Food & Wine of Piedmont™

Cooking with Chefs Nino & Carla ~ 4 Days

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Tie on your apron in Piedmont for an authentic food and wine experience with our Chefs Nino and Carla and their wine making family.  Located in the heart of Italy’s northern wine country, this noble family of wine makers have been scaling the heights of vinicultural excellence for almost two centuries.  Learn about farm-to-table produce, cooking in the seasons and the wine of this beautiful region in one of Italy’s most important vinicultures.

Food & Wine Of Piedmont

Your host is one of the oldest wine makers in Piemonte, a family that combined techniques learned in the French winemaking regions of Burgundy and Alsace using traditional grapes from Barbera and Nebbiolo and terroir of Monferrato. This unique combination put this vineyard in the vanguard of the Italian wine Renaissance of the 1970s that championed quality over quantity.

Today these wine makers produce several styles of Barbera d’Asti that range from refreshing with notes of cherry, raspberry and blueberry to more intense with notes of blackberry and black cherry. They also use the Barbera grape for a Monferrato Rosso, which renowned for its smooth earthiness and versatility in pairing with food. They also make wine with Nebbiolo, sometimes referred to as the king of Italian red grapes in a Nebbiolo d’Alba.  This wine boasts strong tannins, an elegant, fragrant Barolo and a traditional and well-balanced.

Wine and cooking go hand-in-hand in this tour and Chef Nino teaches and guides you.  He is the owner and third-generation culinary mastermind behind the cooking classes partnered with Chef Carla.  During your hands-on cooking classes, you’ll learn how to make antipasto,

You’ll also learn how to make Agnolotti Monferrato, a round ravioli stuffed with a vegetable filling of garden cabbage and herbs, or a veal variation.  Learn how to make the perfect Barolo risotto.  You’ll also learn to prepare a special cannelloni and Tajarin al ragù, traditional Piemontese egg noodles with a beef  beef, sausage and herb sauce.  Gnocchi alla bava, another favorote, is a potato gnocchi, butter, and either Fontina, Swiss, or Munster cheese. The cheese is cut into slices and placed over layered gnocchi in a buttered baking dish.   Another speciality is bagna cauda, the queen of Piedmont sauces, (in dialect, translating to warm sauce, is a sauce made with olive oil, garlic and anchovies paste, extensively cooked with butter, milk, cream or ground walnuts.  Bagna cauda is topped on bread or used to dip raw vegetables in. It goes well with the local full-bodied red wines, such as Barbera, Nebbiolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto.

Main courses tempt with farm-to-table with a rabbit and sausage roast served with purple potato.  Crocchette di pollo e ricotta are Italian croquettes filled with chicken and ricotta. The dish originates from Piemonte and it’s typical of Turin. The cooked chicken is combined with ricotta, sage leaves, onions, lemon juice, and parsley. The mixture is then shaped into croquettes which are dipped in eggs and breadcrumbs.  There is also, anatra farcita alla novarese, baked duck filled with a delicious mixture of pork, veal, sausages, rice, eggs, nutmeg, chopped parsley, salt, and pepper.  Also on the cooking menu is salsiccia di Verduno, a sausage made from a well-balanced mix of lean veal and pork belly that are finely ground and seasoned with salt, pepper, and a variety of spices. The combination is traditionally enhanced with the addition of Pelaverga wine, a local variety of red wine, and the sausage mixture is then typically placed into natural casings.

Bonèt, traced back to the 13th century, is a rich, creamy and soft dessert made with amaretti cookies or hazelnut biscuits, eggs, cocoa powder, sugar, milk, and rum.  luscious zabaione is a velvety custard cream of relatively obscure and mysterious origins.  Zabione, invented in Turin around the 16th century and named after its inventor, a  Franciscan monk Pascual Baylón Yubero, the patron saint of pastry chefs.  Another favorite is Baci di Dame, meaning lady’s kisses, are traditional hazelnut butter cookies with a layer of chocolate-hazelnut spread sandwiched between them. They originated in pastry shops in Tortona, Piedmont (famous for its hazelnuts), in the second half of the 19th century.

Piedmont Accommodations

Check into the countryside villa with spacious rooms, modern furnishings and luxurious white linens for your comfort.  Lush green gardens with fragrant flowers and fruit trees surround the property. Amenities including free wifi, flat screen televisions, exercise equipment and a magnificent pool.  Daily breakfast includes fresh fruit, eggs, yogurt, homemade cakes and torte, along with granola, cappuccino and tea.  There is a pool during the summer season and terrace area to relax.  The villa is a short distance to Asti, Alba, Barbaresco and Barolo.

