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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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speck alto adige regional food italy tours
Speck from Alto Adige

 

The most prominent cured meat in the Alto Adige region is its smoked prosciutto, known as speck. Not to be confused with the German speck, which is known in Italy as “lardo”, an Italian speck is a prosciutto, which prior to the 18th century was referred to as “bachen”, or bacon, in Tyrol. Here, you see once again the merging of influences characteristic to the foods of this region; the smoking method from the Austrian and Germanic cuisine to the north, and the salting and spices from the Adriatic regions to the south.

North of the Alps, ham is traditionally preserved through smoking techniques. In the south, in regions like Emilia Romagna, prosciuttos are typically air-dried. Tyroleans combine both methods to create their typical Speck Alto Adige: alternately lightly smoked and cured in the fresh mountain air; in keeping with ancient traditions. Historically produced in the local farmhouses, today, modern methods are used to season, smoke and cure the speck.

mountain cuisine regional foods italy private tours
Mountain cuisine

 

Like prosciutto, speck is made from the hind leg of a pig, but, unlike prosciutto, speck is deboned before curing. After deboning, it is divided into large sections called “baffe”, which are then salted and cured in a spice mixture, the specifics of which would be carefully guarded by each producer, but typically would include juniper, pine, cinnamon, nutmeg, bay, garlic and coriander. After several weeks of curing, the speck is smoked. Smoking occurs slowly and intermittently, for only 2-3 hours per day, over a period of one week to 3 months. The goal is to allow the flavors of the wood - pine, beech and juniper - to thoroughly permeate the meat. Today, a cold-smoking process is used, in well-ventilated smokehouses that benefit from the cool climate of the higher altitudes in the mountainous region, but historically speck was smoked by hanging the meat in your chimney above your family fire. After smoking, the speck is then aged for approximately 22 weeks, the actual time determined by the final leg weight, before it is ready to enjoy.

speck logo culinary cycling tours italy
Alto Adige Speck logo

Today, the quality of speck produced in Alto Adige is protected by a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) or, in Italy, IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta)designation. This status assures the buyer that the product has originated and/or produced in Alto Adige (DOP indicated originated AND produced). In the case of speck, the hams must adhere to a strict set of criteria, including fat to lean ratio, weight, and PH. The curing and smoking methods and aging must adhere to specific regulations. The legs that pass the final inspection are branded four times or more on the rind with the Sudtirol logo.

In the Alto Adige, speck often eaten thinly sliced as an antipasti. You will also find it in pastas, risotto, on pizzas, and alongside hearty whole-grain breads. It will sometimes accompany shellfish or scallops, or served simply rolled around a bread stick or a spear of asparagus.