Join Fabrizio at the family estate, a beautiful farmhouse villa located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside and in the quaint village of Montespertoli. The Tuscan cooking classes, held in the villa’s private kitchen, feature traditional recipes from the Florence area under the direction of Chef Melina. She will lead you through making Tuscan antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. Milena’s energetic personality, along with her talented cooking skills make this class our best seller for Tuscany. The entire staff, along with Fabrizio and his family, welcome you for a fun-filled cooking experience in the heart of Chianti!
Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms & pepolino, artichokes and tomatoes stuffed with herbs and cheese, gnocchi ragù, Chianti Etruscan sauce & beans all’uccelletta, vin santo & cantuccini-traditional Tuscan almond cookies, tiramisu, schiacciata all’uva-Tuscan cake with red grapes and rosemary, are just a sample of Melina’s excellent recipes you will learn.
Cooking Lessons & Market Tour
Experience the delights of the traditional Tuscan lifestyle, while attending fun-filled cooking classes and enjoying relaxing excursions. You will learn to prepare all the essential components of a Tuscan meal: appetizers and breads, soups, homemade pasta, meats, vegetables and desserts.
Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and pepolino, wild thyme, artichokes and tomatoes stuffed with herbs and cheese, gnocchi with ragù, Chianti Etruscan sauce & beans all’uccelletto, Vin Santo & cantuccini, traditional Tuscan almond cookies, tiramisù, schiacciata con l’uva, Tuscan cake made with red grapes and rosemary, are just a sample of Melina’s excellent recipes that you will learn. Recipes will vary depending on the seasons.
The kitchen is the classroom, in which our Chef Melina leads hands-on cooking classes, featuring traditional Tuscan cuisine. The estate’s country-style kitchen is located in the main villa and in what used to be one of the family’s wine cellars.
You will learn the secrets of making gnocchetti verdi di patate con pomodorino fresco e basilico, green potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and basil, filetto d’orata al gratin di patate, fish with potato gratin, and semifreddo alle nocciole con cioccolato fondente, ice cream cake with dark chocolate and nuts. Following the class, everyone eats the fruits of their labor together, accompanied by wine from the estate. In addition, you will learn to prepare dishes such as seafood risotto, Tenderloin with Black Truffles, Porcini Mushrooms, and dolci. Dolci, desserts in Italian, include: bavarese alla frutta fresca, Tuscan cake with fresh fruit and the famous cantuccini, almond biscotti.
Experience a visit to the vibrant marketplace and let the aromas of just baked bread, artisan cheese, and morning picked produce from the nearby rolling hills stir your senses. Listen to the sounds of sellers calling out their daily catch, prime cuts and specials. Shop along rows of passionate purveyors who have kept the old world way of protected food and wine. The sleepy Tuscany towns are a sharp contrast against the lively marketplace.
The family has operated its vineyards, specializing in the Chianti wine since the 19th century.
The wines are long-lived and are examples of the best in the Chianti wine region, thanks to their knowledge and appreciation of wine. Tradition and old family customs merge with modern winemaking technologies, which yield production totals of nearly 30,000 bottles a year. The award-winning wines boast the Silver Label, awarded at the Tuscan Gastronomic Show in New York City 2005 & 2006, and earned honorable mention at the VIII edition of the Tuscan Wine Selection in 2008.
The Villa Accommodations
The private villa has recently been restored, respecting its old-world charm, while adding modern comforts. Set on a working vineyard, the property is surrounded by rolling green Tuscan hills in the heart of Montespertoli. The estate has a vast olive grove and an organic vegetable garden, which produces beautiful olives, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and a bounty of seasonal produce. Guests are invited to pick the fruits and vegetables, which are then used in the cooking classes.
The accommodations are large apartments and oversized superior rooms, traditionally furnished and newly renovated with modern conveniences; most with air conditioning. Each room has a private bathroom, telephone, full kitchenette, refrigerator, satellite TV, and a private garden or spacious terrace.
