Join me and our gracious hosts in Italy (both fluent in English and Italian) for an intimate tour (7 women max.) as we explore and learn together. We’ll visit medieval towers and castles, museums and ancient town centers, numerous wineries (and I mean many!!) and wine tastings in key towns such as Alba, Barbaresco, Barolo, Canelli, and a visit to the healing ancient thermal baths of Acqui Terme, among others. Interspersed throughout our explorations, we’ll come together as a small group of like-minded women to learn about the power of plant-based nutrition via the award-winning Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine “Food for Life – Kickstart Your Health” curriculum, to support optimal health and vitality and cook nutritious and healthy foods together. All the while surrounded by the natural beauty, culture and landscape of the Piedmont Region of Italy.
This intimate, tailor-made tour of Piedmont out of our home base in Calamandrana has been specially designed by our hosts to give you the most exceptional experience possible. The Piedmont region of Italy boasts a breathtaking landscape surrounded on three sides by the Alps, providing the perfect setting to enjoy the scenic country roads, visit local wineries and explore local cuisine. You’ll have a chance to visit ancient hill-top villages and historic towns, and learn about the special gems and secrets the region has to offer from our hosts, who are local residents and live here year-round.
The landscape will take your breath away and inspire you! In 2014, selected areas of Langhe-Roero and Monferrato, in the beautiful region of Piedmont, which is famous for its vineyard landscapes, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site (“Vineyard Landscape of Piedmont: Langhe-Roero and Monferrato“) for its Outstanding Universal Value (OUV). The OUV for this site is represented by the deep-rooted culture of wine and the extraordinary landscape shaped by human labor, related to grape growing and wine production. Calamandrana – our home base for the trip – is located between 2 core areas of the UNESCO site allowing easy access to the whole region.
*The sample itinerary below is for 2017. Depending on weather and other unforeseen challenges and/or in mutual agreement with our guests, we may alter the itinerary.
You’ve just arrived, so we’ll take it easy, but we won’t let you go to sleep right away. You have to fight that jet-lag! We’ll gather as a group to get to know each other, enjoy a glass of wine, take in the incredible landscape and review the programme for our time together.
We’ll have a relaxing afternoon in Canelli including a visit to the historical underground wine cellars of Coppo – a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is “part of the network of Underground Cathedrals, a temple of wine dedicated to its history and the hard work of man” followed by a delicious dinner at the restaurant at our temporary home, La Corte, as we relax and settle into our accommodations for the evening.
After breakfast, we’ll take a ride towards Langhe Hills, the region where the Barbaresco wines are produced. We’ll visit the historic centers of Neive and Barbaresco. Barbaresco has a wonderful medieval tower, with a newly renovated viewing terrace – they’ve recently installed an elevator so we’ll go up in style. Also, in Barbaresco we’ll have a wine tasting at the local cooperative of wine producers.
Lunch will be at Ciau del Tornavento a wonderful Michelin starred restaurant with captivating views of the surrounding wine producing hills. In the afternoon we’ll visit Alba, the capital of the Langhe, whose history goes back to Roman times.
We’ll return “home” for a short break and freshen-up.
Dinner in Canelli.
After breakfast, we’ll dive into our first Kickstart session at the home of our hosts, Canan and Umberto, where we’ll learn about the “Power of your Plate” to support your best possible health and avoid disease and how to make simple and easy changes to get started. Followed by a whole-food, plant-based lunch.
After lunch, we’ll head towards the southern part of the Langhe to visit the production area of the Barolo wines along with the historic towns, La Morra and Grinzane Cavour. Did you know that the world renowned White Truffle Auction is held at the Castle of Grinzane Cavour and some of the proceeds go to charity? One of the last auction masters was Gerard Depardieu.
How about a day out in Turin the original capital of Italy? Turin is a royal city offering many attractions. Here we will have an opportunity to walk around, visit your choice of museums, stop for coffee at centuries old cafes and shop under the famous portici of Turin. There are numerous museums in Turin and we’ll visit your choice of up to two from the Egyptian Museum, Cinema Museum, The Automobile Museum, Palazzo Madama.
