Frequently Asked Questions

Please search our Frequently Asked Questions page. We will be happy to answer any of your questions, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for, please leave us a comment in our contact form.

Who are the people behind Casa Mia?

Casa Mia is a cultural association co-founded by Eleonora Baldwin and Gina Tringali. We specialize in food and beverage education, home cooking, wine tasting, travel planning, and have worked extensively in food and beverage tourism and journalism. All our local guides, sommeliers and cooks are committed to providing quality service with a warm, convivial approach to sharing our insider knowledge on Italy’s bountiful food and wine.

LOGISTICS

What’s the best time of year to schedule a food tour?

Our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking lessons, excursions and supper club events run all year long. Holiday season and April-September are busier, while January-March are great months to visit Rome as there are not many tourists, shorter museum lines and less crowded locations. August is a tricky month, during which locals leave for summer vacation. For this reason many venues, restaurants and businesses tend to close and take their own time off.
We run tours, classes, supper clubs and excursions during the first half of August, but advise travelers that choice of tastings and places to visit may be limited as opposed to the rest of the year.

What happens if it rains?

Our tours run rain or shine. Most of the places we visit on our eating and wine tasting adventures can shelter our small group during a downpour. In the case of a rainy day, we suggest arriving to the meeting with your guide equipped with good rain shoes and a fold-up umbrella, or one provided by the hotel concierge.

I’m celiac / vegetarian / lactose intolerant, but I still want to take a food tour. Can you help?

Of course! All our experiences can accommodate eating restrictions. Italy is well-geared to welcome travelers with food aversions and intolerances. Please notify us upon booking.

I’m running late to meet with my guide/host, what’s your policy?

We always provide a contact number where your guide/host can be reached. Please make sure you inform your guide/host that you are running late. Delays beyond 15 minutes will not be made up at the end of the tour/class. No-shows are treated as last minute cancellations and are non-refundable.

Where do I meet my guide?

The exact location of your meeting point will be provided immediately upon booking. We hold all of our activities within easy reach of public transportation.

I am traveling with children, can they participate?

We encourage it! Our experienced guides are parents themselves and enjoy involving children in the tasting experience, focusing explanations and discussions directly for the younger travelers in your party.

What is your tipping policy?

We leave the tipping of guides to your discretion based on your satisfaction with the service. Our guides usually receive an average gratuity of 20%. As with guides, we also leave tipping chauffeurs to your discretion. Customers normally tip our chauffeurs about 5%.

Is there a standard tipping policy in restaurants?

We recommend leaving up to 10%. At the cafe counter, thank the barista for your espresso with 20 Euro cents, on top of the receipt price.

I would like to host a wine tasting in my vacation rental, is that possible?

Absolutely! Our certified sommeliers will travel with their cache of selected wines and accoutrements to your vacation rental, provided this be within the city limits. To inquire about our bespoke wine tasting activities, please contact us.

Do you organize vineyard visits?

Yes! We offer vineyard visits in the regions of Lazio (Rome), Campania (Naples and the Amalfi Coast), Sicily (Mt. Etna, Ragusa, Palermo) and Tuscany (Florence).  Find out more about our vineyard visits.

Do you offer cooking lessons?

We do! We offer hands-on lessons in our cooks’ private kitchens, where you are welcomed like family. Classes culminate with a full Italian meal with wine. Find out more about our cooking classes.

Do you develop food itineraries and take care of restaurant bookings?

Yes, we do! After a brief chat we’ll design a detailed and personalized food itinerary for you, based on your food preferences and areas you’ll be visiting.

PRICING AND BOOKING

What happens when I make my booking?

When you complete your booking you will receive an order confirmation containing booking details, the meeting point, the name of your guide/host name and contact number as well as directions for how to arrive with available public transportation means.

What is your cancellation policy?

All services must be prepaid in full prior to arrival in Italy.

We will do our best to refund as much as possible if you need to cancel an activity with Casa Mia Italy Food and Wine Tours, because we consider every situation personally. If you must cancel your booking with us, please give us as much notice as possible. Please note that tours booked within two weeks of the starting date are non-refundable.

The price of all Casa Mia Italy Food & Wine eating and wine tasting adventures, cooking classes and excursions is 30% refundable with at least 2 weeks’ notice. After this, all reservations are final and cannot be refunded.

Some private service providers (chauffeurs, babysitters, etc) we work with apply varying cancellation policies; customers will be informed of this prior to booking.

Note: In order to fully protect yourself, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance in order to safeguard you and your party from unwanted cancellations and fees that may incur.

Are gift certificates available?

Gift certificates are available for all our food and wine tasting adventures, cooking classes, and excursions and make a tasty present for anyone who is visiting or lives in Italy.

Do you offer group tours?

Our eating and wine tasting adventures, cooking lessons, and excursions are intended for private parties. Our time and knowledge is for you and yours only, since we believe that private tours are the best way to see, taste and experience the cities we service, at your pace, to your taste. Should you wish to join a group tour, we suggest checking out this trusted colleague’s site.

EDITORIAL

Do you accept sponsored posts on your blog?
We owe it to our clients and readers to be transparent and unbiased, therefore, no sponsored posts appear on the Casa Mia | Italy Food and Wine Blog, sorry. Opinions are our own.

Do you have a periodic newsletter?
Yes we do! To stay up to date on news, publications and events, delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our monthly eNewsletter.

FOOD

After touring with you we went back and bought some samples at the shops we visited, what foods can I bring home to the U.S.?
Most meats and fresh produce are prohibited. Processed and packaged foods are allowed, with the exception of those that contain meat products. Some aged and hard cheeses are allowed. Please refer to this government page or call the FDA at 1-800-216-7331; if outside the US, call +1-301-575-0156.

What foods can I bring home to the UK?
This website lists regulations regarding personal food imports to the UK.