Join us in the fairytale Lake Garda for hands-on cooking classes, pasta making and wine tasting with Chef Margo. Guests are welcomed to local cuisine and scenic relaxation surrounded by dreamy Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy. Explore the peninsula’s Medieval castle if you’re feeling adventurous or slip into any one of the charming caffés and admire the architecture while sipping an espresso and watching white swans swim in the moat at sunset. Best of all is the traditional cuisine which is inspired by Lake Garda’s fish caught daily. Discover the local fish: carpion and alborella, along with farm-to-table produce. Lake Garda is also well known for its extra virgin olive oil and its Laguna wine, an elegant and lively white that pairs wonderfully with the local fish and traditional cuisine. During your stay, enjoy a peaceful afternoon at a local winery tour and tasting, sipping and swirling with a view of verdant vines. With Medieval castles, hands-on cooking, sipping and swirling, you will feel like you are in a storybook on Lake Garda. Buon appetito!
Lake Garda Cooking Classes
Surrounded by Lake Garda with the majestic mountains in the distance, the beautiful and historic gem of Sirmione is sure to steal your heart. The water of Lake Garda is a deep cerulean blue, which stands in stunning contrast to the white stone Scaligero Castle that rises from the lake. You will get to know the unique peninsula from both land and lake on your walking tour and boat excursion, where you will learn about the local traditional cuisine and wine as you stroll and cruise. Look out for carpion, the famously delicious lake fish that locals love. Your hostess, Chef Margo, is also an accomplished baker, and her husband Elia, a certified sommelier. This husband and wife team introduce you to the local cuisine and wine during your stay with an informative wine tasting featuring local wine selected by Elia.
Then, get ready to tie on your apron and head to the kitchen for your hands-on traditional cooking class! With the help of Chef Margo, you will prepare a traditional three-course Italian dinner. The menus vary with the seasons using fresh ingredients from the local farmers, and may include a first course of pizza fritta, fried pizza, grilled stuffed zucchini or parmigiana di melanzane, eggplant parmesan. You’ll roll out pasta and prepare sauces – think homemade crespelle or orecchiette with shrimp and zucchini. Desserts follow and Chef Margo will guide you through the steps to make tiramisu or crostata, a fruit-filled tart. After the cooking class, enjoy the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with a toast of local wine included. For your dessert making class, you will make three ambrosial desserts, which may include torta de fregoloti, almond cake or biscotti Bresciani, traditional cookies made with milk and honey – to name a few.
Lake Garda, Sirmione
Sirmione is a peninsula surrounded by water and steeped in history. As early as the 1st century BC, Sirmione was a favorite resort location for the wealthy families of Verona. The great poet Catallus had a villa there, the remains of which can still be visited today at the Grotte di Catullo, up on a hill overlooking the great blue lake and majestic mountains beyond. With such scenery, Medieval castles and romantic stone streets, it’s no surprise that Sirmione’s beauty has long attracted poets. In 1880, Alfred Lord Tennyson affectionately described the town as “Sweet Catullus’s all-but-island, olive-silvery Sirmio!”
Sirmione is most well-known for Castello Scaligero, Scaligero Castle, a wonderfully preserved 13th century castle that serves as a gateway to the historic center of the town, and as a rare and beautiful example of lake fortification. Built in light stone and peppered with turrets, it appears to belong in a storybook. We recommend exploring the castle, and visiting the small museum inside, during your stay. Next to the castle is Sant’Anna della Rocca, a small 12th century church that looks rather unassuming from the outside, but contains an incredibly ornate altar and magnificent frescoes that date from the 14th-17th centuries.
The narrow, stone-paved streets of Sirmione twist and turn, lined with stucco and stone houses with window boxes and colorfully painted shutters. Shops and restaurants are plentiful, and since the peninsula is so narrow, you are never far from the lake and mountain views. Wander the cobblestone streets, shop for some memorable treasures, or people watch outside a local caffé with an aperetivo, a refreshing breeze coming off the lake, and an unforgettable view.
