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Secret Garden™

Positano ~ Kids Cooking ~ Pasta, Pizza & Gelato

Cooking Tours
Prices & Dates

Join Chefs Francesco – our rising star Chefs Emilio, Filomena and Fortunata our pastry Chef for hands-on kids cooking in Positano’s Secret Garden™ on the splendid Amalfi Coast.

Each star Chef takes the children and their family under their wings for hands-on cooking classes. Start off with antipasto, fresh pasta, risotto, fresh local fish, meat and dessert. While our pizzaiolo, has everyone stretching, “driving,” and making several Neapolitan pizzas,  followed by everyone whipping gelato, sorbeto, Capri cake, and Italian sweet treats. While our classes are fun and educational, each class is geared toward the child’s age and ability. Children three years old and up will learn facts about healthy “green-light” foods, food groups, the food chain, food origins, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber content. Everyone enjoys the foods prepared in class, while making new friends and sharing conversation. Children will also learn conversational Italian, as our translator will translate words from English to Italian and vice versa. Our week-long programs blend cooking classes with artisan food visits to the local marketplace, where kids can choose from fresh, seasonal produce for the classes; they will also see the process of fresh artisan cheese making and learn how milk is transformed into rounds of caciotta or fresh light Ricotta, aged sharp Provalone and more. Tastings follow, and tips are given on the healthy Mediterranean diet. Our Kids’ Cooking class program joins parents and their children for an educational and fun week together under the sun.

Regional Italian Cooking Classes

Our program includes three hands-on cooking classes with Chefs Emilio, Ciro, Fortunata and Filomena, all of whom learned the secrets of Italian cooking from their grandmothers and at culinary school. This cooking program brings you into the kitchens of the Amalfi Coast’s most talented Chefs for a one-of-a-kind Kids Cooking adventure. Each class includes the use of fresh organic products from the local farmer’s market and gardens. You will experience Southern Italy’s cooking styles, foods and wines (for the adults!) in this unique food lovers’ program.

Featured in this program is a Neapolitan pizza making class with Antonio. He will teach you how to make authentic Neapolitan pizza in the typical wood-burning oven needed for making for the best Margherita pizzas. Our master pizza-maker shares his secrets for making the perfect dough; mixing, kneading, stretching and then topping it with fresh cherry tomato, basil and garnishing with hand-made mozzarella for the perfect pizza. During the week, you will also learn how local artisans make homemade cheeses with fresh milk each morning and how to use local cheeses like creamy caciotta, ricotta and Mozzarella in cooking, for example as a pizza topping or a stuffing for pasta, and sample the local Provolone cheese. Give your own hand a try and enjoy the tastings that follow.

The Secret Garden™

Our charming Secret Garden Positano program is hosted at a villa-style Bed & Breakfast located in the center of town and overlooking the sea. Each bedroom has a private terrace and sea view and is surrounded with flowered pergola and greenery. Cool ceramic tiles line each large bedroom, with a private bathroom and shower in each. Additional amenities include: hairdryer, safe, refrigerator and air conditioning. Breakfast is served each morning, and daily maid service is provided for your convenience. Family-style suites available, please inquire for more information and pricing.

The Secret Garden is truly a magical setting, terraced with lemon trees, and plush green gardens and set under spectacular bougainvilleas overlooking the sea. Guests can sunbath on their terrace, walk to the beach or relax at one of the cozy sidewalk cafés with a freshly squeezed lemonade. Step out your door and stroll past cafés, bookshops, and trattorias that spill onto the sidewalk. A panoramic view spans Li Galli Islands and the Amalfi Coast. The Tyrrhenian Sea is literally at your feet, and the beach is just a short walk away. As the sun sets, sit back on your terrace and watch the world-class yachts and local fishing boats ripple through the cerulean waters. Shuttle boats connect from each of Positano’s beaches and sail along the Amalfi Coast. From Positano’s port you can also take a water taxi or a private boat service to Sorrento, Ischia, Capri, Amalfi and Naples.Mediterranean gardens and lemon groves dot the Amalfi Coast, and gardens grow almost all year long producing red cherry tomatoes, plump eggplant, zucchini and sweet oranges. Olives also grow in abundance thanks to the warm Mediterranean climate, fertile volcanic soil and salted sea breeze all of which provide perfect growing conditions. Organic herbs of basil, sage, parsley, oregano, rosemary and mint, line gardens and fill pretty terracotta pots set on terraces. The local organic herbs that we grow in our garden are used in our cooking classes, along with our own Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed olive oil.

