Outstanding! CDV has created trusting relationships, the key to visiting small producers

Relationships with producers, restaurants, families, and other sites on the itinerary are what sets this tour apart. Tour organization was superb, food and hotel outstanding.

Written By: Mike K.
Location: Palo Alto - CA - US
Review Source: Website
Type of Traveler: Couple
Itinerary: Bologna

Full Review

The connections CDV has made with small producers, restaurants, tour guides, and a Michelin-starred chef are the magic here. Every visit was eye-opening, engaging, personal, educational, and impactful to us and our understanding of Italian food and culture. Se were simply incredulous at the taste of the "real stuff" -- the prosciutto, the parmigiano-reggiano, the balsamic vinegar, and so many other staples of Italian cuisine that we had never experienced before. Interaction with the producers was 100% honest; no pressure to buy anything, no sales pitches, just real people showing us what they do and how they do it. I had to pinch myself at one point: I had just worked with a Michelin-starred chef to produce a couple of dishes for lunch, and we were seated at a table with him and the restaurant staff, on the restaurant's patio overlooking the Italian countryside. Can this be real?

A huge appreciation for our two Nonnas and their families who showed us how to do all parts of two full meals the way they do it, checking along the way, tasting, compensating... this is how family cooking is done.

Our tour guide Mimmo worked such long days we would have collapsed after one or two. He was present and engaged constantly, guiding us and getting us involved in each visit, translating, and much more.

Tour organization was superb. Torrential rains the weeks before our arrival resulted in some planned locations to be inaccessible, but the team compensated beautifully. I'm sure a lot of work went on in the background to make this seamless. I had offhand mentioned a few things I was really interested in seeing, maybe if we had some time and they were along the way. Mimmo overheard that and he worked those in to the itinerary!

Within literally a few steps of the hotel are the old city's main plaza, the main cathedral, the world's oldest university, and dozens of blocks of great shops, restaurants, food markets; even an Apple Store. Even with breakfast included we often go out to find more authentic or better choices, but that was emphatically not necessary here: the breakfast spread was superb with many Italian plus Continental and even American style choices.

This was one of our best vacations ever, and we learned enough to start cultivating our knowledge of Italian cooking ourselves. And we get to brag we each drove a Ferrari (well, for 10 minutes).

Sample Photo from this Itinerary