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Florence's Royal Countryside™

Luxury Cooking & Scenic Tours~6 Day

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Join Anna Maria in her family’s villa property for a unique cooking experience blending Tuscan and Emilia-Romagna traditions in the countryside of Florence – just 45 minutes outside of the city.  Luxury five-star accommodations in a beautiful villa accompany delicious cooking, and local wines from Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna complete this colorful palate. Our weeklong program offers Marradi’s local traditional flavors along with excursions to local cheese makers, artisans and the stunning Mosaic city of Ravenna, creating a blend of tranquility and excitement that sets apart the Italian lifestyle, la dolce vita.

Both Tuscany and Emilia Romagna have strong culinary traditions and this program offers a unique opportunity to taste the best of both worlds. Tuscany’s cuisine is traditionally simple and tasty and very much based on the seasons, with fresh vegetables, meat and game all a strong presence on the Tuscan table. Over the centuries Tuscans have become magicians at transforming a handful of simple ingredients into a feast, from pappa al pomodoro and handmade pici pasta with a slow-braised sauce to mouthwatering Florentine steaks and crisp cantucci cookies to end on a sweet note.

Emilia Romagna, on the other hand, provides Italy with some of its best known and best loved products. Think of Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, aged balsamic vinegar, Parma ham and tortellini, from this region. On the subject of pasta, the women of this region are famous for being masters of fresh pasta making, and watching a bowl of flour and a few eggs metamorphose before your eyes into a sleek, paper thin, sheet of yellow pasta is a real treat. The filling for tortellini tends to be a mixture of ground pork and veal, whereas tortelloni and ravioli are stuffed with ricotta and spinach, pumpkin with crumbled amaretti, and a variety of other seasonal vegetables. Anna Maria will open her family recipe book and share her mother and nonna’s recipes with you so you will be able to recreate the traditions of these two regions back in your home kitchen for family and friends.

Cooking Classes

Anna Maria leads you in hands-on cooking classes from antipasto to dessert, and shares her family recipes with you. Her philosophy is to use the ingredients of the season, simply and cooked just right, to bring out every flavor. Roll up your sleeves and learn hands-on as Anna Maria guides you with interesting tips and tricks along the way. Discover the area’s delicious crostini, which are perfect to serve with a glass of Lambrusco, while guests relax  Our chef kneads and rolls exquisite handmade pasta, then you can try for yourself, following her technique and advice. Learn more about the Tuscan cuisine, from beef stews and slow-stewed rabbit to delicious vegetables.  Desserts include cantucci to dip in vin santo, la torta della nonna, Tuscan cake or castagnaccio, chestnut cake.  Everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the cooking class following with wine included.

The property’s location, set in the countryside of Marradi in Tuscany – just outside of Emilia-Romagna, allows you to learn and enjoy the flavors of both regions – Tuscan and Emilia-Romagna.  Learn how to prepare full course menus, antipasto, fresh pasta with sauces, main courses and desserts, during your stay.  In the autumn, there is even a special chestnut menu.  Chef Anna Maria also shares her baking and pastry techniques in making delicious desserts.

Chef Anna Maria uses high quality local ingredients of the season, and will accommodate any special menus and food allergies.  Vegetarian cooking class menus available, too.

Marradi Regional Cuisine

  • Marradi bread, biscotti, castagnaccio, chestnut tart, schiacciata con l’uva, Tuscan cake with grapes.
  • Hand-made pasta like chestnut and potatoes ravioli, and fried chestnut tortellini. 
  • Cappelletti with broth, filet of Camino and Mediterranean-style lamb.
  • Tuscan beef with white and black truffles.
  • Piadina fritta and pizza.
  • Calzone stuffed with ricotta and spinach.
  • Pistachio gelato or chestnut, rice puddings, torte della nonna and home-made marmalade pie.
  • Apple and chestnut strudel, polenta cake and chestnut tart.
  • Lemon granita and chestnut and fruit jams.

Marradi

Marradi is a riverside village tucked in the Lamone valley near Faenza in Tuscany.  Marradi is the home of poets, painters and musicians internationally renowned, such as the Italian poet Dino Campana.  It’s an inspiring destination, where the luxuriant nature sets the timetable of the town life. Relax, tranquillity and a soul and pure environment welcome travellers offering unique experiences.This rural village nests quietly below cirrus-dusted mountains and has a landscape that has inspired artists and poets for centuries. Perfect for a hidden relaxing holiday yet within a short distance of the cities of Florence, Bologna, the seaside of Rimini and the incredible art of Ravenna.