Positano

John Steinbeck lived in Positano in 1953 and wrote, “Positano bites deep, it’s a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”.

Positano is a little Moorish-style village, discovered by American and British troops at the end of World War II. Positano’s small winding streets are filled with tiny cafés, terraces, and artisan shops selling ceramics, limoncello and antiques. Take a walk along the stone pathway, the one little street that leads to the beach. Visit the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Piazza Flavio Gioia, a Romanesque structure that was completely rebuilt in 1700. The locals of Positano celebrate the feast day of the church every August 15th, as they carry the statue of Maria Assunta along the beach accompanied by a parade of musicians. A spectacular fireworks display follows under the stars, with boats arriving in hundreds to watch and celebrate from the sea.

In the 10th century, Positano was part of Amalfi’s Maritime Republic, and rivaled Venice as an important mercantile power. It was an important center during the 16th and 17th centuries, when its ships traded in the Near and Middle East, carrying spices, silks and precious woods. The advent of the steamship in the mid-19th century led to the town’s decline; and some three quarters of its 8,000 citizens left for America, with most settling in New York.

Gracing the pathway is the Palazzo Murat, originally built by Prince Joachim Murat, whom Napoleon designated as King of Naples in 1808. Murat wanted to lead the simple life, yet he built a grand palazzo for his vacation home. He was killed in battle and never enjoyed his palace.

The majolica dome, Positano’s landmark, is the Chiesa Madre, or the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta. It has a green and yellow majolica dome, topped by a cupola. It was built on the site of a former Benedictine Abbey of Saint Vito, a 13th century Romanesque structure, and was almost completely rebuilt in 1700. The church has a carved wooden Christ, a, masterpiece of devotional religious art. At the altar, is a 13th-century Byzantine painting on wood with the Madonna and Child, known as the Black Virgin. Legend claims that the painting was once stolen by Saracen pirates, who, fleeing in a raging storm, heard a voice from the heavens, say “Posa, Posa,” “put it down, put it down”. When they placed the statue on the beach near the church the storm calmed, as did the Saracens. Positano was saved, and the town’s name was established. Others disagree and say Positano’s name comes from the Greek god Poseidon.

The footpath along the sea Via Positanesi d’America leads to Ferdinando’s, and this is where you’ll see the Torre Trasita, one of the three coastline towers. Set in the sea in front of the coast are the mysterious islets of Li Galli.

Itinerary: 8 days, 7 nights

This program is scheduled from Saturday to Saturday, however you may check in and start your program on any day of the week. If you do start on a day other than Saturday, you will start your activities on that day, and all activities described will be included during your program.

Saturday: Benvenuti and Chef’s Tasting Dinner

  • Breakfast is served
  • Pick-up and transfer from Naples airport or train station to the property.
  • Arrival & check-in. Refresh and relax on your private terrace with an aperitivo. Read over the contents of your Welcome Bag including helpful information that will acquaint you with the area, and go over your itinerary for your cooking program. Also included is your Chef’s apron and general information and notes on landmarks, and our “Hot Pick list.”
  • Later in the evening, you will be served the full course Chef’s Tasting Dinner at our favorite local restaurant, with special Kid’s Menu, too. Dine on award-winning southern regional Italian food set in charming surroundings that overlook the panoramic Amalfi Coast. (Wine, drinks, grappa and an assortment of after dinner digestives are not included, and are available at a surcharge).

