I am not sure when the term ‘agriturismo’ popped up but I remember hearing it about 8 or 9 years ago when some friends of ours talked about their stay in Tuscany. I do remember thinking when my husband said he wanted to go to Tuscany and do some ‘agriturismo’ on our next trip to Italy that he had gone a little crazy. I thought it was something related to agriculture sort of like WWOOFing where you go and work on a farm to pay for food and board. I remember thinking also that this was a very uncharacteristic thing for my husband to want to do – he is definitely more your comfort traveller. I even said to him that ‘I am not interested in that’.
Anyhow, time and some research cured my ignorance. The word agriturismo is a combination of the Italian words ‘agricoltura’ (agriculture) and ‘turismo’ (tourism). It refers to any type of farm type tourism venture that might have accommodation and provide some sort of agricultural experience that includes wine and food usually. So if wine and food is involved.... I am happy!
So this European summer we took our small tour group to Tuscany to experience ‘agriturismo’!
I have to say, being someone who hates to be away from the coast, it was fantastic and I enjoyed every minute of the Tuscan experience.
Discovering how organic wines are made and the different wines are blended and what percentage of a particular type of grape is required so that it can be labeled ‘chianti’
Savouring the many different types of cured meats such as salami, prosciutto, mortadella just to name a few
Understanding how the colour of the skin on the outside of the cheese relates to the age of the cheese and the taste
Learning about why they companion plant in the vineyards because the if the companion plant gets sick it is an early warning system that something could be wrong with the grapes
Learning to make local cuisine such as ricotta gnocchi, three types of bruschetta and tiramisu with a local chef and then enjoying everything we made together with degustation of wines, oils and vinegars
Learning about the local history and wandering through historic walled cities or climbing clock towers and gazing in awe at some of the most beautiful cathedrals you will ever see
Laying around the pool on a hot summers day in the middle of a Tuscan vineyard and enjoying local wines as we take the occasional dip to cool off.
Oh yes – the agriturismo experience is worth trying…..and nothing like WWOOFing!