Italian Mamma Cooking Classes in Calabria™

Cooking In Scalea, Diamante & Maratea in Calabria ~ 8 Day


Join our Italian Mamma Maria in the kitchen and prepare typical Calabrian food for your cooking week. During your program learning about Calabrian cuisine, prepare handmade fusilli al ferretto, try your hand at making Calabria’s much-loved local digestive liqueur made with succulent citrons, and watch our Italian Mamma as she transforms the island’s famed red chili peppers into main dishes, side dishes, and even ice cream and jam!  Tour Calabria, learn about the local cuisine in hands-on Calabrese cooking classes and enjoy wine tasting tours in sunny southern Italy!!  Our Cooking In Scalea, Diamante & Maratea in Calabria is an authentic hands-on cooking experience in the heart of southern Italy!!!

Calabria lies along a majestic coastline of curving beaches, rocky bluffs, and meandering roads. Once the stronghold of the ancient Greeks, Calabria was the biggest of the Greek colonies, and its rich history saw the rise and fall of one of the mightiest empires. Calabria’s richly diverse past influences its present culture as well as culinary styles and cooking traditions.

Calabria Cooking Classes

Tie on your aprons and join us in hands-on Calabrians cooking classes preparing local food of the region.  Antipasto, fresh pasta, sauces, main courses and desserts are on the menu using farm-to-table ingredients from the region.  Learn how to make hand-made pasta, seasonal sauces, porcini stuffed mushrooms, pitticelle di zucchine, zucchine puffs, pasta con crema di zucchine, cuccine, tonno cunzatu and marinated tunna, ginetti, Ginetti biscotti made with flour and eggs and scented with aniseed and lemon zest.

Chili peppers are the king of spices in Calabria, and you’ll discover that almost every recipe imaginable uses the bright red pepper –  fresh, dried, crushed, or naturally preserved in a ham.  Another key ingredient used are the rare, and delicious, Calabrian truffles indigenous to the Santa Domenica Talao area, and from which comes the celebrated black truffle ice cream. In the Riviera dei Cedri area of Calabria grows the citron, which is turned into the digestive citroncello liqueur, “the noble cousin of limoncello.”


Visit Calabria, Scalea and Aitta! Calabria is set in the cerulean seas of Italy’s south, and all that delighted people throughout the ages still enchants natives and tourists alike today. The enviable climate, the beautiful beaches, the raw passion, untamed countryside, ancient churches and ruins remind us of Calabria’s eclectic past. Calabria is one of the jewels of the south, and is far from the well-worn tourist track, making it irresistible to those travelers who wish to discover a culture virtually untouched and rich in traditions and history.  From Tropea to Cap Vaticano, Calabria cooking is simple, seasonal and delicious!

Calabria’s gastronomy reflects its mixed history too. The meeting of past and present is represented by the region’s typical products including red onions from Tropea; chilli peppers, red potatoes, Porcini mushrooms from the Sila plateaux; Clementines from Corigliano, Bergamot from the Reggio Calabria area, Citrons from the Riviera di Cedri, liquorice from Rossano, and olives from the Piana di Gioia. Calabria is also known for its famed Nduja, which is a delicious, creamy sausage. Its coastline position makes fish a staple dish, sword fishing being a local, age-old tradition still carried on today. Another important fish in Calabrian cuisine has many names: neonata, nudilla, rosamarina, nannata, and bianchetti, all meaning the same thing, Sardines. These tiny, newly born fish are known as the caviar of Calabria, and are preserved in oil and often spiced up with flakes of chili pepper.

Calabria Accommodations

Check in, relax and get ready to immerse yourself in everything Calabrian.  Your charming accommodation is located on the promontory of Scalea overlooking the Gulf of Policastro, with a breathtaking view of the sea. The recently built, modern villa is within walking distance to nearby restaurants and attractions, as well as many of the beautiful beaches on the coast, but if you want to stay on property for a refreshing dip, you can do so in the villa’s swimming pool with Roman steps and adjoining jacuzzi. Rooms are warm and inviting, with comfortable beds, Italian linens and bedding, a private ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, a minibar, and daily breakfast and maid service included.

