Past Trips, Photos, Memories

Umbria Culinaria

Mar 16 - Mar 23, 2014 | Umbria, Italy

Oldways' week-long culinary and cultural journey traveled through the beautiful Italian region of Umbria. Known as the green heart of Italy, Umbria is the only region in Italy that doesn’t border either water or another country. From our base in Umbria’s capital city Perugia, an historic hilltop city known for chocolate and its maze of medieval streets, we fanned out on country day trips to discover the food, wines, artisanal products, art, and ceramics that make the region so special.

View from Perugia
Gelato in Perugia
Group truffle lunch at Tenuta di San Pietro a Pettine
Truffle hunting in Trevi
Truffle Day at Tenuta di San Pietro a Pettine
Cooking Demonstration at Tenuta di San Pietro a Pettine
Truffle Feast
Learning to make pasta at the Angelucci Family Farm
Angelucci Family Farm
Wine Tasting at Scacciadiavoli Winery
Umbria Culinaria
Group Lunch at La Pergola in Orvieto
Learning about Herbs and Saffron at Zafferano e Dintorini
Learning to make pasta from the Italian Nonna at Angelucci Family Farm
The group outside the Brufani Palace Hotel in Perugia
Visiting Granarium (0 Km Bakery) in Cantalupo
Umbria Culinaria
Lunch at La Pergola in Orvieto
Sampling the famous cured meats in Norcia
Umbria Culinaria

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Benvenuto
Check-in at Brufani Palace Hotel This five-star hotel offers a hilltop view in the heart of historic Perugia. Welcome reception, wine tasting and dinner at the Brufani Palace Hotel. 

Federico Bibi from Terre Margaritelli provided an introduction to Umbria through wine. Welcome dinner featuring regional specialties.

Day 2: Truffle Day
To Trevi and Tenuta di San Pietro
 to hunt for the famed Umbrian black truffles. To Tenuta di San Pietro a Pettine for a cooking demonstration and to learn how to make umbricelli, a local flour and water pasta, as well as how the truffles are made into sauce. Then a truffle feast for lunch! Return to Perugia after lunch for a guided tour of Perugia or free time. Dinner of local specialties at Osteria a Priori, a store and restaurant dedicated entirely to Umbrian food and wine products.

Day 3: Orvieto

After breakfast, a drive south along Lake Corbara to Orvieto, one of the most beautiful hilltop towns in Umbria. 

A tour with David Tordi to see the town’s main sites, including Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza del Popola, and the Churches of Sant’Andrea, San Giovenale, and others. A visit the Duomo and the world famous Chapel of San Brizio. Lunch at La Pergola
, a restaurant in Orvieto known for its authentic dishes.

Day 4: Todi and Deruta
Drive to 
nearby Todi, which has been called “the most livable town in the world.” Elisa Pichiotti guided us through this charming medieval hill town, providing the history 
of Todi and the surrounding area. A visit to the main churches, including San Fortunato and the Duomo, as well as the Tempieto, which is attributed to Bramante. Lunch in the center of Todi at Ristorante Umbria, a restaurant with traditional food and spectacular views of the surrounding Umbrian countryside. Ceramics in Deruta
, one of the most famed centers for the ancient art of majolica, a type of ceramic decoration that was developed in the 15th century. Elizabeth Minchilli, author of the book Deruta, introduced Grazie, one of the oldest workshops in town. Shopping at Sberna, Elizabeth’s favorite store. Dinner in Perugia at Civico 25, a more modern take on Umbrian cuisine with the music of the 60s.

Day 5: Norcia, Mountains, and Chocolate!
The first stop of the day is a very special farm, Zaferano e Dintorni, to taste and learn about local heirloom fruits and saffron, and learn about traditional medicinal herbs. Next, a journey up the mountain to visit another spectacular medieval town, Norcia. Alessandra Malozzi, a local tour guide, talked about the history of this ancient town. The people of Norcia are famous for their skill at curing meats—so famous that today most salumeria in Italy are simply called Norcineria. A visit to one of the oldest workshops in town and  a guided tasting of some of their specialties. Lunch at Palazzo Seneca
, a Renaissance palace that has been converted into a stunning hotel and restaurant. A visit to the chocolate factory Cioccolateria Vetusta Nursia for a chocolate tasting. Free time in Perugia for the evening.

Day 6: Farm Day
Leaving Perugia for the Granarium, a traditional flourmill and bakery in Cantalupo, to see the entire transformation process from grain seed to milling to baking during a tour and tasting. They call themselves a 0 km bakery because all phases of the process are completed on site. A visit the historic winery and vineyards of Scacciadiavoli 
to learn about Umbria’s most important wine: Sagrantino. Farm day continues with a visit to the Angelucci family and their small-scale farm for a tour, a cooking demonstration, a cheese making demonstration, and a simple lunch of products from the farm.
 A visit to Bevagna, one of the most intact medieval towns in Umbria. A tour of three of the six original guild workshops have been carefully restored and are operating: a candle maker, a paper maker, and an ancient apothecary.

Day 7: Some gems of Umbria
Travel to the historic town of Assisi, birth place of St. Francis. Irene Maturi, a local tour guide, gave a tour of the most famous churches, along with art masterpieces by Giotto, Cimabue, and other Renaissance masters. Free time in Assisi for shopping, coffee, or resting. From Assisi, a half-hour drive along the Trevi Valley to the small town of Campello sul Clitunno at the source of the Clitunno River. Lunch at Ristorante Parco del Clitunno, to enjoy trout, eels, and crayfish caught from springs that run right through the restaurant. Free afternoon
 in Perugia to pack, swim, exercise, or take a last walk around. Farewell Dinner at Postale in Castello di Monterone. Located just outside of Perugia, this imposing castle has been transformed into one of the best hotels in Umbria, with two of the city’s best restaurants.


