Italy with Friends – Private Tour Itinerary

By admin | February 24, 2018

Cheese Shop in Pienza

Cheese Shop in Pienza

Italy with Friends: April 28-May 5, 2018

Saturday, April 28

2:00 pick up Rome Termini – in the big front foyer in the Termini (the main train station)
6:00 Aperitivo party welcome
7:30 Dinner prepared by Chef Jennifer

Sunday, April 29

8:30 Breakfast at the villa
9:15 Bus to Pienza – Time to explore and shop
1:30 Lunch at 
La Terrazza del Chiostro
La Foce Garden Tour with Colleen
7:00 Group Dinner – Perfectly Pecorino

This meal will be all about Pecorino, a fabulous Italian sheep cheese which is a specialty of Pienza. We’ll make a variety of recipes using different flavors and stages of Pecorino…paired with regional wines, of course!

Monday, April 30

8:00 Breakfast at the villa

Cycling Tour of the Umbrian Valley with Chef Jennifer
Tour along country roads with a professional Italian guide through the beautiful vineyard and olive grove covered hills of the Umbrian Valley, stopping in small villages along the way. A full Umbrian Picnic lunch in the countryside completes the day!

The afternoon will be free to relax by the pool or recover from the morning’s exertion with a little nap.

7:00 Dinner at Vitology (Bistecca)

Yes, the beefsteak is about 2-1/2 inches thick and grilled over a wood fire…you can watch Chef Moro preparing it in the restaurant.

Tuesday, May 1

8:30 Breakfast at the villa

9:15 Bus to Castello Monte Vibiano Winery
Colleen and Tom will guide us on a tour of this a very special winery!  It is the only winery in the world that is completely “green” and certified as carbon neutral.  Powered by sophisticated solar panels, they store energy to run the farm and cantina equipment which is electric.  For many generations, the Sereni and Fasola-Bologna family, who come from ancient nobility, have tended the vineyards of the castle. Our group will enjoy specially designed Eco-Tour; we get into electric jeeps, passing the family’s Castello and through ancient olive groves along the way to the most precious vineyard of the Fasola family, Vigna Lorenzo, that dates to 217 B.C.

Back at the winery we learn how wine is made, visit the barrel room and then relax on the beautifully designed wine terrace for a free tasting of their four wines (a white, a pure rose and two reds) accompanied by freshly toasted bruschetta drenched in cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil. Yes! You can buy wine and have it shipped home at a reasonable cost.

1:00 Lunch at Lillo Tatini in Panicalle
Afterward, we’ll indulge in gelato in the piazza.

5:00 Cooking Class at the Villa with Chef Salvatore
Chef Salvatore was born in Napoli and brings both the traditions he learned from his grandmother and mother, and the traditions from our local area of Umbria where he has lived for over 40 years. He will teach us how to make his famous Eggplant Parmigiano (layered like lasagna) and Pan Di Spagna (sponge cake) with Crema Pasticciera (pastry cream).

Wednesday, May 2

8:00 Breakfast at the villa

The Art of Deruta – A feast for the Eyes, the Soul, and the Palate
We’ll tour the ceramic studio of GP Deruta and watch a master potter work his magic. Learn about the Majolica painting process and see skilled artists practicing their craft. Tour the show room and enjoy a 40% discount (off Poggi Bonsi retail prices) on anything you purchase.

A stop at the Madonna del Bagni Santuary will calm and center us before we indulge in a world-class

1:00 lunch at L’Antico Forziere where every dish is a work of art.

Italian Grocery Store Shopping Experience
Exploring an Italian grocery store is a foodie’s dream! Who knew there were so many types of pasta and cheese? Each traveler will receive some Euros and a shopping list to buy ingredients for our evening meal. Practice your Italian because the lists will be in Italian!

7:00 Group Prepared Antipasti Dinner

Thursday, May 3

8:00 Breakfast at the villa

9:00 Bus to Orvieto

A “must see” for many reasons. Orvieto is one of the most dramatic hill towns in Italy, perched on a plateau atop huge tufa cliffs created by an ancient volcanic eruption. Orvieto has a stunning Duomo (cathedral) and its monuments and museums cover millenniums of history starting with the Etruscans. Later, during the Middle Ages, many popes lived here for refuge from the many sackings of Rome, since it was so easily defended. The magnificent mosaic façade of the Duomo was created by the glass artisans of L’Antica Vetreria who were famous and sought after for their glassmaking.

