Join Signora Stefania in our Tuscan Cookout program in an 18th century Villa on the hills of Montepulciano. Once home to a noble family of Siena, the villa is nestled between tall cypress trees, green gardens and an endless view overlooking the gentle hills of Val d’Orcia.
Delicious Tuscan food, wine and culture are featured in this tour that takes you through the countryside of Val d’Orcia, Pienza, Montalcino, San Gimignano, and the ancient village of Montepulciano. Discover hearty cuisine in our hands-on cooking classes, sip and swirl prized Tuscan and Brunello wine while visiting vineyards and landmarks in beautiful Montepulciano.
Our Food & Wine In The Land Of Siena program immerses you into the local lifestyle while you soak up the traditions of great Tuscan cuisine. The entire villa and gardens have been fully restored with every modern comfort while keeping its Old World charm.
Signora Stefania welcomes each guest to her home and kitchen where she shares a little bit of history, cooking technique and conversation in this one-of-a-kind authentic tour. Cook, tour and make new friends in dreamy Tuscany with Signora Stefania. Her soft words for each guest are, “this villa is but a home that we wish to share with guests, where life is simple, the silence magical, and the daily pattern of one’s days follows the rhythms of nature.” Step into magical Tuscany and let the cooking begin!
Tuscan Cooking Classes
Hands-on cooking classes focus on all ingredients being local – with vegetables and fruits from the garden property and Tuscan products from the finest purveyors including artisan cheese makers, butchers, bakers and wine makers. In each cooking class you will learn how to prepare antipasti, fresh pasta and sauce, a main course and dessert.
Tuscan antipasti include: torta salata, a savoury flan; traditional crostini toscani, bruschetta toasted breads made with fresh tomatoes and herbs, olives; and fegatini, Tuscan chicken liver, along with regional capocollo, and artisan cheese.
Signora Stefania and Chef Massimo will guide you in the kitchen preparing fresh pasta and sauce such as pici all’aglione – Tuscan pasta and a special sweet garlic sauce. Pasta recipes include ravioli nudi amd tagliolini alla frantoiana, pasta with olive oil and herbs, to name a few.
You’ll learn the secret recipe for ribollita Toscana, a slow-stewed soup made with a variety of fresh vegetables and toasted bread. Ribollita, translates to re-boiled, and Tuscan cooks and chefs traditionally add vegetables and meat to the soup day after day. Pappa al pomodoro, bread and tomato soup is another classic recipe that everyone loves to make.
Tuscan main courses include, bistecca fiorentina, a unique Tuscan cut of meat from the white cow called a chianina. This breed of cows live in Val di Chiana, Tuscany. Another famous recipe includes cinghiale, wild boar, piccione, pigeon, and anatra, duck. There is also scottiglia, a traditional main course featuring an assortment of rabbit, chicken, veal, pork, pigeon, lamb and turkey. Wild chicken served with local olives of Grosetto – olives that are cured in brine and marinated with grated orange zest, fennel and a little garlic – prepared with herbs is another typical Tuscan recipe. Beans such as cici, all’uccelleto and pizelli novelli, and faro, are also a staple in the Tuscan diet and make delicious Vegetarian meals.
You’ll learn how to make lovely desserts including bongo, Tuscan chocolate profiteroles; bomboloni, a Tuscan doughnut and cantucci, twice baked cookies, traditionally dipped in Vin Santo. Tuscan desserts are endless: stracciata alla fiorentina, a sweet pizza, and pannello con l’uva, a brioche bread made with grapes and usually served during the time of the harvest, totra di mele, an apple flan and pinocchiati, pine nut crips to name a few. These are a small sample of Tuscan recipes that you will prepare – each recipe can easily be recreated in your home kitchen.
The Luxury Villa
Set on a crest above gentle rolling Tuscan hills, the Villa property is a property of splendour. Signora Stefania and her family renovated the 18th century property taking much care to keep every element of its Old World charm. Spacious gardens spanning 15 acres, cypress trees peppering the property and green gardens filled with antique vases and marble fountains make the Villa a magical place. An elegant breakfast room offers fresh cakes, biscotti, tarts and flans each morning. Pecorino cheeses, Tuscan cured meats, eggs, farm bread, caffe, tea and fruit juices are also served.
The Villa’s rooms, ensuite with complete private baths, are bright, oversized and spilling with natural sunlight. Rich tapestries, drapes, bed comforters – each made by hand for each room – will have you slipping back and relaxing. Modern comforts including satellite TV, a safety strongbox, mini-bar, Internet and ensuite telephone, are included in each room suite.
Guests are invited to stroll the gardens and swim in the magnificent marble swimming pool decorated with Florentine statues and water fountains is open weather permitting.
Conveniently located in the heart of Montepulciano, the Villa and the Garden Villa are a short distance to Siena, Florence, Perugia and Assisi, as well as Pienza, Monticchiello, Montalcino and Cortona making it the perfect location. Guests who visit in autumn can try their hand at truffle hunting on the 15 acres of property.
