A Sunday Italian walking food tour with Abruzzo4Foodies in Guardiagrele, Abruzzo’s arts & crafts hilltop town could be just the ticket for easing your precious 19 month old into Italian foodie heaven as this is an eating tour, no mean little samples here.
It could also be a mean mini test for gushing parents that declare their darlings eat everything when of course as a faddy toddler each day is new on this front! Thankfully the tour is diverse enough and the town small enough for there always to be something on the next doorstep to not loose a toddler’s interest. The tour mingles along and its leader Emiliana is patient being a parent herself.
Guardiagrele Flavours of Abruzzo Tour Highlights
Sise delle Monache Stop at Emo Lullo
These squishy sweet 3 peaked Genovese sponges are endemic to Guardiagrele and filled with enticing perfumed crème anglaise. Depending on who you believe these are styled on the nearby peaks of the Majella, she is after all referred to locally as mother mountain, or the virgin titties of a Poor Clare Nun’s wimpole where everything gets a little squashed and rather than a muffin top you end up with what looks like 3 breasts.
For a Sise delle Monache recipe check out CiaoChowLinda
Toddler Rating – great for eating as well as using the thick layer of icing sugar that is dusted over these notable boobies as a crayon to draw and stamp onto the floor.
Parents – Interesting alternative coffee beans and roasts to the usual espresso coffee served in the region.
The Craft Market
An assorted range of handmade pieces that will catch the magpie eyes of a toddler as you MARCH past! Only joking, the stall-holders are very patient so there is no need really to march, they weren’t really my cup of tea, a little twee but could be useful for those looking for sentimental souvenirs to take home.
The Flower Market
A perfumed exquisite snake of colourful brightly coloured petals that captivated A and I alike. Mamma’s favourite.
Frescos by St. Maria Maggiore
Madonna del Latte
In the gothic portico is a C15th fresco of the Madonna del Latte, one for this and possibly every Mum to ponder “what did the artist use for his model for the Madonna”. Lovely ample cleavage but what’s her trick for not hanging low, it’s not like any breastfeeding boobs I know or for example in Stacie Turner’s amazing breastfeeding photography collection
Toddler Interest –The small bricked ceiling of the gothic portico and looking out over the walled gap into the piazza with everyone eating the famous ice cream that you can’t leave the town without trying.
St Christopher fresco
A worn but still obvious St Christopher carrying Christ across the river by Andrea de Litio in 1473.
Toddler Appeal – Measuring the huge feet, and counting the swimming fish
Useful for buying porchetta, vegetables, eggs, cheese for Sunday dinner if you’re not planning on eating out.
Toddler Appeal – Banana stop
Wine tasting at Santoleri Private Cellar
Led by Italian speakers this was a little overly long and difficult for non-Italian speakers to stay focused, despite the cellar being an interesting art installation – perhaps more translation would have been good or perhaps or made shorter. I’d have loved to buy these boutique vineyard wines here which wasn’t possible but still a gastro and sampling treat.
Toddler Appeal – The organic faro salad and frittata served as pairings with the wine, perfect finger food. The faro is also produced by the Vineyard.
Salami & Cheese Tasting
A great sliced assortment of Abruzzo’s best, rather than at the larger of the local and paired with some superb Villa Gemma Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC created by Abruzzo’s most famous wine producer Masciarelli that we liked so much we bought a bottle.
Toddler Appeal –What toddler doesn’t like cheese and salami nibbles and some very good black olive paste?
Museo del Costume e della Tradizione della Nostra Gente (Costume and Folk Museum)
This one is for parents rather than toddlers, though I am sure anyone on the tour with children aged 4+ would love seeing what you use to make spaghetti. It’s a fascinating insight into rural Abruzzo of not so long ago. Some of the regional pasta instruments on display like chitarra are still a staple used locally for many a housewife.
Toddler Appeal – Not sure what the Nuns would have thought but Run baby Run, a courtyard of daisies to flatten and a tree to run around and play hide, cloisters are the best spaces to practice running up and down on permanent repeat and burn off the salami.
Melt in your mouth ravioli and the local Abruzzese vegetarian take on meatballs – pallotte cace ovo (cheese and eggs balls in a sweet tomato sugo) with a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo tasting. When pasta is this good you can see why Italians ‘buy’ stuffed pasta for a Sunday treat especially in warm weather. This was served in a local fresh pasta shop but after checking back on Abruzzo4Foodies facebook page it looks like this is served in the cloisters.
Over the hills and out to sea a final topographic view from Guardiagrele.
Toddler Appeal – the town’s playground and fountain provide great entertainment value
Flavours of Abruzzo Tour Booking Details
Being a private tour, ideally a group is from 8 to 10 people, but upon request smaller parties, 2 to 3 individuals can be catered for by Abruzzo4Foodies. Tours can be arranged within 3 days but for those wishing to visit the Cantina 1-month’s notice is required.
© Photographs: Sam Dunham | Lucciola.me, All Rights Reserved