Primavera è in arrivo!

Spring is coming! Firenze dalla collina

Which means it’s time to get ready for your upcoming trip to Italy…or to keep dreaming about one manifesting on your horizon.

For Curious Travelers & Beginners, there’s an Italian Language & Culture Workshop on March 14th in Poulsbo from 3-7pm and another on Bainbridge Island Saturday, March 22nd from 10am-2pm. Then, 6-week Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island Parks & Rec class sessions will respectively begin on April 8th & 9th. For more information, please visit my Classes page or call 360.779.9898 for Poulsbo and 206.842.2306 ext. 118 for BI language options.

*** If you’re passionate about Italian culture & cuisine and are looking to join a small group of like-minded travelers, check out the itinerary for my November 2014 Foodie Tour of Tuscany.

Chianina Tartar al TartufoTartufo in manoTruffle dog Pepe finds Ask me or my previous travelers about the white truffle day, when we witness and taste true local, sustainable, farm-to-table cuisine in action…

Buon sole!

Happy Holidays!

Olives Villa Torre Rossa

Cari amici miei,

This is just a quick thank you to everyone who has helped make 2013 a wonderful year — full of new adventures involving Italian language, culture and cuisine!

After fully digesting the deliciously enriching experiences my group of travelers and I enjoyed during our November 2013 Culinary Tour of Tuscany, I am excited to plan (and pre-announce) a new itinerary for May 2014, which will feature tastings and tours to highlight more of Tuscany’s hidden artisan treasures. I will also offer a November 2014 tour that will closely follow the details of this year’s itinerary. I plan to announce these trips to my followers on this site and on Italian Inspiration’s Facebook page before registration opens to the public, so stay in touch if you’d like to know more. Pictures, itinerary details and pricing to follow soon!

Grazie mille e tanti auguri per buone feste a tutti!

- Ashlee

Pecorino e Vino Greve Vino Verrazzano

Reserve your place on a November 2013 Culinary Tour of Tuscany

Happy June!!

I hope this finds everyone well and ready to enjoy to warm weather, delicious food and fun summer outings… I’m already dreaming of our November trip to Tuscany and have finalized the documents you’ll need to start getting ready and registered. Please take a few moments to read through the Travel Agreement before you print, sign and send the Registration Request Form to me with a $400 deposit for each traveler. Please note that $200 of this is non-refundable, and I will honor an extension of the Paid-in-Full Tour Price discount of $175 through June 15th. For more details or answers to specific questions, please contact me directly. Grazie mille!!

Travel Agreement and Registration Form 2013

Spring & Summer Italian Language Classes

Get ready for your upcoming trip to Italy… (or the one you’re still dreaming about…) by registering for one of my 1/2-day Beginners Workshops or an 8-week Italian Language Course through Poulsbo Parks & Recreationvisit their website for more information or call 360.779.9898 to register. Classes are held at the beautiful and accommodating City Hall building in downtown Poulsbo. Tutti sono benvenuti!

Pbo City Hall

Italian Language Basics & Cultural Workshop for Beginners            4.5 hrs
** Beginning grammar, cultural insights and useful phrases for the Curious Traveler **
For anyone interested in traveling to Italy or exploring the language and culture from home, this 1/2-day workshop offers basic grammar, vocabulary and idiomatic expressions to enable the speaker to ask for information, to communicate needs, to understand simple directions and to gain knowledge about Italian culture, customs and geography while learning to speak and having fun! Refreshments provided during a 1/2 hour “Aperitivo” break. $20 materials fee per person, payable to instructor on day of Workshop.
**At least 5 Students needed to activate a Workshop**
4th Fridays:  3:00-7:30pm
April 26th, May 24th, June 28th, July 26th

Intermediate Conversational Italian                                   8 wks
** For students ready to converse in Present and Past tenses **
È divertente parlare l’italiano! Increase your vocabulary and interact with fellow students using what you know to chat in Italian. Research projects and homework assignments aid in expanding knowledge and connecting you to Italian culture.
Grammar study from Parliamo Italiano! A Communicative Approach, 3rd Ed., by Suzanne Branciforte & Anna Grassi (order book online or purchase in virtual format for E-readers & tablets).
Tuesdays:  5:00-6:30pm
Session 1:  April 9 – May 28
Session 2:  June 4 – July 23

Continuing Beginners Language Course                              8 wks
** For students that have completed an Italian Language Fundamentals course, an Italian Basics Workshop, or have studied Italian in the past **
Continue building on the foundation you’ve established and now let’s really get speaking! Have fun while delving deeper into grammar, vocabulary and conversation. This course is conversation-based and will help the learner develop all four language skills:  listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Grammar study from Parliamo Italiano! A Communicative Approach, 3rd Ed., by Suzanne Branciforte & Anna Grassi (purchase book online or in virtual format for E-readers & tablets).
Tuesdays:  6:30-8:00pm
Session 1:  April 9 – May 28
Session 2:  June 4 – July 23

Buono studio – spero di vederti presto!