Stepping outside your door is a colorful garden with a café-style terrace for eating, reading or painting. There is an outdoor wood-burning brick oven for pizza parties, an over-sized swimming pool and terrace on the property grounds. Majestic Murgesi horses are bred on the premises. If you like to ride, tell Fabrizio and he can arrange for horseback riding in the beautiful surroundings.
In the farmhouse’s spacious dining room, breakfast is served daily, featuring breads, cold cuts, cheese, homemade jams, biscotti and cakes baked each morning by Simonetta. Traditional Tuscan lunch or dinner is also available; reservations must be made in advance.
Itinerary ~ 8 Days, 7 Nights
Day 1: Check In
- Check in, relax. Welcome aperitivo and introduction.
- Welcome dinner at the property, wine included.
Day 2: Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- In the morning meet our family-Fabrizio, along with Chef Melina. They will be your hosts for the week. You will have an introduction and overview of your cooking week.
- Take a walk to the vineyard or horse stable. Horseback riding is available on the estate, you need to make arrangements with Fabrizio. Relax by the pool or take a swim (weather permitting). Walk to the small town at the entrance of the villa property and explore the shops, sip a cappuccino at the local Italian café or have pizza at the pizzeria.
- In the afternoon, Cooking Class 1. This hands-on experience, led by Chef Melina, teaches you her Tuscan family recipes. Her menu includes a first, second, contorno (side dish) and dessert.
- Dinner follows with everyone eating the foods prepared in class. Wine is included.
Day 3: Market Visit & Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning visit to the local Farmers’ Market. Visit the local producers of vegetables, fruits, fish, game and olive oil. Piled high are baskets of the season’s freshest produce. Select the ingredients that will be used in class.
- In the afternoon, Cooking Class 2. Dinner follows with everyone eating the foods prepared in class. Wine included.
Day 4: Cooking Class 3
- Breakfast is served.
- Take the morning to explore the family vineyard and olive grove. Explore the land that grows the Chianti grapes and walk under groves of ancient olive trees producing the prized Tuscan olives. You may also take a bicycle and go for a spin through the Tusca countryside. Fabrizio also raises prized horses on the property. You can ride with the comfort of our resident horse trainer and professional rider. Lunch on your own.
- In the afternoon, Cooking Class 3. Dinner follows with everyone eating the foods prepared in class. Wine included.
Day 5: Free Day ~ Suggestion: Tour Of Tuscany To Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa
- Breakfast is served.
- A private 7-hour excursion through the Tuscan Hills, visiting Chianti and “la strada di vini”, the street of wine country, touring through San Gimignano-Italy’s wine country, Siena~the Medieval City of Art & Romance and Pisa~The Leaning Tower Of Pisa, in a private car with our driver and guide. This excursion is optional, and is at extra cost. Giovanni our driver will bring you to our favorite Tuscan trattoria (lunch and wine not included).
- Evening free and dinner is on your own.
Day 6: Free Day ~ Visit Florence On Your Own
- Breakfast is served.
- Following breakfast, visit Florence, the Italy’s City of Art. Take the city bus into the center of town for a full day visit. Explore the city on foot, and we suggest the following sites not to be missed! *A private tour guide is available, upon request. Reservation required. *Private round trip transfer into Florence is available at a surcharge. Museum tickets not included in the program.
- The Accademia Museum, Florence’s most celebrated museum, home to Giovanni da Milano’s Pieta (fourteenth century), the Annunciation by Lorenzo Monaco (fifteenth century), the beautiful front called Adimari Cassone showing a sumptuous marriage procession (c. 1450) and the Madonna of the Sea attributed to Botticelli (1445-1510). A recent rearrangement and restoration of some of the rooms have given more space for the display of paintings from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries plaster models of Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni, Famous Italian sculptors of the nineteenth century also on display, and Michelangelo’s David.
- The Uffizi Gallery, Florence’s first museum to open to the public, is 8.000 sq.m. and it displays one of the most important collections of art of all times, including classical sculpture and paintings on canvas and wood by 13th to 18th century Italian and foreign schools. Its four centuries of history make the Uffizi Gallery the oldest museum in the world.
