Nevada County might be known for its Cornish heritage, but if you’re yearning for a slice of Italian culture and cuisine, look no further than this part of the Golden state. Since the very first Europeans arrived as part of the Gold Rush era, Italian immigrants were part of it. Reminiscent of the geography and climate of the hills of Italy, many who came here focused on their passions of winemaking, ranching, and other vocations from the old country. From wine tasting to fresh pastas and beyond, here’s a few Italian Food Tour Ideas that even the most discerning foodie will love.
Start With Vino
An Italian food tour at its heart must include wine sampling. And fortunately, Nevada County doesn’t have just one great winery but an entire wine trail – the Sierra Vintners Trail. For those looking to taste a bit of the “old world”, you must include a stop at Avanguardia. They pride themselves on old-world European varietals such as Montepulciano. A dark red wine varietal named after the Tuscan hilltop of the same name pairs well with savory and hearty meat dishes such as beef Bolognese. From there head out into the rolling hills of Nevada County to Montoliva. This winery founded in 2000 focuses on creating Tuscan inspired wines such as Teroldogo that is rarely seen outside of the South Tyrol region in Italy.
Stroll Into Grass Valley
One of Grass Valley’s most popular Italian restaurants is Cirino’s at Main Street owned by Jerry and Tucker Cirino – a father/son duo. Within it you’ll find old-school Tuscan style décor that’ll make you feel at home. You can’t go wrong with their antipasto selection including Sicilian sausage slices “known to change people’s lives right on the spot”, as the owner states. And for dinner, a local’s favorite is Aldo’s char-grilled steak a’la gorgonzola. Another dining option is Alloro Cucina Italiana. The setting, in a restored Victorian, is ideal for a romantic or family gathering. Along with fresh pastas and an assortment of scrumptious dishes, the restaurant also features foothill wines.
Sample Italy’s Culture
The Italian Cultural Center is located in the lobby of the Gold Miner’s Inn. It provides literature about Italy, language classes, and shows Italian movies among other activities. “We honor the legacy of Italian immigrants and their descendants,” says Stefano Woods, a founder of the group.
Finish Off In Truckee
Truckee’s mountain cuisine is arguably the envy of mountain towns across the country. This historic town is filled with award-winning dining from breakfast through dinner and beyond. In the middle of its delightful downtown district, you’ll find a charming northern Italian restaurant – Pianeta Ristorante. It’s known for its fresh homemade pastas, sauces, ravioli and other Italian specialties such as tagliatelle with veal meatballs. If you’re looking for a family friendly restaurant that’s more relaxed, look no further than Zano’s Family Italian and Pizzeria. You’ll find pizza pies larger than your head along with traditional dishes such as Veal Picatta, hearty lasagna, and penne with meatballs.