Diamante:  The City Of Murals & Chili Peppers

Stroll through the village Diamante.  This ancient village was decorated by skilled artisans from all over the world, creating scenes on the walls, telling the story of Calabria’s gloriously eclectic, and opulent past;  its nickname is the city of speaking walls.  Then it is on to the Red Hot Chilli Pepper Museum in Maiera, created by the Accademia Italiana del Peperoncino. It is the only museum of its nature in the world, showing the history of the chilli pepper, complete with a vast selection of chilli pepper products from all over the world, including a tasting of chilli pepper food ingredients.


Beautiful 14th century portals welcome you as you step into Maratea. The old town, bombarded by French troops in the late 19th century, beckons you into its history as you are greeted by the Christ of Maratea, an impressive 22-meter statue! The statue faces the Basilica of San Biagio, which houses the relics of the town’s patron saint. Next, visit the antique churches tiled with Majolica from Vietri, and walk down alleys rich in handicraft shops of embroidery, leatherwork, and the like. Your passage through Maratea ends with a visit to the natural grottoes full of spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the harbour of Maratea.

The Norman Town Of Scalea & The Aragon Towers

Discover the splendor of the Aragon watchtower dotting the Calabrian coastline. First visit Talao’s tower, dating back to the 16th century, built by the Aragon vicar of the king of Naples. A guided walk follows to the old village of Scalea, dominated by the ruins of a Norman castle. Two magnificent churches and an old medieval “hospitalia” with rare Byzantine frescoes that characterize the village. Within one of the towers is a museum boasting treasures from Laos, a Greek Lucan city of the 6th century B.C. Your tour ends with a visit to the Aragon Tower of Praia a Mare facing Isola di Dino.

Riviera dei Cedri, The Riviera of Citrus

The Riviera Dei Cedri, one of the most beautiful coastal stretches of the Calabria region with crystal blue waters and long beaches, takes its name from the citrus fruits which populate the area. The Diamante citron in particular, named after the ancient artisan village, has been cultivated on local citrus farms for thousands of years, dating all the way back to biblical times. It is the shining star of the area’s produce, being used in edible and drinkable products like marmalade, syrup, cookies, and liqueurs, as well as in the traditional Jewish holiday of Sukkot. You will visit one of the citrus farms where the large, fragrant Diamante citron is grown and harvested. In addition to a tour of the farm, there will also be a tasting of the citrus and the local delicacies made from it.


Discover the tiny, yet elegant mountain village of Aieta. Located in the Pollino National Park on the ridge of Mount Ciagola, Aieta is recognized as one of the most beautiful art cities in Italy.  The Renaissance Palace in the historic center is the main attraction, a 16th century palazzo that stands as one of the rare cases of Renaissance architecture in Calabria. You can also take in the frescoes at the Cathedral St. Mary of the Visitation in the main square, the magnificent stone portals from the 18th and 19th centuries that are scattered around the historic center, or the the narrow and deep “Valley of the Mills” carved by the river Tronaturo.

Santa Domenica Talao, Between Sea and Mountains 

Santa Domenica Talao dazzles each visitor from its picturesque location and beautiful landmarks –  from the Torre Cimalonga, Torre Talao, the Grotta del Romito to the Spiaggia di Dino – you will fall in love.  Landmarks, castles and a medieval past lend to its beauty and story that is steeped in tradition.


Orsomarso is set in the historical center with an ancient clock tower and the Argentino River Valley, noted for its nature walk.  Orsomarso is located in the Western spurs of the Calabrian Apennines, in the Argentino river valley, near the confluence of the Argentino and Lao rivers.  Settled by the Romans, who built a military defensive fortress in the Lao river valley, along with Achaean, Etruscan and Greek merchants, who crossed the valley to also settle, is part of Orsomarso’s story.

