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Tuscany Slow Cooking™

The Tuscan Traveler’s Cookbook™ ~ 7 Days

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Join the Fabrizio family estate for a week of cooking and touring in The Tuscan Traveler’s Cookbook.  Join Fabrizio and his family at their estate, a beautiful farmhouse villa located in the heart of the Tuscan countryside. The Tuscan cooking classes, held in the villa’s private kitchen, feature traditional recipes from the region, including Florence with our Chef Cati.  He will lead you through making Tuscan antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. Fabrizio’s energetic personality, along with Chef Cati’s talented cooking skills make this cooking program our best seller for Tuscany. The entire staff, along with Fabrizio and his family, welcome you for a fun-filled cooking experience in the heart of Chianti!

Set among tall cypresses that line a Tuscan country road that surround the property, the Tuscan villa is an extraordinary place for your hands-on cooking tour. Learn the traditions of Tuscan cuisine from century-old recipes with our Chef. Wake up and walk to the kitchen while relaxing in a dream-like place of beauty. Your cooking classes take place in a working kitchen that includes an equipped working area and wood-burning bread and pizza oven. During you cooking tour, you will make traditional Tuscan favorites including antipasto, hand-made fresh pasta, delicious main courses, wood-burning brick oven pizza and delicious desserts, to be enjoyed along with Signor Rodolfo’s award wining wine. After your cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in class around the table.

When you are not in the kitchen walk through property’s vineyards, olive groves and beautiful gardens. In summer, take a swim in the outdoor swimming pool and relax by the outdoor terrace.

Cooking Lessons & Outdoor Market Tour

Experience the delights of the traditional Tuscan lifestyle, while attending fun-filled cooking classes and enjoying relaxing excursions. You will learn to prepare Tuscan antipasto, pizza and breads, hearty soups, homemade pastas and sauces, meats, fish, vegetables and desserts.

Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms and pepolino, wild thyme, artichokes and tomatoes stuffed with herbs and cheese, gnocchi with ragù, Chianti Etruscan sauce and beans all’uccelletto, Vin Santo & cantuccini, almond cookies, tiramisù, schiacciata con l’uva, Tuscan cake made with red grapes and rosemary, are just a sample of Fabrizio’s family  recipes that you will learn.  Recipes will vary depending on the seasons.

Each cooking class is hands-on and includes traditional Tuscan cuisine. The estate’s kitchen is located in the main villa in what used to be one of the family’s wine cellars.

You will learn the secrets of making gnocchetti verdi di patate con pomodorino fresco e basilico, green potato gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and basil, filetto d’orata al gratin di patate, fish with potato gratin or sea food risotto.  Tuscan meats are prized in this region and Florentine steak and porcino mushrooms are on the menu if you like.  semifreddo alle nocciole con cioccolato fondente, ice cream cake with dark chocolate and nuts. Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared together with wine from the estate.

Experience a visit to the vibrant marketplace as the scents of just baked bread, artisan cheese, and morning picked produce from the nearby rolling hills stir your senses.  Listen to the sounds of sellers calling out their daily catch, prime cuts and specials.  Shop along rows of passionate purveyors who have kept the old world way of protected food and wine.

During your stay, discover Certaldo!!!  An excursion to this magical Tuscan town has you stepping along cobblestone paths lined with small coffee bars brewing up perfect espresso & cappuccino and fresh pasta shops displaying handmade pici, pappardelle and ravioli inside.  Open doors of ancient churches welcome each guest in for ancient art, design and stained glass windows.  Visit the  home of  great Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio who penned Decameron and On Famous Women.  Then, a stop in Lucardo beckons for small shops showcasing vino, faro, spelt and all things Tuscan.

Family Tradition

The family has operated its vineyards, specialising in  Chianti wine since the 19th century.  The superior wine, also award-winning, are the best in the Chianti region. Fabrizio carries on the knowledge and know-how of growing and producing superior Tuscans on this estate. Tradition and old family customs merge with modern winemaking technologies, which yield production totals of nearly 30,000 bottles a year. The award-winning wine boasts the Silver Label, awarded at the Tuscan Gastronomic Show in New York City 2005 & 2006, and inclusion in the VIII edition of the Tuscan Wine Selection in 2008.

