Tie on your apron in Piedmont and unwind in luxury, while sampling the region’s finest foods, wine and spa services. Settle into this unique property where history meets luxury in this 8th century farmhouse turned upscale 4-star hotel. Boasting stunning surroundings, peaceful and elegant interior rooms, and a truly tranquil spa, you will never want to leave! During the cooking classes, join Chef Mari in her family’s farmhouse kitchen, where you will learn the importance of Piedmont cuisine and the region’s famous wine – Barolo and Dolcetto – in one of Italy’s most important viticultures. Take off on a full-day excursion and visit a renowned winery for a wine tour tasting and lunch, then continue onto the Barbaresco Village and Neive or the Barolo Village and Grinzane Cavour Castle. And, if it’s a sunny day, stop at La Morra to enjoy a view from Belvedere Square. To cap off your stay, unwind in the hotel’s spa, surrounded by natural rock and vineyard vistas.
Piedmont Cooking Class
Chef Mari welcomes you to her family’s picturesque farmhouse, complete with an underground wine cellar. Learn to prepare Piedmont traditions, including antipasto, fresh pasta with seasonal sauce, main courses and desserts as she leads you in the kitchen while sharing her knowledge on local food and wine. Using only farm-to-table ingredients, Chef Mari shares her recipes for vitello, fiore di cappero e cipolla, a veal with caper flowers and onion, hand-made pasta – agnolotti, Reale di vitello, veal prepared with red and black pepper, and amaretto, nocciola e zabaione, an amaretto, hazelnut dessert – this is just a sample menu. Menus change with the seasons. Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the class with a toast of local wine included – dining either in the garden or the vineyard.
Piedmontese Traditions. During your stay enjoy the following –
Piedmontese Beef – The local beef of Piedmont, also called Fassona, is one of Italy’s most prized meats. Lean, tender and full of flavor, this meat is the key ingredient in carne crudo all’Albese, a carpaccio delicacy and vitello tonnato, veal with tuna sauce.
White Truffles from Alba – The precious white truffle is a delicacy in Piedmont. Called a tuber magnatum, the tubers grow close to oak, hazelnut and chestnut trees. Italian truffle hunters search for truffles with their trained dogs, not pigs, as dogs are gentler and do not rip the truffle. Truffles, best served with fried eggs, shaved on tagliatelle or garnished on Piedmontese beef, are a must-try when in Piedmont.
Tajarin – Learn how to make Tajarin, pronounced “tie-yah-reen,” the Piedmontese tagliatelle. Tajarin reflects the humble resourcefulness that is typical of la cucina povera, poor man’s kitchen, because it was often served with comodino, a sumptuous ragù of sweet meats from home-raised poultry and rabbits. Tajarin is traditionally served with butter and shavings of the region’s legendarily prized white truffles.
Grissini – The humble grissini, or breadsticks, were created in Turino in the 17th century by the Royal court baker for Duke Amedeo di Savoia. The future royalty could not eat gluten, so he rolled the bread thin and twice-baked them. The double-baked bread has a long and thin pencil-like shape (made salted, unsalted and rolled in sesame seeds) and is served alongside Prosciutto, artisan cheese, hearty soups or snacks.
Cheese – Robiola di Roccaverano is a soft cheese made from pure, raw goat’s milk and has DOP protection. Delicate and delicious, it develops a deeper flavor the the longer it ages. Locals enjoy this delicious cheese either garnished with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and pinch of chili or used as a stuffing to fill pastas. There is also Montebore cheese, which is known for its wedding cake shape and is also protected by the Slow Food Presidium. This cheese is made with raw cow and sheep milk in a small area in the province of Alessandria. It has a milky, chestnut, and grassy flavor and it pairs well with fresh or dried fruit. Castelmagno, made with cow’s milk, is DOP and is one of the oldest cheeses made in the region dating back to the Middle Ages. Made with half sheep and half goat milk, this cheese has a rich creaminess and intense flavor that pairs well with gnocchi and risotto. Produced in the mountain pastures, it’s protected by Slow Food Presidium.
Salsiccia di Bra – This is a traditional sausage that was first created in the town of Bra during the 16th century. This sausage became so famous that it was exempt from an 1847 royal decree that prohibited beef sausage production. Today, it also contains a little pork fat. It’s delicate and spicy when cooked in a pan, grilled, or raw.
Piedmont, Montferrat and Italy’s Northern Wine Country
Known for its wines and truffles, the rolling verdant hills of Piedmont are the perfect backdrop for your culinary journey as you cook, sip and swirl your way through Northern Italy. Piedmont translates to “at the foot of the mountains” and it is bordered by the Alps on three sides. Its location creates a unique, rich agricultural and viticultural value. The region has benefited from the Slow Cooking movement, promoting the value of locally grown food, cooking traditional and seasonal recipes. Best of all, Piedmont is known for its risotto, white truffles, meats, and coffee (it is home to Lavazza).
When it comes to wine, Piedmont is a major player, best known for its Barolo. Barolo wines are red wines made exclusively from the Nebbiolo grape, which is high in both acid and tannins. Barolo wine is full-bodied and acidic – lacking the opaqueness of most red wines but making up for it in higher alcohol content – and must be aged at least two years in oak and one year in the bottle. Danilo Drocco, a famous Barolo-maker, said the wine was like “a lovely person who needs to be discovered little by little. Every time you open a bottle of Barolo, it gives off unique emotions and sensations.”
