Cycling Adventures for Food & Wine Lovers
Be a Traveller, not a Tourist
And Give Your Tastebuds a Holiday!
Culinary experiences are available in abundance in Tuscany and Umbria!
Here you will find some of the very best Italian food, cuisine, cooking, and oh, not forgetting the wine and wonderful rural cycling.
😎 🍷 🍝 🍇 🍋 🍦
Can I Do a Culinary & Vineyard Adventure On a Bike?
wine, vineyards, cafes & restaurants
Yes! We’d be delighted to welcome you and whether you chose Umbria or Tuscany as your holiday destination, Italian food, wine, vineyards, cafes and restaurants are lined up through your week-long cycling experience like ripened bunches of Sangiovese grapes just waiting for you to pluck them!
A home-cooked lunch, the Chef’s expert cuisine and a liberal selection of Pecorino cheese with a few slices of especially thin slices of raw cured Italian ham to accompany your wine tasting; the Wine and Food Lover’s itineraries provide a riot of culinary events that may well change your modern-day habits forever!
Inspired ITALY Reviews: Read Reviews on Tripadvisor
What Wine Do You Pair with Which Food?
"..taste many different wines and visit a host of wineries."
This is a matter of taste and preference and depends upon where you are and what you are tasting.
But each of the Inspired ITALY Guided Wine & Food Lovers journeys starts with a ‘wine tasting and education’ provided by a local expert Sommelier so that you’ll know how to pair food with wine and why!
In a week, you taste many different wines and visit a host of wineries. Whether you elect to try Umbria or Tuscany, you’ll discover the answers to some classic wine questions and you will learn the basics of how to pair food and wine.
Inspired ITALY Reviews: Read Reviews on Google
Why is Italian Food So Good?
"..you experience the local cooking culture yourself each and every day.."
Italian cooking is simple, truly simple. Take the best and freshest possible ingredients, and allow them to do what they do best, with little or no encouragement.
Many of the classic and well-known dishes of Italian cuisine come from ‘contadini’ recipes, recipes of poor country folk. Through necessity, the contadini created ingenious ways to get the very best from limited ingredients.
Central to every lunch and evening meal are the crops of the season, the fresh vegetables, fruits and always olive oil. Local food favourites are Cinghiale (wild boar), truffle, porcini, prosciutto, chestnuts and some extraordinary local delicacies such as Fagiolina del Trasimeno (beans of Trasimeno) and Torta al Testo, a flatbread which I love with sausage and spinach!
You experience the local cooking culture yourself each and every day whilst on your cycling adventure. In Umbria, you will sit at Nonna Katarina’s dining room table for a lunchtime feast of homemade farm-to-table dishes that will live with you forever. Or join Chef Simone and his imaginative culinary creations all based on those classic dishes in the heart of Chianti, Tuscany or Roberto and his daughter Claudia who are producers of homemade cheese, wines and meats that find a way into your heart and lifetime memories.
How To Do A Wine Tasting and Tour!
"Should I ‘spit’ the wine?"
Tour the winery first so that you can understand more about the wine that you are about to savour, how it is produced, when are the grapes harvested and from which vines. Learn about the ‘terroir’ and the process specific to that wine.
In the tasting room, you are usually presented with 3 or 4 different wines. Each is poured into a clean glass, one at a time and each should have been opened in advance of your arrival.
Colour: Examine the wine for its colour by holding it over a white napkin.
Legs: Then move the wine gently in the glass to look for the ‘legs’. This is the way the wine holds onto the glass.
Fragrance: Then bring the glass to your nose and put your nose inside the body of the glass to take in the full aroma.
Taste: Only then can you sip. Take a small mouthful and then, pout your lips and suck air in making a slight slurping sound. This is to ensure that every taste bud in your mouth is fully exposed to all of the flavours and that the wine is sufficiently aerated. Then, slowly sense the flavours on your tongue. Often the flavours will develop and change from the initial taste until long after the wine has been swallowed. Yes, you can swallow the wine!
Then, after your first sip, try the food before the next tasting. You will be offered cold cuts of meat, some fattier than others and cheese, some are fresh and creamy while others are older with stronger flavours. Your guide will advise what food is best with which wine. Then taste the wine again and note the change in taste on your tongue.
Your Tour Guide and host help you through the process.
Should I ‘spit’ the wine?
The Sommelier or connoisseur will spit `after tasting but they are there to work! You are here for pleasure, so feel free to swallow. Between tastings, make sure that you clean your pallet with water and bread.
Can I Stay in a Vineyard? 🍇
Yes you can!
The Inspired ITALY ‘Tuscany for Wine Lovers: The Terroir of Tuscany’ adventure takes you to the very heart of the Chianti region where you will stay for two nights in a Chianti vineyard.
You visit numerous Tuscan wineries and the Chianti wine capital itself, Greve in Chianti. The very heart of the most famous Italian wine region reveals itself to you and you will get the answers to some popular questions: How Chianti is made and which is the best? And why does Chianti have a rooster?
You will learn the truth about what are super Tuscan wines, how wines are ‘graded’ and you will discover how wine is made in Italy, step by step.
On the Inspired ITALY Umbria for Wine Lover’s adventure, you spend two nights on the Lamborghini Wine estate!
Which Tuscan Wines are Best?
🍷 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano!
There is a small winery called Cantine Innocenti in Montefollonico a small medieval village adjacent to Montepulciano. This is currently my favourite!
