Italy's famous sparkling prosecco wine comes from vineyards that cover a picturesque valley, just north of Venice. While Champagne refers to a region, prosecco is the name of the grape that is grown on rolling hills that stretch from the town of Valdobbiadene past Treviso and Conegliano, as far as Vittorio Veneto. A couple of days driving along this "strada del vino" combines wine tastings in village cantinas, staying in charming B&Bs run by winemakers, and the chance to discover the local Veneto cuisine in rural osterie and trattorie.
Valdobbiadene is the capital of prosecco country, and the perfect place to start a trip through the vineyards is the historic Bar Alpino. It is difficult to believe that this osteria opened more than 80 years ago because the friendly young owner has recently renovated the place into a smart wine bar where over 50 different prossecos can be tasted by the glass. The clientele hasn't changed though – colourful winemakers stop off here at all times of the day. And the food is as traditional as ever, with delicious "polpettine" meatballs on sale all day, while locals crowd in around 6pm when the "porchetta" - roast suckling pig - is brought in from the baker's oven and sliced up at the counter.
Lecce the home of The Italian School is the Apulia region jewel, and one of the most fascinating southern Italian towns.
The capital of the Salento (the southernmost part of the Italian heel), Lecce is nicknamed “The Florence of the South” because of its awesome Baroque monuments. Wandering on a summer night in its century old, stone paved streets is simply magic. Discover with us its main square, piazza del Duomo, after the crowds are gone and the full moon lights up its golden limestone monuments.
But Lecce is not only art: Salento offers some of the best Mediterranean dishes you could find in Southern Italy, often inspired by traditional cooking, based on vegetables and fresh pasta. Lecce is buzzing with excellent places to taste it, some just a few steps away from Piazza del Duomo. One of my favourite dishes is Ciceri and Tria (fresh home made pasta with a cheakpeas) eaten with a great Primitivo di Manduria wine, in a vaulted ceiling century old dining room in this beautiful historical centre what could be better.
Most people have tried Mozzarella but have you ever tried Burrata? If you haven’t you are in for a huge treat! So what is the Difference between Mozzarella and Burrata? Fresh mozzarella cheese is a semi-soft Italian cheese made from cow or water buffalo milk. Burrata cheese however takes the mozzarella one step further — it's mozzarella that's formed into a pouch and then filled with soft, stringy curd and cream. As you cut into the ball of soft milky cheese it breaks open and reveals its stringy, creamy centre which swims out all over your plate. Possibly one of the most delicious Italian delights to be tasted and it would be rude not to use a piece of fresh Italian bread to mop up the milky remains.