Travel By Knife & Fork

Savory Secrets

Venice is unique among culinary destinations. The human scale of the city allows you to experience its food and drink close-up. The glass of wine and cichetti walk around, the debate on the state of fish in Venice, the fight between tradition and updating classic dishes are all topics you'll embrace (and vote with your taste buds).

SWT Tours
SWT TOURS : Home Calendar About Us Trip Sign-up Why SWT Tours? Contact Us

DELICIOUS TRAVEL: Savor the best of regional cuisine.
Tastings, cooking, making food shopping exciting.

Travel By-The-Book : Senior Women's Travel : Favorite Cities : Theatre Tours
Travel by Knife & Fork : Unique Trips

Culinary Tour to Venice, Friuli, Slovenia & Trieste

2013 Date TBD

Note:  Many of the basic elements of this tour are also available without the culinary orientation.  See Venice, Friuli, Slovenia & Trieste for more information. 

Cook in a Venetian palazzo ... Sample the extraordinary fish of the Venetian lagoon ... Study the traditions of Venetian cooking ... Stir things up in a castle in Friuli ... Discover the wines of Friuli ... Feast on the regional foods of Friuli ... Sip the renowned coffee of Trieste.

Artichoke Bottoms And Zucchini Blossoms At The Famous Market On A Canal-side Boat

Artichoke bottoms and zucchini blossoms at the famous market on a canal-side boat

The tour is led by Mary Ann Zimmerman, author of a cookbook for Tupperware that took her to 26 countries. She had an illustrious career as a food publicist and was the Creative Director on the Ocean Spray Cranberries account for more than 10 years. Mary Ann's parties are legendary and she continues to seek out the best food wherever in the world her travel company takes her ... from a street food stand to 3-star restaurants.

Day 1
Arrive in Venice. Transfer on your own to our 3 star hotel with a great location, just 5 minutes from St. Mark’s Square. It also serves one of the city’s best buffet breakfasts.

Late afternoon: Private taxi ride down the Grand Canal and past legendary historic palazzos including Palazzo Barbaro, Ca’Rezzonico, Palazzo Vendramin and many others.

Group dinner (included).

Day 2
Cooking class with Susan in her small palazzo. A wide range of recipes will be prepared. Perhaps cichetti (Venetian small snacks), stuffed sardines in saor (classic sardines in a sweet and sour sauce), monkfish or John Dory, tramezzini, wonderful mayo laden sandwiches you only find in Venice.

Caesar Benelli Outside His Restaurant, Al Covo

Caesar Benelli outside his restaurant, Al Covo

The day starts with a walk around the Rialto Market, famous for its fish. A stop at DoMori, a famous wine bar known for one of their renowned cichetti. Then back to palazzo to prepare and eat a leisurely lunch with wine.

Light dinner (not included in tour price).

Day 3
Spectacular seafood tasting lunch at Al Covo with a short discussion with owner/chef, Caesar Benelli about Venetian seafood and the challenges to maintain quality.

Day 4
Optional Day to do as you wish. Museums, shopping, whatever. We’ll help you plan your day.

Day 5
Morning departure by train for 2-hour trip to Udine in Friuli. We will be met by our guide and driver, Sonia. She and her husband run a travel agency in Cividale. Sonia is super efficient, young, energetic and is the perfect person to introduce us to Friuli and Slovenia.



Guided visit of Udine, charming medieval town in the heart of Friuli with a distinctive Venetian flavor. In 1420, Udine surrendered to Venice and remained under her influence for three and a half centuries. It’s Piazza della Liberta echoes the architecture of Venice with Palladio-designed passageway that leads to the castle on a hill with views of the Alps.

Afternoon: Check into the Astoria Hotel, a 4-star hotel, and our base for the next couple of nights. Transfer to the enchanting Spessa castle in the renowned Collio wine country. Visit to the Castle wine cellars and the beautiful park surrounding the Castle. Cooking lesson with talented Chef Tonino in the castle kitchen. Preparation of a 3-course menu of regional dishes followed by dinner with wine from the castle estate. Frico (the delicious cheese appetizer) and tender gnocchi are on our cooking schedule.

Day 6
Full-day excursion to the nearby country of Slovenia to visit its medieval and cosmopolitan capital, Ljubljana. We’ll visit the cathedral, the Triple Bridge, the famous open market and the medieval historic center.

At lunch, we’ll sample the regional food of Slovenia. Karst proscuitto, air dried pork leg, for example, and potica, the best known culinary specialty of Slovenia. It’s a cake roll filled with a walnuts, poppy seeds, raisins, cottage cheese and honey.

Castello Spesa, Location Of Our Cooking Class

Castello Spessa, location of our cooking class

Day 7
Full day guided excursion to Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, ideally set between the blue waters of its gulf, the green hills and the white rocks of the Carso plateau. Visit of the city’s historical center and the Miramare Castle, the imposing former home of Maximilian and his wife Charlotte.

Fred Plotkin in his wonderful book, La Terra Fortunata ... a history of the Friuli region and a love letter to its inhabitants, wine makers and food and restaurant purveyors ... is enthusiastic about Trieste. Plotkin says that today Trieste, "overflows with café and pastry and shops and with them comes the culture of intellectual debate, cabaret, performance art, and spontaneous music making and all night chess matches."

We’ll delve into Trieste’s culinary heritage:

The Coffee Culture: Trieste is the leading coffee port on the Mediterranean and is renowned for its cafes and coffee. We’ll have coffee at the café that James Joyce frequented during his 20-year residence in Trieste. Illy, one of Italy’s best coffee producers, is based in Trieste.

Spices: We’ll examine Trieste and its special connection with the spice trade and the way these spices are used in cooking.

Regional Food: goulash, potato noodles, cheese dumplings ... the food of Austria coexists with typical Friulian dishes.

Osmizza: We’ll visit one, if time allows. These are informal eating places where farmers sell their meats, cheeses, olives and wines. These osmizza are located close by Trieste.

Overnight in Trieste at a 4-star hotel. (Optional: stay an extra night in Trieste.)

Day 8
6:30 a.m. train departure for Venice-Mestre. Arrival in Mestre with a bus connection to the Venice airport and plane for home. The bus is 20 minutes from the airport.

Note: The program is subject to change.

$3,400 (USD) Includes 7 night hotel (single occupancy, no single supplement), 4 dinners (main meals, may be lunch), train between Venice and Friuli and return to Venice-Mestre, 7 breakfasts, 3-day vaporetto pass in Venice (water transportation), all activities except Optional Day in Venice. Price does not include airfare, transfer to Venice from airport, lunches, all café stops, bus to airport from Mestre, personal expenses, wine and alcoholic beverages.