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New gastro-treks to Italy help holidaymakers walk up an appetite

23rd February 2014 Print
Hedonistic Hiking

This month sees Hedonistic Hiking launch its European range of gourmet guided walking tours in the UK.

The family-run company was born from the Anglo-Australian founders’ shared love of food, wine and the outdoors and their desire to bring them altogether in some of Europe’s most scenic corners. With nine itineraries throughout Italy and Slovenia, every small-group trip combines unspoilt landscapes and local gastronomic delicacies with boutique accommodation and seamless personal service.

The husband and wife team - Mick, a professionally trained Australian chef, and Jackie, an expert in Italian art and culture - have a policy of always escorting the tours themselves. As fluent Italian speakers and experienced expedition leaders, this ensures that their exacting standards are maintained and their expert local knowledge is shared, while helping create the friendly atmosphere which sets Hedonistic Hiking’s trips apart from other traditional European walking holidays.

Each all-inclusive hiking tour is rated in terms of its exertion level to ensure walkers select the right trip for their holiday style, while the fine dining experiences and locally-sourced picnic lunches ensure energy levels are generously topped up along the way. Support vehicles also accompany every trek to ensure that guests never feel pushed beyond their comfort zone, whichever walking holiday they opt for.

Speaking about what inspires the guided walking specialists when devising their itineraries, Jackie Parsons said: “The most important thing is that each area is somewhere we both feel inspired by, from the scenery to the friendliness of the people we meet whilst there.”

“We like to think of our trips as an immersive experience helping fellow gourmands discover the true flavours of Italy. By taking our guests off the beaten paths in small groups we can concoct a moving feast for all the senses and recreate the atmosphere of a perfect dinner party gathering, in the company of a great bunch of like-minded people.”

The destinations are carefully chosen to create the perfect balance of local flavours, spectacular countryside and incredible cultural heritage while ensuring they also cater for all walking levels. Itineraries therefore blend peaks in the Julian and Italian Alps and sections of the Via Francigena pilgrim trail with UNESCO World Heritage Sites, mediaeval villages and even the chance to watch Siena’s famous Palio.

Those keen to let their taste-buds do the walking also have a tantalising menu of activities to choose from. Epicurean highlights across the ambulatory adventures range from olive oil tasting in Tuscany and candlelit cooking classes of Abruzzese specialities to truffle hunting in Piedmont and visits to the annual porcini mushroom fair in Emilia-Romagna’s Slow Food town of Borgotaro.

Mick Parsons added: “Hopefully the high number of repeat guests that our walking adventures have attracted over the years suggests that we’ve got the recipe right and we now look forward to opening up our escorted tours to British holidaymakers.”

Prices start from £2,025 for the 8-day Parma, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre trip, which starts in Parma on 12 September and ends in Pisa on 19 September 2014. Single supplement £145. The price includes 7 nights’ accommodation in three different hotels, two historic conversions and one deluxe property with a private beach, all meals including wine, coffee, gourmet picnic lunches, snacks en route and dinners in local restaurants, transfers from Parma and to Pisa, luggage transportation, a support vehicle to enable travellers to walk as little or as much as they like, museum visits and tastings plus comprehensive pre-trip information. For a full range of itineraries visit

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Hedonistic Hiking