Tuscan Villa Accommodations

The private villa has recently been restored, respecting its old-world charm, while adding modern comforts. Set on a working vineyard, the property is surrounded by rolling green Tuscan hills in the heart of Chianti. The estate has endless fields of olive grove and an organic vegetable garden, which produces beautiful olives, tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and a bounty of seasonal produce. Guests are invited to pick the fruits and vegetables, which are then used in the cooking classes.

The villa offers large apartments and oversized superior rooms, traditionally furnished and newly renovated with modern conveniences including air-conditioning. Each room has a private ensuite bathroom, telephone, full kitchenette, refrigerator, satellite TV and wifi, and a private garden or spacious terrace.

Step outside your door and into a lush garden with a caffé-style terrace for dining, reading or painting. There is an outdoor wood-burning brick oven for our pizza making class, an over-sized swimming pool and terrace on the property grounds. Majestic Murgesi horses are bred on the premises. If you like to ride, let us know and we will arrange for horseback riding.

Breakfast is served daily In the farmhouse’s spacious dining room and outdoor terrace where you will enjoy your Tuscan breakfast featuring artisan breads, salumi, ham, artisan cheese, homemade jams, biscotti and cakes baked each morning. Traditional Tuscan lunch or dinner is also available; reservations must be made in advance.  Bikes are available at the property for peddling through the Tuscan countryside.

Family-style suites and apartments are also available upon request.

Tuscan Bread Making

Mix, knead and roll out Tuscan bread and bake it to perfection in an ancient wood-burning brick oven. Tuscan bread pairs with aged salumi and cheese, and is added to soups such as minestra di pane and rebollita. Tuscan breads include Covaccino, Doucesses, Pane Integrale, Procorn E Panda, Cazzottini and Focaccia. After a day in our Tuscan cooking class, you will be baking bread like a Tuscan. And of course, pizza made in a wood burning oven is the best!

When you are not cooking, you will also visit the outdoor marketplace and watch vendors converse with locals over daily specials. They will bargain on prices for the freshest eggs, the daily bread and the biggest rounds of Pecorino cheese. This is an experience that puts you in the real life of the locals often called la dolce vita.

 Siena & San Gimignano

Siena and San Gimignano are great escapes during your stay where you will visit landmarks, churches and food shops filled with local specialties like Panforte, the sweet spicy cake made at Christmastime in Siena, Cantucci & Vin Santo and the finest Tuscan wines. Walk through Siena’s piazza, home to the Palio and narrow alleyways filled with artisan shops, such as Florentine paper, spices, wine & cheese, tea, leather, sweets and leather goods.  During your stay you can also explore Monastery of Certosa just by the Villa. It is a historical place where the monks once made wine and jam. Visit the Church of San Lorenzo, patron Saint of Chefs & Cooks and make sure to see the frescos and architecture from this 11th-century landmark.

Siena

Set in the olive groves and vineyards of Chianti, is Siena. You can see its unique bell towers from miles. Its Piazza del Campo is regarded as one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. And there is also the Duomo, a great example of Italian Romanesque architecture that was originally intended to be the grandest cathedral. You may also visit the Palazzo Pubblico home to Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s frescos. Or walk the narrow walkways and discover Siena’s ancient past. Cafés, wine bars, trattorie and gelaterias will pull you in. Specialty food shops selling local faro, spelt, and Tuscan beans. And before you leave, make sure to have a taste of Panforte, it is a very regional.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is the Medieval town of art, music and history and is renowned for its towers. Although there are only 14 still standing of the original 72, it still is a sign of the town’s history and the wealthy families that built the tallest ones to prove their power. A stroll round the main piazza and its shops is a must to see hand-painted pottery, olive wood chopping boards, local artists in their galleries, wine and olive oil shops, and the area’s famous salamis made with fennel seeds and deep red Prosciutto. Take a seat in the piazza for stunning views under the red roofs of San Gimignano.