It’s Official: Culinary Tours of Tuscany are happening!! (November 2013)

Travel to Tuscany for an exclusive foodie experience featuring personalized activities guided by Italian Language Instructor, Personal Chef & Translator, Ashlee Redfern! Contact Ashlee of Italian Inspirations directly to reserve your spot in one of the Culinary Tours of Tuscany in November 2013. Groups will be between 8 and 15 people, so the experience is guaranteed to be special. Package Price Includes:  Accommodations, 6 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 3 Aperitivi, 4 Dinners, Transfers to and from Activities, Recipe Booklet & Cultural Info, Guided Tours, 2 Cooking Lessons, Wine Tastings, and MORE — Details below…

1st Group:  November 8th – November 14th
2nd Group:  November 15th – November 21st

Culinary Tour of Tuscany:  7-Day Itinerary

Friday

  • Meet in Florence, transfer to Impruneta – Hotel Bellavista (30 min. from Florence)
  • Introductory Meeting & Welcome Packet
  • Italian Language Lesson with Aperitivo (useful culinary vocabulary, snacks & drinks)
  • Cena di Benvenuto (Tuscan Welcome Dinner) at Ristorante Bellavista Impruneta

Saturday

  • Mercato Impruneta – Shop the local market
  • Frantoio Tour – Taste Impruneta’s fresh-pressed Olive Oil.
  • Pranzo in Piazza – Lunch in Impruneta
  • 1st Cooking Lesson at Ristorante Bellavista – Tuscan Fall Menu

Sunday

  • Transfer to San Miniato Truffle Festival
  • GuidedTruffle Hunt (1.5 hrs)
  • Truffle Festival Tour, Tastings & Lunch
  • 2nd Cooking Lesson & Dinner with local Chef & Truffle Expert

Monday

Walking Tour of Florence:

  • Bus to Florence (Porta Romana)
  • Scenic Historic walk — Santo Spirito, Palazzo Pitti, Ponte Vecchio
  • 1 hour Tour “In Centro” with local journalist, Mauro Bonciani
  • Lunch at Osteria de’ Benci (Santa Croce)
  • Piazza Duomo & Mercato di San Lorenzo
  • Aperitivo at Excelsior, Dinner at il Santo Bevitore

Tuesday

Driving Tour of Tuscany Day:

  • Visit at Pastificio Fabbri (famous local pasta maker)
  • Verrazzano – Wine Tasting & Tour of Castle
  • Montefioralle – Lunch & Tour Medieval hilltop town
  • Greve – Museo del Vino Tour & Wine Tasting
  • Panzano – Dinner by local celebrity butcher

Wednesday

Free Day in Florence – Choose your own adventure:

  • Museums (I will reserve a time for you, please select by 9.30.2013, if desired)
  • Shopping, wandering, sight-seeing, lunch, munching, etc… the city is your oyster
  • Meet for Rustic Tuscan Dinner in the center of Florence at 7pm
  • Transfer back to Hotel Bellavista (bus or taxi, depending on time)

Thursday

  • Last Breakfast at Bellavista, Check-Out, Departures (by 11:30am)

Price
$2250 double room
$2375 single room

To register, contact me at ashleeDOTredfernATgmailDOTcom and I will send you a Travel Agreement & Refund Policy Acknowledgement to sign & submit with a $400 deposit, which includes a $200 non-refundable processing fee

*$175 Early-Registration Discount for Payment-in-Full by April 20, 2013

**Final Payment Due by September 20, 2013**

Summer’s Last Hurrah – with crepes, dahlias and friends

Image

As temperatures cool and the sun begins to pull us less to be outside,
the produce that results from summer’s lingering generosity should be enjoyed!

So we did, with fresh pears, chopped pistachios & grated parmigiano filling the crepes
that we then topped with blackberry compote.

A deliciously simple meal that celebrated some of my favorite flavors, together! I later pondered a light cheese sauce that would have been more decadent, but the fresh taste was quick, healthy and fun.

Note:  While there are all kinds of crepe recipes out there, this was the first one we saw that looked good, so we pounced and acted without doing further research.

We also did not let the batter rest because we were very hungry at the time, which results can be seen in the irregular browning due to the bubbles…

Crepe Batter Recipe
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/4-1/2 Cup water, depending on type of flour used

1) Whisk ingredients together (a pinch of salt may be added, if desired)
2) Refrigerate batter (recommended) and allow to rest at least 30 minutes (will last a day+ covered in fridge)
3) Heat skillet and brush with butter
4) Pour enough dough into skillet to just cover the bottom (pour excess back or you’ll have a thick one)
5) Flip to cook both sides and remove from pan – fill and serve or cool and wrap (fridge 2 days, freezer 2-3 weeks)
6) Let loose with savory or sweet yumminess as desired — fillings and toppings are expressions of your creativity and pizazz…

Buon Appetito! Or, should I say, Bon Appétit!

Culinary Tour of Tuscany with Italian Inspirations

Ciao Fellow Foodies and Italo-Friends!

Here’s a preview of the flyers that are about to hit town… It’s expected that they’ll work like magic for a rapid sell-out. As registrations for the tour begin to come in, excitement is building… Send an e-mail soon to make sure you’re con noi in Toscana!

A few images from Italian Inspirations’ November 2012 Culinary Tour of Tuscany itinerary

2012 Tour Package Details and Price