Northern Italy is dominated by the Alps, creating a natural border with its neighbours, and the extensive valley of the Po River, one of the most productive agricultural regions in the country. A large percentage of Italy’s population lives in this area, scattered through major cities such as Milan, Turin, Bologna, and Genoa.
It is in Northern Italy that you find a wealth of culinary treasures, including hard cheeses like Parmigiano and Grana Padano, the best aged prosciutto, and specialty products such as Aceto Balsamico di Modena. The hazelnuts of Piedmont are so precious that the orchards are protected by both the European Union and UNESCO, and this is also where you’ll find the largest production of rice outside of China, used in various risotto recipes.
The vineyard landscapes of Piedmont have also been recognised by UNESCO for the way they exemplify the close relationship between people and their environment. All over Northern Italy you will find a wide range of grape varieties, from the famous Nebbiolo in Barolo and Barbraresco and the lesser-known Nascetta, to Lombardy’s Franciacorta champenoise method wine, Emilia-Romagna’s Lambruscos, and Friuli’s Schiopettino and Friulano in the far northeast.
Take a look at some of our favourite experiences in Northern Italy:
Visit the Venice fish market at dawn, before the crowds appear. A thriving food hub, the market has stood on the same spot for nearly a millennium, and offers the best freshly caught local specialities from the lagoon. Once you’ve had your fill of eyeing up urchins, eels, swordfish, and crabs, why not give the local delicacy, sarde in saor, a try?
Indulge in a day dedicated to the world’s most expensive foodstuff—the truffle. On a foraging walk with truffle hunter Carlo and his dog, you’ll learn about the different truffle types throughout the year and their connection to the special soil and surrounding flora in the Langhe. Your efforts will be rewarded with an unforgettable truffle dinner at the end of the day.
Join Valeria and Marco in their Valle Maira kitchen, where you’ll learn how to make the region’s ravioles. Being immersed in the landscape, you’ll understand how the mountains have made for a limited cuisine based around local products. As potatoes can be grown on the cultivatable land, ravioles are a typical dish, and are served with butter and cheese, both also found in the mountains. Take this simple and delicious recipe home with you, one you’ll find yourself returning to again and again.
Say farewell to an immersive culinary journey through Piedmont with a feast you have helped to prepare. In a lively cooking course, you’ll learn how to cook classic regional dishes, such as vitello tonnato, agnolotti al plin, brasato al Barolo, and bunet. When it’s time to take your apron off, sit down with your fellow cooks and enjoy the results of all your hard work in a feast in the heart of Turin.