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Our last day is always bittersweet, as we are excited about all we have shared with our travelers over the last week and a half, yet there is still so much more to see! So today was chock-full of new experiences to make sure our final day was a memorable one.

We started the morning off with a visit to a very special place – the caseificio where David and Rynn first learned to 20140502_092622make cheese eight years ago. The shop has a lot of activity going I since they are in the middle of cheesemaking and it is also a market day, so there is a constant stream of people coming in and out to pick up their cheese for the day. Even with the busy morning, Guiseppe welcomes us into the back where the rest of the staff is eager to show us what they are working on. Milk is being steamed, curd stretched, cheese resting in a salt bath – the half-dozen employees are moving with purpose around the room as we take it all in. Back in the shop we have an opportunity to sample the stringe, their version of string cheese, and the ciliegine, as David talks more about their experience working with the Macri family over the years.

We must fit in one more market experience before we leave, and it’s just our luck that Friday is Soverato’s weekly market day. The group has a few hours to browse this mid-size market, and most are on the hunt for the gnocchi boards we used in yesterday’s pasta class. For some it is a final opportunity for unique souvenirs and gifts. After a quick lunch and a stop for nor last gelato, the afternoon is spent at the hotel to Packard gets things in order for tomorrow’s departure.

20140502_190110Our last evening was a special one indeed. Our friend Salvatore opened up his pizzeria for our group! Not only did we get to watch a master pizzaiolo at work, but he treated us to some pasta making (and eating!) and he made some impressive fondant flowers – part of his self-taught pastry expertise. We helped roll out some dough, then headed to the dining room, where dish upon dish of pizzas were delivered. As we like to do on our last night, the group went around the table to share their favorite experiences, some memories resulting in riotous laughter and some eyes welling up with tears. Beyond specific experiences, some shared their overall reflections on the tour, like:

– “Just being here in my roots. This has been beyond anything I could imagine, so I thank you.”
– “What I will remember most is thinking back on this trip…the places I never could have visited on my own or even as part of another group. I will always be appreciative.”
– “I’ve been so impressed with the pride everyone exhibits over what they do. It’s brought new meaning to see an artisan create like that.”
– “The surprise and wonderful aspects that made each day more exciting than the last, and all the extraordinary people we would usually never have the chance to meet.”

We can easily say that we agree with all these statements and more – it’s been such a wonderful 10 days to share with this group! Buon viaggio!

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