Calabria is the place I’ve been calling home for almost 2 years now. It is a place that at times is overlooked but there are also many times when someone, much like Tania of In Italy Tours, find themselves completely smitten with the beauty and history and overall magic that is found in Southern Italy and decide to do what they can to share this little secret with those willing to hear it.
I am really happy to have Tania Pascuzzi of In Italy Tours take part in this installment of my 5 Questions With… series. Her passion for the south of Italy has flourished into a business that offers unique culinary adventures in the south of Italy including Calabria. If you are a fan of Italian food, it’s pretty safe to say that in the south of Italy is where you’ll find some of the most delicious foods that Italy has to offer.
So let’s dig in and learn a little bit more about Tania of In Italy Tours. As we say here in Italy, Buon Appetito!
You offer many different varieties of tours through your company. What makes tours in Calabria unique and different from other parts of Italy?
I think every part of Italy is unique given the diverse history of each region. Having said that, Italy as a whole can vary from one place to the other. As far as Calabria is concerned, I have focused on giving my guests a chance to experience local life in a region that has remained unspoiled.
When I first arrived in Tropea I noticed that it had so much potential. Given the beauty of the town was a head start for me so I dedicated my time there in researching and creating things to do with the foreign traveller in mind with cooking being the highlight. My tours basically focus on food and wine which varies from town to town and can be a fascinating experience for the new visitor to the region.
What do you say to potential tourists who want to visit Italy but aren’t sure about venturing any further south than Rome or the Amalfi Coast?
I think that what I have to offer is enough to entice anyone who wishes to venture into the region of Calabria. I live there so it helps people to know that an English speaking person is there if they need it. Our guided tours and itineraries help in that our guests are in good hands and are able to see beautiful places that aren’t really found in guide books which gives for a more insightful holiday. I’ve had many first time travellers even to Italy which has been great. I think just knowing that I am an expat living in Calabria gives people that trust. Although once here they can see how lovely and friendly it really is.
The whole of the southern part of Italy is a must for lovers of the country. It has the most beautiful beaches, great food and wine. There is really so much to see with so much history and beauty.
I’m sure you meet many interesting people through your tours. What has been the best experience for you so far?
I don’t have a ‘best’ but what I can tell you is that I have enjoyed each and every experience with my guests. We have had such wonderful people here who have actually come back the following year to see us. I think the most enjoyable experience for me is to see people having a great time. There is such kindness and enthusiasm displayed from my cooks and with the people I work with. They extend themselves beyond what is required of them which really is nice to see. Calabrese are very humble and generous people and are extremely proud of their region and generous in sharing it.
As a food and wine lover, what is your all-time favourite Italian recipe?
I have so many. I do love seafood so living in Tropea is a great thing for me as it is here that seafood is eaten as opposed to the towns in the mountains. I remember when I moved to Tropea it took me a while to taste the famous pasta con cipolla here. It just didn’t sound appetizing to me but when I did eventually taste it, it has remained to be one of my favorites here in Tropea. Of course you need to use the famous onions from Tropea.
I think more than recipes, I love the production of food here. The fruits and vegetables which are picked fresh from a contadino’s garden is what’s exciting for me and going to the port at a certain time of day to meet the fisherman to see what was caught that day. I also have a local butcher up in the hills who raises his own animals. There’s nothing better than to eat pure food.
You recently completed the first annual Calabrian Table Tour with Cherrye Moore. Was it everything you hoped for and will we see more editions of this tour in the future?
The Table Tour was such a success for both myself and Cherrye. Last October was our first tour and it was such a wonderful time had by all that we have decided to make it available two times a year.
We had really good feedback from our guests who continually said that they were experiencing the Real Italy. It’s a chance to experience the wonderful diverse cultures displayed in the different foods found in the mountains and the coastal area of the region.
It was insightful, fun and delicious and it felt like we were a small family travelling together. We visited so many remote and beautiful towns and villages where the locals went out of their way to educate us on the unique culture and history of each place. The people involved were so hospitable and gave that much more to us that those things played an important role in how wonderful the tour was. Not to forget the wonderful meals that were prepared by our chefs and personal cooks and a chance to learn about how wonderful the wine is in Calabria.
We hope to have the tour available 3 times a year , maybe more and in the future we may include different food and wine tours in other areas of Calabria. There is so much more to discover and knowing that we both live in the region allows us to research deeper into the heart of each place included in our itineraries.
Grazie mille, Tania!!
You can learn more about In Italy Tours and get more information on any of the tours they offer by visiting their website ~ In Italy Tours
Check out my other “5 Questions With…”:
5 Questions With… RomePhotoBlog
5 Questions With… Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino
5 Questions With… Cherrye of My Bella Vita
5 Questions With… Diana Spechler
5 Questions With… Megan of TorreBarolo
5 Questions With… Anna of La Dolce Vita di Pizzo Visitor Guide in Calabria