Fabrizio Lucci is a local to Abruzzo, a central region of Italy, and one of our hosts for incredible, truly local gastronomy holidays.
I was lucky enough recently to indulge in a unique and authentic cultural adventure by joining one of Fabrizio’s experiences in the Italian region of Abruzzo.
Whether you’re travelling alone or with a partner, this immersive experience is ideal for anyone seeking to throw themselves into the rhythms of local life. Our accommodation was a boutique hotel that provided a one-of-a-kind local experience, thanks to the fact that it was far from the busy tourist spots, as well as the fact that we were made to feel truly at home and part of the small, tight-knit family that runs it.
On day one, we visited a traditional Italian home. Here, we learned how to make pizza and biscuits with the mother and aunt who lived there, who simply love to cook and share their passion and knowledge. We were swept away by their lively conversation, the scents of the kitchen, and their eagerness to share their cooking skills with everyone. Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to totally enjoy this experience and get your slice of pizza!
For day two, we visited a farm and participated in the vegetable-picking and mozzarella-making processes, learning about the co-op way of life as we did so. Only by joining an experience such as this do you get properly under the skin of the local culture and feel like a true insider like we did.
Whilst eating out at a local restaurant will give you a taste, it simply doesn’t match the feeling of getting your own hands on the fresh produce to see where all these spectacular local dishes start their journey.
After, we visited a vineyard to pick grapes, experience traditional grape stomping and enjoy a taste of the unexpectedly sweet raw product. This activity was excellent for the camaraderie and friendly competition within our small group of six people, as we competed to have the largest basket of grapes!
This was fabulous fun and really a bucket list moment for me (although more so for my husband, who is the most competitive soul and got the crown for the biggest grape basket)!
Hunger had set in by then, so we enjoyed a farm-to-table lunch, made entirely with locally produced ingredients. These included organic flour for making different kinds of bread and cookies, fresh pasta, eggs, organic extra virgin olive oil, wines, liquors, juices, jams, cheeses, and a wide variety of salami, meats, and vegetables.
In the afternoon we explored the enchanting hilltop towns in the region, before we had dinner at one of the great local restaurants in Vasto, a real hidden gem we would never have found ourselves. This cultural journey offered us a rare chance to truly immerse ourselves in local culture, and created some moments that I’m sure will last long in the memory.
Fabrizio is an amazing host and guide, our car would frequently screech to a halt so that he could proudly show us local archaeological sites we would have driven straight past had we been travelling alone.
The next day, after breakfast, we headed out to an olive farm to learn all about the production process of olive oil, and to enjoy a tasting of this iconic Italian export. We observed the process for turning olives into olive oil and met the locals, the backbone of their community and passionate about their work. I can still smell the warm oil now – it takes me right back to Abruzzo.