The Ultimate Foodie Tour: South Italy With Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald
Old Vine Cafe

The Ultimate Foodie Tour: South Italy With Old Vine Cafe's Mark McDonald

Start saving up those vacation days now. Mark McDonald, chef and co-owner of Costa Mesa's Old Vine Cafe (a SaFII favorite!), doesn't just want to teach his customers about the food of South Italy--he wants them to experience it firsthand. In South Italy. 

He's teaming up with the Italian Culinary Institute to host a 10-day tour that'll take food devotees through the glorious old country--Magna Grecia, Calabria (the birthplace of wine) and Sicily, places that existed a thousand years before Rome.  

Some highlights of the trip. 

- A pasta-making class where participants will work alongside Italian chefs to prepare more than 50 types of pasta. 
- A visit to Ciro, home to the oldest wines in Europe.
- A ride on a traghetto across the Straights of Messina. A tradition on the ferry is to eat an arancino, an Italian delicacy.  
- Canoli, aperitifs and gelato in Castelmola.
- An olive oil and balsamic vinegar class and tasting conducted by Chef John Nocita.
- A visit to an "agriturismo," an organic farm with a menu of extra virgin olive oil, cheese, cured meats, breads and wines all made on the premises. 

And those are just some of the food excursions. See the full itinerary here (PDF). 

"This is an amazing itinerary full of experiences that would be hard to find traveling in this region without direction," McDonald tells us. 

The all-inclusive "Splendors of South Italy" trip costs $3,600 per person for double occupancy. Those that book by Aug. 31 save $100.00 per person. For details, contact McDonald at (714) 655-6142 or 

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