Our private gastronomic tour
What a fantastic day!
When we started looking for a food tour for this trip, EDP really wanted something that would take us along the coast, not just keep us in Naples or Sorrento. Eventually we landed on a private tour - a total indulgence but so good!
We were picked up by our guide, Aaron, at 8:30 and whisked away to an olive oil factory, where Susie took us through the gardens, showing us olive trees, hazelnut trees, fig trees, lemon and orange trees (most of the old orange trees in Sorrento have now been grafted with a lemon tree so both fruits are on the same tree.) Then, it was over into the factory to show us how they produce their olive oil. It’s not harvest time right now, so we were able to peer right into the machines and Susie showed us pictures of what the process looked like in production. Once we learned all about how the three different types of olives are used, we tasted over a dozen different olive oils - many of them infusions based off the four main olive oils produced, like vanilla, mint and lemon (of course!)
From there, it was off to Cantine Stinca, a small family-run winery where we saw where they ferment their wines and then tasted two white and three red, all made from local grapes. We also met a very friendly dog named Hang, who was pleased to meet us but even more pleased to be bribed out of the way with cookies. While tasting our wines, we enjoyed cheese, prosciutto-wrapped bread sticks, bread and olives. A great spread to go with some great wines.
Then, it was on to a local family farm where we met the world’s suckiest golden retriever that needed pets and to play fetch and generally flop down on our feet while we waited for the transfer down to the farm. We had a lovely walk from the farm entrance down to the house, joining three other guests and learning all about the various gardens and animals from Francesco. We saw some horses and a goat, along with some new vineyards that he got his first wine from last year and his young lemon trees. We also met Peppa, the potbellied pig, who seemed intent on ridding the farm of every weed in sight. Francesco and the other guests seemed baffled at how much snow we told them we got each year and we seemed baffled that it rarely goes below freezing there. Once down at the house, we had a cheese-making demonstration from Maria, who showed us how she makes a soft cheese from unpasteurized milk and rennet that has only been sitting for a few minutes, followed by a mozzarella from the same unpasteurized milk and rennet that had been sitting much longer. The curd was sliced and then hot water added to it while Maria stretched and twisted it into a delicious ball of mozzarella, popping off some boccaccini for us to taste. Then, it was on to making pizza dough - flour, a little salt, drizzle of olive oil, water - mix it all up and presto! Dough! Because we didn’t have time to wait for our dough to proof, we use dough Francesco had made the night before, learning how to properly knead it out to keep the circle shape before adding sauce and cheese and moving it into the pizza oven Francesco built himself. I earned myself a standing invitation to be a chef in their restaurant but I think I’ll stick to my day job. The pizzas were freaking delicious. We each ate slices of each one as it came out of the oven, enjoy the hot, gooey goodness. Once we had all made pizza or focaccia or lemon pizza, we moved over to a large tent to sit down to the remains of the pizza plus a spread of roasted vegetables, bruschetta, salami & prosciutto, and of course - the cheese we had watched get made. After stuffing ourselves silly, it was time for panna cotta, which was lovely. And it was time to meet another member of the family, a nameless turtle. Peppa also kept us company because it turns out, she adores pizza. Shocking, I know.
Once we were overloaded with food and wine, it was time for the last stop on our tour. We bid goodbye to Francesco and Maria (and Peppa the pig) and headed to a limoncello factory where they were hard at work peeling lemons to make their limoncello. We got to taste several differ liqueurs including an amazing walnut liquor with hints of vanilla and cinnamon that was amazing.
Then it was back to our hotel to figure out our Capri day (spoiler alert: we joined a tour) and into Sorrento to have a light dinner (spoiler alert: gelato.) And now, it’s time for bed and to rest up for our day on the water.