The Abruzzo Cibus Culinary Tour is an all-inclusive tour. Guests choose either the four- or seven-day package and stay in a fabulous hotel (once a palace) located at the very top of an Abruzzo hilltop town. The little-known Italian region of Abruzzo has a lot to offer, and much of it is revealed by Abruzzo Cibus; that’s what really makes the experience special. Guests are guided from the seaside, where a visit with local fisherman slips you into the Mediterranean mood, to a mozzarella cheese factory, to the Vatican’s personal bell foundry, and so on.
The director of the tour, Massimo Criscio, will also plan visits to help you find your distant Italian family members. It’s these unique experiences that make this tour worthwhile, not to mention the cooking classes and nightly dinners provided by the Palazzo Tour D’ Eau’s chef.
But these experiences do come at a cost. This is not a relaxing vacation, and guests should not arrive thinking that they’ll have time to sleep in. For this reason, I’d recommend the Abruzzo Cibus Culinary Tour to travelers on their first or second trip to Italy; those who want to see and do a lot in a short time. You’ll learn to cook traditional Italian food (and eat a whole lot of it too), but you’ll have to stay on schedule. This is one aspect of the tour that I wish I’d been told about when I first arrived. But neither I or the other guests were prepared, which resulted in a constant feeling of being late, or being rushed.
This tour provides the personal touch that a bus tour of Italy could never offer, yet retains the highly structured format that connects visitors with local traditions, flavors, and people. Personally, I enjoy more personalized experiences, those that have a little wiggle room for detours. During my visit (on which the next three posts of my travelogue will focus), though there were only four guests, our personal needs were sometimes neglected. Though the Palazzo Tour D’Eau is a luxury hotel, this is not, to my mind, a luxury tour: it is a hurried trip into—and then out of—one of the few regions of Italy that is still off the map.
Photo Tour of Abruzzo and Palazzo Tour D’Eau
The trip takes you off the beaten path. It features cooking classes that share the culinary tricks of the locals. The native truffles are used with a heavy hand, and chef Dino Paganelli knows exactly what he’s doing. He should; he consults for one of the specialty food firms that provides for Dean and DeLuca specialty food shops.
And I think that once you fall into the groove of waking up at certain times, eating meals at certain times, and putting your personal preferences off, you might be happy to have had this experience. Others certainly have. Check out the reviews of Palazzo Tour D’Eau on Tripadvisor.com and you’ll see that it scores the highest marks across the board. Likewise, the wonderful ladies who stayed at the hotel during my stay deeply appreciated their experiences there. It’s all about what type of vacation you prefer, and these next three posts will take you inside the Abruzzo Cibus Culinary Tour.
Written by and photos by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com