Exploring Piemonte, Montferrat and Italy’s Northern Wine Country

Monteferrat is not only one of the most important vinicultural districts of Italy, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a fabulous literary tradition, which includes poet Vittoria Alfieri and best-selling historical novelist Umberto Eco.

Day Two begins with an early wake up call and a satisfying Italian breakfast, then it’s off to one of several regional open air markets, where you’ll shop for the produce for your late morning cooking lesson. In the kitchen with Chefs Nino and Carla you’ll learn explore Piemontese cooking and culture and then enjoy the bounty of your labors over lunch and more hand-selected wine. In the afternoon there are a number of exploration options, including truffle hunting with local truffle tracker and his dog, a visit to a traditional dairy farm and cheese producer, or a guided walking tour of the local forests and vineyards. (**Activities available depend on the season.)  In the evening, enjoy a farmhouse dinner, wine included.

Wine, wine, wine is the theme of Day Three. After breakfast, it’s off to the winery for a tour, a light lunch, and an unforgettable tasting session in the old cellar. In the afternoon, it’s back into the kitchen for cooking class number two, unlocking even more secrets of Piemonte’s signature cuisine. Dinner on your own. Suggestions available on request. On Day Four, spend the morning sightseeing and shopping in Acqui Terme, Nizza Monferrato, Asti and the surrounding area before heading home with a heart full of wonderful experiences and a head full of newfound wine and food expertise.

During your stay, take time to visit Acqua Termi set in a historic building that once belonged to the Savoy family are two natural pools of water imbued with the curative powers of sulphur, bromine and iodine. The thermal springs and mud baths will transport you to times of the ancient Romans who founded the city.

Itinerary ~ 4 Days, 3 Nights

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

Day One: Wine Tasting Dinner

  • Arrival and check in. Relax and refresh.  Enjoy your Prosecco toast.  You can opt to swim in the outdoor pool (seasonal summer).
  • In the evening, enjoy a Chef’s full course tasting dinner paired with a special selection of vintages.

Day Two: Cooking Class, Artisan Cheese Tour & Truffle Hunting Experience & Farm House Dinner

  • Traditional Italian breakfast is served.
  • Following breakfast, join your guide for a market day and shopping excursion.  Learn about farm-to-table seasonal produce and local ingredients.  After your tour, return to the property.
  • Tie on your apron and head to the kitchen for your cooking class.  Learn to prepare antipasto, fresh pasta or risotto, a main course  and dessert.  Following the cooking class, guests enjoy the food that was prepared in the kitchen with a toast of local wine.
  • Following your cooking class, meet your host and discover an artisan cheese maker or a truffle hunter with his dog.  Activities vary to the season.
  • Following your tour, return to the property and relax.
  • In the evening, your chef prepares a farmhouse dinner, with a tasting of local fare.  Wine is included.

Day Three: Winery Tour

  • Traditional Italian breakfast is served.
  • Meet your driver for an excursion to a famous winery.  Visit the winery for a tour.  Following the tour, a light lunch and wine tasting in the  wine cellar is included.
  • Return to the property following your tour.
  • In the afternoon, you are free to relax by the pool.
  • Dinner is free and on your own.  Suggestions are provided.

Day Four: Breakfast and Farewell

  • Traditional Italian breakfast is served.
  • Check out & arrivederci!

Program Includes:

  • 4 days, 3 nights in in the villa property, based on two guests.
  • Daily breakfast and maid service included.
  • 2 Chef”s tasting dinners with wine pairings.
  • 1 hands-on cooking lesson with Chefs Nino and Carla.  Lunch follows and includes the foods that were prepare in the cooking class with a toast of local wine
  • Local market tour with driver and English-speaking guide.
  • 1 Walking Tour with English-speaking guide to a truffle hunt experience or an artisan cheese farm with tour and tastings.
  • Use of the Villa swimming pool, fitness equipment and spa.
  • Cooking Vacations’ welcome bag with Chef’s apron, recipe booklet and Prosecco toast.
  • 1 spa visit with 50-minute anti-stress massage.
  • A copy of Lauren’s book, It’s A Dream Place – Stories & Recipes of Food, Love and the Amalfi Coast.
Program Prices:

$3,395 per person, based on 2 guests in a Villa Guesthouse.

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

2024 Dates: This program is available all year round. 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.