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Castle Cooking In Shakespeare’s “Fair Verona”™

Cooking With Chef Michele ~ 6 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates
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Stroll the grounds of your 15th-century castle and pick fragrant sage, lavender, and rosemary from the castle garden for Chef Michele’s masterful cooking lessons. Experience sublime local wines, traditional Veronese dishes and a delicate, sweet ham so beloved they throw a festival just to celebrate it. Join us for a romantic culinary adventure in the land of Romeo and Juliet, the place Shakespeare called “fair Verona.”

Cooking Classes with Chef Michele

Under master Chef Michele’s expert guidance, you’ll learn hands-on how to create a complete menu – appetizer, first course, main course and dessert. Michele’s style marries traditional recipes of Veneto with modern touches, using local and traditional products including sweet Montagnana ham, renowned Fassona Piemontese beef, and tastasale (a salami paste).

During your three in-depth hands-on cooking classes, you’ll prepare intriguing courses such as Michele’s take on Risotto alla Veneta, a risotto that features beef, pork and a cinnamon sauce, and Baccalà alla Vicentina, a dish of traditional salt cod with polenta. Learn the deep Italian respect for the natural perfection of fresh fish with a simple-yet-sublime preparation of sea bass in foil. If you like, sip a glass of fragrant Valpolicella or refreshing Bardolino as you prepare appetizers using fresh local ingredients like crisp asparagus, just-picked peas and beans, homemade pickles, and locally-cured meats. Taste local and regional cheeses including robust Grana Padano, full-flavored and Brie-like Bastardo del Grappa, nutty and piquant Monte Veronese, and Il Brillo di Treviso, which derives its pleasing sweetness from being aged in red wine. Desserts add to the pleasure and may include a fabulously romantic rose cake, Italian jam tart or panna cotta with mint and chocolate.

A sumptuous lunch is the reward for your labor, beautifully laid out and enjoyed in the castle or on the storybook grounds. You’ll head out for the day’s explorations energized and ready to discover centuries of Verona’s history and romance and the unforgettable food and wine of the region.

Exploring Verona & The Region

After a day to enjoy the castle, you spend the second day of your tour in the world-famous viniculture districts of Soave Classico and Valpolicella. Visit a local winery that has been run by the same family for more than a century. Take a winery tour, visit an eno-museum and learn how the family was instrumental in improving the quality of the Corvina, Cornivone and Rondinella grapes that make up the fresh, fruity Soaves and fragrant Valpolicellas produced here. You’ll taste the wines in variety of styles, from light and refreshing to intense and powerful, and even bubbly sparkling and sweet dessert versions.

Even in Italy, where prosciutto is a minor religion, the sweet ham of Montagnana is considered a delicacy. The third day brings you to an ancient town is still ringed by sand-colored defensive walls and imposing battle towners, but venture inside to discover a ham renowned for its sweet taste, exquisite softness, delightful pink color and unmistakable scent. It’s little wonder it was a favorite of the Doges of Venice from the year 1400 and is celebrated yearly with the Festa del Prosciutto Veneto DOP in May. Visitors may also enjoy the lovely town’s gourmet shops, restaurants and picturesque town square.

On the fourth day it’s off to fair Verona. Experience the romantic Piazza Bra, with it’s caffès and restaurants where you can have a drink or an espresso and soak in the ornate Veronese architecture and the pink stone Verona Arena. Visit the bustling market at Piazza delle Erbe and view the 14th-century Madonna Verona fountain (which is actually topped by a Roman statue dating to 380 AD). Visit the Casa di Giulietta and have your picture taken atop the ornate stone Juliet Balcony, a 20th-century addition to a historic house that nonetheless conjures images of inflamed passion and endless love. See a panoramic landscape of Verona from San Pietro Castle and visit other sites such as the Church of San Zeno Maggiore, a stunning 9th-century basilica.

The final day’s tour is a journey back in time to comunes of Monselice and Arqua Petrarca. Monselice is perhaps most famous for Castello Cini, which houses one of the most important collections of European medieval weapons and armor. Nearby Arqua Petrarca is a well-preserved medieval town built down a sloping hillside and full of small shops selling olive oil, honey and wine. It’s also where the poet and pioneering humanist Petrarch lived the final years of his life and his house, Casa de Petrarca, is now a museum dedicated to his remarkable life and work, with beautiful frescoes, arches and balconies overlooking the Euganean Hills.

After the day’s adventures, return to the castle for a quiet evening or explore the nightlife in the surrounding region.

Accommodations

Ancient stone battlements stand protectively over the land they have guarded for centuries. Hillside villages seem frozen in time, transporting visitors back to the 14th century. Agriculturally rich valleys provide local chefs and artisan bakers with the bountiful fruits of the land. A land of castles and romance, delight and mystery, it’s little wonder that Verona and its surroundings inspired Shakespeare to write his epic tale of star-crossed lovers.

It’s easy to imagine yourself a duke or a duchess here – especially when your accommodations are in a beautifully restored 14th-century castle. Feel like royalty when you wake in the canopy bed of your elegant suite, with its magnificent handpainted clawfoot tub, luxurious furnishings, and spectacular high ceilings with hand-hewn beams. Enjoy a traditional Italian breakfast of espresso and fresh baked delights (or something more substantial, the staff are happy to indulge) before strolling the grounds, where you can pick fragrant herbs from the gardens for your cooking classes in the castle kitchen.

Itinerary ~ 6 Days, 5 Nights

Day 1: Arrival

  • Arrival & Check in.
  • Take time to freshen up and settle into your Junior Suite.
  • Evening free and dinner on your own.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning, visit to wine producer’s, wine tasting included.
  • Afternoon – tie on your aprons for your first cooking class with Chef Michele!
  • Dinner on foods prepared in class.

Day 3: Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, excursion to Montagnana, transfers, guide and tasting of typical cured ham included.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Afternoon – it’s time for your second class with Chef Michele.
  • Dinner served on the foods prepared in class

Day 4: Excursion to Verona

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, guided excursion to the beautiful town of Verona, transfers and guide included. 5 hours approx.
  • Dinner on your own.

Day 5: Wine Tasting

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, guided excursion to Arqua Petrarca and Monselice, transfers and guide included.
  • Afternoon – enjoy your final cooking class with Chef Michele.
  • Dinner served on the foods prepared in class

Day 6: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, check-out and arrivederci! A presto!

Program Includes:

  • Six days/five nights accommodations, based on double occupancy in Junior Suite with private bath. Click to View!
  • Daily breakfast.
  • 3 Hands-on Cooking Classes (antipasto, pasta, main course & dolce) followed by lunch/dinner with the foods prepared in class. Local wine and water included.
  • Visit to wine producer’s, transfers and tastings included.
  • Excursion to Montagnana, transfers, guide and tastings of cured ham included.
  • Visit to Verona, transfers & guide included.
  • Excursion to Arqua Petrarca & Monselice, transfers & guide included.
Program Prices:

$2,595 per person, based on double occupancy in Junior Suite. All taxes and Italian VAT included.

$3,450 per person, based on single occupancy in Junior Suite. All taxes and Italian VAT included.

Check Availability

2019 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in and start your program on any day of the week. Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange. Call for updated rates. Airfare not included. Group transfers for any cooking tour or tours that include transfers, are for the group and are not private. Transfers before, after or to another destination outside of your cooking tour are not included in the program price. If you would like to add on a private transfer or transfers, let us know and we will send you pricing.