Sunday: Capri, Italy’s Glamorous Seaside Island and The Blue Grotto

  • Breakfast is served.
  • A full-day visit to the Isle of Capri. Kids love the ride from Positano to Capri on the boat. Sail past the land of the Mermaids and other folkloric points along the coast.
  • Capri, see the Blue Grotto – the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, or stroll along the port. The Blue Grotto has a special cavern entrance where the sunlight reflects on the water in the cave, tingeing it a dramatic Mediterranean cerulean shade of blue. Capri is Italy’s most popular and well-known seaside island and is just twenty minutes away. Once in the port of Capri, you can choose to take the funicular up to the famous Piazza Umberto. The square, better known as  ‘la piazzetta’,  is perched high above the sea and offers a panoramic view of the Bay of Naples and Ischia. At the main Piazza, you will find many designer shops and luxury boutiques or you can simply sit at a café and enjoy a gelato or Prosecco Mimosa.
  • A favorite place on Capri is Anacapri. This old world village that once captured the hearts of writers, artists and poets is dainty, delicate and quiet. Anacapri, the highest point on the island, virtually carries you back in time. Walk through narrow streets lined with Grecian-style whitewashed villas, ancient churches, and small bookshops. From Anacapri, kids will love the chair lift up to Monte Solaro; pass the castle of Barbarosso, fields of Capri flowers and marvel at a clear blue sky that seems to turn 360 degrees above you.
  • This full day excursion departs from Positano port at 9:00am, the boat continues around the island and you will be able to see the Natural Arch, White, Green and Blue Grotto lasting approximately 3 hours, and then docks in Marina Grande approximately at 12noon and you have 4 hours on the island to explore on your own.  Your Captain will explain your meeting point please be on time for your departure.

Add-On A Driver

While on land in Capri and if you want to see all the sites with ease, we suggest that you reserve a private car tour with Signor Costanzo our favorite driver. Costanzo will drive and guide you to each point of interest, while pointing out fascinating historical sites and facts along the way. He will drive to the highest peak in Anacapri, and to hidden gardens and villas where emperors once reigned. A 4-hour excursion in the driver’s sporty Capri Car is available from 1 to up to 6 people, upon request (The Capri Car driver’s fee is extra).

  • After your stay on the island, re-embark on board with your Captain for a sail around the island. The boat tour includes a stop at the Blue Grotto (if open and weather permitting), and a swim by the White Grotto.
  • Evening free and on your own. Suggestion – dinner at Ristorante Mulini. Please tell them you are from Cooking Vacations; they will suggest a food lover’s menu and delicious desserts and gelato to follow.

Monday: Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning is free to step out and explore Positano.
  • In the afternoon, head into the kitchen for Cooking Class 1: Pizza Making. Everyone becomes a pizza chef for a day with pizzaiolo Antonio. He starts by mixing together all the ingredients for soft pizza dough. Mixing and rolling, adding the toppings, then, the final step, baking it in a wood-burning brick oven. Nothing could be more fun for the kids than spinning their dough around like a real expert then seeing and tasting the final resultsAfter the cooking class, enjoy the food you made while gazing out over the panorama from the terrace. Toast with a glass of local red or white wine, for parents, and end with a sweet dessert, included. Additional wine, beverages, after-dinner liqueurs are available at a surcharge.

Tuesday: Chef Raffaele, Sweet Cooking Class

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Gelato, fruit tarts, sorbetto, biscotti, and Capri cake are a few of the delicious desserts you will make with Chef Raffaele for your Cooking Class 2: Dolci & Gelato. In this colorful class, kids can learn to make Italian pastries dripping with Nutella or gelato, Italy’s chilly treat. There are so many flavors to choose from, including chocolate Baci, lemon cream and rose petal. Get cooking, as this fun-filled class brings kids to the kitchen for a hands-on cooking class making torta al profumo d’arancia, cake made with Sorrento oranges, biscotti alle mele, apple biscotti, cornetti, sweet morning breakfast bread- to name a few.
  • Chef Raffaele provides a slice of his famous pizza before the desserts begin, then everyone eats the sweets prepared in class following.
  • Afternoon & evening free and on your own.
  • Suggestion: You can also easily visit Sorrento which is just a short bus ride away with the local blue SITA bus or the Positano-Sorrento Water Taxi. (You will need to buy your round trip bus tickets in the Mulini Café in the Piazza Mulini or at Bar International.)
  • Sorrento: The city of song, dance and the Tarantella is a great place to visit with kids. Visit Piazza Tasso and the famous Fauno Café, walk through the cobblestone streets and see artisans make shoes, leather bags, ceramics, confetti and wedding candies. Visit the artisan soap maker who produces lemon soap from the essence of the Sorrento lemons. Visit the famous limoncello maker and see how this delicious local drink is made, complimentary tastings included. Stop at the artisan “Confetti & Agrumeti,” and watch Antonio toast the almonds and then coat them in chocolate, orange zest or lemon. Complimentary tastings of the sugarcoated almonds are available. Stop at Raffael’s for handmade artisan sandals fit to your feed. Walk to Marina Grande in old Sorrento and visit the Church of Saint Ann – the patron saint of the marina – sip a Prosecco or fresh squeezed orange spremuta, at the Fauno Café, or stroll along the famous Corso Italia.

