In recent years, many American restaurants have focused on using local ingredients from local farms, but that’s been a trend for quite some time in Italy in no small part due to agriturismi. The Agriturismo movement, short for “agricultural tourism,” started in the 1980s and picked up steam in the early 1990s as a way for farmers to sustain their farm and grow. By offering rooms, Italy cooking classes, and producing products, the appeal of staying at agriturismi quickly attracted tourists from all over the world.
Some agriturismi now are simply farmhouse B&Bs that rarely produce the quality experiences tourists are looking for. That’s why, here at The International Kitchen, we focus on offering true farm to table experiences at working farms, such as our Culilnary Adventure in Puglia in the “heel” of Italy’s boot.
The beautiful farm is owned and run by a brother and sister. Chiara, the sister, also leads the cooking classes. You can use some of the plentiful produce that you’ve find growing in Puglia, not only fresh vegetables, but olives, grains, and cheese made from the farm’s animals. The accommodations are at a “masseria,” the Puglia version of a farm’s manor house, which has been converted into a relais.
Another farm to table cooking vacation that we offer is Farm to Table in Emilia Romagna, which is located in the heart of Emilia Romagna, a veritable foodie mecca and home to such products as prociutto di Parma, parmigiano cheese, and aceto balsamico di Modena. You will experience the incredible foods of a local organic farm, and stay at a nearby B&B just a short walk from the farm.
Or, if you’re looking for a region that is truly off the beaten path, visit Molise during our Authentic Italy from the Mountains to the Sea culinary vacation. You stay at a working farm, welcomed by the brother and sister that run it, while you explore the beautiful region of Molise on Italy’s eastern coast.
Finally, you can opt to stay at a working agriturismo in the Abruzzo region during our Authentic Abruzzo Cooking. Your hosts raise chickens, bees, pigs, and sheep on the farm, as well as cultivating many fruits and vegetables. You can discover rural agricultural traditions, and you might also find yourself making jams, sauces,, and liquors.
Staying at an agriturismo may be a rustic experience, but it’s a worthwhile one, particularly if you’re interested in experiencing fresh and truly local cuisine.
By Peg Kern
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Originally published October 17, 2012.