- Duomo, the distinctive icon in Florence’s skyline is the dome of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The building is located due north of the Piazza della Signoria, was begun by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Numerous local artists continued to work on it during the following century and a half. The painter Giotto designed its sturdy bell tower (campanile) in 1334. The Duomo’s octagonal cupola (1420-36) which dominates the city was the creation of Filippo Brunelleschi, master architect and sculptor. Opposite the cathedral stands the Baptistery; the building dates from the 11th century but is a Roman monument dating back to 1330; 1401-52. The third pair of these doors, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, were of such rare beauty that Michelangelo christened them the “Gates of Paradise.”
- This cathedral was begun in the Gothic style by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. But in 1366 the City of Florence, following the advice of certain painters and sculptors, decided that the Gothic should no longer be used and that all new work should follow Roman forms, including an octagonal dome 42 meters in span to be built at the east end of the nave. The dome was not built until the early 15th century, when Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and sculptor. In 1415 he prepared a design for the dome that he daringly proposed to build without the aid of formwork, which had been absolutely necessary in all previous Roman and Gothic construction. He built a 1:12 model of the dome in brick to demonstrate his method; the design was accepted and built under his supervision from 1420 to 1436.
- Brunelleschi was hailed as the man who “renewed Roman masonry work;” the dome was established as the paragon of built form.
Day 7: Cooking Class 4
- Breakfast served.
- Meet in the kitchen for your Cooking Class 4. Lunch follows with everyone eating the foods prepared in class. Wine included.
- In the afternoon, relax by the pool, read a book or take a bike ride through the Tuscan countryside.
- Evening is free and dinner is on your own.
Day 8: Departure & Arrivederci!
- Breakfast is served. Ciao and a presto!
*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the week.
- 8 days, 7 nights in a superior double room, based on double occupancy. Click To View!
- Daily breakfast.
- Welcome Dinner on first night, wine included.
- 4 hands-on cooking classes followed by lunch or dinner with wine included.
- Local market visit, wine and local product tastings.
- Transfers to and from Florence train station or airport.
$2,250 per person, based on double occupancy. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
$925 Single Supplement.
ROUND TRIP GROUP TRANSFERS
*Round trip group transfers from Florence Airport/Train Station to the property are included in your program.
ARRIVAL – Arrival group transfers from Florence Airport to the property are scheduled 12:30pm; and from Florence Train Station to property at 3pm.
DEPARTURE – Departure group transfer from the Estate to Florence Airport/Train Station is at 11:00am.
If you cannot make the scheduled group transfer time, a special transfer can be reserved. The new transfers are not part of the included Group transfer and are not included in the program price. New transfers can be ordered by Cooking Vacations or guests may take a taxi on their own.
2018 Dates: This program is available throughout the entire 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.
Full Day Tour ~ Siena & San Gimignano
A private 7-hour excursion through the Tuscan Hills, to visit Chianti and “la strada dei vini”, the street of wine country, touring through San Gimignano~ Italy’s wine country & Siena~the Medieval City of Art & Romance, in a private car with our driver/guide. Giovanni your driver will bring you to our favorite Tuscan trattoria (lunch and wine not included). This excursion is optional, and is an extra charge.
495 Euros for 1 to 3 guests, all taxes and Italian VAT included. Lunch and gratuities not included.
Secure credit card – we will send you a payment request through Paypal for your order. You do not need an account with PayPal to pay with your credit card – simply login with your credit card by clicking “Don’t have a PayPal account?” link at the bottom of the login page for PayPal.
Vineyard Tour & Wine Tasting On The Estate
Join Fabrizio for a visit to the family vineyard, olive grove and cantina. Walk the hills of the Chianti grape vineyard with Fabrizio an award winning wine maker. He will talk about the soil, cultivating techniques and history of the Chianti prized grapes. Next walk under olive trees as he will explain the seasons, harvest and history of the ancient fruit first brought to Italy by the Greeks. End the tour with a tasting of his award-winning wines in the cantina. Here under an artisan roof taste and enjoy the flavors of limited edition wines and olive oils from the property.
$115 per person, based on double occupancy. All taxes and Italian VAT included.