Wednesday: Fresh Artisan Cheese Making ~ Cooking with Mozzarella & Cooking Class

A unique gastronomic and cultural experience of artisan life on the Amalfi Coast

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Fresh Artisan Cheese Making: Italian Cheese, made by artisan hands, is always an important part of our Regional cooking. Experience fresh cheese making and see creamy milk transform into delicious rounds of caciotta with a family who has been making it for generations. Here you will learn the steps in making old-world artisan local cheese and cooking with mozzarella cheese! Then try your own hand at this artful craft. Tastings follow.
  • Then, head into the kitchen for Cooking Class 3: Fresh Pasta with Chef Francesco. Roll up your sleeves and work together to mix, kneed and roll out the dough for fresh pasta. Stuff light yellow dough with dots of Ricotta to make Ravioli, or mix potatoes and roll out coils to make Gnocchi and more. Lunch or dinner follows on the foods prepared in class. Toast with a glass of local red or white wine, for parents, and end with a sweet dessert, included. Additional wine, beverages, after-dinner liqueurs are available at a surcharge.

Thursday: Amalfi Coast Excursion

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Drive along the famed Amalfi Coast headed to Amalfi and the hilltop village of Ravello. Along the way, stop to visit our artisan ceramic maker. You will see old-world ceramics like table tops made of volcanic rock and hand painted in soft colors with seascapes, grapes and lemons, romantic angels and Mediterranean scenes. Kids can see the yellows, greens and blues as local artisans paint coastal scenes on handmade ceramics that look nothing like Mom’s china. This family-owned producer of ceramics also ships worldwide.

    Amalfi

    The town of Amalfi is rich in culture and history. The small town, perched on the coastline, is dominated by Amalfi’s Cathedral and its main streets are lined with small shops and elegant bars. Merchants display their wares outside and nothing could be more pleasant than browsing through stalls of herbs and spices, jewelry, shoes, the beautiful handmade Amalfi paper, and local lemon specialties such lemon soap and lemon liqueurs. Suggested is a stop in at one of the oldest and most famous pastry makers in southern Italy- dating back to the 1800’s. A look inside reveals a sweet showcase of chocolate drenched eggplant flavored with pine nuts, liqueur and orange; fragrant ricotta pear tarts; candied lemon and orange dragged in dark chocolate; or festive pastries of the day! Whatever you decide to order, take a seat outside in the piazza at one of the small café tables that overlook the greatest people-watching site on the Coast. Stroll the town, or put the kids to work going up the Cathedral’s majestic staircase to count exactly how many stairs there are from the Piazza to the Cathedral doorway.  Ravello follows. This quaint town, often called the city between ‘Sea & Sky’, is suspended high above the coast, with sweeping views that span everything from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the mountains inland.

    Ravello

    Ravello is hailed the ‘International City of Music’ and is known for its precious panoramic view from the gardens of Villa Cimbrone. The town is perched 350 meters over the rocky spur of the Amalfi Coast separating the Valle del Dragone from the Valle del Regina. Today, Ravello is world-famous for its outdoor music concerts. Visit Villa Cimbrone, once the residence of Greta Garbo, wander through the lush gardens and the Terrazza Della Rosa, or stroll down the path that leads to the Terrazzo dell’Infinito (Terrace of Infinity). This natural balcony is adorned with imposing marble busts. From this unique vantage point you can see the distant Cilento Mountains and the Licosa beyond the sparkling sea, the lush Amalfi Coast, its distinctive terraces of colorful lemon trees, and the typical whitewashed houses that cling to the rugged coastline. Stroll along the streets and alleyways and discover little gems of churches, chapels, and noblemen’s residences. Also see the Cathedral, Villa Rufolo, San Giovanni del Tauro, and Santa Maria.