Calabrian Wine

Calabria is one of Italy’s most ancient winemaking regions. Legend has it that Greek gods were drinking this wine during the Olympic games. Over 90% of wine produced in Calabria is red wine, and the breezy, warm Mediterranean climate is perfect for grape growing. There are more than nine DOC wine growing regions in Calabria, including Ciro (the most prominent Calabrian wine region that produces full-bodied, strong fruity flavors), Pollino, Donnici, Bivongi, and Greco Di Bianco (one of the few main white wine regions). You will sip and swirl local Calabrian wine in a visit and tasting tour and discover why Calabrian wine has such a sterling reputation.

Calabrian Liquori Visit

Discover the delicious liquori of Calabria made with the flowers and herbs that grow in this beautiful microclimate along the sea. The history of monks making liquori from herbs dates back to the 1400s using bergamot, lemons, cedro, fig and licorice. You will visit the the artisan makers where you will learn about the the history and process with tastings included.

Calabrian Figs

Discover Calabrian figs!  Used in the local cuisine from antipasto – Prosciutto served with fresh figs to dessert – crostata di fici, an open fig-filled pie!  In Calabria, figs are an important part of the cuisine, especially at Christmas time. They are mainly produced in Cosenza where the planting conditions are ideal and are characterized by their plumpness, sweetness, and scarcity of seeds. Dried figs are often used in the preparation of cakes stuffed with dried fruit, chocolate, and spices, the recipes handed down from generation to generation. They are also used to make jams, granita, and biscuits. You will prepare traditional dolce, such as crocette di fichi secchi calabresi con mandorle al forno, delicate figs stuffed with almonds and baked in the oven; settembrini, a traditional biscotti stuffed with fresh figs and served with licorish liqueurs or Mostarda di fichi, a slow cooked fig jam.

Pecorino del Monte Poro

Another centuries-old tradition of Calabria is the production of its famous Pecorino del Monte Poro cheese, often considered to be the best in Southern Italy. The cheese is produced exclusively from the milk of sheep that graze on the Monte Poro plateau, and is distinguished by its unmistakably pungent taste and smell.  Join us as we visit an artisan cheese farm who produces Pecorino by hand, pressing the curd and massaging the cheese daily with extra virgin olive oil.  This excursion includes a tour with tastings along the way.

Itinerary: 8 Days, 7 Nights

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival at the property and welcome.  Check in, relax and enjoy your Cooking Vacations welcome bag with Prosecco.
  • Afternoon is free.
  • Welcome Dinner including a Chef’s Tasting full course tasting menu featuring local fare with a toasts of wine included.

Day 2: Visit Diamante & Riviera Dei Cedri Tour with Tastings & Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver and English-speaking guide for a guided tour to Diamante.  Diamante is known as the City of Murals. The walls of the local homes have been painted by artists from all over the world and depict the history, culture and life of the deep Italian South.
  • Following your visit to Diamante, we will visit the famous citron tree plantation on the Rivieria dei Cedri.  The visit includes an English-speaking guided tour with tastings is of citrons including candied citrons and citron liqueur.
  • Following the tour, return to the property.
  • Next, tie on your aprons for Cooking Class 1.  Learn about ingredients while you prepare antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, a main course and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food prepared in the cooking class together with a toast of local wine.

Day 3: Excursion to Santa Domenica Talao & Papasidero

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver and English-speaking guide for an excursion to Santa Domenica Talao – a short passage to the city center where there is a panoramic terrace with a breathtaking view – and Papasidero.  In Papasidero, among the various activities opt to visit  the Grotto del Romito or visit the historical center with the Sanctuary of Santa Varia di Constantinopoli. 
  • Opt to take time out for lunch on your own.
  • Following the tour, return to the property.  Dinner is on your own with suggestions provided.