As you might guess, there are hundreds of wines to taste in Tuscany alone and most are reds. Tuscany produces very few whites.
A close second favourite is the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Riserva 2015 from the Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona estate. I have a soft spot for the wine, the winery and the team here. You’ll have to visit to understand why.
Then, of course, there is the elephant in the region – Chianti Classico. I have enjoyed the house ‘Classico’ at Ristorante Malborghetto especially selected by Chef Simone Muricci and the Classico selection at the outstanding Villa Vignamaggio owned by the famous Frenchman, Patrice Taravella. And then there is the collection from Casalvento and Livernano. I admit to being treated to the most extraordinary and memorable super Tuscan here.
In the end, it is down to individual taste, preference and style. And there is a huge amount of fun in getting comfortable with trying and comparing wines.
Which will you choose?
What Does Umbrian Wine Taste Like?
Almost all of the world's Sagrantino is grown in Umbria.
A little south of Assisi is the village of Montefalco, home to the star of Umbrian wine, Sagrantino and final destination on the Umbria for Wine Lovers adventure. This deeply coloured tannic red is an unsung hero of the Italian wine world.
Almost all of the world’s Sagrantino is grown in Umbria. Sagrantino’s DOCG status, the highest badge of wine quality in Italy, was granted in 1992. Montefalco Sagrantino is made entirely from Sagrantino grapes and requires a minimum of 37 months ageing, 12 of which must be in oak barrels. With production still relatively limited, it is not well known outside Italy.
Unlike its larger neighbour, Umbria produces a number of good whites. From Chardonnay to Pinot grigio but the local and unique prince of Umbrian white wines is Grechetto, together with the Trebbiano.
You will enjoy these new flavours and exciting wines.
Umbria is dotted with artisan wineries little known outside of Italy, with many creating magnificent reds, whites and not forgetting the vin santo or grappa!
Which Month is Best to Travel to Tuscany & Umbria?
Spring is a Riot of Colour. Autumn/Fall, a Wealth of Flavour
Whilst September is the most popular month to visit, for us May and early June is the best period.
Why is it better to travel earlier in the year? The colours, the scents, the wildflowers and that sense of late spring and early summer. The days are longer and the sun has yet to find its peak.
In September the land has all but finished its annual agricultural shift. It has laboured to produce the fruits and is slipping into a resting period where the hewn fields lie still in a pallet of late summer tones.
Am I Fit Enough for a Food and Wine Lovers Bike Tour?
All our cycling adventures use electric bikes because Tuscany and Umbria are hilly.
Electric bikes are perfect for leisure cycling in the rolling terrain when the casual cyclist can use the assist, while the avid cyclist can turn down the power and get their work out.
Our adventures are about cycling together and electric bikes are a great leveller.
But don’t be fooled. These e-Bikes mean that you need to pedal and while you don’t need to go into training, you should get your bottom on a bike saddle for a few hours before arrival. The more prepared you are, the greater your comfort on the bike and the more you will get from your vacation.
If you don’t cycle regularly do put in some ‘pedal preparation’ before you arrive.
Cycling Adventures to be Enjoyed, not Endured!
Inspired ITALY Cycling Adventures are Cycling Together
Bike Tours for Food and Wine Lover's
“We are enjoying every moment! Last night treated with a live Italian music show in the piazza - what a wonderful and beautiful day it was!!! The routes are so beautifully thought out!”Rochelle Joubert, South Africa
“Although we researched the tour, we underestimated how hilly the terrain was in Tuscany. However, this trip will remain in our memory for a long time to come. We will definitely be back! Thank you Inspired Italy, you made our holiday so much fun...”Colin & Heather, Canada
“We are a family of four from the USA; 2 young adults and 2 older adults in our 60's. Inspired Italy exceeded our expectations providing us with a lifetime of memories of beautiful cycling scenery, fairytale medieval towns, fabulous meals, fantastic wine tours and beautiful, intimate boutique hotels.”Montanino Family, USA
“Inspired Italy - it is their first-hand personal experience and knowledge which allows you to eat and stay at the most amazing places ..”David C, UK
“The cycling was fun and I felt calm and exhilarated at the same time with a chance to feel the breeze, take in the views of the beautiful countryside”Mary Thomas, UK
“Stunning Hotels, amazing dining, breathtaking scenery and all enabled by the fantastic team at Inspired Italy and their outstanding e-bikes!”Andrew M
“I started e-biking after a hip operation. I had an initial idea that biking would involve staying in youth hostels. Far from it! This was really up market - great hotels, fantastic food and serious wine.”Paul Gregory
“Ian and I loved your guided e bike holiday around Tuscany. It was beautifully organised with every little detail thought of, including the most perfect lunch stops and, of course amazing hotels!”Sir Ian & Lady Collett
“We were very uncertain whether to opt for the guided or the self-guided, but having opted for the guided tour we now realise that there are some significant advantages.”Nigel & Alwyn Vaughan on a Guided Umbria Electric Bike Adventure
“Writing [the Google review] pulled on my heartstrings and made me want to do it all over again.”Marion Clare Williams, USA on a Guided Umbria Electric Bike Safari
“I rushed home to tell my cousin, all about our bike holiday. They booked immediately! It was one of the best holidays that I have ever had..”Suzanne Dale, UK. Umbria and Tuscany eBike Safari
“Puts the joy back into cycling”Graham Adamson, Canada – Guided Tuscany eBike Tour