A Tour of the Tables … with a few accordion players, sexy Italians and tango’ing travelers to boot

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

The culmination of a year of collaboration with my Calabrian Table Tour partner-in-crime, Tania Pascuzzi (In Italy Tours), paid off last week as we welcomed seven bright-eyed adventurers into our favorite little corner of Italy.

I met the group at the airport, along with our handsome guide/interpreter Andrea (who all the ladies tried to squeeze into their luggage for the trip back home) and our sweet but far-from-bilingual driver, Francesco. Somewhat quiet and timid on the ride to the Pollino, the group quickly meshed and by the end of the first night were already holding hands as they hiked to a hidden monastery and were singing, hopping and most-of-all laughing with each other as we danced the Tarantella.

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

The next few days were filled with a combination of long lunches, free-flowing wine, ruined castles, deep gorges, high peaks, pasta-rolling, cheese and wine-tasting and everywhere we turned, musicians, singers and would-be guides emerged to tell us more about “their” Calabria.

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

After four nights, we bid a sad farewell to our hosts-with the promise of a quick return-and headed south to Tropea. We stopped enroute so the group could have an upscale lunch of Calabrian seafood and chocolate tartufo and a secret behind-the-scenes visit to a local factory.

From Tropea, we ventured out to a nearby farm and learned the art of baking Calabrian bread and homemade pasta before feasting with the family on homemade *everything* – including, but not limited to, sopressata, ‘nduja, ragù, eggplant, peppers and pies.

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

We wrapped up our week at the luxurious private villa of one of southern Calabria’s most renowned chefs where we made crespelle (a specialty from my part of the boot) and enjoyed what was likely the most exquisite seafood meal I’ve ever had.

Calabria Tour: Calabrian Table Tour

So many times throughout the week I forgot I was working … the group was tremendous and after a few days it didn’t just “feel” like I was with friends-I truly was. I left the tour Sunday with the renewed energy I believe vacations were intended to instill. Tour members kept thanking me, but their comments-such as, “after four trips, this is the first time I’ve seen the ‘real’ Italy, “this is the best vacation I’ve ever had” and the heartfelt “you pulled it off, kid!” are words of thanks I’ll never forget.

Tania and I are incredibly proud of the tour and are thankful to our guests for coming along on the first annual Calabrian Table Tour. We have already had dozens of requests for 2012 and will have our new dates published in the coming weeks. But until then, I’m going to have to find me a treadmill and a new pair of sneakers. Table tourin’ isn’t without its drawbacks. Or should I say, drawstrings. Which are the kind of pants I’ll be wearing if we keep this up.

Until next time … cin cin!

Are you heading to Calabria? Click here to see how I can help you plan your trip.

12 Responses
    1. @Gail Brown, Thanks, Gail!!! We were running around a lot prior to the tour which is why I havent replied to Jere’s last email … but I sure will!! So glad you guys enjoyed Calabria.

  1. Margaret Cowan

    Congratulations Cherrye & Tania! When I read the itinerary with your cast of local characters and your lovely variety of places and experiences, I knew it would be a hit!

    It sounds like a fabulous taste of real, every day life in Calabria. We find sharing food & wine experiences really brings people together, helps them truly connect with each other.

    Margaret Cowan

  2. This was so much fun to read, since I just experienced my first-ever week-long guided culture/food/wine-tasting tour. It took place in Romania and Moldova (where I now live) and it was a freebee for me, tagging along with a small international group of tour operators. It was wonderful.

    I’ve lived in a fair number of countries with my development-economist husband, and traveled to more, but we’ve never done more than take a guided DAY tour anywhere. We get in a car and head for the hills, the smaller the road the happier my husband is 😉 We do end up in some funky places, but don’t experience all the things that a guided tour can offer.

    The tour you describe really looks great. And Southern Italy being one of our favorite vacation places, we might just sign up one day!

    Wishing you lots of success with more tours!

  3. Imani

    Ben tornata, Cherrye!

    I’ve missed your posts but am glad your latest endeavor was a great success!

    Best wishes to you, Pepe, and baby Max. I will never forget the time I spent at Il Cedro and hope to return one day!

    Ciao ciao,

  4. Oxendine

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