Culinary Journey to Tuscany Italy
$5500 US *| April 19-25, 2015
You’ve heard the hype: Tuscany is as beautiful as a postcard, the food is incredible, the streets are filled with charm and history, and the wine is, arguably, some of the best on Earth. But what you won’t know until you go there is that it’s TRUE!
Imagine spending the morning overlooking vine-covered hills as the sun peaks through the mist, cooking with the best locally produced ingredients, enjoying meals al fresco with exquisite wines that we’ve discovered along the way. You'll explore the Tuscan culinary scene, visiting artisan cheese makers, olive mills and vineyards that produce some of the best wines in the world. And just when you're ready to relax and take it all in, the full-service spa at your gorgeous villa awaits!
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Culinary cooking classes
The tour will include several hands-on cooking classes that focus on the best of Tuscan cuisine. We’ll cook in the villa’s gorgeous well-equipped professional kitchen, (it even has a wood-fire pizza oven!) using the freshest ingredients from outdoor markets and butcher shops in the village. Since we’ll be there in time for the spring harvest, we’ll be sure to create some dishes with fresh peas, favas and artichokes. We’ll make pastas by hand and create a delicious braised beef ragu that can be served in two separate courses. Some of my favorite recipes that we’ll cook include: Red Onion Ravioli with Thyme Cream, Risotto with Chianti, Tiramisu and a decadent Caramelized Chocolate Almond Budino. We might even cook some wild boar!
Tuscan Villa Accommodations
We'll stay at the luxurious and beautiful Villa Vallentina, in the heart of the Chianti region just outside of Lucca- famous for its incredible wines and the best olive oil in the world!. This gorgeous property includes a large farmhouse along with three detached apartments, a pool and unlimited Tuscan scenary, all situated among acres of olive groves, cypress trees, vegetable gardens and rolling hills. Every window is like looking at a painting! Amenities abound, from spa services to Wi-Fi.
Tuscan Day Trips
In addition to our cooking classes at the villa, we'll explore the area together in a comfortable touring van. There are so many options for our excursions, but here are some examples of what we can do:
We’ll visit a few of my friends at their vineyards to taste and learn about Chianti and the Sangiovese grape, Super Tuscans, and Brunello wine - some of the world's greatest wines. Tuscany is also famous for its olive oils and Pecorino cheese, and we'll visit an olive mill and cheese producer to see why. We will head off to the quaint village of Pistoia for the large open air market. We’ll shop for local produce and gather seasonal ingredients for our evening meal. On the way back to the villa from the market we will visit the beautiful hill top town of Montecatini Alto and enjoy lunch on the picturesque square.
I promise you an unforgettable week!
Tuscany Trip Details
Group meeting point for pick-up and drop-off is in Lucca at the Porta Santa Maria information center and bus terminal. We will pick up the group in the late afternoon on April 19, and drop off the morning of April 25.