Lunch will be at the original Eataly at Lingotto in Turin.
What is a visit to Italy without eating a pizza? This evening we’ll have a delicious pizza at the L’Ambaradan in Nizza, including an opportunity to taste locally-brewed beers.
After breakfast, we’ll dive into our second Kickstart session, where we’ll learn about how really “getting in gear” and how to break the food seduction. Followed by a whole-food, plant-based lunch.
After lunch, the ancient Roman city of Acqui Terme and its hot thermal waters will be our first visit today. During a walking tour of Acqui Terme we’ll get a chance to see the fountain with boiling water, visit the Cathedral of Acqui, and take a look at the remains of the Roman aqueduct.
Freshen up before dinner.
Dinner will be at the Ca’del Bosco restaurant in Cassinasco.
We’ll visit the medieval town of Asti, with its towers, ancient stone roads palaces and museums. You’ll have the opportunity buy a famous Borsalino (est. 1857) hat as actors Humphrey Bogart and Marcello Mastroianni and more recently Victoria Beckham and many more celebrities have done.
Lunch will be at Angolo del Beato, a traditional family run restaurant.
In the afternoon, we will discover the secrets of truffle hunting as told by a trifulau (Piedmontese truffle-hunter).
We’ll be in Nizza Monferrato for dinner where we will eat at YumYum, a local vegan restaurant.
After breakfast, we’ll dive into our third and final Kickstart session where we will learn about the keys of natural appetite control and the long-term benefits of eating this way.
In the afternoon we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed underground cathedrals (wine cellars) of Canelli, tasting sparkling wines at Contratto and Bosca wineries. Weather permitting we will walk to Canelli’s Castle, belonging to the Gancia Family, climbing along the ancient road of Sternìa.
After a break, we will enjoy a delicious dinner out at Ristorante Enoteca di Canelli.
In the morning we will visit the Castle of Costigliole d’Asti and discover the story of the Asinari family. We will then visit the Cascina Castlet winery. Along with seeing their wine making operations and having a wine tasting, we’ll also have a chance to see the Big Red Bench, which was designed by Chris Bangle and installed at the winery.
Lunch will be at the La Barbera restaurant of the International cooking school in Costigliole.
After lunch, we will go to Mombaruzzo, to visit the Berta distillery and taste their grappas. You’ll then have some free time in Nizza Monferrato and a chance to climb the bell tower of the city hall.
Your last evening meal on this tour we’ll be at the Michelin starred San Marco Restaurant in Canelli, where Chef Mariuccia Ferrero serves Piemontese specialties with star quality.
After breakfast, we’ll bid each other “arrivederci!” and you’ll either continue on your Italian exploration on your own or we’ll provide you with a ride back to the airport. Of course, we will exchange contact information so that we can stay in touch, reminisce about our incredible Italy experience and share recipes!
Relax with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine!) and gaze out at the amazing landscape!
Rent a bicycle from your hotel* and explore the local roads.
Explore the landscape and nature on foot and go for a relaxing hike.
Proof of Travel Insurance is required prior to our tour to make sure that everyone is covered in case of uncontrollable or unforeseen circumstances that would interrupt our trip or require the trip to be cancelled. Before we finalize your spot, we’ll need to see a copy of your insurance certificate. TravelInsurance.com will compare policies for you and is a good place to start.
We require a minimum coverage of (in USD):
Trip Cancellation – $4,000
Trip Interruption – $6,000
Medical Evacuation – $1,000,000
Medical Protection – $100,000
Reserve your spot with a non-refundable deposit of €1,650. The full balance not due until 90 days prior to our trip. Please note that while the deposit is non-refundable, it is transferable.
*Price is per person, double occupancy and includes all meals (reasonable amounts of wine with lunch and dinner if desired), workshops, accommodations, tours and ground transportation. Contact me for single (or triple) occupancy rates.
*Does not include flights, travel/health insurance, in-between meal snacks/food, or incidentals.
"Tracie's course was inspiring, easy to understand and left me with simple, basic changes that I could make to improve my health by making better food choices. She covers the science, recipes and practical tips.....and I could tell that she really cared about me and making sure that I got what I wanted to out of the program. I can't say enough to recommend her. Thank you so much!"
