September 27, 2012
Take a Break This Season & Dive into Taste

Salone del Gusto takes place in Turin every two years
We always knew it was true but now it's official: travellers love Italy more than anywhere else in the world! Readers of the luxury travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveller, recently voted Italy their "Favorite Country" and the gala ceremony to confer this prestigious award was held on September 6th at the British Museum in London. According to Condé Nast Traveller, Italy holds the top place in readers' affections because "it has the best climate of any country in the world, and also the finest restaurants and the friendliest people." Voters also felt that Italy "deserves top marks for culture."

If Italy is your favorite country too, then you can't help but love Dive into Taste, our 5-night vacation package in Piedmont from October 24th to 29th. Food, friendly people and culture are the main elements of this gourmet package that has as its centerpiece Slow Food's Salone del Gusto. This gigantic food celebration, held every two years, gathers hard-core foodies from all over the world in a single city – Turin – to tickle their taste buds with an amazing array of olive oils, cheeses, balsamic vinegars, gelato, meats, pastries, candies and, of course, wine.

White truffles: ugly to look at but sublime to eat
An entire day (October 26th) will be spent at the Salone del Gusto so that its 700,000 square foot exhibition space can be savored to the fullest. However, not all the gastronomic delights of Piedmont are contained under one roof so our Dive into Taste vacation package includes an entertaining and informative truffle hunt in the scenic Monferrato countryside, as well as a full-day guided excursion to the Truffle Fair in Moncalvo with an al fresco truffle-based lunch in the village's main piazza. That's because Piedmont's claim to worldwide fame is the elusive white truffle, the prized subterranean fungi that grow deep in the woods of the Langhe and Monferrato in central Piedmont and are sniffed out by the keen noses of specially trained hunting dogs. October is the start of truffle season so all eyes are focused on this rare and fragrant little treasure that costs over $2,000 a pound.

Travel + Leisure A-List

For the 12th straight year in a row, Select Italy's founder Andrea Sertoli has been named to Travel + Leisure's "A-List" of the 161 Top Travel Agents and his recommendations for an unforgettable trip to Italy have been featured in the magazine's autumn issue.

Read more about T+L's A-List
The gracious small city of Asti, one-half hour south of Turin, is the base for our 5-night package. Asti has the friendly, down-to-earth air of a provincial capital and market town, but with the added attraction of a compact historic center boasting gems of ancient roman and medieval architecture that are guaranteed to charm. A guided walking tour on the first afternoon introduces you to this very accessible town whose main pedestrian street, Corso Alfieri, is lined with elegant shops. On Saturday mornings the lively outdoor food market in Asti's Campo del Palio spills over to two adjoining piazzas. You'll visit its stalls to pick up produce for the traditional, 4-course Piedmont meal to be prepared in a hands-on cooking lesson taught by a local chef (and the delicious risotto Carnaroli in Barbera wine sauce you'll learn to make is sure to become a staple of your dinner parties back home!).

Several vineyard visits with wine tastings are also included so that the region's celebrated red wines – Barolo, Barbera and Nebbiolo – can be sipped among the vines. White wine drinkers will appreciate the excursion to Gavi, a town in southern Piedmont renowned for its fine white wines, where a local winery will host a wine tasting. Plus there's plenty of time for shopping including visits to artisanal producers of tapestries and torrone, and a stop at Europe's largest designer discount shopping outlet where you'll enjoy extra discounts with a special sconto card for participants of this tour.

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