Every year we hold a contest where we invite one lucky contest winner to travel to Italy with us in the fall with myself and my mom Sara to learn from us how we are inspired by the flavors of Italy and to explore with us all it has to offer. This year our lucky contest winners, Michael and Martha Richitelli (it was true coincidence they had Italian roots!) joined us in Lucca Italy.
We were excited to learn that Michael & Martha had never been to Italy before and in fact Michael’s father came over from Casperia, Italy when he was 11 years old. You can only image how excited we were to have them join us
back to the country of Michael’s roots. We also took two bloggers along to experience the trip with us so we chose Julie from “The Little Kitchen” and Greg from Freezerburns. Julie took some wonderful photos and shares with you about her experience with us. Check out all of her photos and get all the behind the scenes scoop on her blog. Greg also took some amazing behind the scenes video that you can find on his YouTube page and his Facebook page.
We had a week full of activities from cooking classes to exploring ingredients that inspire our meals and showing our winners why we source certain ingredients from Italy. We were very busy in the kitchen sharing some of our favorite recipes with our guests! We taught them how to make our families Italian stuffed fish recipe with fish we pick out earlier in the day
at the local fish market. We also had a great time making homemade pasta and Sara even taught everyone how to make her famous stuffed Eggplant Parmesan.
When we weren’t busy in the kitchen we were out exploring all that Italy had to offer. One of the first stops we had was at a local cheese factory called Formaggi dealla Famiglia Busti. On our tour we had a close up look on how different cheeses were made, they showed us the many processes the cheese has to go through before its ready to eat as well as how you mix in the flavors to get the taste you wanted. Click here to watch the video from our tour! In addition to the cheese factory we visited a local pasta factory and local wineries. I can tell you one thing, we ate our way thru Italy sampling all different kinds of cuisine that inspires the meals we make.
Our last stop on our trip was at Castello Banfi where we took a tour of the vineyards to see how their wine was made followed by a night’s stay in the castle. It was the perfect ending to a great trip. We had a wonderful time on our trip this year and we are excited to see who will be chosen to go with use next year!