Mare e Monti is a one-of-a-kind hands-on cooking program designed for those who love traditional Italian cooking and long to learn how to make the lasagnes, pastas, cakes and cookies their nonnas used to cook. Join chef and mamma Maria in Agerola, perched atop the Lattari Mountains, high above the Amalfi Coast, and discover the secrets behind the simple but delicious cuisine that have delighted generations of Italians.
Chef Maria has been cooking for many years and is an expert on local dishes and knows where to buy all the best quality local produce. Our Mare e Monti program immerses participants in the spirit of Southern Italian sea-meets-mountain cooking, and under your chef’s guidance, every day you will create a complete menu of delicious dishes hailing from Agerola. Together you will visit local produce markets, and take a tour of the town’s most skilled artisans: mozzarella producers, bakers, limoncello makers and potters. Then back in the kitchen, roll up your sleeves and get ready to create the wonderful mare e monti (sea meets mountain) antipasti, pasta dishes with local provolone del monaco cheese, seafood pasta, local lasagne. Main dishes range from beef and pork to free range chicken with its wholesome firm meat, along with side dishes straight from the vegetable garden. And then on to Maria’s popular desserts, including delicious zeppole, lemon cake, walnut cake and millefoglie with wild strawberries.
Maria’s husband Umberto grows his own organic vegetables – zucchini, fava beans, peas, eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, chilli peppers, basil and parsley – and as part of the program you will be able to pick the fruits of Umberto’s vegetable garden and prepare them directly in the kitchen. Umberto also prepares his own wine, which you will also sample during your stay.
Our charming Mare e Monti program is hosted at our villa style Bed & Breakfast in the small town of Agerola on the Amalfi Coast. Each bedroom has a terrace or balcony offering enchanting sea views. Cool terracotta tiles line each large bedroom. All rooms have a private bathroom with a shower and hair-dryer, and a TV. Breakfast is served each morning in the cozy dining area, wi-fi internet, and daily maid service is provided for your convenience. The Bed & Breakfast is situated in a wonderfully panoramic position with views spanning the Mediterranean and Li Galli Islands. There is an attractive garden where guests can relax in the shade of a tree in the company of a good book, do a little sun bathing or enjoy a meal cooked in the residence’s kitchen. As the sun begins to set, sip a cool aperitivo on your balcony and watch the heavy orange sun sink below the horizon. Around you are chestnut trees, fig trees, perfumed jasmine, beautiful geraniums, flowering lavender, and a collection of terracotta pots dripping with rosemary bushes, mint, herbs, and flowers.
Known both as the Piccola Svizzera (little Switzerland) and the Grande Terrazza sul Mare (the great terrace overlooking the sea), the small town of Agerola is situated in an idyllic spot, suspended between sea and the sky, in the Lattari Mountains above the Amalfi Coast. Approximately 600 meters above sea level, Agerola was for years the oasis sought out by wealthy Neapolitans seeking respite from the hot, dusty city during summer months. Still today, it is an area much appreciated for its natural beauty, its lush green hills enjoying the cool air of the mountains while offering extraordinary views of the Amalfi Coast, from Amalfi and beyond, all the way to Praiano, Li Galli Islands and Capri.
Agerola is much cherished by nature lovers who delight in exploring the area’s countryside: chestnut woods that lead to farmers’ cottages perched on hillsides, walking paths that lead through parks and terraces of well-tended vines, and of course, the local trekking trails. Starting from Agerola are some of Italy’s most gorgeous countryside treks and many visitors arrive with these hikes specifically in mind. Imagine paths that begin at the top of the mountain and wind gradually downwards through breathtaking scenery and surrounded by Mediterranean shrubbery – wild rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, myrtle, thistles, prickly pears and wild figs. Then past vines, houses and smallholdings clutching to the hillside, the narrow path next giving onto the Amalfi Coast, glittering expanses of sea on one side and the dramatic limestone backdrop of the Monti Lattari behind you. This theatrical meeting of sea and mountain has been attracting visitors since Ancient Roman times, with unbeatable views of towering cliffs plunging sharply into a cerulean sea, and tiny bays dotted with local fishing boats. Hillsides are lined with terraces of well-tended lemon groves, the trees bright green speckled with the yellow fruit in summer and swathed in black netting to attract the sun in winter. Tranquility reigns along these narrow pathways, with only the bleating of goats or the cry of a hawk to break the silence and interrupt your reverie.
