A week of authentic Italian food, wine and experiences await you with chef Jeffrey Michaud's travel company.Monte Isola.
When Philly local and chef-owner of Osteria Jeffrey Michaud arrived in Italy 19 years ago, he only had enough money to stay for a year. However, falling in love with his now-wife, Claudia, the food and the culture led him to travel the country for three years in a way few tourists ever do. “Not only did I immerse myself in the work I was doing, but I ended up meeting Claudia, and that immersed me into the Italian family,” shares Michaud. “When I came back, everybody was asking me, ‘What’s your secret ingredient? What did little nonna show you over there?’ I learned a lot, but the one thing that really stood out to me was how much food played such a huge part in everybody’s lives in Italy.” Now, Michaud shares his unforgettable experiences of connecting with the authentic Italian cuisine, artisans and culture with curious Americans through group travel company La Via Gaia (laviagaia.com).
La Via Gaia will take over a stunning hotel for the vacation, like this stay in Piedmont.
Between five and six times a year, he ushers 10 to 15 people, and private tours, around the small regions of Italy for an unforgettable, all-inclusive, tasty week. “We try to give a glimpse of an authentic behind-the-scenes to traditional Italian culinary art,” notes the chef. Visitors awake every morning in a stunning relais or boutique hotel before day tripping via Mercedes van to surrounding towns in the region. Visits to wineries, Michelin-star meals, cheesemakers, truffle hunting and even cooking classes at his mother-in-law’s home can make up the itinerary. And every place La Via Gaia goes, the group is welcomed with open arms. “It’s like they’re walking into every single one of our friends’ houses,” says Michaud. “When we’re walking to my mother-in-law’s house, it’s the embracement, the hugs, hellos, sincere love and appreciation of the guests walking in there that you see from the people that are hosting, and you just can’t re-create that.” While most trips this year are full, 2023 is welcoming foodies to experience Bergamo and Lake Ise0, the Franciacorta wine region, Puglia and more with renowned chefs like award-winning Joe Sasto, Greg Vernick and Anna Maria Chirone Arno from Italy. Whether you seek fall’s truffle and wine harvest in Diamante or summer in the lakes region, a week with La Via Gaia is truly deliziosa.
Claudia and Jeffrey Michaud named the business after their daughter, Gaia, and La Via Gaia translates to “the road to happiness.”