Lake Garda Accommodations
Your hotel, set right in the heart of Sirmione, was formerly a villa. Your hostess and Chef Margo and her husband Elia have lovingly restored the property, maintaining its antique charm while ensuring that guests have all the modern amenities. Each room is equipped with an en-suite private bathroom, air conditioning, and Smart TV. Enjoy lunch or dinner on site at their restaurant, or soak in the sun from the private lake-view terrace with one of Chef Margo’s fresh-baked pastries and a cappuccino. The property is just a 5-minute walk to two lake-shore beaches, and it is close to the thermal spas that uses Sirmione’s world-famous thermal baths with sulphiric water that comes from Lake Garda. Your charming hosts make your stay dreamy, comfortable and delicious!
Lake Garda Wine
Lugana DOC, is Sirmione’s high-quality white wine which is considered one of the most precous of Lake Garda. The Lugana wines are made with Trebbiano grapes, which produce varieties of white wine that are dry tasting with a fresh and fruity flavor at the end. This wine pairs well with any pasta, fish or meat. The Lugana wine is produced in Superiore, Riserva, Spumante and Vendemmia Tardiva versions.
Itinerary: 6 Days, 5 Nights
Day 1 Arrival, Check-In, Wine Tasting & Pizza Dinner
• Arrival and check in.
• Relax and enjoy a Prosecco welcome with your hosts.
• Your welcome dinner starts with a wine tasting with certified sommelier Elia and pizza dinner with dessert and wine included.
Day 2 Walking Tour of Sirmione’s Historical Center, Boat Excursion & Aperitivo
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, your morning is free to relax or the Roman Ruins.
- In the afternoon, meet your English-speaking guide who will lead you on a tour of Sirmione’s historical center.
- After the walking tour, set sail for a boat excursion around the peninsula. During your sail, enjoy an aperitivo with finger foods served on the boat.
- Later, take time to explore Sirmione and visit the Castello Scaligero – a suggestion – on your own.
- Dinner on your own. Suggestions provided.
Day 3 Traditional Cooking Class
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning free to shop, relax, stroll along Lake Garda or schedule a thermal bath.
- In the afternoon, join Chef Margo and get ready for your hands-on cooking class where you will prepare a traditional three course Italian dinner. You will learn her family recipes while using local farm-to-table ingredients.
- Dinner follows. After the cooking class, join your hosts for dinner including the food that was prepared in the cooking class from the terrace overlooking Lake Garda (weather permitting). A toast of local wine included.
Day 4 Dessert Cooking Class
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, visit any one of the many artisan shops or experience a biking tour around the area and soak up the beauty of Lake Garda. The area has many biking paths where you can discover the towns of Desenzano del Garda or Peschiera del Garda.
- In the afternoon, tie on your apron and learn the art of dessert making mixing, baking and creating three different ambrosial desserts.
- Following the dessert class, a dessert tasting follows including the baked goods that were prepared in dessert class with coffee or tea included.
Day 5 Winery Tour & Tasting
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning free to rest, shop or soak up the sun on the beach (weather permitting)
- In the afternoon, meet your driver for an excursion to an award-winning winery. Discover the wine of this region during your winery visit and wine tasting.
- Dinner is on your own with suggestions provided.
Day 6 Breakfast, Check Out & Ciao Until Next Time!
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, check out and departure.
- Six days, five nights stay in a three-star hotel.
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- Welcome dinner and wine tasting, with five wines, pizza dinner and dessert.
- Walking tour of Sirmione’s historical center with English-speaking.
- Boat excursion with aperitivo and snacks aboard.
- Wine tour and tasting with certified sommelier, with driver.
- One hands-on cooking classe featuring a three course Italian dinner. Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared to follow with a toast of local wine included, and coffee and tea served in the dessert class.
- One hands-on dessert making class preparing three desserts. Following the dessert class, a tasting follows including the baked goods that were made in class with coffee or tea included.
- Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with Chef’s apron and recipe booklet.
$1995 per person, based on 2 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.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.