Umbria Culinaria Program
This program provides a day-by-day itinerary of the trip, information about the history, culture, food and wines of Umbria, Italy.

Download PDF



Madrid Culinaria

Nov 10 - Nov 17, 2013 | Madrid, Spain
Oldways and Ronni Baer, Senior Curator of European Paintings

A glorious week for the culinaria in and around elegant and interesting Madrid, with excursions to El Escorial and Toledo, led by Oldways and Ronni Baer, Senior Curator of European Art at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.
Click on any photo below to see the gallery of the Culinaria photos.

Guided tasting by wine expert Albert Martinez of The Grand Wines.
Guided wine tasting.
Welcome Dinner at Alkalde Restaurant, Madrid
Guided Walking Tour of Old Madrid
Churros and chocolate at Chocolatería de San Ginés.
Churros and chocolate at Chocolatería de San Ginés.
Plaza Mayor in Old Madrid
Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world (1725)
Lunch at Botin
Sara Baer-Sinnott, Oldways; Curator Mercedes González de Amezúa del Pino, Real Academia; Curator Ronni Baer, MFA, Boston
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
Olive oil tasting with Fausto Luchetti, former Exec. Dir. of the International Olive Oil Council
Olive oil tasting
Cooking demo by Gabriela Llamas, La Huerta del Emperado
Chef Norberto Horge Garcia, Casa Benigna restaurant
Paella dinner at Casa Benigna
A day in Toledo, Spain
Primate Cathedral of Saint Mary of Toledo
Former synagogue in Toledo, Spain
View of Toledo from Vinedos Cigarral Santa Maria restaurant and winery.
Steven Elmets and Ronni Baer at Retiro Park, Madrid
The Prado Museum tour with Ronni Baer
Flamenco show at Corral de la Moreria
El Escorial, a UNESCO World Heritage site
El Escorial, a UNESCO World Heritage site
Charoles, a restaurant in the lovely town of San Lorenzo
Walking Food Tour of Old Madrid with Lauren Aloise (left)
Walking Food Tour: Cocido Madrileño (Madrilenian stew) cooked in individual clay pots at La Bola Restaurant, Madrid
Cooking class with Maria Llamas, Alambique cooking school, Madrid
Cooking class at Alambique, Madrid
Neil McCarthy and Lee Clark at farewell dinner from Palacio de Cibeles
Farewell dinner from Palacio de Cibeles
Fausto Luchetti; Chef Javier Muñoz García, Palacio de Cibeles Restaurant; Sara Baer-Sinnott

Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Bienvenido a Madrid!
Opening Session at the Hotel Wellington. Sara Baer-Sinnott from Oldways and Ronni Baer of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, gave an overview of our week in Madrid. Introduction to Spanish wines, with a guided tasting, by wine expert Albert Martinez of The Grand Wines. Welcome dinner at Alkalde Restaurant
, a neighborhood restaurant specializing in the cuisine of the Basque region in the north of Spain.
Day 2: Old Madrid
Guided walking tour of Old Madrid
, in the epicenter of Madrid. A morning break for churros and chocolate at Chocolatería de San Ginés. Lunch at Botin, said to be the oldest restaurant in the world (1725), very close to the Plaza Mayor in Old Madrid. To the Mercado de San Miguel, for Spanish food specialties. Founded in 1916, and restored and reopened in 2009, the market is the last iron-covered market in Madrid.

Day 3: Treasures
Guided tour of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando with Curator Mercedes González de Amezúa del Pino. Guided olive oil tasting at Alambique Cooking School by 
Fausto Luchetti, former Executive Director of the International Olive Oil Council. Cooking demo of traditional Spanish tapas at the school, followed by lunch. Paella dinner
 at Casa Benigna, a restaurant known for its spectacular paella.

Day 4: Travel to Toledo
A day in Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage city just 43 miles south of Madrid, to visit the Cathedral, the Church of Santo Tomé, the Jewish quarter, and other important sites. Lunch at Vinedos Cigarral Santa Maria, a restaurant and winery with a panoramic view of the city.

Day 5: Food in Art—Art in Food

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, curator 
Ronni Baer guided us through the world-famous Prado Museum, focusing on the Spanish school. Flamenco show and dinner at Corral de la Moreria.

Day 6: Art and Manuscripts
A visit to El Escorial, a second UNESCO World Heritage site, which is a monastery, museum, and royal palace known for its priceless manuscripts and great works of art. Lunch at Charoles, a restaurant in the town of San Lorenzo, just below the Monastery of El Escorial.

Day 7: Food, Cooking, and Culture
Guests chose a tour: 1. Hands-on cooking class and lunch at Alambique; 2. Walking food tour
 of the Old City of Madrid’s food stores, markets, and cafes, followed by lunch; 3. Cultural visit to the Palacio Real, the Cathedral and the Convent of Corpus Christi, followed by lunch in the Plaza Mayor at Los Galoyos. To spectacular Palacio de Cibeles (designed by Antonio Palacios as the main post office), looking 
out over the twinkling lights of Madrid, for our Gala Farewell Dinner at this dramatic rooftop restaurant.



Madrid Culinaria Program
This program provides a day-by-day itinerary of the trip, information about the history, culture, food and wines of Madrid and Spain.
Download PDF


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