Agerola is a perfect base for exploring the many local places of interest: on the one hand, the town and villages of the coast – Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Vietri, Praiano, Sorrento and Capri; on the other, the must-see sites of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Naples.
All cooking classes take place in Maria’s country kitchen and each class will include the preparation of a full menu. Discover more about the area’s wonderful local products and cooking traditions, and watch carefully as Maria guides you through lessons on handmade pasta, delicious lasagne, and pasta with porcini mushrooms. Try your hand at preparing traditional veal dishes, chicken and rabbit roasted in lemon leaves, grilled beef, and sweets like fried zeppole, walnut cake and ricotta and pear tart. Please note that the menus provided are examples of dishes you may cook, but all menus depend on the availability of seasonal produce. Remember that the vegetables used are gathered fresh every day from the organic vegetable garden. Also featured in your program are visits to the local produce market and tours of local artisans’ shops.
Itinerary: 4 days, 3 nights
Day 1: Benvenuto & Welcome Dinner
• Arrival and check in. Pick-up and transfer to property.
• Check into your room, meet your hosts, and review your program.
• Sit out on the terrace with a cool Prosecco and relax.
• Later in the evening, a Welcome Dinner is scheduled. Dine on our Chef’s tasting menu featuring fresh seasonal ingredients. (Local wine and coffee included.)
Day 2: Cooking Class 1 and Visit to Mozzarella Producer
• Breakfast is served.
• In the morning, visit to the traditional mozzarella producers of Agerola to see how they make the area’s delicious fior di latte. Tasting included of mozzarella and other delicious local cheeses. These products are part of Agerola’s gastronomic history, and in fact, Agerola is located on the slopes of I Monti Lattari.
• Lunch is on your own.
• Afternoon – your first hands-on cooking class. Today the theme is mare e monti: sea and mountain produce cooked together. Prepare traditional mare e monti, sea and land, antipasti, Neapolitan lasagne, a delicious local specialty called caponata made with locally produced mozzarella, and babà drenched in limoncello. Dinner follows and everyone eats the foods that were prepared in class. Accompany with a glass of red or white wine and finish with a coffee.
Day 3: Morning Food Trip To Local Limoncello Producer & Cooking Class 2
• Breakfast is served.
• An early morning departure to a local limoncello producer where you will discover the secrets to making this much loved local liqueur that is made with the fragrant Amalfi Coast lemons.
• Lunch on your own – pick out a local pizzeria or trattoria and enjoy a quick bite to eat.
• In the afternoon, tie on your apron and get ready for your second hands-on cooking class. Today’s lesson will introduce you to some of the area’s delicious fish. You will prepare traditional mixed seafood antipasti, la calamarata – pasta prepared with local squid, followed by freshly fried fish rich in omega 3 with a side dish of vegetables from the garden, and a for dessert a delicious millefoglie with wild strawberries. Dinner follows and everyone eats the foods that were prepared in class. Toast with a glass of red or white wine and finish with a coffee.
Day 4: Arrivederci
• Breakfast is served
• Check out and arrivederci!
Note: This sample itinerary schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saints days; festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the week.
- 3 nights, 4 days accommodation in B&B villa property. Click to View!
- Daily breakfast.
- Daily maid service.
- Round trip transfer upon arrival and departure to / from Naples to property.
- 2 cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner, wine, water, dessert and coffee included.
- Welcome aperitivo and tasting dinner.
- Guided visit to a mozzarella producer, tastings included.
- Guided visit to a limoncello producer, tastings included.
- Welcome bag with chef’s apron, recipe booklet and Prosecco.
- * Wi-Fi internet connection available.
$1,795 per person, based on double occupancy.
$385 Single Supplement.