Aprons On With Chef Antonio™

Portofino & Cinque Terre’s Riviera ~ 4 Day

liguria2 cooking_class_hands-on02 fish_grilled annarita_capri_cooking20 liguria2 portofino _DSC0456 siena_kitchen_cooking08

Tie on your apron with Chef Antonio in Liguria making handmade pasta and creamy pesto while soaking up the beauty of Cinque Terre, Portofino and Santa Margherita. Liguria, stretching 110 miles of coast and with hills to Northern Italy, is known for pesto made in a mortar and brick-oven focaccia, and coastlines of sea and Vermentino and Pigato white wine.

In the kitchen, Chef Antonio leads each guest in hands-on cooking classes based on the cuisine of the Italian Riviera.  You’ll learn how to make basil pesto, oven-baked focaccia and farinata, chickpea flat bread.  You’ll roll out homemade pastas like trofie and pansoti.  During your stay, meet Barbara and Marcello your hosts, who welcome you to their charming property.  At their property, you’ll dine outside on the patio terrace which is set in a Mediterranean garden.  Discover Liguria and experience Cinque Terre and Portofino with Chef Antonio, Barbara and Marcello on the Italian Riviera!

Liguria Cooking Classes

Join Chef Antonio and hosts Barbara and Marcello in Sestri Levante for traditional Ligurian cooking classes, pasta making and dessert making using farm-to-table ingredients.  Chef Antonio’s menu is based on the season and starts with focaccia made with extra-virgin olive oil and rosemary or onions, tomatoes, herbs, potatoes and olives.  There is also farinata, a flatbread made with chickpea flour.  Vegetable antipasti include stuffed zucchini and grilled eggplant, rolled then stuffed with herbs and cheese.

Learn to prepare troffie, little hand-rolled fresh pasta twists served with pesto, or pansotti, ravioli’s triangular cousins stuffed with wild herbs and green dandelion, rucola and chard and prescinsêua cheese served in walnut sauce.  Roll and cut mandilli de saea, meaning silk handkerchiefs.  This fresh egg pasta is rolled into thin sheets and served in a pesto Genovese.  There’s also Corzetti pasta made in the shape of coins, cut, then stamped with a logo. This pasta dates back to 1250 AD when Genovese gold coins – also called corzetti – were in circulation.  Corzetti are served in a walnut or pine nut sauce.

Main courses are based on Ligurian fish and shellfish along with vegetables.  Local fish is fresh and delicious with such recipes as Bagnun, a soup made with anchovies and Cappon Magro, a salad of fish and shellfish garnished with vegetables, toasted bread and flatbread, and scented with garlic and boiled eggs.  Another delicious main course is Burrida, prepared with herbs, tomato, olives and capers – baked, broiled or sautéed.  Learn to prepare delectable main courses while learning the food culture of this gorgeous region.

Desserts delight with handmade traditions – biscotti del Lagaccio, named after a Genovese quarter where they were invented in 1593.  This double-baked cookie is made with flour, butter, yeast, anise and sugar.  Mix and bake Sacripantina, a delicious dome-shaped cake from Genoa, created by Giovanni Preti in 1851.  This creamy soft layer pan di Spagna cake is soaked in sweet Marsala wine, covered with zabaione and cocoa cream.

Each cooking class is hands-on and includes the preparation of an antipasto, fresh pasta and sauce, main course and dessert.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class with local wine included.


Liguria is on the Italian Riviera – a crescent-shaped strip of land stretching for miles on the coastline.  Genoa is the capital and is referred to as il Golfo dei Poeti, Gulf of Poets. Throughout time, Liguria has attracted the great literati such as Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, who found inspiration in its lemon groves and and turquoise seaside resorts, as well as Europeans traveling the Grand Tour.  Cinque Terre, meaning five lands, is hidden in tiny coves along the Ligurian Riviera; the charming towns are connected by breathtakingly scenic hiking paths, a running train and boat services.  In addition to the Cinque Terre, Liguria brims with beauty from Portofino to Portovenere and Moneglia.

