In the picturesque countryside surrounding Parma, lives the soul of Italian cuisine. Classics and delicacies at the core of Italian cooking – Parmigiano Reggiano, balsamic vinegar and prosciutto di Parma – all have their origins here. Learn the secrets of local artisans, farmers and ranchers employing techniques developed and refined through the centuries on an unforgettable odyssey through the heartland of Italian gastronomy.
The estate property is located in Parma’s countryside; although just kilometers away from historic center, it seems like a world away. The property, once the summer country home of an ancient noble family, has now been completely renovated respecting the architecture’s historic past – with thoughtful touches and luxurious modern amenities The manicured green gardens are flowing with climbing roses and fresh flowers; along with a swimming pool. It’s the perfect place to find respite in a peaceful country setting.
Every room is a jewel, furnished with the utmost care: hand-embroidered curtains, wrought iron beds, luxury rustic linens and soft colors. Showers lined with river stones embrace the character of the historic villa. Boutique soaps and shampoos, air conditioning, underfloor heating, wifi, satellite flat screen televisions and hair dryers come in every room. Parking is free.
Enjoy a rich international breakfast created by our Chef, La Signora including homemade bread made from sourdough starter as well as handmade brioches, croissants, tarts & crepes. The delectable cured meats, yogurt, butter, eggs and other ingredients that make up your breakfast and are used in your cooking classes are all purchased from local farmers and completely organic.
Countryside Cooking With Chef, La Signora
Our Chef, La Signora, welcomes everyone with a glass of wine and a warm smile. The daughter of a private chef, she honed her skills over years of cooking at a historic trattoria in Parma. La Signora – who inherited her passion for cooking from her mother and grandmother – will introduce you to the delicious traditional recipes of the western Emilia-Romagna region.
The cooking classes include the elements of 4-course Emilian meal (appetizer, first course, second course and dessert), after which you will sit and enjoy the fruits of your labor over a complimentary glass of local wine Malvasia or Lambrusco. The menu varies and can be customized to your tastes, including traditional dishes of the region including stuffed tortelli or anolini in broth, tagliatelle, gnocchi, tender pork pillows, or a crunchy traditional sbrisolona tart that pairs perfectly with a glass of lively Lambrusco or Italian coffee.
While outsiders may point to Tuscany or elsewhere for the best of Italian cuisine, Italians are more likely to mention Emilia-Romagna due to the pure number of remarkable artisan ingredients produced here: balsamico, Felino salami, Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma. Ham aficionados are in for a true treat: Culatello di Zibello, also known as the king of cured meat. Taken from only the most flavorful section of the pork leg, culatello is soft and supple, yet with a taste robust and reflective of the damp 500-year old caves where these hams spend a full year curing. Along with unforgettable memories, guests will take home both recipes from the dishes they’ve cooked and a special gift from the villa.
The Magic of Parma
On Day One, arrive and relax. Take a swim and adjust to the gentle pace of the Emilian countryside and enjoy a delicious Welcome Dinner at the property, which is included in the package. After a delicious breakfast on day two, you head off on your gastronomic tour of the region sometimes known as the Valle del Gusto, (the food valley) to learn the secrets of Prosciutto, Parmigiano and Balsamico from local artisans who have perfected centuries-old recipes. Your knowledgeable guides will take you to local farms and producers in the rolling hils near Parma where you’ll sample some of Italy’s most important products. Lunch is included. In the evening, ask your host Elena for suggestions for a local trattoria for dinner.
Day three begins with another wonderful breakfast, then it’s into the kitchen to learn the secrets of Emilian cooking, sipping a glass of complimentary wine or sparkling water as you work. In the afternoon you’ll explore the magic of Parma, a city of ancient history called home by some of Italy’s most renowned families. Tour the National Gallery with its stunning collection of medieval and Renaissance paintings (including a Leonardo) or the Teatro Farnese. Parma is also is renowned as a center of learning (with a university that is one of the oldest in the world) and of music – the inimitable composer Giuseppe Verdi was born near Busseto, some twenty miles away, as was conductor Arturo Toscanini. Explore some of the most beautiful and best preserved castles in Italy, including Fontanellato, Soragna and Torrechiara, or visit the Magnani Rocca Foundation, home to the stunning personal trove of renowned art collector Luigi Magnani. Located just a few miles from the villa, the collection includes works by Carpaccio, Dürer, Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya, Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Morandi and Burri, as well as sculptures by Canova and Bartolini.
On day four it’s back into the kitchen for another lesson in countryside cooking local traditions in season. After each cooking class, you will enjoy the foods that you prepared in the kitchen.
Itinerary ~ 4 Days, 3 Nights
Check in and start your program on any day of the week
Day 1: Arrival and Benvenuto!
- Arrive and relax. Take a swim.
- Welcome Dinner at the property.
Day Two ~ Gastronomic Tour ~Parmigiana, Prosciutto & Balsamico
- Traditional Italian breakfast
- Head off on your full-day gastronomic tour of the region to learn the secrets of Prosciutto, Parmigiano and Balsamico from local artisans. Driver and guide included. Tastings and lunch also included.
- Dinner on your own. Suggestions available on request.
Day Three~ Cooking Class 1 & Guided Tour of Parma
- Breakfast is served.
- Learn the secrets of Emilian cooking and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine as you work. Lunch follows on the food made during class, toast of wine included. Additional wine & beverages available and payable directly to your Chef.
- In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of Parma. Explore the National Gallery, the Teatro Farnese, art galleries and some of the most beautiful and best preserved palazzi & food shops in Parma. Transfers and Eglish-speaking guide & tastings included. (Entrance fees not included.)
- Dinner on your own. Suggestions available on request.
Day Four~ Cooking Class 2 with La Signora
- Breakfast is served.
- Enjoy another lesson in countryside cooking, then feast on your creations. Lunch follows on the food made during class, toast of wine included. Additional wine & beverages available and payable directly to your Chef.
- Check out and departure. Ciao!
- 4 days, 3 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy.
- Daily breakfast.
- Welcome Dinner.
- 2 hands-on cooking lessons. Lunch or dinner follows and includes all of the foods that were prepared in the cooking class. Toast of wine included. Additional wine & beverages available and payable directly to your Chef.
- 1 half-day tour of Parma, with driver & English-speaking guide. Lunch included.
- 1 full-day Tour visiting an artisan Parmigiano maker and Prosciutto producer and Balsamic Vinegar producer with tastings. Transfers, English-speaking guide and tastings included.
- Complimentary parking.
- Use of the villa swimming pool and other amenities
$1,995 per person, based on double occupancy in double room. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
Single Cookers: If you are a single guest and would like to join us, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.
*Transfers to/from Parma Train Station to property available on request (extra cost).
2019 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in and start your cooking program any day of the week. This program is available 12 months per year. 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.
*An Italian visitor tax may apply in some cities and must be paid directly on site at check out.