Hand holding a glass of sparkling wine with vines in the background
ITALY

Chocolate, Wine And Other Delights In Franciacorta, Brescia

By on 19/11/2019

Have you ever heard of Franciacorta? I hadn’t until recently. Located just south of Lago d’Iseo at the foothills of the Italian Alps, Franciacorta is a region of Lombardy famous for the production of wine.

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Franciacorta wine is one of Italy’s best kept secrets. So much so that Italians want to keep it for themselves. This delicate sparkling wine is almost exclusively sold within Italy, with only a small percentage of it exported to other countries.

Hand holding a glass of sparkling wine with vines in the background

The method used to produce this wine is similar to that of champagne. Wine production here goes back as far as the 16th century and it’s very ingrained in the local culture, and it has created a whole food and tourism industry all around it. 

Wine, chocolate and local produce festival

In addition to wine, there is one local delicacy that is celebrated every year in the town of Monticelli Brusati, the diamantino of Monticelli, a local chocolate praline.

The Cioccolato in Franciacorta e Prodotti Locali (Chocolate and local products) festival celebrates the flavours of Franciacorta with a weekend festival that showcases tastings, workshops, stalls and cellar visits. All this with a bit of entertainment thrown in.

Sheets of different kinds of chocolate with nuts

The festival takes place from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th November, when you can discover the flavours of locally produced chocolate and the renowned Franciacorta DOCG wine. You will be able to appreciate the wine and its production through organised visits to local wineries where you’ll get to sample it too.

There will also be stalls by farmers and other local producers where you will have the chance to taste all manner of local delicacies. 

Franciacorta: food, drink and culture

If you are a foodie, one of the best ways to explore the region of Franciacorta is by discovering the main tourist attractions through food and drink, particularly wine. Wine is an essential element of the area, and you can follow the 80km-long Wine Route of Franciacorta that goes from the western outskirts of Brescia to Lago d’Iseo. You can hire a car, a motorbike or you could even cycle it, as the route is bike friendly.

Man cycling along a road with vineyards in the background

Besides Franciacorta DOCG wine, you can sample your way through the hills stopping at local restaurants (trattorias) for traditional fare, or at Michelin-starred restaurants where traditional recipes are given a modern twist. If you are a meat-eater, don’t leave without trying the manzo all’olio (beef in extra virgin olive oil).

An alternative route to follow is the Wine and Flavour Trail, one of the best known trails in Lombardy. The main attraction along this trail is the high quality wine, and in particular the Franciacorta DOCG, of course. Another food highlight is the Taleggio DOP and Robiola Bresciana cheeses and also the local extra virgin olive oil.

A large piece of taleggio cheese on a piece of cupboard with cutlery either side

This trail is not only famous for its food and wine, but also for the artistic approach taken towards the local produce and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the region.

Along this trail you can visit the Convent of the Annunciation in Rovato, and the Olivetana Abbey of St Nicholas in Rodengo Saiano, one of the largest in Italy. If you are a nature lover, then the Torbiere del Sebino Natural Reserve is an obligatory stop.

Wooden pontoon built over a lake with the mountains in the background at sunset

The Wine and Flavour Trail can be done all year round, and if you are attending the Cioccolato in Franciacorta e Prodotti Locali in Monticelli Brusati, then why not extend your stay and explore the trail?

And if you want to combine food, drink and rural landscapes on your Franciacorta trip, with a city break, you can also visit the city of Brescia, in the east of the region. In the city, you can travel back in time by visiting the Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Brescia is also well known for its piazzas, and its two Duomos, with the older one being over one thousand years old.

Italian Square with a grand building in the background and ornate street lights at dusk

Brescia is a great base to explore Lombardy, with Franciacorta and Lake Garda being close enough to be explored on day trips. You can even base yourself here when visiting the Cioccolato in Franciacorta e Prodotti Locali.

Planning your trip to Franciacorta

Ready for your Franciacorta adventure? Use this travel toolkit

Do you have any questions about things to do in Franciacorta?
Let me know in the comments!

Visiting Italy? Check out my other Italy articles

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HI, I'M TERESA!

Hi! I’m Teresa, a London-based traveller on a mission to explore the world through deeper travel and more meaningful local experiences. I’m a lover of adventure, the outdoors and everything food related, and I’m always looking for ways to make a positive impact through responsible and sustainable travel. I’d love to inspire you to do the same, so come along for the ride!

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