Castles, chocolate, waterfalls, mountain tops, and vineyards. Every day of this trip held super-wow moments. Even though it was a food tour, it was so much more than just food. It was meeting all the delightful locals who make you feel so welcome. Alpenwild does it right. - G.E. - South Carolina

Discover the Food and Wine of Ticino

The Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, the canton of Ticino, is a lesser-known culinary treasure that deserves special recognition. A blend of Italian and Swiss flavors—influenced by specific local ingredients from the mountains, valleys, and lakes—the cuisine of Ticino is molto delizioso.

One step into the Friday marketplace in Bellinzona and you’ll see the combination of those influences on display—cheeses, sausages, fish, pastries, breads, pasta, confections, and gelati that you’ll find nowhere else. The local chefs are the first ones to arrive in the morning. Restaurants of the region are well known for using freshly caught fish and freshly picked produce to create their flavorful and unforgettable meals. Local ingredients cooked with a Ticino touch.

Authentic culinary traditions

Frequent festivals, enlivened by folk music on the accordion, violin, mandolin, and tambourine, make shopping a delight. In addition to locally made textiles, ceramics, and other handicrafts, you’ll find an array of dried meats, pungent cheese, handmade preserves, artisan breads, glazed pastries—and mountains of delicious fresh-picked produce. Braided strands of bulging garlic, basket of blushing berries, and unfamiliar mushrooms in multitudes of colors intrigue; market aromas cause you to linger and study the offerings of local vendors showing off their finest.

Delicious cuisine with Italian influences

The fresh local farm ingredients and robust kitchen traditions combine to create distinctive meals for the curious culinary traveler. Although there is minimal farmland (it’s smaller than Rhode Island), historical evidence shows that the valuable territory of Ticino has been squabbled over since the 12th century. Invasions led to periodic famines, military occupations, and unexpected cultural exchanges. Every incursion has left a mark on the taste and style of the cucina icinese. Almost completely surrounded by Italy, Ticino retains a healthy independence from its southern neighbor while enjoying a common language and some similar culinary ingredients and traditions.

In addition to the food, this southernmost tip of Switzerland which plunges into the northern Italian Alps, is known for its glistening lakes lined with palm trees, sun-drenched beaches, abundant flower gardens, hillside vineyards, and deep valleys with snow-fed waterfalls: A walker’s paradise.

Workshops, small-groups, exciting excursions

Ticino is not Italy, that’s for sure. But the cuisine of the area is Italian-influenced with distinctive regional adaptions and unique specialties that you’ll want to explore. Your tour will be more than just tasting—in workshops you’ll try your hand at this remarkable cuisine. Make classic risotto on a shaded terrace while overlooking Lake Lugano. Stand side-by-side with a pastry chef as you create your own fruit-studded panettone. Stir the gritty and freshly ground corn for your own bowl of creamy polenta. Walk through an orchard of castagne before tasting glazed chestnuts. Your culinary experience will be enhanced by guided walks through lush vineyards, narrow cobblestone streets, ancient stone churches, and medieval hilltop castles.

Your Swiss food adventure includes roundtrip transfers from Zurich Airport via the new Alp Transit Gotthard Tunnel (the longest in the world), six nights’ hotel accommodations, breakfasts, dinners, (including one dinner in a Michelin-starred restaurant), ground transportation, excursions, classes, demonstrations, tastings, guided walks, recipes, interpretive notes, and the services of an English-speaking expert guide. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable visual and sensory feast as you Discover Swiss Cuisine – Italian Inspired


Overview Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive Zurich | Transfer to Ticino | Bellinzona

Day 2 – Lugano | Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli | Olive Path | Lake Lugano Cruise | Risotto Class and Grotto Dinner

Day 3 – Locarno | Explore the Locarno Arcade | Gelato Workshop | Gourmet Lake Fish Dinner

Day 4 – Artisan Cheesemaking of Zincarlin | Mendrisio and Vineyard Walk | Traditional Corn Mill of Bruzella | Polenta Class | Visit Chestnut Forest

Day 5 – Panettone Master Class | Valle Maggia |Gather Mountain Herbs | Village of Foroglio and Waterfalls | Dinner at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant

Day 6 – Bellinzona Saturday Market | Bellinzona Castles | Ticino Cheese Tasting Class

Day 7 – Depart

View Detailed Itinerary

Tour Price

$3,595 USD per person, double occupancy from Zurich or Geneva

$299 single supplement

Reserve your place on this tour with a $500 per person deposit

Trip Dates

27 May 2018 - 02 June 2018

01 July 2018 - 07 July 2018

02 September 2018 - 08 September 2018

14 October 2018 - 20 October 2018

28 May 2019 - 03 June 2019

02 July 2019 - 08 July 2019

03 September 2019 - 09 September 2019

15 October 2019 - 21 October 2019

Or, book a private departure

Trip Highlights

  • Visit the ancient mill where polenta is ground and then cook a batch topped with local artisan cheese
  • Sail across Lake Lugano to a grotto where you cook creamy risotto on the lakeside terrace
  • Stuff freshly made ravioli with local Ticino cheese and fresh local herbs
  • Discover the rich creative flavors of a local chocolate maker as you get an insider's private tour of the workshop