12:45 Bus to Civita di Bagnoregio, a tiny hamlet perched on an eroding tufa cliff with the only access across a massive bridge. We’ll visit it before it disappears completely.

1:30 Lunch at Trattoria Antico Forno

Olive Oil Education and Cooking Class with Keli
We’ll taste and evaluate several local olive oils and use our favorites in the meal. The menu includes homemade foccacia bread with assorted cheeses and spreads, a traditional salad, and strigozzi pasta made by everyone. For dessert we’ll create a fruit crostata.

Friday, May 4

8:30 Breakfast at the villa

10:00 Umbrian Cooking Class & Lunch 
This hands-on class Terre Margaritelli winery in Torgiano is based around the best local ingredients in season, and includes making antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce followed by a lunch (eating what we just made, of course!)

Afternoon free to relax and pack

7:00 Farewell dinner at Vitology

Saturday, May 5

8:30 Breakfast at the villa

9:30 Bus to Rome.


Topics: Store News | No Comments »

Bourbon Sour “Poggi Style”

By admin | October 19, 2017

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Ritrovo Selections Organic Apple Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 ounce pure maple syrup
Dash black walnut bitters


Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously, then pour into an ice-filled cocktail glass.

Topics: Poggi Favorite Cocktails, Recipes | No Comments »

Arugula Fennel Salad with Fresh Apples and Hazelnuts

By admin | October 19, 2017

The perfect salad for fall entertaining. Serve it in a hand-painted Italian Pottery Tuscan Village Serving Bowl for a festive presentation.

4 tablespoons Ritrovo Selections Apple Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 cup Madonna dell Olivo Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Ritrovo Selections Herbs & Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and trimmed
1 fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, sliced paper-thin
2 cups red delicious apple slices, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup walnuts or hazelnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup Parmesan cheese shavings



  1. Place vinegar in a bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with Herb & Salt and pepper.
  2. Place arugula, fennel, and apple slices in a large bowl and toss with dressing.
    Top with nuts and shaved Pecorino.

Topics: Store News, Tours, Travel Stories | No Comments »

Friends & Family Sicily Tour 2017 Itinerary

By admin | August 10, 2017

We’re excited to explore Eastern Sicily with you
September 23-30, 2017

Saturday, September 23
12:45 – Pick up at Catania Airport
2:30 – Light lunch, drinks at Malafemmina in Fontane Bianche
4:30 – Getting settled and exploring the villa
8:00 – Dinner prepared by our private chef

Sunday, September 24
9:00 – Breakfast
11:30 – Leave for Siracusa
1:00 – Lunch at Macalle
2:30 – Walking tour of Siracusa with Chiara
6:00 – Aperitivo at Bar Condorelli
7:00 – Return to the Villa
8:00 – Pizza Party

Monday, September 25
7:3o – Breakfast
8:30 – Leave for Siracusa Market to meet Chef Rodolfo and shop for our cooking class
10:00 – Winery Tour and Cooking Class at 
Pupillo Wines
2:00 – Return to the villa for beach time and relaxing
7:00 – Olive oil class and Sicilian olive oil tasting
7:30 – Antipasti dinner by the pool

Tuesday, September 26
8:oo – Breakfast
9:15 – Leave for 
11:00 – Time to explore, shop and have lunch on your own
2:30 – Amphitheater tour with Filippo
5:00 – Return to villa
8:00 – Dinner prepared by our private chef

Wednesday, September 27
8:oo – Breakfast
9:15 – Leave for Caltagirone
1:00 – Lunch at Trattoria Anima e Core
2:30 – Visit Delfino Ceramic Studio
4:00 – Return to Villa
7:00 – Cooking Class with Keli including a Sicilian Wine & Cheese Pairing

Thursday, September 28
8:oo – Breakfast
9:15 – Leave for 
Chocolate-making class
12:30 – Leave for Ragusa
1:00 – Lunch La Rusticana in Ragusa
2:30 – Return to the villa
8:00 – Light dinner prepared by our private chef

Friday, September 29
8:oo – Breakfast
9:15 – Leave for 
11:00 – Zisola Almond and Wine Tasting
1:30 – Lunch in Noto
3:00 – Return to the villa
7:00 – Dinner prepared by our private chef

Saturday, September 30
8:oo – Breakfast
9:00 – Leave for 
Catania Airport

Topics: Tours | No Comments »

Mini Blueberry Smash

By admin | August 2, 2017

Makes 2 mini cocktails

2 tablespoons Blueberry, Thyme and Raspberry Balsamic Shrub
2 ounce gin
1 ounce elderflower liqueur (like St. Germain)
3-4 ounces club soda
fresh blueberries, for garnish
thyme sprigs, for garnish
slice of lemon, for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Add Blueberry, Thyme and Raspberry Balsamic Shrub, gin, elderflower liquor, and top with club soda. Gently stir to combine.
  2. Garnish with a slice of lemon, fresh berries, and a sprig of thyme or mint.

