Italian Wine and Food……and lots of tourists!

Our Eleven Winery travelers at the 4 Madone Dairy in Lesignana di Modena

Summer travel is in FULL swing! Our recent journey to Italy with Eleven Winery took us from Milan in the North, through Piedmont and Genova to Emilia Romagna and ended in Siena and Florence in Tuscany. Italy in the summertime, post-pandemic, post-flooding and during excessive heat wave (we just made it out before it got really hot, is not for the faint of heart! As with every tour, we learned a lot and will make a few adjustments to the planning of tours of this kind.

The group of 20, mostly wine club members from Bainbridge Island based Eleven Winery, its’ founder, Matt Albee and his staff were all interested in the productions of organic wines and local food systems. The middle of our tour was led by Confcooperative Emilia Romagna official Davide Pieri, who took us to the 4 Madonne Dairy in Lesignana di Modena, where learned about the involved process and production of Parmesan cheese, The cooperative who in recent years opened its’ facilities for private tours, is increasingly known overseas. Our travelers were amazed and fascinated by the sheer number of cheese wheels on the shelves! Our visit ended with the tasting of 4 different types of aged Parmesan cheese, paired with local Lambrusco. 

Pieri, who enjoyed the company of his second CCJ group in five years, mentions our visit in his recent newsletter: “The stars and stripes guests continued the tour by visiting Francesco Liuzzi’s vinegar factory in Albareto di Modena, partner of Acetaia La Tradizione , which produces traditional balsamic vinegar of Modena; the result of the work and passion of Mr. Francesco who in the attic of the house is dedicated to the care of 25 batteries of barrels.” 

The CCJ Foundation plays a key role and provides a vehicle for CCJ to contribute from the proceeds of each journey. We will also find opportunities for you as travelers to donate directly into the CCJ Foundation for the various projects at home and around the world.

To this end, we stopped at the Anima di Bentivoglio social cooperative, just outside Bologna for lunch at the Locanda Smeraldi. The restaurant, surrounded by greenery, features dishes of typical Bolognese cuisine, while providing employment opportunities to young people with disabilities, hardships and other disadvantages. The Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation just gave $1,700 to this project, directly from the proceeds from this tour. 

Pieri continues: “Before continuing their Italian tour in Tuscany, the American guests also visited the Arceto plant, in the Reggio area, of the Emilia Wine cooperative winery, learning about the production techniques of highly appreciated wines such as Lambrusco and Spergola”.

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