Tuscany is in everyone's dreams, but packaged tours don't fit everyone's schedule, interests or needs. We offer a cooking program in Chianti, Italy. The courses last a week or as long as you want and take place in May and June and October. In addition we design and suggest outside excursions to satisfy your personal interests, be they art, history, nature, crafts, shopping, enology.
As a cooking school
we emphasize the richness and variety of Italian country cooking. We believe in teaching recipes that you will be able to duplicate in your own kitchen, suggesting alternative ingredients in case local ones are unavailable in your area. We will teach you, step by step, to plan and prepare meals from simple, delicious, everyday fare to more elaborate dishes for your special occasions. We can teach you the special skills, like pasta and ravioli making, if you wish to concentrate and develop in a more specific area.
Also we offer many additional delights that few tourists could possibly discover on their own. With us you can have entree into private, medieval castles, visit Etruscan burial grounds, watch olives being pressed at a neighborhood mill and have a pair of shoes made specially for you by a local artisan where shoemaking is still considered an art.
The price for each program will vary depending upon length of stay, number of guests and custom requests. One group's itinerary is included below as an example.
5 nights at a typical tuscan villa
Full breakfast every morning
5 days of cooking school & more
4 cooking lessons
. Prepare lunch or dinner.
Private lunch and visit at Villa di Geggiano The Villa di Geggiano, featured in the Bernardo Bertolucci's movie "Stealing Beauty," has been owned by the Bianchi Bandinelli family for centuries. Rolando Bandinelli became the great Pope Alessandro III who defeated Fredrick Redbeard, Emperor of Germany in 1150. The villa, originally built in the 15th century, was transformed into a country villa in the 18th century. Here in 1725 Niccolo' Bandinelli produced his wines to be exported to England. Today the family continues the tradition of producing a Chianti Classico & Riserva. We can visit the villa, with all the original furnishings and the lovely frescoed rooms, the Italian garden with the open air theater, the small chapel built in the 18th century for a family wedding and the wine cellar. Andrea Bosco Bandinelli will guide us in the visit and explain his wines during lunch.
2 private tours of wineries and olive mills in the Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino area. Wine and olive oil tasting included in the visit. Badia a Coltibuono, Castello di Volpaia, Castello di San Polo in Rosso are among the prestigious wineries selected for these tours. Badia Coltibuono is one of the leading wine and olive oil producers in Chianti. The Badia (Abbey) dates back to the 11th Century and has been in the Stucchi Prinetti family since 1846. Private tour of the abbey, the church, the wine cellar and the old olive mill and the renaissance garden. Castello di Volpaia, 12th century. A small village and castle winery, privately owned. Private tour of the cellars, and the buildings used for the wine and oil making process.
Shopping for ingredients in local outdoor fresh produce markets, butchers and specialty food stores.
Additional visits include selections from :
Historical tours of Siena, Pienza (Home of Pope Pius II), Volterra, San Giminiano and other medieval jewels in the area
Tours of local craftsmen shops: ceramic, shoe maker, stained lead glass, honey bee keeper, hand weaving
Price for sample program: US$1500 per person
Includes transfers from Siena, all ground transportation, meals and ingredients. (Transportation can be arranged for pick up/delivery from Florence or Pisa airport at an additional fee.)
Sleeping and meals
A series of authentic Tuscan stone houses where the workers used to live with their families. Some are 300 years old. They are scattered around the large working property that overlooks Siena and the Chianti hills. All rooms are shared doubles. Most bathrooms are shared. Each house has a dining room and a kitchen where the program's chef teach and prepares typical Tuscan meals with local wine right from the property. The village of Vagliagli is a 10 minute walk.