Monday, October 3, 2016

Carunchio. Ever hear of it? Neither did I.

Carunchio is a very small town on the top of a very large mountain with the most breathtaking views, located in the Province of Chieti in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  In that town I found an Italian cooking and cultural vacation at the Palazzo Tour d'Eau almost by accident while researching cooking and wine tours in Abruzzo.  I reached out to my new friend Massimo Crisco at Abruzzo Cibus, liked what I heard and decided to book the entire Palazzo which consisted of 13 rooms for a week in September.  Now I only needed to find 24 other people who were looking for the same experience.

That was the easy part.  I sent out an email to family, friends and posted on Facebook.  The week was almost fully booked within days.  We ended up with a great group of people for a wonderful trip to my favorite place in the world, Italia.

We all arrived in Roma different times, different days but met up for a food experience on a warm Saturday night.  I set up a welcome dinner at a private venue on the Isola Tiberina which is a small island on the Tiber River.  My Facebook friend Fabio Bongianni owns the successful restaurant and cooking school, That's Amore in Roma near the Trevi Fountain.  I reached out to him and worked with his staff to coordinate our dinner.  Chef Paulo and his staff provided an incredible show to go with a fabulous meal.  Everyone was full, happy and ready to move on to Abruzzo.

Me and Paulo
Our Sunday pickup to Carunchio was uneventful and we enjoyed the long ride to the mountains.  We met the welcoming staff at the Palazzo, found our rooms and had a delicious multi course first meal after sitting outside overlooking the beauty of the mountains in Abruzzo.

Pasta with garlic, oil and pepetrito sauce

Massimo and his staff showed us a week of cooking classes, food tours and visiting local towns.  One day we had lunch on the Adriatic Sea which was actually on the sea in a Trabocco structure that is also used as a restaurant.  It was magical as well as delicious.  My favorite day was spent traveling to Bolognano to take my aunt so she could see where her father, my grandfather, lived as a child.  It was very emotional even though I had been there before, walking up the small street to the green door with not only my aunt, but quite a few guests on the tour as well as our guide, Massimo.  He also took us into the church where he was most likely Baptized and attended Mass every Sunday.

Trabocco Cungarelle
We also had an opportunity to visit Cantina Zaccagnini located in Bolognano.  This is a winery I enjoyed for many years before finding out it was actually located in my grandfathers village.  Coincidence?  I think not.  With Massimo in the lead, we had a tour of this beautiful winery as well as a tasting.  They are a premier winery with wonderful art throughout.  I was fortunate to meet the owner and he actually told me we are related through his mother!  He presented both myself and Massimo with two magnums of their very popular wine.  Of course, I purchased a few extras, because, why not?

While we had many other activities throughout the week, a cheese factory, bell foundry, the one that stands out for me was our last night.  We made pizza.  Not just pizza, but about 20 of them made in many different ways in a beautiful wood burning oven.  Massimo even got out the nutella for Jim so he could have a dessert pizza!  After we created and ate until we were more than full, we were entertained by the staff with both Italiano and American songs.  We laughed, cried and some even danced the night away.  My ending was perfect as my cousin arrived from Pescara with her husband Andrea and their adorable child Daphne.  It made a fabulous vacation, as I said, perfect. 

Pizza toppings

Me and Massimo

Cheese factory in Agnone

My famiglia

My love of this week and all things Abruzzo has made me decide to work with Massimo to bring the world to Abruzzo and Carunchio.  The world should want to head to the mountains in Carunchio at the Palazzo Tour d'Edu.  It's a week to get away, disconnect from day to day living, sit back and enjoy the beauty of Abruzzo and be a foodie for a full week of cooking, eating wonderful meals and drinking montepulciano wines.  Stay tuned for their second location which is a spa and let  me know when you want to live "La Dolce Vita" (the good life) for your next getaway at a great price!



No comments:

Post a Comment