Day 4:  Wine Tour Tasting & Olive Oil Tasting in the Countryside

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for a full day tour to a famous local winery located in the countryside of Calabria.
  • Visit the vineyard, winery and cantina – learn about local Calabrian wine with our expert wine make including the wine tastings with artisan foods paired with every wine included.
  • Also included our Olive Oil tasting, learning about the varieties, method with tastings included.
  • Take time out for lunch own, you can choose from suggestions provided.
  • Following the tour, return to the property.
  • After a full day tour, may want to relax, enjoy a light dinner at any one of the local restaurants with suggestions provided.

Day 5: Excursion to Aieta & Praia a Mare

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver for an excursion to Aieta.  This small town, takes its name from the Greek  term aetòs, αετός, meaning eagle, located in the Pollino National Park.  Visit the historic center and the Renaissance Palace with a  passage to Praia a Mare with lots of artisan shopping in the vibrant Oleificio Sagario. 
  • Discover Praia a Mare and walk along its famous tree-lined avenue with shops and visit the beautiful Madonna della Grotta Sanctuary.  Lunch is on your own, with suggestions provided.
  • Following the tour and return to the property.
  • After a full day tour, may want to relax, enjoy a light dinner at any one of the local restaurants with suggestions provided.

Day 6: Excursion to Maratea & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, meet your driver and English-speaking guide for a guided tour to Maratea.  Maratea is set in the centre of the town called Maratea Borgo, on the northern slopes of Mount San Biagio.  Other villages in the region include Acquafredda, Cersuta, Fiumicello, Porto, Marina, Castrocucco – on the coast.  Castello, Santa Caterina, Massa and Brefaro, overlooking hills.
  • Following Maratea, return to the property for cooking class 2.
  • Next, tie on your aprons for Cooking Class 2.  Learn about ingredients while you prepare antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, a main course and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food prepared in the cooking class together with a toast of local wine.

Day 7: Scalea & Liquorice Tour and Tasting & Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Meet your driver and English-speaking guide for a guided tour to Scalea.  Discover Scalea’s Old Town and a 16th century Aragon Sighting tower.  Walk through small streets and alleyways soaking up the beauty of this beautiful town.
  • Following Scalea, visit to an Liquorice producer and learn how the famous liquore are made with an old world method using flowers, herbs and spices.  Using lemons, cedro, figs, oranges and spices, this family carries on the tradition of liquors, jams and confections.  Tastings included.
  • Next, tie on your aprons for Cooking Class 3.  Learn about ingredients while you prepare antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, a main course and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food prepared in the cooking class together with a toast of local wine.

    Day 7: Check Out & Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out and departure.  Transfer to train station.

Program Includes:

  • Eight days, seven nights accommodations in charming 3-star property.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes featuring traditional full course menus with local fare.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food prepared in the cooking class together with a toast of local wine.
  • 1 Welcome Dinner with a Chef’s Tasting dinners featuring a full course Calabrian menu with wine included.
  • Tour of Diamante – City of Murals, with driver and English-speaking guide.
  • Tour Riviera Dei Cedri Tour with Citron tasting, with driver and English-speaking guide.
  • Tour of Scalea’s Old Town with driver and English-speaking guide.
  • Tour to the artisan liquorice and liquore producer with tour and tastings included with driver and English-speaking guide.
  • Tour to Maratea with driver and English-speaking guide
  • Tour of Aieta and Praia a Mare with driver.
  • Wine Tour to a famous wine producer with a visit to the vineyard, cantina with six wine tasting and olive oil tastings included with driver.
  • Olive Oil tasting at the wine cantina learning about the varieties and method with tastings including.
  • Tour to Santa Domenica Talao and Papasidero.
  • Round trip transfers from the Scalea Train Station to the property.
  • Cooking Vacations’ Welcome Bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe booklet.
  • A copy of Lauren’s cookbook, It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.
Program Prices

$3,595 per person, based on two guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.  Museum entrance fees, depending on what you decide on at the landmarks, is not included in the program price.

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. You can check in and start your cooking program 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.