Add-On Our Guide, Angela Market & Food Lover’s Tour 

You may also reserve a private guided tour with Angela, native Ravello resident and eloquent art history expert who will take you on a Market Visit & Food Lover’s Tour Amalfi and Ravello Landmark Tour to the gardens, pathways, villas and churches of the town.  If  you love food and wine, Angela offers insight and history.  The walking tour starts out with introduction to the historical city of Amalfi, and then moves on to all the best stops for food, produce, wine, pastry and cheese. As we make our way through this beautiful seaside village, we make a couple of tasty stops along the way, meet local producers of wine, cheese, bread and more, and learn about the seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish & cheese of the Amalfi Coast. Tastings included. (Guide’s fee is extra, please reserve in advance.)

  • Return to Positano in the afternoon.

Friday: Visit Pompeii: Discover the Ancient Roman Civilization ~ Olive Oil Tasting

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast it is off to Pompeii where you will visit the famous seat of this ancient Roman civilization near Naples whose ruins date back to 79AD. Discover and explore the ancient city that was covered by the eruption of Vesuvius, and unravel the ancient mystery of the Roman Empire.
  • Discover the ancient city that was covered by the ash of Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago and unravel the mystery of the Roman Empire. Pliny the Younger was just a teenager when he wrote a letter describing the column of smoke rising from Mount Vesuvius, later named after him as the ‘plinian’ eruption. A private guide can be reserved or you can explore on your own. We recommend flat walking shoes, sun protection and a hat.
  • Visit Pompeii’s open-air museum and explore the labyrinth of paths that lead you through the ruins of the buried city. Take time out during your visit for a panino in the café near the forum.
  • Our professional guide Elvira, a Pompeii native, is available for the Pompeii tour. Please reserve in advance. (The guide’s fee is not included in the excursion).
  • Return to Positano in the afternoon for your Olive Oil Tasting. Taste Cooking Vacations’ Extra Virgin First Cold-Pressed olive oil drizzled over local bread cooked in a wood oven. Tastings included.

Saturday: Departure

  • Breakfast is served
  • Check out by 10:00am. Departure transfer to Naples Airport or Train Station. Ciao e a presto!

*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 week.

Program Includes:

  • Eight days/Seven nights accommodations, based on double occupancy in a villa-style Bed & Breakfast with private bath-and sea view. Click to view Accommodations Options & Upgrades!
  • Daily breakfast.
  • Three hands-on cooking classes, with lunch or dinner following. Dessert class includes tasting all the sweets made in class, starting with a light pizza lunch first.
  • Full course Chef’s Tasting Menu for adults and Kids menu for children on your first night arrival. (Wine, beverages, after-dinner liqueurs and caffè available at a surcharge).
  • Excursion to Amalfi and Ravello with private driver. (Private tour guide available on request).
  • Capri boat trip. (Private tour guide available on request).
  • Excursion to Pompeii with private driver. (Private tour guide available upon request).
  • Olive Oil Tasting with informal discussion.
  • Welcome bag including apron and recipe booklet.
  • Round trip group transfers to Naples Airport or Naples Train station.
  • * Wi-Fi internet connection available.
Program Prices

$2,995 per person, based on double occupancy with sea view.  Italian VAT included.

(Half price for children under 10 accompanied by 2 adults.)
Click to view Accommodations Options & Upgrades!
Accommodations are based in a family-style quad-room for four, with 2 adults. Family Suites and apartments are available; please inquire for details and pricing.

$2,695 per person, based on double occupancy with mountain view. All taxes and Italian VAT included.
Click to view Mountain View Option!

Check Availability

2019 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check in is on Saturday, but you may check in and start your cooking program any day of the week. If you check in on any other day besides Saturday, you simply start your program on that day and pick up that day’s activities. You will have all your activities included. 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.

Positano has many stairs throughout. People who do not like to walk or have health problems are advised to read up on the landscape of Positano and reserve the 3-Star~By The Piazza or 4-Star option. We suggest walking shoes, sun block, and a hat for excursions to Capri and Pompeii.  City taxes, which vary, are not included and must be paid by each guest on site at the time of check out.

Additional Cooking Classes

Classes can be added on to your program at an extra cost. You can add on additional classes during the week to the 3 that are already scheduled. We are always at your service to answer questions, and add on extra cooking classes.

Learn To Make Traditional Limoncello

Neapolitan Cooking In Positano

Cooking Lemon Lifestyles™ In Positano

Italian Pastry Making

Positano Fish!

Advanced Cooking Class Positano

Chef Maria’s Cooking Class Capri