Topics: One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails | No Comments »

One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails Menu

By admin | August 2, 2017


Limoncello Mint Spritz
Proscuitto Parmesan Pinwheels
Torta al Testo* with Bresaola, Arugula, and Lemon Garlic Mayonnaise


Keli’s Mini Mai Tai 
Curry Garlic Shrimp on Madras Cheddar Shortbread
Spicy Fried Chickpeas


Mini Blueberry Smash
with Blueberry, Thyme and Raspberry Balsamic Shrub

Peppered Strawberries on Goat Cheese Crostini with Aged Balsamic Vinegar
Bleu Cheese Gougére with Organic Apple Balsamic


Mini Berry-Prosecco Ice Cream Floats
Apricot Almond Tarts
Key Lime Coconut Cups

*Torta al Testo is a specialty from Umbria, Italy.
A large round stove-top flatbread is sliced in half horizontally and filled with greens, meat, and cheeses.

Topics: One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails | No Comments »

Keli’s Mini Mai Tai

By admin | August 2, 2017

Makes 2 cocktails

1 ounce coconut rum
2 ounces POG (Passion, Orange, Guava Juice)
Dark Rum float
Pineapple spear


  1. Pour coconut rum into an ice-filled cocktail glass, stir
  2. Pour 1/4 ounce of dark rum over the back of a spoon to float on top of rum/juice mixture
  3. Garnish with a thin spear of fresh pineapple

Topics: One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails | No Comments »

Spicy Fried Chickpeas

By admin | August 2, 2017


2 (14 oz) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons curry
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


  1. Drain chickpeas into a strainer. Rinse and drain very well. Dry the chickpeas on a large sheet of paper towel, with another sheet laid over top. Pat gently to remove excess water.
  2. Toss chickpeas with 2 tablespoons olive oil and seasonings.
  3. Pour remaining olive oil into a heavy skillet and sauté in remaining olive oil, until crispy.
  4. Drain on paper towels and cool.

Topics: One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails | No Comments »

Blueberry-Raspberry Shrub with Thyme

By admin | August 2, 2017

1/2 pound fresh blueberries
1/2 pound fresh raspberries
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Ritrovo Selections Aged Balsamic Vinegar


  1. Macerate fruit and thyme in a glass bowl, mix in 1 cup sugar, stir thoroughly. Cover with a clean cloth and let sit on the counter for 2-3 days, stirring occasionally, making sure all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Strain the fruit mixture through cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve into another bowl and compost discard seeds and pulp.
  3. Mix in the cup of balsamic vinegar and bottle. Will keep in the refrigerator for 6 or more months.

Add shrub to sparkling water, cocktails, salad dressings or drizzle over fresh fruit or ice cream.

NOTE: You can add herbs to the fruit shrubs also, try blackberry with basil, or raspberry with lemon balm.

Topics: One Bite Appetizers, Two Sip Cocktails | No Comments »

Blue Cheese Gougeres with Apple Balsamic Vinegar

By admin | August 1, 2017

Makes about 24

1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup finely crumbled Gorgonzola
Ritrovo Selections Organic Apple Balsamic

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment or a SilPat mat. Combine first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Stir in flour; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir vigorously until mixture forms large dough clumps and film forms on bottom of saucepan, about 1 minute. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon beaten egg to small bowl and reserve. Add 1/3 of remaining beaten eggs to dough in saucepan; whisk until well incorporated. Add remaining eggs in 2 additions, stirring until eggs are completely absorbed after each addition (dough will be sticky). Mix in blue cheese.
  3. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheet, forming about 24 walnut-size mounds and spacing about 1 inch apart. Using pastry brush, brush each mound with reserved egg, flattening any pointed tops.
  4. Bake gougères until puffed, golden brown, and dry, about 30 minutes.
  5. Drizzle with Ritrovo Selections Organic Apple Balsamic

Do AHEAD: Can be made up to 1 week ahead. Cool completely. Place in airtight containers and store in freezer. Rewarm on baking sheet in 350°F oven until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Topics: One Bite Appetizers | No Comments »

« Previous Entries