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There is something truly magical about Ticino—such an amazing blend of Swiss and Italian. I’m so glad that I got to take this cooking tour and taste all the delicious food of the region and meet the people who make it. The lakeside workshop at the grotto on how to make risotto was amazing and delicious. And the desserts were unbelievable. - E.W. - California
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.
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.
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.
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
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
$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
27 May 2018 - 02 June 2018
01 July 2018 - 07 July 2018
02 September 2018 - 08 September 2018
14 October 2018 - 20 October 2018