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Secret Liguria ~ Above The Cinque Terre™

Wine, Cooking & Olive Oil with Chef Cesi ~ 5 Days

Tie on your apron in Cinque Terre and get cooking in authentic hands-on cooking classes.  Set on the Ligurian Coast with views on the sea and in a garden brimming with vegetables and fruits all year round, you will learn to cook antipasti, fresh pasta and pesto, main courses of meat and fish, and desserts too in Levanto!

Join Chef Cesi in the kitchen and prepare regional fare from the lands, along with our sommelier who will introduce you to the wine and grape varieties of the region.  Start the morning with a creamy cappuccino and Ligurian bread, cheese, eggs and fruit and then head to the kitchen.  When you are not in the kitchen, you’ll tour Levanto and Bonassolo and the beautiful Cinque Terre villages.  Walk the paths of Cinque Terre, soak up the culture of the region while enjoying local fare with delicious wine like Vermentino and passito.

Liguria Cooking Classes

Cooking sessions with Chef Cesi in Cinque Terre cooking experiences on the Italian Riveria.  From antipasto, fresh pasta and sauces, main courses and desserts with wine tastings too in the heart of Liguria.  Chef Cesi teaches you how to make focaccia, pesto and fresh pasta – think stuffed ravioli, trofie, and croxetti, the coin-shaped pasta with walnut sauce.

Chef Cesi shares food notes about the local produce: Ligurian basil, pignoli nuts, fresh fish from the nearby sea and meat and chicken from the hillside. Vegetables are abundant, think zucchini, pumpkin and artichokes, with herbs that grow almost widely along the sea.  Menus are traditional and are based on the seasons.  Hands-on cooking classes share the food and culture and lunch or dinner follows and includes the food that was prepared in the cooking class.  Lunch follows on the foods made during class – and, weather permitting, is Wine is included.

Liguria Accommodations

Check in to our historical 16th-century which set off the beaten track in the hills of Liguria, perched in a village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and the Levanto Valley –  close to Cinque Terre. Time stands still, the rooster crows in the morning, farmers work in the field and the scents of the Ligurian countryside permeate the air.

Your property dates back to over one thousand years. Thoughtfully renovated by the four rooms with a restaurant too, you’ll be at home during your stay. Each room follows with elegance and spectacular views overlooking the Levanto valley and the Mediterranean Sea.  Each room has a blend of antique and furnishings with beautiful marble and mosaic ensuite private bathrooms.  All rooms are non-smoking and have air conditioning, heating, a safety deposit box, fridge, hairdryer and wifi. Breakfasts offer a selection of local products, from homemade breads and focaccia to yoghurts and artisan cheeses, all accompanied by tea, coffee, hot chocolate and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Santa Margherita

Santa Margherita is the elegant seaside town set on the Riviera and is just 35km south of Genova. Close to Portofino and Rapallo, Santa Margherita is a little gem with an enchanting coastline boasting sea views and a backdrop of rolling green hills! Originally a fishing village, the town is now a charming beachfront destination with excellent restaurants, cafes and artisan shops. The harbor is host to luxury yachts and the small local fishing boats.   For the active minded, there is sailing, water-skiing and scuba diving, all in the turquoise Golfo di Tigullio. Santa Margherita is the perfect size town for exploring on foot, so there’s ample opportunity to take in one of the historic villa visits or stroll around the Parco Comunale di Villa Durazzo, a lavish Italian garden with colorful exotic flowers, plants, statues and winding footpaths.

Portofino

Portofino is the famous Italian fishing village on the Riviera.  It was first discovered by the Romans, who had named it Portus Delphini, or Port of the Dolphins because of the dolphins that lived in the Tigullian Gulf.  Then the sleepy fishing town became an international destination with jet setters from around the world – keeping its Old-World charm.  The Gulf is filled with small wooden boats that are owned by the local fishermen who still make a living with their daily catch.  Pastel palazzos stand tall around the piazza that has not changed over time.  Small cafés, family owned trattorias cooking up fresh seafood and hand-made pasta, and artisan shops still producing the famous Ligurian olive oil, line alongside the center.