Montferrat is one of the most important viticultural districts of Italy, so much so that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014. The area’s cuisine is splendid with classics such as agnolotti, a hand-made pinched ravioli pasta, risotto de Casale, a rich risotto with mushrooms and red wine, and bagna cauda, a hot dip made from garlic and anchovies and served like a fondue. For main courses, Montferrat cuisine features a variety of meats including oxtail, sausage, tripe and chickpeas.
Casale Montferrato is an ancient town at the foot of the Montferrat hills. Once a Roman city, the historic town center, Piazza Mazzini, is the site of the ancient Roman forum. An architectural must-see is the Casale Montferrato Cathedral, which was founded in the 8th century and rebuilt in the 12th century. Built on the same site as a Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter, the Romanesque and gothic architecture is magnificent, and fragments of 11th century mosaics remain in the church today.
During your stay, take time to visit Acqua Termi and the natural pools of water imbued with the curative powers of sulphur, bromine and iodine. The thermal springs and mud baths will relax you and transport you to times of the ancient Romans, who also sought benefits from these waters.
Wine – Barolo, Babaresco & Dolcetto d’Alba
Sip and swirl the most prestigious Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto d’Alba while experiencing a cantina tour with a wine tasting and lunch included. Rolling vineyards welcome each visitor followed by a sensory experience in the cantina. The wine cellar conveys a sense of family, tradition and passion that is weaved into the vintners’ daily work. Guests are welcomed by a vintner family who’ve been making precious Barolo and Barbaresco for over a hundred years. Barrels and barriques, stories from the vintner and delicious tastings accompanied by lunch are just part of the experience. After the tour, guests sit on panoramic terrace where they can soak up the Langhe landscape – a vast expanse of vineyards in the Barolo production zone, while enjoying the property’s wine.
4-Star Luxury Hotel & Spa
History meets luxury in this 8th century farmhouse turned upscale 4-star hotel. Sitting on nearly 25 acres of land, the property is surrounded by rolling green hills, verdant vineyards and fruitful orchards. This is a place to truly unwind. The hotel’s spa is set in the ancient farmhouse, creating a unique environment with history and gravitas, along with a breathtaking view. After your massage, enjoy a panoramic Swedish sauna and spend time in the relaxation room, set in the ancient barrel cellar. Rooms are stylishly and chromatically designed to maximize rest and relaxation. All rooms are corner suites with magnificent views, comfortable bedding with Italian linens, private ensuite bathrooms with chromotherapy showers, and unique architectural elements such as vaulted ceilings, parquets, terracotta tiles and fireplaces. Daily breakfast is served and is included, along with maid service. Other amenities include free wifi, a safe, satellite tv, and a restaurant on the property.
Itinerary ~ 4 Days, 3 Nights
Check in and start your program on any day of the week
Day One: Chef’s Tasting Dinner
- Arrival transfer from Asti Train station and check in. Relax and refresh. Enjoy your Prosecco toast.
- In the evening, enjoy your Welcome Dinner featuring a Chef’s Tasting Menu featuring a full course menu of local fare. (Wine not included.)
Day Two: Cooking Class & Massage
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, tie on your apron and head to the Chef’s farmhouse for your cooking class. Learn to prepare antipasto, fresh pasta or risotto, and dessert. Following the cooking class, guests enjoy the food that was prepared in the kitchen with a toast of local wine
- Later in the afternoon, unwind at the hotel’s renowned spa. Enjoy a 50-minute anti-stress massage and take advantage of access to the spa’s private swimming pool, sauna, and Swedish showers.
- Dinner is on your own and suggestions are provided.
Day Three: Full-Day Excursion – Winery Visit with Wine Tasting Lunch & Barbaresco or Borolo Village Visit
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, meet your driver for an excursion to a well-known local winery. Visit the winery for a tour, and then enjoy a light lunch and wine tasting in the wine cellar, included
- After the winery, visit the Barbaresco Village and Neive or the Barolo Village and Grinzane Cavour Castle. If it’s a sunny day, we will also stop at La Morra to enjoy a view from Belvedere Square.
- Dinner is free and on your own. Suggestions are provided.
Day Four: Breakfast and Farewell
- Breakfast is served.
- Transfer to Asti Train Station
- Check out & arrivederci!
- 4 days, 3 nights in the 8th century farmhouse turned upscale 4-star hotel.
- Daily breakfast and maid service included.
- A Welcome Dinner featuring a Chef’s Tasting Dinner with full course menu of local fare, wine not included.
- 1 hands-on cooking lesson with the Chef. Lunch or dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class with local wine.
- A full-day excursion to the winery with tour, tastings and lunch, followed by a visit to Barbaresco Village and Neive or the Barolo Village and Grinzane Cavour Castle. If it’s a sunny day, we will also stop at La Morra to enjoy a view from Belvedere Square.
- 1 spa visit with 50-minute anti-stress massage.
- Round trip transfers from Asti Train Station to the property.
- Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with chef’s apron, recipe booklet and Prosecco toast.
$2,495 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.