The 2019 tour season has started and our first group of intrepid explorers landed in Venice for the start of our North East Italy tour.
We decided to get stuck in straight off the plane and headed north to the town of Schiavon where the family owned Grappa producer Poli is based.
We don’t cover spirits very often on tour and many of us had reservations about this well-known but perhaps misunderstood drink.
After a restorative snack lunch of cheeses, salami and salad, we were fortified enough to begin the tour. Head of PR, Ilva Vezzaro, showed us round in a wonderfully deft style and imparted a wealth of useful information. The amazing aromas of freshly distilled Amarone skins were all around. We learnt about the distillation process, admired the polished copper stills and discovered the key differences between clear, aged and flavoured grappas.
It was then time to put our knowledge to work. With over 30 different products to taste – at our leisure – this was potentially a high risk opportunity for over consumption. However, despite the temptation, we all managed to experience the styles we wanted and left with a new respect for the famous grappa.
It was a short hop from Poli to our hotel in Bassano del Grappa, and there was time to rest briefly before dinner.
After a welcoming Prosecco aperitivo in the bar, we headed upstairs to a truly amazing private dining room on the first floor of the hotel.
Fresh, in season white asparagus was our first course – raw and delicately shaved with parmesan and utterly delicious. Tagliatelle with bacon was next up, followed by some divine beef with grilled vegetables. Dessert was asparagus ice cream with a sweet fruit mousse – sensational! All washed down with local Friulano, Pinot Grigio and a Cabernet blend with the beef.
A cracking start to the tour.