I’ve found that in life, efficiency and health are keys to a happy (not to mention productive) existence. This plays perfectly into my role as a cyclist and CEO. Between meetings, deadlines, training rides and other traveling obligations, sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. This is why I’m a huge advocate for pre-packed meals. They are easy, healthy, and exactly what you want and need for a break in the day. Throughout my travels, I often find myself at some of the most high-end, upscale restaurants in the world, but it is when I’m not indulging that I truly feel like myself.
A simple picnic, sitting quietly on a blanket, with a delicious and nutritious pre-prepared meal surrounded by the glorious ambiance of it all, is the exact opposite of a fine-dining experience, yet it is still one of my favorite things to do. This is why I was adamant about including world-class picnics on our DuVine tours, and to my surprise, rather than being considered a simple add-on tacked on to an otherwise awesome experience, they’ve become a key feature of our tours. Riders have even booked trips just to enjoy them. Life can get hectic at times, and these simple pleasures are an excellent way to slow it all down. So, to those who just can’t seem to unwind, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite picnic locations in the world so that you too can take a step back and relax.
Monte Oliveto Maggiore, Tuscany, Italy
This place was discovered on a whim by one of our tour guides on the DuVine Tuscany bike tour. The location just outside the abbey of the Monte Oliveto Maggiore is the perfect setting for a picnic. It’s in the middle of the bike tour and our guides felt that it provided a much needed intermission for an otherwise packed schedule. Each DuVine picnic is prepared fresh, with seasonal accents like peaches. Our guides stop the van en route to the abbey in order to pick fresh figs off a tree to pair with the already packed prosciutto. The meal generally consists of a simple caprese salad, apples, fennel, hazelnuts, bread and affettati. For dessert: Peaches in red wine topped with mascarpone. Paired with the stunning monastery, this simple meal is one to remember.