Pisa

One of Italy’s best known tourist destinations, the ancient maritime republic of Pisa is a quiet university town that boasts one of the best loved piazzas in the world. The piazza, Campo Dei Miracoli, is a vast green lawn that houses the town’s Duomo, its famous bell tower, better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Baptistery and the Camposanto which has to be one of the most beautiful cemeteries ever built. Interestingly enough, however, it’s not only Pisa’s tower that leans. A closer look at the Baptistery and the Duomo will reveal that they too are far from straight, though less noticeably so than the tower.

Itinerary: 7 Days, 6 Nights

Day 1: Welcome & Tuscan Dinner

  • Check in, relax. Welcome aperitivo and introduction.
  • In the evening,  a Welcome dinner at the property, including a Chef’s Tasting Menu with Chianti wines produced by the property are included.

Day 2: Introduction & Cooking Class 1

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning meet our family – Fabrizio and Chef. They will be your hosts for the week. You will have an introduction and overview of your cooking week. Take a walk through the property, the vineyards, and the horse stables. Horseback riding is available on the estate; if you would like to ride, make arrangements with Cooking Vacations advance. Relax by the pool or take a swim, weather permitting, or walk to the small village at the entrance of the villa property and explore, sip a cappuccino at the local Italian caffé.
  • In the afternoon, cooking class 1. This hands-on experience shares Fabrizio’s family recipes in making traditional Tuscan fare. The menu includes a first course, se

Day 3: Full Day Florence ~ Guided Uffizi Museum Tour

  • Breakfast is served.
  • After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for a full day in Florence with guided museum tourStart your day with a transfer to downtown Florence to meet your private English-speaking guide. This half-day walking tour takes you into Florence’s world-famous museums. Chose the Uffizi with works by DaVinci, Caravaggio, Botticelli; or the Accademia with its prized center-piece of Michelangelo’s David. Your guide brings art to life with historic notes, myths and mysteries surrounding Florence’s incredible art collections. (Museum tickets not included in program price).  Take time out for lunch on your own in Florence, suggestions provided upon request, and some time for shopping in the renowned leather market of San Lorenzo or the glittering Ponte Vecchio.
  • The Uffizi Gallery: Florence’s first museum to open to the public is 8,000 sq.m. and it displays one of the most important collections of art of all time, including classical sculpture and paintings on canvas and wood by 13th to 18th century Italian and foreign schools. Four centuries of history make the Uffizi Gallery the oldest museum in the world.
    The Duomo: the distinctive icon in Florence’s skyline is the dome of the cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. The building located due north of the Piazza della Signoria, was begun by the sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296. Numerous local artists continued to work on it during the following century and a half. The painter Giotto designed its sturdy bell tower, campanile, in 1334. The Duomo’s octagonal cupola (1420-36), which dominates the city, was the creation of Filippo Brunelleschi, master architect and sculptor.
    Though the cathedral was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio in 1296, in 1366, the city of Florence, following the advice of certain painters and sculptors, decided that the Gothic style should no longer be used and that all new work should follow Roman forms, including an octagonal dome spanning 42 meters, to be built at the east end of the nave. The dome was not built until the early 15th century, when in 1415, Filippo Brunelleschi, a goldsmith and sculptor, prepared a design for the dome. He daringly proposed to construct the dome without the aid of formwork, which had been absolutely necessary in all previous Roman and Gothic construction. He built a 1:12 model of the dome in brick to demonstrate his method and the design was accepted and built under his supervision from 1420 to 1436. Brunelleschi was hailed as the man who “renewed Roman masonry work.” The Duomo was established as the paragon of built form.  Opposite the cathedral stands the Baptistery; the building dates from the 11th century but is a Roman monument dating back to 1330; 1401-52. The third pair of these doors, by Lorenzo Ghiberti, were of such rare beauty that Michelangelo christened them the ” Gates of Paradise.”
  • The Accademia Museum: There is time while you are in Florence for the day to explore the most celebrated museum, home to Giovanni da Milano’s Pieta (fourteenth century), the “Annunciation” by Lorenzo Monaco (fifteenth century), the beautiful front called Adimari Cassone showing a sumptuous marriage procession (c. 1450) and the Madonna of the Sea attributed to Botticelli (1445-1510). A recent re-arrangement and restoration of some of the rooms have given more space for the display of paintings from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries, plaster models of Lorenzo Bartolini and Luigi Pampaloni, famous Italian sculptors of the nineteenth century also on display, and Michelangelo’s David.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.

