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Tuscany was covered in clouds this morning as we pulled away from Ancora del Chianti and I think everyone was very sad to see it in the rearview mirror. We spent 3 wonderful days with Laura and Fillipo and their beautiful agriturismo. After a last breakfast of traditional Ancora cake, fresh meats and cheeses and homemade juice–we said our goodbyes.

A short car ride later, we found ourselves in completely new surroundings in Modena at the Garuti winery. I think everyone perked up a little bit!

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We were able to tour the grounds, learn how the wine was produced (they were in the middle of harvest!) and enjoy a sampling of their sparkling Lambruscos. We assure you–it’s nothing like you will find in the states! Even our most adamant tour guests who were positive they were not fans of Lambrusco have a bottle packed to take home.DSC01177

The restaurant lunch we enjoyed at Garuti may just be the favorite of the trip so far! 4 courses later (!), we were ready to take on the balsamico at Acetaia Bompana.

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Learning the arduous process of the creation of balsamic vinegar had our entire group intrigued. A 12 year minimum aging time for the “Tradizionale”–and only 4% of each barrel can be manufactured per year–had a couple mouths dropping! Once the time came for taste testing, everyone could see why such a delicacy took time.

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A weary group made their way to the new hotel in downtown Parma, before heading to dinner. Light antipasti and some soup (it’s a little chilly!) were enjoyed by all family-style.

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Tomorrow is the day we’ve all been waiting for…can you guess what it is?