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Bike, Hike, Walk, Ski

You pick your activities; we’ll create your perfect tour. Kathy and Vernon work directly with you to create a trip to match your desires for accommodations, daily mileage, terrain, and activities such as wine tastings, cooking classes, shopping, and city tours.

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Food and Wine

Any tour of Italy is incomplete without indulging in the amazing food and wine. But to truly appreciate It, and what makes Italy so unique, requires a understanding of the regional history, culture and geography. All become part of your adventure with Kathy, chef, food blogger, and Certified Italian Wine Professional, and Vernon, mountain guide, MS in European Literature and avid history enthusiast.

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Your Unique Adventure

Not all private trips are custom. Most tour companies don't have the flexibility to deviate from their set itineraries, so there are always compromises. With Italiaoutdoors Food and Wine, your adventure will be as unique as you are, and your itinerary will be personally designed by Kathy and Vernon to meet the fitness goals and varied interests of your group.

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The ItaliaOutdoors Difference


Truly Personalized Service and a Custom Plan for Every Trip

Kathy and Vernon

NO MIDDLEMEN

You communicate directly with Vernon and Kathy. We know your dreams for an Italy adventure, we’ll have it ready for you when you arrive.

No Group Too Small

SMALL FOOTPRINT

Our small footprint allows us to travel like locals and enjoy spontaneous adventures as we explore the path less traveled.

 

Custom Plan

UNIQUE ITINERARY

Each tour itinerary is unique and serves as a framework for an exceptional journey, where a thoughtful plan adjusts to your pace.

 

Authenticity

KNOWLEDGE

We focus on just a few select tours to provide an exceptional level of regional knowledge and an unforgettable authentic experience.

Customize Your Adventure - Bike - Walk - Hike - Ski
With Italys "Best Local Guide 2013"

Read about our tours in Adventure Cyclist August 2015

Our passion is creating intimate, personalized cycling, skiing, walking and hiking adventures that explore an authentic Italy
- its outdoor beauty, its hidden back roads, its small family producers, its traditional wines, at your preferred pace.
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In Italian, barley is “orzo”, providing much confusion for us Americans who are familiar with a rice-shaped small pasta by the same name. To make matters more confusing, Americans make a risotto type dish from this orzo pasta. In Friuli Venezia Giulia, a very typical regional dish is a ‘risotto’ made with barley, or orzo, called orzotto. I have seen recipes in the US for an orzotto, but often these are made with orzo pasta, not barley.

orzo italy custom culinary tours
Orzo (barley) in Italian market


There are two types of barley found in Italy, mondo or hulled barley, which has been minimally processed to remove the hull. It is fiber-rich, and contains several high quality proteins. Perlato, or pearled barley, has been processed further in order to remove the germ and some of the bran. The grains are rounder, and it contains about 30% less nutrients. The mondo barley is used primarily in soups. The perlato barley cooks much faster, and is more often called for in recipes than the mondo type. When cooking with pearled barley, be aware that the amount of ‘pearling’ can vary from type to type, so the cooking time can vary significantly. The more it resembles a elongated grain, the longer it will take to cook.


Barley has been cultivated in Italy since ancient time, probably one of the first grains consumed in its wild form. Roman legionnaires would march off to battle with a bag of barley, which they would later boil in their helmets, making a hearty porridge. Its’ reputation for sustaining fighting forces was widespread; according to Pliny, barley was the special food of gladiators, who were also known as hordearii, or ‘barley eaters’.

Barley was replaced by more easily cultivated crops such as maize, or corn, and is no longer a commonly found grain in the Veneto region, but it appears occasionally in dishes like Crema d’Orzo al Latte (Barley Crema with Milk), a porridge type dish, similar to oatmeal in which barley replaces the oats. As we move north and east from the Veneto, however, we see more barley being cultivated and consumed today. It is particularly well-suited for cultivation at high altitudes, making it an important grain in the mountainous Trentino and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions.

bean barley soup regional food tours italy
Bean and barley soup


In Trentino, it is cultivated in the Adige valley, to the south of Bolzano. In this region, maize or corn is the most important grain, but wheat, oats and barley are grown here has well.

In Friuli Venezia Giulia, barley is one of the most important grains, having been introduced to the area by Jewish peoples who settled in Trieste. Here, the pasta e fagioli (pasta and bean soup) common throughout Italy morphs into orzo e fagoili, barley and bean soup. Also, risottos in this region become ‘orzotto’ when the Vialone Nano rice is replaced with orzo.