So in 2 days we managed to do all this:
Visit to the Carpigani Gelato University for a short hands-on gelato class (highly recommend) where people can also take a month long course to become proper gelato makers (thinking of this for perhaps a second - wait - third, fourth, whatever...) career when I retire one day.
Visit to organic vegetable farm Podere San Giuliano where we had a walk around the gardens and discussed artichokes, cabbages and much more... Followed by an amazing lunch.
We transferred from Bologna to Modena to hang out in the kitchen of Michelin starred Luca Marchini all night long, preparing a delicious meal whilst enjoying various large amounts of delicious wines that were brought out. Check out the Amaltea cooking school if you're in the area.
After a short nights' sleep off we went to check out the process of Balsamic vinegar in one of the oldest makers in Modena called Giusti. It's always great to hear about the history of such a singular product, and walk around the sticky floors of where the balsamic ages sometimes for decades. We tasted several ones including 100 year old balsamic!
Then it (finally) became time to visit a Lambrusco winery Garuti where we were treated to a quick vineyard and winery tour before tasting various types of Lambruscos all dry pink and reds, even ones that did natural fermentation in the bottle (a new fad in the area). Once again a magnificent lunch was served with local traditional dishes featuring of course local Parmigiano cheese and Mortadella.
Back in Bologna only in time to refreshen before dinner and then the whole group was bussed off to an organic winery in the hills around Bologna (I trust there were hills because by the time we got there it was pitch dark) to try the local Pignoletto wine (a dry white sparkling). Corte d'Aibo then served up another lovely meal with the most succulent piglet ever (still dreaming about it) - no photos from this evening as it was dark.
After all this food & wine the best possible follow up would have been a day of resting and fasting, but off we went to see the new Fico Eataly World just outside Bologna. Due to open the day after this is posted, it felt like an empty house before a move just 2 weeks ago. This is to be the Worlds' largest food theme park with endless restaurants, shops, workshops. etc. There will even be daily departures from Florence by bus, for those coming to Florence and interested in a day trip!
So a few photos from the different experiences:
We were divided into 4 teams to make different flavors of gelato.
There's also a gelato museum for the geeky gelato people
Parmesan gelato topped with 12 yr old traditional balsamic vinegar
Podere San Giuliano - just outside Bologna
Amaltea cooking school with 1 star Michelin chef Luca Marchini - in Modena
Puff the tartar with smoky air - totally cool!
Acetaia Giusti just outside Modena
Garuti outside Modena - Lambrusco di Sorbara