Cinque Terre ~ The 5 Villages

The Cinque Terre brings you into Nature’s wonder of winding green paths, the sound of the sea, and the intense perfumes of myrtle, oleander and lemons. Step into the five villages and discover a treasure of culture and cuisine. The entire area, hailed the Parco Nazionale delle Cinque Terre, or the National Park of Cinque Terre, is a little corner of Paradise, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The first village is called Monterosso al Mare (when coming from Genoa). It is the only village with a large beach and promenade connecting its historical center to the new Fegina quarter. Then there is Vernazza, located at the mouth of the river, and naturally protected from the sea by a rocky cape. Next, onto Corniglia, which is nestled on a hill surrounded by vineyards with its own sweet country appeal. Then Manarola and Riomaggiore, both clinging to rocky cliffs with multi-colored houses overlooking the sea. Both villages are the most typical and unspoiled villages of the five.

Levanto

From the property it’s a short ride or an enjoyable hike to the seaside village of Levanto which is known as the Gateway to the Cinque Terre. Stroll around the old town with its pastel colored houses, visit its perfectly conserved medieval castle and the 13th-century Ligurian Gothic church of Sant’Andrea. There are wide, open beaches and, for sports lovers, a series of water activities including canoe or paddle boat hire and boat rentals. Surfing is also popular here, and equipment can be hired locally. From Levanto, take one of the regular ferries to the Cinque Terre, Portofino or Genova or simply explore the myriad paths that link the various villages of the Levanto Valley through vine filled terraces and olive groves.

Itinerary ~ 5 Days, 4 Nights

Check in and start your program on any day of the week

Day One: Check in & Welcome Dinner

  • Arrival & Check in. (Between 2pm & 6pm.)
  • Chef’s Welcome Dinner, beverages not included and available at a surcharge.

Day Two: Cooking Class

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning free and lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, wine tasting.  Swirl and sip and learn about the wines of Liguria.  Tasting included.
  • Following the tasting, head to the kitchen for your cooking class with your Chef & sommelier Luca. Bring your enthusiasm and curiosity and prepare to discover the wonderful world of Ligurian cuisine. The class will cover the creation of a three different dishes, all based on local seasonal ingredients. In-depth discussion on local products and culinary traditions included. Dinner follows on the foods made during class – and, weather permitting, is served on the panoramic terrace. Beverages not included and available at a surcharge.

Day Three: Cooking Class 2 & Olive Oil Tasting

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Morning free.  Suggestion: head to Levanto where you can take a boat or train to visit the wonderful Cinque Terre with its five pastel villages lined along the coast. Take in the breathtaking panoramas of the Cinque Terre villages with views from paths high above the sea. In one of the villages, pick out a little trattoria and stop for a relaxing bite (not included).
  • In the afternoon, extra virgin olive oil tasting – learning about Ligurian oil made on the property.  Following the tasting, head to the kitchen for your cooking class with your Chef & sommelier Luca.

Day Four:  Portofino & San Margherita Guided Tour

  • Breakfast is served.
  • In the morning, meet up with your guide and transfer to Levanto Train Station where you will meet your English-speaking guide.  From Santa Margherita you will take an excursion boat to Portofino.  Sail along the Ligurian Coast and soak up the beauty of villas, lemon groves and olive orchards.  You will arrive in Portofino, a picturesque port that attracts tourists and celebrities from around the world. Small cafés spill out onto the cobblestone Piazzetta, setting of the film La Dolce Vita, along with trattorias, restaurants and cafes.  Your guide leads you through history, food notes and questions.
  • Then your guide will bring you back to Santa Margherita via boat where you will have a couple of hours on your own to sip a wine, shop or sit back and watch the boats go by.
  • Return on your own to Levanto train station where you driver will meet you for your return to the property. English-speaking guide & train tickets included.  Free for Dinner, Suggestion: check out your Restaurant Hot Picks list for our top choices.

 Day Five: Check out & Arrivederci

  • Breakfast is served.
  • Check out and arrivederci!

Program Includes:

  • 5 days and 4 nights accommodation, based on 2 guests. Click to view!
  • Daily breakfast and maid service.
  • A Chef’s Welcome dinner featuring a full course dinner with local fare, beverages not included.
  • 2 cooking classes.  Lunch follows and includes the food that was prepared in the cooking class with wine included.
  • Olive Oil Tasting where you’ll learn about the characteristics of Ligurian oil.
  • Wine Tasting featuring local Ligurian wine.
  • Excursion to Portofino & Santa Margherita with English speaking guide.
  • Cooking Vacations welcome bag with chef’s apron, Prosecco and recipe book.
Program Prices:

$2495 per person, based 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.

Check Availability

2022 Dates: This program is available year round.  Check in and start your cooking program any day of the week.  Rates are subject to change based on currency exchange.  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.