My recent stay in Italy was full of marvels. I booked a room in so called agriturismo, just as I did many times before. What I mostly appreciate in such accommodation is high quality local food and friendly owners who share their passion with you. I consider myself lucky to know Italian and to be honest it is very helpful while travelling around Italy. Speaking Italian is useful but not necessary while visiting large cities it is crucial if you want to experience how the real Italian life looks like.
What is agriturismo?
The rules concerning agriturismo are pretty straightforward: most of the ingredients used in food served need to come from your own garden or farm. Therefore typical agriturismi are rather large properties with fields, gardens, orchards or pastures. Such business is usually family run and the owners are usually the previous farmers, but this not always the case. The owners are normally the locals and are well inserted into the context: they are familiar with history of the place, they know the traditional recipes, and most of all they are usually passionate about their activity. Using their own ingredients each company serve some exceptional dishes, which- obviously- has roots in the local kitchen tradition.
How to find a decent agriturismo?
There is an association established in cooperation with Camera di Commercio called Strada dei Vini e Sapori. I will publish a separate post focused on the activities of this association later but their website is a good resource to find a nice place to stay. They gather owners of B&Bs, agriturismo, shops, travel agencies and restaurants. Membership in this association is restricted and regularly monitored so choosing one of the companies listed on their website you can be sure that you support the local business, you get know the locals and the quality of food and vines is really high. Strada dei Vini e Sapori is divided into 3 routes. Along one of them called Via delle Corti Estensi the agriturismo I was staying at is located.
What to expect from agriturismo?
There are three basic strands of the typical agriturismo activity defined: providing accommodation, food and their own products to sell. While the quality of the accommodation of the particular agriturismo might vary the quality of food is always exceptionally high. La Rocchetta– the place where I was staying at- provides exquisite traditional kitchen with some modern variations. The company runs their own garden, orchard, small vinery, and they also keep livestock. They have two specialities that are worthy to try: cappellacci rossi and duck. As I had the opportunity to see the process of preparation I can assure you the cappellacci are really hand made. I hope to publish short movie on how to prepare these delicious dishes so please be patient. La Rocchetta also prepares their own marmelades of various tastes. The breakfast I had everyday contained of fresh yogourt, home made juice, freshly baked bread or cakes, home made marmelades (fig, apple, pumpkin, plum and cherry), and cappuccino. Each day I could practice my Italian talking to the owner about kitchen, recipes and weather.
What I really like about La Rocchetta, beside their excellent kitchen, is their educational scope. They host school age children to show plants and animals and to explain the process of production of typical Italian food. Moreover, they organize workshops focused on handmade pasta sfoglia. This is excellent opportunity to get closer to the Italian tradition. And you know what? You can do it as well! La Rocchetta is organizing such workshops regularly. Before you book your stay there ask if Franca will teach you how to prepare this Italian goody.
Have you ever thought about visiting Italy? Here is an alternative way on how to visit Italy and get really close to the Italian way of life. I created a project ‘I love Ferrara‘ so you could join me and experience how beautiful and tasty Ferrara is. If you wish to immerse in Italy book your holiday now!