Day Nine: E-bike tour!

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After waking up and eating a delighted breakfast. we headed into the historical area of Lunigiana.  This area, like the rest of Italy, has a long line of history that has shaped the area.  Within this area, there are 14 municipalities- one of which is the town of Farefalle.  We arrived at the visitor center to partake in a days worth of activities, which included a presentation on Lunigiana and tourism, a presentation on UNESCO, then a guided 2-3 hour 6ou5 on bicycles (which had a battery to assist when climbing hills) and finally we listened to the president of the park speak about the TEA National Park UNESCO Biosphere project.

To focus on the tourist part of the day, this post will talk about our experience with bike tour.  We experienced roads that were windy with hair pin turns as well as dramatic up hills and down hills but don’t worry, our bikes were equipped with a battery system to assist on those long climbs.This was an amazing tourist activity because it puts people with a range of athletic abilities and fitness levels on the same level (everyone could participate!).  The assisted  E-bike had speeds of eco (little assistance), touring (helped speed up hills), sport (more assistance to really power you), and lastly turbo (most assistance to make you race around).

Once we left the parking lot we headed down the road toward the first of two castles.  The tour guide took us right inside of the small villages  surrounding the castle, which was a change of view from driving through them in vans.  As we climbed the long and windy hill up to the castle all of us had fun switching through all the different assistance modes.  As we entered the castle, our guide let us get off the bikes and tour around the main entrance area.  Of course we took a lot of photos as we admired the architecture of the castle.  The view from the castle was breath taking, seeing the mountains and the villages below was perfect.  There was a small rain storm that rolled through, too cool us off, but the beauty of it was seeing the dramatic clouds in the sky roll over the mountains.  From the first castle we biked to the next castle in the next village.  Again, we stopped and this time took a group photo with the mountains and the beautiful landscape in the background.  These bikes were amazing, it has been agreed by everyone that it will be hard to ride any other bikes besides these as they were just that fun.

Written by, Michael Tuthill

Hotel, Resort and Tourism Management

Paul Smith’s College 16′

Day Eight- Farm Restaurant

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Monday (day Eight) was our last breakfast in the wonderful town of Castlenovo Ne’ Monti. Which was sad, because the food that Chef Marco made for us was was fantastic!. So we started our drive to Apella, which seemed short to me because I fell asleep. We stopped at one of the TEA National Parks Visitors Centers and it was a beautiful stone building, right on top of a hill overlooking a great view.

We all sat down at a lovely table, and had no idea what was going to be for lunch (Which is fun!)The first course had bread, fried bread, salami, prosciutto, and other delectable items. We tried one of their main exports, chestnuts, baked into a small cake which was served with ricotta cheese….it wasn’t my favorite but I appreciated hearing about the history of this protein rich food item which was grown locally. Next, for the pasta course, we had a chestnut gnocchi with some type of sauce and vegetables, which I enjoyed very much. After that we heard a sizzling sound and our waiter put down this hot clay dish that had steak and arugula in it. The steak was really rare, but it was so delicious and of course we had potatoes to go with that. After that we had dessert which was a blueberry cake-it was also delicious.

After our meal we went outside to tour the visitor center and had a talk with the chef. We learned from the very attractive chef that everything we ate was local. He raises chickens, sheep, donkeys, and rabbits that he kills for dinner. They have a very lovely garden where they grow lavender and herbs. After we left the stunning chef, (wink wink) it was back into the vans to go tour a local town that only has 7 people living in it. They transformed the rest of the town into a giant bed and breakfast / conference center. It’s a very popular destination and heir busiest month is in August. After that little side trip it was back in the vans and we were heading to Comano.

Written by, Kylie Graham

Baking and Pastry Arts Student, Paul Smith’s College

Day Seven – Day of the Parks!

Today was called the Day of the Parks and we went to the Lago Di Gramolazzo in the Alpan Alps Regional Park. The group was given a choice to choose between three activities, which were to go biking, kayaking or hiking. The activity that I chose was to go hiking.  The mountain my group hiked is called Campocatino.  Two tour guides lead our short but amazing trek.  We were able to see panoramic views of the Alpan Alps.  Our guides were rich with knowledge about the area, which made the adventure even more enjoyable.  The area was established before Christ and some of the buildings were constructed in the 17th century or earlier.  Our group was fortunate enough to come across one of the shepherd’s huts that were being renovated.  The tour guides spoke to one of the construction workers and asked if we could look inside.  Although the hut was small we were able to get a sense of what life would have been like for some one living in that area centuries before.  The town was completely off the grid with no power to the small huts. There was a small restaurant/bar in the town that did have electricity and has been updated recently.  We were told by a man who lived in the village that some of the people that owned the huts are fixing them up and are consider vacation homes for them.  This location is amazing with its breathtaking views and interesting historical background.  Campocatino is my favorite part of the trip so far and I am very grateful for the experience.

Written by Brooke D. Warne

Day Six – Cooking Lesson with Professional Chef!

 

This morning we learned how to make authentic Italian tagliatelle with a beef ragu, this present style dish from the mountains. We made the pasta with 100 grams of flour, a pinch of salt, one egg and a small splash of olive oil. After mixing this all together we  needed the dough and let it rest so the gluten could relax. Next macro the executive chef showed us how to make the potato filling.  It consisted of potatoes, rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic, butter, olive oil, sage, Parmesan cheese and eggs. Once the filling was mixed and the pasta was done resting we started to roll it out with a pasta machine, but he also showed us the way to do it by hand with a rolling pin. After all that we filled the tagliatelle and cut out each one with a pasta cutter. Marco already had the ragu made because it takes 6 hours to make; then he heated the ragu and he cooked the pasta……. next we feasted!!!