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A new kind of “archeo-culinary tours” called Elifant are tapping into archaeology as a way of learning about how the current incarnation of Italian cuisine came to be.
Other than the pretty unappetizing “bread and circuses” tradition, food isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when discussing ancient Rome (betrayal and fallen empires, yes; killer snack recipes, not so much). Now a new kind of “archeo-culinary tours” called Elifant are tapping into archaeology as a way of learning about how the current incarnation of Italian cuisine came to be. Lead by Maureen Fant, an IACP award-winning cookbook author, and Elizabeth Bartman, an archaeologist and former President of the Archaeological Institute of America, Elifant tours combine visits to ancient historical sites integral to Italy’s food production with decadent Italian lunches and wine tastings. For example, a VIP visit to Portus, a newly excavated historical seaport outside of Rome, is followed by a local seafood lunch and a tasting of Italian wines, while an excursion to Porta Maggiore includes a stop at a monument to a baker famous for supplying bread to the Roman army and lunch at a restaurant on the Appian Way. One of the stops on the pair’s tour of Naples includes a tour of a pasta-making factory in Gragnano, known as the origin of Italy’s pasta industry. Fant and Bartman’s upcoming tours focus on Rome (April 13-20, 2015)and Naples (October 5-12, 2015) but they plan to add more Mediterranean destinations next year.