how experienced hunters, with their dogs, use smell to determine the key characteristics of fungi and how to select the best truffles for food. It’s truly a special itinerary that travelers will never forget.”
“I'm excited to be partnering with travel experts who love Italy as much as I do,” said Jack. “I still remember my first lunch in Italy. It was October 1983. I was 20. I had just gotten off an overnight train from Germany and my girlfriend (eventually my wife) was studying in Florence and she took me straight from the station to her favorite neighborhood trattoria. She ordered the fettuccine with white truffles for me. The waiter came to the table with a beautiful bowl of pasta tossed with a little butter and Parmigiano and then started shaving fresh white truffle over the bowl. This was my first truffle experience and the aroma was intoxicating. This food was nothing like the red sauce dishes my Italian-American grandmother made. It was a revelation.”
Tasting locally made cheese, balsamic vinegar, and red wine sounds pretty good. But doesn’t meeting a Parmigiano Reggiano producer, touring a family-run balsamic vinegar villa, and strolling through the vineyard in Barolo while sampling each one sound even better? Travel experiences like these bring you closer to those who lovingly create what’s on the table. And that’s what our tour is all about.
“This partnership is the perfect combination of the unique, local experiences we provide on all of our tours together with ATK’s deep understanding of all things culinary,” offered Heidi. “Travel is the best way to learn about the world and yourself,” agreed Jack. “I bring home physical mementos but it's the memories and, more importantly, the life lessons that I treasure the most. I travel to learn new ways to live my life and new ways to experience the world.”
Your Italian culinary adventure doesn’t have to end when your tour does, by the way. You’ll arrive back home with some serious culinary know-how. Share your impressive knowledge about truffles and Barolo at the next dinner you host or, better yet, throw a pasta-making party to show off what you learned at your lesson with a local chef in Bologna!
“When traveling, I learn everything I can about the cuisine so I can bring that knowledge back home with me,” Go Ahead Tours President Heidi shared. “Since I like to host a dinner to share the flavors of my experience with family and friends, I’m always on the lookout for authentic ingredients and a local cookbook.”
“When I taste something really great, I immediately start thinking about how can I recreate the dish at home. I analyze. I take notes,” said Jack. “I'm obsessed with creating that perfect dish in my home kitchen so I can relive the experience and share it with friends.”
Ready to taste the best of Italy? Find out more about our collaboration here.