"One reads a lot about the quaintness of the Piedmonte region but experiencing the region with a home base in Calamandrana is even better.
Canan and Umberto are great hosts both coming from nature conservation background and can tell you lots about the diversity of birds, plants and other species in their surrounding hills.....You can take great walks just in this very vicinity where you will see wonderful butterflies, deer and of course their own adorable donkeys!
Homemade jams are delightful (ancestral recipes) and many herbs come directly from their garden. Great views to enjoy the serenity of the hills and a good book.....it's so easy to stroll down the hill and go for wine and/or prosecco tasting all around the zone and visit the local farmers' markets full of wonderful savors......beautiful!"
We love nature; having lived and worked as nature conservationists all over the world, in 2009, we settled in Piedmont. We scaled down our hectic lives to live on our farm enjoying nature and tending our own organic gardens. Our aim is to provide a home away from home for visitors who want a comfortable, high quality B&B with as small an ecological footprint as possible.
We love our region and all it has to offer and we’d like to share our knowledge of the area with you, our visitors.
I hold a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies (via Cornell University), am a Certified Plant-Based Chef (Rouxbe Cooking School) and am a Certified Food for Life Instructor with the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine. I live to eat and cook healthy food. I also hold Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees and have worked for many years on conservation and environmental issues and in the arts. I’m the proud mama of three school-age kids who keep me crazy busy and young at heart. My husband is a Fire Fighter and we live near the beautiful coast just north of Boston. Two things I try to do every day; break a sweat and live in gratitude.
Canan and I have been friends for over 20 years and with her husband, Umberto, we are so excited to bring you this amazing experience in Northern Italy – I hope you’ll join us!
This immersion/tour is for women (*sorry guys!) with an open mind, sense of adventure, and ability to walk a reasonable distance since we’ll be touring lots of different areas. It helps if you like wine, since we’ll be touring lots of wineries. You don’t have to LOVE cooking, but you should be open to the idea of spending some time in your kitchen, exploring new foods and recipes and investing in your health (I promise I make it easy!). We welcome groups of ladies or singles travelling alone (we’ll do our best to hook you up with a wonderful roomie or you can contact me for single-occupancy rates). You do have be age 18 or older to join us, however.
*For groups of men or mixed-gender groups, we would be happy to design a special trip for you. Just reach out and we can chat!
Whether you eat a vegan or whole-food, plant-based diet, vegetarian diet or are a carnivore – there will be something for you on this trip.
On our travels throughout the area we will be eating at a variety of restaurants and we are working hard with our partners to make sure that there are vegan and vegetarian diet options. However, given circumstances out of our control, we can’t promise a vegan meal option at every restaurant right off the menu (although most have vegetarian options right off the menu, which can easily be adapted to vegan). If you adhere to a 100% whole-food, plant-based diet (like Tracie) – you can follow her lead and work with the waitstaff to order something off the menu that includes no animal products. Fresh pasta with roasted vegetables is always a good backup option!
On our workshop days, Tracie will be showing you how to prepare delicious whole-food, plant-based meals and on those days we will be eating the results of the workshop for lunch!
The Piedmont Region of Italy is mountainous and is considered to have be a “cool, temperate, moist biome” and a “continental climate” – perfect for certain types of grapes that typify the vineyards in this area. Summers are generally hot and winters are generally cold but relatively mild, with much variation in the lowland areas as compared to the mountain tops, which get a good amount of snow.
In July, the average temperature in Calamandrana (our home base) is between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and in September the average temperature is between 62 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Why is wine better from the hills in Piedmont? There are two major features affecting the weather in Piedmont: the ice cold Alps and the warm Mediterranean. The tug-of-war (a.k.a. Diurnal) temperature variation makes the whole area fill up with fog in the morning that slowly burns off during the day. This means the land higher up on the hills gets more sun. More sun = happy grapes = good wine. There are good wines to be found north of the Apennines in the foothills of the Alps. But since this area is much cooler, expect much lighter tasting, higher acidity wines.”