Garden Villa In Montepulciano
Check into the luxurious Garden Villa In Montepulciano – set in a beautiful Tuscan garden in the heart of Montepulciano. Signora Niccolo and his family welcome you to the property – just a short 10 minutes walk from Montepulciano’s historic centre. Beautifully decorated large rooms have every comfort – lots of light, privacy and ensuite baths. The property boasts 18th-century charm from its historic past, while offering modern amenities and complimentary wi-fi.
Tuscany is known for many things, but most of all for its Chianti Classico, the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, the Brunello di Montalcino and the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. During your stay enjoy a wine tasting at the property with some of the finest that the wine cellar has to offer. Sip and swirl Barolo – Porta Rossa, Chianti Classico – Borgo Pretale, Pinot Grigio – Gaierhof, Prosecco – Banear, Amarone – Corte Vecchia Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi – Bonci and Vernaccia di San Gimignano – Signano to name a few.
Tuscany has been the cradle of the arts and banking throughout time from the Etruscans to the Medici Family. Discover the landscapes and history of this region as you visit and tour the nearby town of Montepulciano, called “Jewel of the Renaissance.”
Pienza on the other hand, was a dream of Pope Pio II Piccolomini. Chiusi with open-air museum and the tombs and museums.
Montalcino, with its great Fortress and famous Brunello di Montalcino, is a must see. Discover the noble wine including Brunello di Montalcino. During your stay, we encourage you to visit the nearby towns of Arezzo, Cortona, Siena and San Gimignano.
Itinerary: 5 days, 4 nights
Day 1: Arrival & Welcome Dinner – Chef’s Tuscan Tasting
- Arrival Transfer from Chiusi train station
- Check-in, relax, aperitivo. Open your Cooking Vacations welcome bag and enjoy your Prosecco welcome.
- Later, enjoy your Welcome Dinner featuring a chef’s tasting menu including Tuscan fare with a toast of wine included.
Day 2: Montepulciano & Cooking Class 1
- Breakfast is served.
- Transfer to Montepulciano with your driver. Take a stroll through the beautiful cobblestone streets before staring your cooking class.
- Cooking class 1, tie on your aprons and get cooking preparing your Tuscan menu.
- Lunch follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class along with local red or white wine.
- After your cooking class, explore Montepulciano’s museums, artisan shops and wine bars.
- Later in the afternoon, return to the Villa and relax.
- Dinner is on your own. Suggestions are provided.
Day 3: Cooking Class 2 & Food Lover’s Tour In Pienza & Cheese Maker Visit
- Breakfast is served
- Transfer to Montepulciano for a walk along cobblestones before heading to your cooking class.
- Tie on your apron for Cooking Class 2, featuring a full course Tuscan menu. Wine included.
- Lunch follows and includes the foods that were prepared in the cooking class along with a local red or white wine included.
- Following your cooking class, your driver and English-speaking guide continues on to Pienza.
- Pienza is a quaint charming town, the birthplace of Pope Pius the II, and home to artisan cheese makers and artists. Food Lover’s tour to Pienza, a famous cheese maker with tastings and gelateria. Tasting included.
- Following Pienza, your driver continues through Tuscan roads and returns to the Villa.
- Relax at the Villa. Sit back and enjoy artisan cheese, salumi, and bottle of Tuscan wine, included.
Day 4: Cortona & Tuscan Wine Tasting Lunch
- Breakfast is served
- Full day excursion to the charming Tuscan town Cortona. Visit, shop and take in the beauty of this town known for its wine, artisan leather goods, linens and art.
- Following Cortona, your driver continues to our prized Tuscan winery where the wine makers are known for wine, art and nature set on a beautiful Tuscan vineyard. Lunch and tastings included.
- Following the tour, return to the Villa.
- Relax at the villa.
- Dinner is free and on your own. Suggestions are provided.
Day 5: Departure
- Breakfast is served.
- Departure 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.
- 5 days, 4 nights accommodations, based on double occupancy. Click To View!
- Daily breakfast and maid service.
- Welcome aperitivo and Welcome Dinner featuring our chef’s tasting menu with Tuscan fare with local wine included.
- 2 cooking classes preparing Tuscan fare followed by lunch or dinner including the foods that were prepared in the cooking class. Local red or white wine included.
- Tour of Cortona with a driver.
- Tuscan wine tour and tasting lunch at famous Tuscan winery.
- Visit to Pienza with English-speaking guide and driver. Food Lover’s Tour with tastings with a stop a famous artisan cheese maker.
- 2 lights dinners at the Villa with a bottle of wine included.
- Round trip transfers to and from Chiusi train station.
- Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with Chef’s apron & recipe book.
$2,495 per person, based on 2 guests in a superior room at the Luxury Villa.
$1,995 per person, based on 2 guests in a superior room at the Boutique Villa B&B
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.
2021 Dates: This program is available throughout the year. Check-in is on Sunday, but other days may be available on request. 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.
*This program is designed for those travelers who do not want to drive, and includes all transfers and excursions listed.