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The Tuscan Wine Roads™

Traveling Through Chianti Tuscan Towns~Food & Wine ~5 Days

From Panzano to Gaiole and Greve in Chianti – discover the ancient wine roads while dining on exquisite Tuscan cuisine!  Travel with us along rolling fields of silver-green olive trees and emerald green vineyards and tall majestic cypress trees.  The Tuscan Wine Roads is a food lover’s dream ~ preparing hearty pici pasta served in a creamy garlic tomato sauce called aglione, paired with Chianti Reserve or Vernaccia white wine.  Travel in a small intimate group, meet artisan wine makers and our Tuscan chef up close in Tuscany.

Tie on your apron for our hands-on cooking in dreamy Tuscany with Chef Laura and wine maker and sommelier, Gianpaolo.  During your stay, immerse yourself in cooking and wine tasting while discovering Tuscany’s history with our family.

When you are not cooking, you will explore Tuscany’s most picturesque hill towns, including Greve in Chianti, San Gimignano and Siena, with a stop to visit Italy’s most famous butcher, Dario Cecchini, who was recently featured in Lauren’s Taste of Italia Magazine, as well as in many TV shows.  You will visit his butcher shop, watch him chop and grill-up la bistecca alla Fiorentina, the prized loin cut of Tuscan beef.  While you are touring and cooking and enjoying your stay, there will be lots of sipping and swirling on the most precious wines of Chianti with a visit to a precious  local vineyard.

The Tuscan Wine Roads offer each guest the perfect blend of cooking, touring and discovering Tuscany’s historic towns, cultural landmarks and world class vineyards ~ all while soaking up the local culture.

Tuscan Cooking Classes

Chef Laura leads your hands-on cooking classes in her professional Tuscan kitchen. Slice, dice and sauté, while following her techniques, which were honed over the years cooking in her nonna’s kitchen.  You will prepare a full lunch or dinner starting with an antipasto, fresh pasta with sauce and also dessert.  Following each cooking class, guests enjoy the foods that were prepared in class while around Laura’s gorgeous Tuscan table with plenty of wine included.

Chef Laura uses only farm-to-table organic products that are grown in her garden.  Signor Gianpaolo is passionate about his elaborate herb and vegetable garden – growing basil, thyme, sage, saffron, lettuce, potatoes, cabbage, tomatoes and Tuscan sunflowers too.  You’ll also learn a few gardening tips from Gianpaolo, who is called the Tuscan Green Thumb.

During your cooking class, discover the history of Tuscan cuisine, which is rustic in origin and uses basic ingredients such as bread, spelt, legumes, artisan cheese like percorino and goat’s milk cheese, and the season’s bounty, such as mushrooms, chickpeas, cannelloni beans and pumpkin.

Cooking class menus change with the season.  Prepare Tuscan antipasti: crostini, toasted bread, topped with chicken liver, or black olives and herbs and grilled creamed vegetables.  There’s panzanella, tomato and bread salad, homemade salame spiced with fennel, and ribollita, a traditional Tuscan bean soup.

Up next is pasta, local hand-made fresh pappardelle with hare, pici, Tuscan pasta, and tortelli. Secondi, or main courses, include: bistecca fiorentina, grilled T-bone steak, arista alla fiorentina, filetto al balsamico, and vegaterian options too. It is not over until you have dunked your bread into Signor Gianpaolo’s Tuscan olive oil.  Dolce follows!

An Italian pranzo or cena is not complete without dolce!  Learn how to make castagnaccio, chestnut cake, buccellato, anise cake, torta mantovana, fritelle di riso, and cantucci.  After each class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in class, accompanied with a glass of Gianpaolo’s red or white wine and vin santo ~ made on the property with passion.

While Laura is cooking, Signor Gianpaolo is cultivating the grapes from spring to autumn, with the harvest in September.  In the cantina, discover and taste his signature and reserve wines, including Chianti, Sangiovese and Brunello, while nibbling on salumi, artisan formaggio, figs, apricots, along with cantucci and vin santo, sweet dessert wine.  All of his wines have all been naturally produced and bottled on the property.  Raise your glass for a Tuscan toast!

Tuscany

Bella Tuscany!  Tuscany is often referred to as a nation within a nation due to its historic linguistic and cultural identity.  The region is known for its numerous Old World cities that date back for centuries, as well as its vineyards – particularly Antinori vineyards – museums and ancient Etruscan archeological sites.  Tuscany also has a vast, beautiful landscape that stretches from the peaks of the Apennine Mountains to the Tyrrhenian Sea.  Natural beauty surrounds you from the islands of the Tuscan Archipelago to the Apuan Alps and down into the heart of Florence.

Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti’s quaint little square is named Piazza Mattetotti.  In fact, it is not a square at all, but is triangular in shape, and a mere 10-minute walk from your property.  Spilling with caffès, ceramic makers, artisan cheesemakers and Antica Macelleria Falorni, a landmark butcher who carries an emporio of cooking ingredients, the piazza offers something for everyone.  Visit the ancient common baker’s oven, where in the old days everyone baked their bread and biscotti – dropping dough off in the morning and picking it up in the afternoon.

If artisan crafts are of interest, visit the Bottega dell’Artigianato, a shop which specializes in hand-woven baskets and products made of olive wood.  There’s a home goods shop flooded with linens ~ from napkins to table cloths.  Stop in the gelateria, taste-test a few delicious flavors before ordering up your own cone of fig, pistachio or even saffron ice cream.  The piazza is a vibrant, historical place where you can watch local Tuscan life pass by from any one of the cozy caffès.

Greve in Chianti is also the principal town of the Chianti wine district and host to the Chianti Classico Wine Festival.  Visit the Palazzo del Comune, city hall, built in neo-Renaissance style, and the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the famous explorer who discovered the Hudson Bay in New York and keeps watch over the square.  There’s also the Franciscan Monastery and the Chiesa di Santa Croce, dating back to the 11th century.

Saturdays mark the famous farmer’s outdoor market, which has been in existence for hundreds of years.  Here you will encounter lively venders selling their Tuscan goods ~ food, wine, cheese and even linen tableware.

Panzano in Chianti  is a charming Tuscan hilltop town located in the Chianti Classico wine zone of Tuscany – and half way between Florence and Siena.  Drive along the Wine Road and discover the many wineries of Panzano along with Tuscan castles and vineyards.  It is home to the folkloric festival every April and the Vino al Vino wine festival – held the third week of September.  There are two historic churches, the Pieve di San Leolino and the Oratory of Santo Eufrosino.  No visit is complete to Panzano until you visit the singing butcher Dario Cecchini.  Darrio is passionate and charming and his butcher shop and trattoria are a colorful landmark showcasing the many cuts of prized Florentine meat along with his trattoria which serves full course lunches and Chianti wine.

 

Greve in Chianti Accommodations

A private road framed by a garden of lavender and tall sunflowers leads you to the property.  You’ll know when you arrive as a wrought-iron gate magically opens and welcomes you in.  Benvenuti, welcome to your home-away-from home, a Tuscan Relais set in a gentle countryside.  Peaceful and green, your surroundings are fields and olive orchards and vineyards overlooking the town of Greve in Chianti.

Originally constructed as a farmhouse in the 1500s, the property has been carefully restored to preserve the original architectural features, while also returning the farmland back to its full productivity.

Each private suite has a kitchenette completely furnished with dinnerware and cutlery, a sitting area and everything you will need to make you feel at home.  Precious Tuscan bedspreads in autumn orange and cobalt blue adorn each room with comfy beds and matching pillows.  Terracotta tiles adorn the kitchen, making you feel like a vero Fiorentina!  The Relais accommodates all of your needs with modern fixtures and amenities, such as air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a minibar, satellite TV, a hairdryer and safe.

On site, Signor Gianpaolo has a small restaurant for your dining needs, complete with wines galore.  And when weather permits, June to September, the oversized swimming pool is open for all, along with a Finnish sauna.  Amongst all of this grandeur, there is the garden.  Oversized lavender growing four feet tall, wind-swept sunflowers, saffron and green grass everywhere in an oasis of peace and quiet.

During your stay, you can walk from the garden of the property to Greve in Chianti’s center along a historical path where Etruscans walked in ancient times.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and Chef’s Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival and transfer to property from Florence Airport or Train Station, followed by check-in.
  • Enjoy a welcome Prosecco aperitivo and open your Cooking Vacations welcome bag.
  • In the evening, a Chef’s Welcome dinner is served by Chef Laura, featuring a tasting menu of Tuscan cuisine, along with wine pairings of wine from the cantina.