Do not miss the small Animosi Theatre, one of the smallest in Italy, the masterpieces of Maestro di Marradi in the Saint Lawrence’s Church, the Study Centre for Dino Campana and the Chestnuts Studies and Documentation Centre.

Excursions take you to Ravenna with its incredible Byzantine churches and towns of Faenza, famous for ceramics, Pomposa with its frescoed Benedictine Abbey, Comacchio, a Venice-like lagoon town split by a network of canals and 17 bridges, Cervia, a seaside resort famous for its salt production, and Ferrara, with its Renaissance Estense castle.

Tuscany Accommodations

Anna Maria’s family has lived in this historic mansion near Faenza for over five hundred centuries. Recently restored and converted to a private B&B residence, it is made up of four suites: a double suite, a deluxe double and two luxury suites, all furnished with elegant period furniture.  Each suite includes:  TV, ensuite private bathrooms and hair dryers. The luxury suites offer a separate living area with fireplaces, full kitchen and air conditioning.

A beautiful buffet breakfast is served each morning and includes fresh cheese, yogurt, homemade jams, salumi, ham and home-made biscotti, cakes and bread with caffè, tea and fruit juice.

Program is 6 days, 5 nights

This cooking program is available 12 months per year. You can check in and start your program on any day of the week.

Day One: Arrival and Welcome

• Arrival and check in to the Palazzo.
• Meet your host, Anna Maria and family.
• Chef’s Welcome dinner included.

Day Two: Cooking Class 1

• Breakfast is served.
• After breakfast spend the day in the village of Marradi, famed for its historical and artistic traditions and countryside setting outside of Florence which extends along the picturesque, verdant Lamone Valley. Breathe in the atmosphere and stroll through the sites that inspired Dino Campana, Marradi’s great poet.
• Take time for lunch on your own.
• In the afternoon, meet for your first hands-on Cooking Class 1 featuring local ingredients and traditional recipes.
• Dinner follows on the foods that were prepared in class, accompanied by local wines.

Day Three: Artisan Food Tasting Tour & Cooking Class 2

• Breakfast is served.
• After breakfast spend the morning on your Artisan Food Tasting Tour of the region. Visit Brisighella, a nearby medieval town known for its high quality Brisighello, olive oil with local wine.
• Continue your tasting tour to local artisan cheese maker, a wine cellar and olive oil producer with tastings included.
• Lunch is on your own.
• In the afternoon, Cooking Class 2.
• Dinner follows and includes the food that was prepared in class. Local wine and wine pairing discussions included.

Day Four: Visit Ravenna ~ The Mosaic City

• Breakfast is served.
• Meet your English-speaking guide for a full day excursion and walking tour to Ravenna.  Ravenna is the city’s Renaissance art and here you will visit all of the most interesting places:  the Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, the Orthodox Baptistery, the Gothic Basilica of S. Apollinare Nuovo, the two splendid Byzantine churches of S. Vitale and S. Apollinare in Classe and the tomb of Italy’s most distinguished poet, Dante Alighieri.
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• Full day tour including Ravenna and Faenza, famous for its ceramics, and the International Ceramics museum in Faenza hosts one of the largest ceramic collections in Italy, from the history of ceramics throughout the world to modern pieces by Matisse, Chagall and Picasso.
• Return to Marradi in the afternoon.
• Dinner on your own.

Day Five: Cooking Class 3

• Breakfast is served.
• Spend the morning relaxing at the property or walk throughout the garden soaking up scents of the vineyards and olive trees.
• Take time for lunch on your own.
• In the afternoon, meet for your third hands-on Cooking Class 3 preparing a full course traditional menu.  Dinner follows and includes the foods that were prepared in class with local wines and wine pairing discussions included.  Following dinner, live music for your last night with Chef Anna Maria and her family.

Day Six: Departure & Arrivederci!

• Breakfast is served.
• Departure. Ciao e a presto!

 

Program Includes:

  • 6 days, 5 nights in a luxury Junior Suite.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Welcome Prosecco upon arrival.
  • 3 hands-on cooking class with lunch or dinner following, local wines included.
  • Visit to local artisan cheese maker, old-world wine cantina, vineyard and olive oil producer.
  • Visit to Ravenna with private driver and guide.
  • Live music after last cooking class with Chef Anna Maria & family.
  • Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with Chef’s apron and recipe booklet.
Program Prices

$2,495 per person, based on 2 guests in a Junior Suite.

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.

Check Availability

2020 Dates: This program is available throughout the 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.