Food & Wine Trails Of Cortona, Montepulciano, Valdorcia, Radicofani
Join a culinary adventure in our Romance In The Vineyard cooking tour designed for couples who are eager to discover the art, countryside and cuisine of Italy, and offers entertaining, hands-on cooking classes, visits to artisan markets, trips to some of the most important romantic Tuscan towns, and of course, ample opportunity to sample Tuscany’s heartwarming cuisine and world famous wines. Terenzio, your charming Italian host, wine maker and owner of The Villa has created this special cooking tour keeping in mind, food & wine in the romantic setting of Monetpulicano!
Join Chefs Mara, Maria and Ili for a tour that will take you to Valdorcia, Montepulciano, Cortona and Monte Amiata, immerse you in the world of super Tuscan wines and help you discover the roots and traditions of a cuisine steeped in history. Here you will participate in small group activities with people who share your own interests for food and wine and the good things in life: a leisurely lunch by a lake, wine tasting sessions, unforgettable trips though timeless Tuscan landscapes and a morning spent wandering round quaint Tuscan towns.
Tuscan food is simple, hearty and best enjoyed with a glass of local wine of Montepulciano. Along with Maria and Luca you will discover the area’s best loved dishes and develop a new appreciation for quality ingredients, such as lardo di colonnata, local Chianina beef from which come the delicious Fiorentina steaks, game of all types, boar, Tuscan pastas like Pici, another cornerstone of Tuscan cuisine. And of course, the fundamental role of food in Italian culture, and its power to soothe, heal, nourish and unite.
Classes are held at the property in the Tuscan kitchen with Chef Mara, Maria and Ili in Montepulciano and at The Villa-each class lasts approximately three hours. The entire menu changes daily based on the season, the Chef’s inspiration while keeping in mind food allergies. During each class you will create a full course feast featuring antipasto, primo, secondo and dolce. Regional appetizers include dishes like crostini toscani, assorted bruschetta appetizers made with unsalted Tuscan bread slices seasoned with fresh tomatoes and herbs, or fegatini (liver pâté), regional cold cuts including capocollo, prosciutto, pancetta and salumi. First courses cover delicious handmade pastas such as pici with an aglione sauce, and the world famous ribollita soup made with beans, vegetables and served with crostini (delicious!).
For secondo or second course, expect meat of some type, bistecca fiorentina, wild boar, duck or a platter of scottiglia, the traditional main course of southern Tuscany which includes rabbit, chicken, veal, pork, pigeon, lamb and turkey. Or learn how to make Chef Mara and Maria’s signature pollo con olive, chicken sautéed with local olives of Grosetto (olives that are cured in brine and marinated with grated orange zest, fennel and a little garlic) for a unique Tuscan flavor. And then dolce! Maria’s desserts are her specialty. She will show you how to make traditional cakes and biscotti like the world famous tiramisu and cantucci (hard biscotti, traditionally dipped in Vin Santo, a unique dessert made in Tuscany). Another time-honored cake is the stracciata alla fiorentina, a sweet pizza made for the religious feast of Carnevale. The traditional pannello con l’uva is a sweet bread made with fresh grapes and usually served during the time of the harvest. And at the end of each class, participants sit back to enjoy eat the fruits of their labor at dinner, and toast with local Tuscan table wine. So why not join us in Tuscany for this fabulous new singles experience!
Tuscany has been charming visitors for centuries with its rolling hills, medieval villages, charming farmhouses enclosed by cypress trees, country markets bursting with artisan produce, and its simple, delicious cuisine which is firmly rooted in history. The villa is located close to the nearby towns of Montepulciano, the jewel of artistic and architectural treasures, Pienza, the town of Pope Pio II Piccolomini, and Chiusi, a most important and powerful Etruscan town. Also nearby is Montalcino, with its great fortress and the vineyards that produce the world famous Brunello di Montalcino. And not to be missed is Orvieto, Arezzo, Cortona, Siena, San Gimignano, Perugia, Assisi, Gubbio, and Firenze.
The Villa is a beautiful farmhouse that was built in the 17th century and has recently been restored. The renovations, while keeping the original character, transformed the farmhouse into a five-star luxury accommodation. Each suite is decorated with exquisite antiques, maintaining the traditional feel of old-world charm in the heart of Tuscany.
The Villa is privately by Terenzio and after several years in the hospitality industry and wine making business, he created exclusive programs with Lauren at Cooking Vacations. Lauren’s long-term friendship with Nicola ripened the idea for hands-on cooking classes that explore the regional cuisine of Tuscany while staying at the gorgeous Villa. The property is surrounded with the family’s vineyards, vegetable gardens, Tuscan sunflowers and a private swimming pool. The ancient town of Montepulciano can be seen in the distance.
Each suite has been named after the eight districts of Montepulciano, created by the City Stature in 1337. They are San Donato, Voltaia, Poggiolo, Talosa and Gracciamo. All of the bedrooms have been furnished with great attention to functionality and elegance. Interior decorators have carefully selected the colors, paired the cloths and blended the various antique pieces with simple Tuscan handicrafts. The rooms are magical and each one has a private bathroom. In the three suites, guests can enjoy a tonic Jacuzzi sipping a glass of the best Spumante Classico. All the rooms are equipped with TV, refrigerator and telephone.
