Anna and Jacques welcome you to their 15th-century villa property for hands-on cooking in her very own kitchen, great food & wine in the heart of Lombardy. The villa is located nearby the southern shores of Lake Garda and has been carefully restored keeping the beauty of the past including flourishing frescos in the great style of Guido Reni. Our husband and wife team open up their villa home and recipe book, while sharing their traditions and secrets to la dolce vita! Married for over 20 happy years, they have followed their dream to the Italian countryside and passionately welcome guests from all over the world into their kitchen.
During classes, you will learn about the best in-season fruits and vegetables and local products such as Garda DOP olive oil made with freshly pressed Casaliva olives, oranges and lemons from the shores of Lake Garda, tiny plums from Dro in summer and chestnuts from Drena in the fall. And along with Anna and Jacques, you will enjoy a wine tasting and pairing at the villa. Take time out on your own to explore the elegant town of Mantova with its grand palazzos, or enjoy a boat trip along Lake Garda and stroll along the pretty lakeside streets of Desenzano del Garda. Be prepared – this beautiful part of Italy will utterly charm you!
Anna invites you into her kitchen to teach you her favorite family recipes. Learn hands-on along with Anna and prepare antipasti, pasta, main courses and desserts with passion. In each class, use only seasonal products from Anna’s garden and the nearby local marketplace. And if Anna’s mother is in the kitchen – get ready to prepare her famous handmade pasta and polpettone!
Lunch or dinner follows and includes the foods made in class. Everyone enjoys the food and toasts with a good glass of local red or white wine. Anna says: ‘You will not only take home recipes, but memories and experiences that will last a lifetime!’
Some of Anna’s favorite recipes:
Polpettone con Prosciutto e Speck – “Polpettone” with Prosciutto and Speck
Filletto di Maiale con Funghi – Pork Tenderloin with Mushrooms
Pollo con Gorgonzola e Speck – Chicken with Gorgonzola and Speck
Pasta al Forno con Verdura – Baked Pasta with Vegetables
Pasta Fresca: Tagliatelle and Bigoli – Fresh Pasta: Local types
Pane Fresco – Homemade breads and brioche
Torte Salate – Savory quiches and tarts
The region of Lombardy is located in northern Italy with its capital Milan, the business and fashion capital of Italy. Nearby Monza boasts a Grand Prix racetrack and travel just a bit further north and you arrive to the beautiful Lakes region of Italy including Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. The charming small towns that line the lakes were a destination for the Grand Tour and today, visitors still marvel at the grand villas, luxurious gardens and incredible landscapes.
Milan is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper, the gothic Duomo, and the golden yellow risotto alla Milanese. The origins of Milan’s famous risotto date back to medieval times when the courts would coat their food with gold before serving it to guests. The Lombardians looked for ways to create the same effect and came up with the vibrant golden hue of saffron risotto alla Milanese.
For wine lovers, the area near Brescia in Lombardy is home to Italy’s Franciacorta spumante. This sparkling wine is made in the traditional way, in which the wine is re-fermented in the bottle to produce the fragrant bubbly. Try Franciacorta’s rose, saten, vintage and riserva which is produced in this area.
Just a bit further west, you arrive at Lake Garda, the largest lake in Italy, which is halfway between Brescia and Verona and borders both Lombardy and Veneto. Visit Catullo’s Villa in Sirmione known as “La Grotte di Catullo,” take a boat to visit the islands of the lake such as Isola Del Garda with its neogothic castle and botanical gardens, or sample the fresh-water fish such as trout or lake carp at a lakeside trattoria with a glass of Garda DOC wine.
Located just about 20 minutes from the shores of Lake Garda, Anna’s Villa B&B offers a perfect location to enjoy the countryside and visit Lombardy’s beautiful lakes region. The guest bedrooms and suites are furnished with antiques from generations past, tasteful fabric and linen, along with elegant tea and caffè making facilities and there is a common sitting area that can be enjoyed by all guests. Each room is equipped with fans and air conditioning, central heating for the winter months, private bathroom and daily maid service.
Wake up each morning to a delicious breakfast in the sitting room, admire the ancient frescoed ceilings of angels or step out into the garden with your caffè in hand.
Anna offers fresh bread, baked daily, delicious homemade yogurt and a variety of jams, cakes, croissant, cereals, orange juice, tea and coffee.
Itinerary ~ 4 Days, 3 Nights
Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner
- Arrival – Check in and meet your hosts Anna, Jacques and their staff.
- Relax with a welcome aperitivo.
- Settle down to a Welcome Dinner with Anna, and meet the family. Water, local wine and great conversation included!
Day 2: Morning Free To Visit Mantova Or Lake Garda & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Morning free to visit the tranquil and beautiful city of Mantova with its Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Te. Spend the day in a self-guided tour of this city of art, culture and music. Mantova is featured in Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet when Romeo is banished from Verona, and in Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto as the setting of the opera. OR, take a lazy boat trip along Lake Garda stopping off at the town of Sirmione with its 13th century Scalinger Castle and the medieval city in a tiny peninsula jutting out into the lake. Sirmione has charmed visitors for centuries from the Roman poet Catullus (today you can still visit the Grotto of Catullus), to Nobel-prize winning Italian poet Giosuè Carducci, to opera singer Maria Callas whose villa still perches overlooking the shores of the lake.
- Return to property.
- At 4pm, Cooking Class 1 with Anna’s Mom, who lives right next door and keeps the family cookbook alive. You will make an antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. Following, everyone enjoys eating the foods prepared in the cooking class for lunch. Anna makes you feel like a part of her grand Italian family for a taste of the true dolce vita!
Day 3 – Visit to Desenzano del Garda, Wine Tasting & Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served
- After breakfast, transfer to Desenzano for a morning visit. Explore this charming town on foot, taking in the medieval castle with its battlement towers right at the center of the city, the Archaeological Museum and the ruins of a Roman villa with its well-preserved collage of black, red, olive and orange mosaics, depicting hunting, fishing and chariot riding. Stroll along the promenade and enjoy a drink down by the harbor at one of the many waterside cafés and watch the world go by.
- Lunch on your own.
- In the afternoon, enjoy your Wine Tasting Session with Anna and Jacques where they will explain about local wines and how best to pair them with different dishes.
- At 4pm, tie on your apron for your hands-on Cooking Class 2 including the preparation of antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert, followed by dinner with the foods that were made in class. Toast with a good glass of local white or red wine. Everyone eats together with Anna and her family.
Day 4 – Departure
- Breakfast is served
- After breakfast, check out and transfer to local train station.
- 4 days, 3 nights accommodation, based on double occupancy. Click To View!
- Daily Breakfast
- Welcome aperitivo.
- Welcome Dinner including local wine and water. Additional wine & beverages at a surcharge.
- 2 hands-on cooking classes with lunch or dinner following on the dishes cooked during class. A glass of local red or white wine included. Additional wines, including bottles, after dinner drinks are available and may be ordered on site.
- Transfers to and from Desenzano for an afternoon in the town.
- Wine tasting and pairing at the villa with Anna.
- Welcome Bag with Chef’s Apron.
- Transfers to/from Desenzano del Garda train station on your arrival and departure.
$1,150 per person, based on double occupancy. Includes Italian VAT.
$670 single supplement.
*Check-in time after 3pm. For early arrivals, please advise as soon as possible.
2018 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in and start your program on 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.