Day 2: Cooking Class 1 & Wine Tasting

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, tie on your apron and get ready to cook. You’ll be slicing, dicing, and preparing a delicious, authentic four-course Tuscan menu.  Chef Laura will guide you step-by-step in creating: ribollitapappardelle with hare, filetto al balsamico, and castagnaccio.  Lunch follows with the foods prepared in class along with a toast of the property’s red or white wine.
  • Take the afternoon to relax at the property, indulge in a spa treatment or stroll into town for an afternoon
  • In the evening, enjoy a wine tasting at the property featuring the beautiful wine of Gianpaolo with light Tuscan fare.

Day 3:  Vineyard & Cantina Tour Tasting With Picnic Lunch

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Departure with your driver along Chianti’s famous wine roads. You will travel along rolling hills and emerald green vineyards to this award-winning winemaker.  This winemaker has combined old-world techniques with modern technology for an extraordinary wine.  The property is set in the heart of Chianti Classico, called the Conca d’Oro, the golden shell, due to its shape.  The high altitude and particular soil, along with the warm Tuscan sunlight and micro-climate, make for excellent growing conditions. Visit the vineyard, cantina and wine tasting room.  The wines are produced from grapes exclusively from the property vineyards, picked by hand, selected with care and vinified in an artisan way. Picnic lunch and wine tasting included overlooking the green acres of vineyards and olive groves.
  • Return to the property. Dinner is on your own with our Restaurant Hot Pick suggestions provided.

Day 4: Visit to Dario Cecchini, The Singing Butcher & Tuscan Lunch With Wine

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, your private driver travels to Panzano. Through the rolling green hills of Tuscany halfway between Florence and Siena, Panzano is home to Signor Dario Cecchini, the singing butcher.  He’s the eighth generation of Cecchini butchers, who for the last 40 years has carried on the tradition of raising prized Chianina cattle.
  • The sign outside reads: orario al pubblico, lunedì a domenica 9 alle 16—open to the public Monday to Sunday, 9am to 4pm. Closed only on Christmas. Located on via XX Luglio, across the street there’s a statue of a blue cow painted with large yellow sunflowers and violet honeysuckle. A welcoming door is left open and upon entering, the song Volare by Domenico Modugno plays on.  Along the back wall is a long banquet table draped with a red and white tablecloth. The table is set with large oval platters holding toasted Tuscan bread, whipped lard, black olives with fresh orange zest and slices of salumi.  Several Chianti wine bottles in straw jackets are left  there for guests to pour freely.  Signora Elena, part of the staff, circles the room passing out more wine. Everyone is sipping Chianti wine and it’s only 10 a.m.
  • After the warm welcome and a few sips and bites, enjoy lunch, including il menù del macellaio, the Butcher’s Menu, consisting of: six Tuscan meat courses, seasonal vegetables, beans with extra virgin olive oil, Tuscan bread, wine, olive oil cake and grappa.  The prix-fixe menu might include: tartare or Chianti crudo, rosbiffe reale (roast beef), arrosto di pettocostata alla Fiorentinabistecca Panzanesebistecca Fiorentinapinzimonio di verdure (raw vegetables and olive oil for dipping), fagioli all’extravergine in e.v.o. (Tuscan beans), patate al cartoccio (baked potatoes), burro del Chianti (his recipe for whipped butter with herbs), pane Toscano, and vino di Vittorioacqua liscia o con le bolle (spring or fizzy water), caffè alla mokatorta all’olio (olive oil cake), grappa Cecchini and cordiale dell’Esercito Italiano.
  • At the Officina and at Solociccia, everything is served family-style, and each guest is invited to enjoy as much or as little as they wish from the prix-fixe menu.  It’s a jolly atmosphere and tables are convivial so you may make new friends.
  • Return to property. Dinner is on your own, but after Dario’s lunch you probably will dine tomorrow!

Day 5: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check-out and departure transfer to property from Florence Airport or Train Station.
  • Arrivederci Greve!

Program Includes:

  • 4 nights and 5 days based on 2 guests in a classic Tuscan accommodation.Click To View!
  • Daily breakfast and maid service included.
  • Welcome aperitivo and dinner.
  • 1 hands-on cooking classes followed by lunch or dinner with wine included.
  • Wine tasting at the property and light bite with Signor Gianpaolo.
  • Half-day excursion to an award-winning Tuscan winery, tour of the winery with Tuscan lunch and wine tastings included.
  • Half-day excursion to Dario Cecchini’s famous butcher shop and restaurant with lunch with wine included.
  • Arrival and departure transfers to and from Florence train station or airport.

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.

Check Availability

2021 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.