The Wine Cellar
Much to wine lovers’ delight, the Villa’s estate boasts a well-furnished wine cellar where you will discover thousands of different Italian wines, including the property’s own production. The underground wine cellar in the farmhouse, which keeps it well protected from light, vibrations and changes of temperature, guarantees that the selection of wines are kept in perfect condition. Not only that, but Nicola, who is a member of the ONAV (National Organization of Wine Tasters), of the AIS (Italian Association of Sommeliers) and of the Society of Wine Educators, can escort you during this trip through guided tastings: together you will explore the secrets of Tuscany.
Itinerary: 6 days, 5 nights
Sunday: Arrival & Welcome Dinner
- Pick up at the Chiusi-Chianciano train station.
- Arrival at the Villa before 4:00pm, check-in, relax.
- Welcome aperitivo on the terrace facing the estate’s Vino Nobile di Montepulciano vineyards
- 8:00pm Welcome Tuscan BBQ Dinner a traditional Tuscan dinner with wines chosen by Terenzio.
Monday: Tour of Val d’Orcia & Dinner
- Breakfast is served.
- 10:00am: Tour of Valdorcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with lunch in the medieval town of Sant’Angelo in Colle, where Luca, chef-owner of a local and authentic osteria, will delight palates with his specialties, but also with the world famous Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino.
- Visit to winery in Montalcino.
- Dinner in Montepulciano one bottle of local wine for every 2 people wine is included..
Tuesday: Cooking Class 1, Cortona & Lake Trasimeno
- Breakfast is served
- 10am: Set out for a tour of the beautiful town Cortona, made famous by the bestseller “Under the Tuscan Sun.” Ancient stone paths lead you to churches, quaint shops selling linen, Tuscan olive oil, hand-painted ceramics and wine.
- Lunch at Terenzio’s favorite trattoria by Lake Trasimeno.
- Return to The Villa where you can relax.
- 6:00pm: Aprons on and get ready for Cooking Class 1 where you’ll create a delicious full menu Tuscan dinner under Maria’s expert tutelage. Dinner follows and includes the foods prepared in class paired with Terenzio’s wines.
Wednesday: Montepulciano & Cooking Class 2
- Breakfast is served
- Morning: after breakfast Terenzio will drive you to Montepulciano for visiting and shopping.
- Lunch in town on your own.
- Stop off at the Cantina, Terenzio’s hot-pick, for a wine tasting.
- Return to the villa. Early afternoon free. Relax by the pool.
- 6:00pm: Aprons on and get ready for Cooking Class 2 where you’ll create a delicious full menu Tuscan dinner under Maria’s expert tutelage. Dinner follows and includes the foods prepared in class paired with Terenzio’s wines.
Thursday: Market Tour & Dinner
- Breakfast is served
- After breakfast (if it is a Thursday), visit to the open air market, weather permitting, or visit of Montepulciano, where you can admire the town’s many beautiful palaces and churches.
- Light lunch at Ortaglia.
- At 5:00pm: Terenzio will drive you to the Monte Amiata to visit the medieval village of Abbadia San Salvatore, then to Radicofani, the fortress-town of Ghino di Tacco, the Italian Robin Hood, from where you will enjoy beautiful landscapes but also some of the dishes prepared by Giuseppina and Natalina, the chef- owners of this hidden jewel trattoria, another of Terenzio’s favorites. On the way home we will stop briefly to admire billions of stars in the deep blue sky of Valdorcia.
- Check-out and transfer to Chiusi train station.
*This schedule may vary due to weather, feast days, market days, openings and closings of vineyards, etc. If you happen to have a specific private activity in mind, please let us know so we can check your final itinerary.
- 6 days, 5 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy.
- Daily breakfast.
- Transportation to and from the Chiusi-Chianciano train station. (Arrival before 4pm on arrival day.)
- Welcome aperitivo.
- BBQ dinner at The Villa, wine included.
- Tour of Val d’Orcia with lunch in Sant’Angelo in Colle, wine included.
- Visit to winery in Montepulciano.
- Dinner in Terenzio’s favorite restaurant in Montepulciano, wine included.
- Tour of Cortona and Lake Trasimeno with lunch in Terenzio’s favorite local trattoria, wine included
- 2 cooking classes followed by dinner, wine included.
- Visit to the weekly open market in Montepulciano.
- Light lunch at The Villa, wine included.
- Drive to Monte Amiata and dinner in Radicofani, wine included.
- Self-guided walking Tour of Montepulciano.
- Wine tasting at the Cantina Wine Cellar in Montepulciano.
- Transportation to the dinners and to the Tour of Montepulciano.
- Welcome Bag with Chef’s Apron.
$2,895 per person, based on double occupancy in Deluxe Double room.
$200 supplement per person per program for Junior Suite.
$300 supplement per person per program for Superior Suite.
All taxes and Italian VAT included.