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Mare & Monti ~ Mountains & Sea™

Maria’s Country Kitchen~Amalfi Coast~8 Day

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates
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Our special Mare e Monti is a 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.

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.

Accommodation

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.

Agerola

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

Cooking Classes

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 8 days, 7 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: Explore Pompeii & Cooking Class 1

• Breakfast is served.
• Early morning departure for the marvelous archaeological ruins of Pompeii. Buried under burning ashes with the eruption of Vesuvius in 79AD, only to be rediscovered in 1748, today Pompeii is one of Italy’s principal tourist attractions and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Every facet of ancient Roman life is revealed here: the style of their houses, recreational habits, the city’s art and culture and even taverns where men would have stopped off for a drink of wine and a dish of olives. Mosaics, frescoes, terracotta amphora, and casts of townspeople and animals caught in the eruption all make for an absolutely fascinating visit.
• Return to Agerola.
• Afternoon – your first hands-on cooking class. Today’s class starts with an introduction and overview of the week after which you will prepare traditional hand made pasta, bruschette with home grown vegetables and herbs, tagliatelle with slow cooked Neapolitan ragù, and a tasting of the tarallo and pane biscottato accompanied with a selection of fresh and mature cheeses, and a delicious dessert based on fresh fruit. 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 3: Morning Food Trip to Local Mozzarella Producer & Cooking Class 2

• 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 cheese. 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 – roll up your sleeves and get ready for your second hands-on cooking class. Today you’ll be making zeppole agerolesi, traditional deep fried fritters made by hand, paccheri pasta with eggplant and shavings of the local cheese provolone del monaco, and chicken with lemon and potatoes. Dessert today is a local torta di noci or walnut cake. 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 4: Walk The Beautiful Sentiero Degli Dei & Cooking Class 3

• Breakfast is served.
• Morning free to explore the pretty town of Agerola. Head to one of the viewpoints for breathtaking panoramas over the coast including the towns of Amalfi and Praiano. For the more adventurous, why not consider taking a trek through the ‘Path of the Gods’. Leaving from Bomerano in Agerola, this trek leads you through some of Italy’s most stunning countryside, along paths and trails cut into the dramatic Amalfi landscape high above the Mediterranean. Remember to bring along your camera for some spectacular pictures, and please also ensure that you wear comfortable walking or trekking shoes, and bring some water, a hat and sunscreen.
• Afternoon – your third cooking class. No doubt you’ll have worked up a real appetite after your trek, so you’ll be eager to get started. Today you’ll be making linguine with porcini mushrooms, followed by veal scaloppine cooked in white wine and stuffed vegetables. Finish with lemon cake and a platter of seasonal fruit. 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 5: Excursion To Local Winery & Cooking Class 4

• Breakfast is served.
• In the morning, visit to one of the most important local wineries of the Amalfi Coast to discover their precious red and white wines, many of which are produced from ancient varieties of grapes. Tasting included. Return to Agerola.
• Lunch on your own.
• Afternoon – your fourth cooking class. Today you’ll be making the famous (and delicious!) gnocchi alla sorrentina – with tomato sauce and mozzarella, pork loin in white wine and a selection of grilled vegetables, all of which will come from Umberto’s vegetable garden. Dolce today is ricotta and pear tart. 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 6: Visit Local Pottery Maker & Cooking class 5

• Breakfast is served.
• In the morning, visit a gifted local potter who makes beautiful hand-painted ceramics.
• Lunch on your own.
• Afternoon – fifth cooking lesson. Get ready to prepare cannelloni stuffed with ricotta and buffalo mozzarella, rabbit baked in lemon leaves served with grilled vegetables, and a delicious local dessert. 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 7: Free Day: Suggestion To Explore The Amalfi Coast

• Breakfast is served.
• Today you are free day to discover the Amalfi Coast. Perhaps you’ll want to spend some time in Amalfi and enjoy lunch at a waterfront restaurant. Or what about a day spent exploring the winding streets of Positano with its striking tumble of pastel colored houses clinging to the cliffs, its cathedral, beach and pretty boutiques? Or for pottery lovers, a day spent at Vietri Sul Mare is ideal. Here you can stop off and watch artisan potters in their workshops, and even order a dinner set of distinctive local pottery, as most artisans offer international shipping.
• Lunch and evening free to dine on your own.

Day 8: 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.

Program Includes:

  • 7 nights, 8 days accommodations 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.
  • 5 cooking classes, followed by lunch or dinner, wine, water, dessert and coffee included.
  • Welcome aperitif and tasting dinner.
  • Pompeii Excursion with driver (Tour guide in the ruins can be added on at an additional fee).
  • Guided visit to a traditional Mozzarella producer of Agerola.
  • Guided visit to local pottery.
  • Excursion to local winery, tasting included.
  • Welcome bag with chef’s apron, recipe booklet and Prosecco.
  • * Wi-Fi internet connection available.
Program Prices

$ 2,795 per person, based on double occupancy. All taxes and Italian VAT.
$ 485 Single Supplement.

Check Availability

2019 Dates: 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.