Travel with me to Italy!

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I am very excited about a new opportunity I have been working on.  We are in the very beginning stages of creating a one-of-a-kind cooking and traveling experience in Umbria.  Let me discuss the backstory for a moment…My wife, Emily’s family on her Mother’s side is from the city of Amelia (not a coincidence on our daughter’s name) which is in Umbria.  A few generations ago, her great-grandfather came to the United States to start a new life as many in the early part of the 20th century did.  His brother, however, stayed in Amelia.  Communication back in those days was slightly more difficult than what we are used to nowadays, so over time, the family’s lost touch with each other.  Fast forward a few decades, and the family’s reconnected.  The similarities in appearances, personalities, graciousness, kindness, and hospitality between the extended families on two separate continents in uncanny.  I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with both sides and gotten to know them a little bit, and am very grateful for it.  When Emily and I traveled to Italy back in 2009/2010 we got to experience a side of it that many tourists or tour guides don’t show you.  We were much more a part of the culture than just visiting it.  We got to know the winemakers, cheesemakers, olive oil producers, farmers, and chefs as well as being a part of the Fabbrizi family gatherings.  We did do some of the big city touristy stuff (Rome, Milan, Venice, etc.) but the most amazing days were the ones that we were behind the scenes, experiencing the culture, exploring the lesser known towns & sites, and really getting to know the true Italian way of life. 

It’s those experiences that I want to share with a small group of excited travelers.  I am working with Giacomo and Federico Fabbrizi, two brothers who happen to be my wife’s cousins from Amelia!  Together we are crafting what we believe will be an unbelievable week-long trip filled with once in a lifetime type experiences where we will be “behind the scenes” as I mentioned above.  There will be cooking classes with myself and a few hand-picked chefs from the region.  We will visit wineries, cheesemakers, olive oil producers and truly become part of the culture.  This will be a hands-on, participation required type of experience that will include transportation, lodging, great food, wine, and a lot of memories.  We are shooting tentatively for the spring of 2020 for the first of hopefully many trips.  Space is limited to 10-15 guests, and many more details are still to be worked out, but my goal is to share the lessons learned from when Emily and I traveled to Italy and create something truly remarkable.  Stay tuned for more details as we will be creating more of a program of events in the upcoming months.  If you have any interest in signing up for the initial waitlist, please email me at chefjustinmelnick@gmail.com and send me any thoughts or feedback you may have.

 

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