Day 4: Visit To The Outdoor Farmers’ Market & Cooking Class 2

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, we will visit tthe local Farmers’ Market. Fabrizio takes you to the local outdoor market, where producers and farmers display their vegetables, fruits, fish, artisan cheese, meat, fish, olive oil and artisan leather goods, linens, wooden cooking tools – to name a few. Piled high are baskets of the season’s freshest produce.  Select the ingredients that will be used in class while Fabrizio shares tips on how to pick out the freshest fruits and vegetables.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • Afternoon, cooking class 2. Dinner follows with everyone dining together with the food prepared in class. Wine and dessert included.

Day 5: Excursion~Siena, San Gimignano & Tuscan Wine Dinner At The Villa

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast a full day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano with your private driver. You will visit Siena, the magical town of the towers, the round Piazza del Campo, home to the famous horse race, the Palio, held each year in early July. Also, visit the Siena cathedral, reference for the whole of Italian Gothic architecture. Then, it is off to San Gimignano, city of music, sunflowers and towers. San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes.
  • You may add on our English-speaking guide for your time in Siena and or San Gimignano!  Please let us know your group size and we’ll send pricing.
  • Evening, Tuscan Dinner served at the Villa.  Chianti wine and dessert included.

Day 6: Cooking Class 3

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Choose from morning or afternoon cooking class with our chef for your hands-on Cooking Class 3. Create a full course menu including an antipasto, pasta, main course and dessert. Specialties may include Croutons with cannellini beans, pasta with white truffles, grilled beef tagliata with arugula and end with a White or dark chocolate mousse. Menus vary to use the best fresh seasonal ingredients and can be tailored to accommodate vegetarian, food allergies and other diet requirements.
  • Lunch or dinner follows on the foods that were prepared in class with wines from the Villa.
  • Afternoon (or morning) excursion to Pisa, the land of the Leaning Tower. Tour lasts approximately four and a half hours and includes private driver.
  • Dinner on your own. Reserve in advance at the Villa or we have great local restaurants near the Villa upon request.  Florence is just a 5 minute taxi ride away, let us know and we will reserve a table at one of our local trattoria favorites.

Day 7: Departure

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out and departure transfer to Florence Airport or Train Station.
  • Arrivederci Firenze!

*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:

  • 7 days, 6 nights based on double occupancy in Deluxe double room with daily maid service.
  • Daily breakfast buffet and maid service.
  • Round trip transfers from Florence Airport or Train Station to villa.
  • 3 hands-on cooking classes. Choose from morning or afternoon cooking classes, lunch or dinner follows on the foods that were prepared in class with tasting of wines from the Villa included.  Including 1 pizza class, using the villa’s wood-burning oven.
  • Visit to local outside market with discussions and tastings included.
  • Visit to the Villa’s vineyards & wine cellar, property’s award winning wine tasting included.
  • Tasting of the property’s extra virgin olive oils.
  • 1 traditional full course Tuscan dinner at Villa Florentine, wines included.
  • Full day in Florence with three hour museum visit and guided tour with professional English speaking guide, round trip transfers to and from property included.  Spend the rest of the day visiting Florence, shopping and tasting your  way.  (Museum tickets not included in program price).
  • Full day group excursion to Siena & San Gimignano with driver.
  • Half day group excursion to Pisa, with driver.
  • Welcome Bag with Chef’s apron and recipe book.
Program Prices

$2,995 per person, based on 2 guests.

For Single Guests: If you are traveling on your own, please call us for the best group price. We are happy to welcome you into an already scheduled group.

Note: Additional transfers to from the Villa to downtown Florence, additional excursions can be reserved at an additional cost.  

Check Availability

2024 Dates: This program is available January 10 to December 20. 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.