Italiaoutdoors is an owner-operated private guide service, which creates and guides active culinary tours in Northeastern Italy. Unique in their ability to combine active biking, skiing, and hiking adventures with world-class culinary programs, the tours include James Beard award-winning chefs. The company customizes vacations packages for groups of four to 12 people, and they have more than 15 years of recreational programming experience in the region; plus they have formal culinary and wine training. Programs also include cooking classes, wine tastings, and restaurant dining which explore the best in local regional cuisine and undiscovered wines. Itineraries are rounded out with city visits, shopping, cultural excursions, or just relaxing poolside. The owners are experts in fitness, food, and the regions, and personally lead each tour.

Custom Tours Mix Chef-Led Cycling with Food & Wine in Northern Italian Wine Region…

Italiaoutdoors introduces a new way to see Northern Italy this fall with their eight-day “Bike the Wine Roads of the Veneto” from September 25 to October 1, 2011, and October 16 to October 22, 2011.

Showcasing Italiaoutdoors’ expertise in custom recreational programming and the culinary arts, the program offers an in-depth exploration of the wines and wine regions of the Veneto, beginning in Verona and Lake Garda, and ending in Treviso and the province of Venice. The tour is priced at $3,100 per person, double, and covers 30 to 60 mile routes, meandering through the vineyard-rich area at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. Included are all breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, and all but one dinner. A single supplement of $600 is available.

[Kathy in a cooking class.]

Additionally, for cyclists who love cooking, Italiaoutdoors’ fourth “Chefs on Bike” Tour is scheduled in the Veneto region from September 11-17, priced at $4500 per person, double.

Bicycle the Wine Roads of the Veneto Tour – Sept. 25-Oct. 1 and Oct. 16-22, 2011

Italiaoutdoors showcases their distinctive ability to create custom active hiking, biking, and skiing lifestyle adventures with these two eight-day fall tours, offering cyclists an in-depth exploration of the Veneto’s wines and cuisine, and culture. The Veneto area, home to the largest number of quality DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) wines in Italy, produces world-renowned vintages — some only familiar to travelers within Italy – and includes Valpolicella, Bardolino, Soave, Gambrella, Prosecco and Lison-Pramaggiore. Participants will enjoy a selection carefully curated by chef and Italiaoutdoors founder Kathy Bechtel, who’s an avid writer about “undiscovered wines.” Chef Bechtel, together with co-owner and recreation specialist Vernon McClure, will personally lead the tours. A small group size, with a maximum of eight (8) participants, allows for daily itinerary customization and refinement based on participants’ interests, pacing, and real-time “finds.” Biking routes are designed for exploration of both the back roads and the cities in the area. This tour is through the rolling hills of the wine country, with routes ranging from 30 to 45 miles per day.

Beginning on the eastern shore of Lake Garda, the excursion dives into the world of wine with a lesson in wine tasting and selection, followed by a welcome dinner at a local “slow food” osteria. The trip introduces guests to savory wines including Amarone, Vapolicella, Soave; and the most popular sparkling wine, Prosecco. Guests will also learn about lesser-known, but equally distinctive, wines rarely seen outside this region; which includes lighter-bodies reds, such as Marzemino and Tai Rosso, and the intense Raboso. Tour highlights along the rolling hills of the bike routes include visits to picturesque vineyards, churches, and convents in Bardolino, Valpolicella, Bassano del Grappa, and the walled city of Soave. The adventure ends with a farewell dinner at a trattoria in Treviso, a historically rich hub of the Veneto.

For more information on each tour or to receive Italiaoutdoors’ newsletter with recipes and wine information, visit or Chef Kathy Bechtel’s blog at .

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