Sestri Levante

Sestri Levante is a beautiful town on the Italian Riviera, and just 50 km from Genova. A short trip from the famous Cinque Terre, Sestri Levante is a favorite with guests who want to spend time in a quiet fishing village set on a striking promontory.  Sestri is also known for its gorgeous bays.  There is the Baia delle Favole, Bay of Fairytales, named in honor of Hans Christian Anderson who lived in Sestri for a short time in 1835, and Baia del Silenzio, Bay of Silence.  This charming historic center will steal your heart. The Baia delle Favole is in the more animated part of town with its port, beach resorts and shops lining the promenade, while the Baia del Silenzio is quieter and less modern.  This small port is full of pastel fishing boats that make their living from the sea.  The town’s historic center is laced with narrow streets and alleys, artisan shops and trattorias.  This region is a dream destination with Mediterranean gardens, acres of olive trees and palms, and flowering pink bougainvillea.

Liguria Accommodations

Your accommodations and cooking classes are held in a charming  B&B with five elegantly appointed rooms in the Sestri Levante countryside.  The property was completely restored respecting its original architecture with all of the amenities one could ask for. Each Maritime-style room has a private ensuite bathroom, satellite TV, safe, telephone and free wi-fi internet.  Two of the rooms are furnished with four-poster beds in wrought iron, reminiscent of old-style Ligurian houses, while the other two larger rooms have Provençal style wooden roofs and are set in the park with private gardens.  There is a superior suite with more than 30 square meters of space, which has a balcony and can accommodate up to 4 guests.

Itinerary: 4 days, 3 nights

Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner

  • Transfer from Genova or Pisa airport or train station.
  • Check-in with welcome Prosecco.
  • Relax and free time in the afternoon.
  • Welcome dinner including a full-course tasting menu with wine and liqueur included.

Day 2: Excursion to Cinque Terre National Park & Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served in the Mediterranean garden.
  • After breakfast, visit the Cinque Terre National Park and enjoy lunch in Vernazza in a renowned restaurant.  Choose to stroll the famous Via Dell’Amore, Lovers’ Walk, or take the train from town to town through the Five Lands along the Ligurian coastline.
  • As part of your excursion, visit a local wine cellar and vineyards.
  • In the afternoon, return to the property for Cooking Class 1.  Learn how to make creamy pesto using basil, garlic, pine nuts, Ligurian olive oil and Parmesan cheese.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class with local wine included.

Day 3: Boat Tour to Portofino & Camogli

  • Breakfast is served in the Mediterranean garden.
  • Following breakfast, meet your captain for a boat trip to the beautiful town of Portofino with a visit to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso.
  • Visit to Camogli, one of the largest areas of the Parco Naturale Regionale di Portofino, and a part of the Portofino Marine Protected Area.
  • Dinner in a charming Sestri Levante restaurant, noted for its focaccia col formaggio di Recco.

Day 4: Departure & Arrivederci!

  • Breakfast is served in the Mediterranean garden.
  • Departure transfer to Genova or Pisa airport or train station. Arrivederci!

*Note: This schedule may vary due to inclement weather, saint days or festivals. All activities, in the event of rescheduling, are always included during the program.

Program includes:

  • 4 days and 3 nights in a B&B, based on 2 guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • Welcome Prosecco at check-in.
  • Welcome dinner including a Chef’s tasting full-course menu.
  • 1 Hands-on cooking class followed by dinner.  Following the cooking class, everyone enjoys the food that was prepared in the cooking class with local wine included.
  • Guided excursion to the Cinque Terre National Park with visit to wine cellar and vineyards.
  • Trip to Portofino by boat, with visit to the Abbey of San Fruttuoso and to Camogli and Recco with tasting of focaccia.
  • Farewell dinner with wine tasting.
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe book.
Program Prices

$1,395 per person, based on 2 guests.

No single supplement.

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available March 1 to November 30. You can check in and start your cooking program any day of the week, with a minimum 2-night stay. 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.