Sample Program of our Weekly Culinary Tour – Activities, Cooking Classes, Medieval Towns
Saturday – Day 1: Arrival to Villa Pandolfini Estate
- Orientation and ‘Benvenuto’ to meet the Chefs and your hosts, who will be with you for the cooking vacation.
- The entire group will arrive after lunch and settle into their accommodations, having time to explore the estate, relax and freshen up for the ‘Benvenuto’ which will take place in the villa’s historical 14th century kitchen featuring the original stone fireplace, marble sink and vaulted ceiling.
- The kitchen will be the heart of this gastronomical adventure. Participants will receive their recipe books and course guidelines. Partners are also welcome to join.
- You will feast on traditional Tuscan fare of the season and enjoy the estate’s wine. Meet your chefs, who by the the week’s end will become your lifelong friends! The dinner class is prepared by the chef.
Sunday – Day 2: ‘Southern Tuscany Tour’
- This day we have designed to give you an introduction to the Tuscan countryside, it’s people, history and the culture. We will share with you first hand the origins of Tuscan produce which is the soul of this land’s cuisine.
- This will be an authentic travel experience visiting medieval villages, admiring impressive castles and witnessing centuries of history whilst driving through the green Chianti valleys, the Sienese Crete which is farmhouse for it’s red earth and the magnificent Val d’Orcia. In this area, the ‘Gladiator’ film was also made and the most photographed row of cypress trees.
- Throughout the day the group visits a charming vineyard estate where everyone has the opportunity to tour the cellar, learn about the winemaking to savour their wines including Brunello, olive oil, cheese and salami and enjoy a light lunch either at the vineyard’s restaurant or in one of the quaint village trattorias.
- Then we continue onto the characteristic towns of San Quirico and Bagno Vignoni, famous for the natural hot springs. Relaxation time in Pienza, a quaint village famous for the pecorino cheese, made for centuries in a huge variety of methods, the small shops decorated with the incredible varieties are eager to have you taste them.
- The village is full of lovely shops selling crafts and local produce and the view overlooking the Val d’Orcia is absolutely spectacular. Dinner is at our local pizzeria then home to rest your weary heads before getting started with the lessons of the cooking tour!
Monday – Day 3: First Cookery Class
- Breakfast in your villa and then head to the kitchen for your cooking class, there will be a hot pot of moka coffee to greet you and your tuscan chef , the 5 course cooking class will finish in lunch prepared by the students around the long tuscan table.
- Afternoon – Free Time. The group can relax or opt to choose additional activities and tours offered in our ‘ Additional Activities’ program.
Dinner: if you can fit it in after the five course tuscan lunch can be enjoyed at your villa with your group, a glass of Chianti wine and a cheese and meat platter from your basket.
Tuesday – Day 4: Second Cookery Class
- Also today’s cooking class will finish in lunch prepared by the students.
- Afternoon Florence or – optional afternoon tour (to be paid separately) ‘Chianti & San Gimignano’.
- You either have the choice to relax and do your own thing or join us on this afternoon trip where we will take you through the hidden country roads through the glorious Chianti region of Tuscany. We will take you to an ancient Abbey which has a spectacular view over the vineyards of one of the top 2 winemakers in Italy. You will also have the opportunity to taste their wines.
- Winding through these country roads, admire & enjoy breathtaking scenery and some of the most charming Chianti villages. If luck allows, you may also get to listen to the famous ‘Dante reciting’ butcher! People all around the world come to this little town in the hope that they hear his ‘pose’.
- The group will then visit a farm where ‘Chianina’ cows are raised; and here is where we will settle and relax for a wonderful meal while enjoying the view up to the medieval town of San Gimignano. You really will feel like you are part of another century!
Wednesday – Day 5: Florence Day
- Visit to ‘Mercato Centrale, Lunch and afternoon in Florence’.
- The group will leave the estate in the morning to travel into Florence to visit the famous ‘Mercato Centrale’ , Florence food markets. Meet the chef or the guide here and they will guide you through the multilevel marketplace where for centuries Florentines have purchased their fresh produce. Take a glimpse at an amazing Florentine tradition and then eat lunch together, shoulder to shoulder with the Florentine people.
- When time allows we also include a historic tour with the guide of Florence to expose you to what this incredible city is all about from the time of the Medici’s.
- After lunch you are all free to enjoy Florence, to go shopping in the leather markets, try the best gelato in the world and walk the stone streets enjoying this romantic and enthralling city. Do not forget to rub the boar’s nose so ensuring your return to Florence.
- For those who wish to have a personal guided tour of Florence or museums. Evening dinner at a historical Florentine famous restaurant with us after dinner you will be brought home.
- In the hotter summer months the dinner may be in the country on the Florentine hills in which case returning home after your day, have time to freshen up, and then experience another incredible Tuscan meal and beautiful setting.
Thursday – Day 6: Third Cookery Class
- The day’s cooking will finish in a 5 course lunch prepared by the students.
- Afternoon – Truffle hunting (seasonal) or Free Time. The group can relax or opt to choose additional activities and tours offered in our ‘ Additional Activities’ program.
Friday – Day 7: Tuscan Cultural Day Tour and Fourth Cookery Class
- Italian breakfast at a bar with pastries and steaming cappuccino then Hand Painted Ceramics, lunch, another unforgettable culinary experience and the farewell cooking class dinner.
- This morning we start with stop at the local bar to savour the pastries and coffee whilst witnessing the Italian not so slow breakfast. We are going to share with you one of the centuries old crafts, that is still alive and well today- hand painted ceramics!The visit to a local ceramic manufacturer ,see the products being spun and painted and have the chance to purchase directly from them.
- They can then ship to anywhere in the world. Off then to visit either a local winemaker which has marvellous underground cellars or to one of the nearby hill towns through the winding hills to reach a magnificent Medici villa which we will visit and get an insight into the incredible word of the Medici family and the last royal family of Italy.
- Lunch in the Hamlet of Artimino.
- The group will then be taken to the nearby medieval hamlet of ‘Artimino’ which sits on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards and farmland of Etruscan times. From this hamlet you can also look over to another of the Medici Villas.The opportunity to admire this magnificent villa, famous for the 100 chimneys, this differs from the previous villa in that it was not a residence but a hunting lodge.
- Dine at a very famous restaurant with incredible views, in the summer and spring we sit on the terrace and in the winter in the old restored farmhouse converted to a restaurant. We then head back to relax before the cooking class begins in the afternoon.
- 5pm 10pm- Cooking Tours Italy – farewell dinner cooking class.
- The purpose of today’s cookery class will be the preparation of the farewell dinner for the entire group!
- At the grand finale dinner participants will be presented with a certificate of attendance.
Saturday – Last Day: Checkout
Thank you, and come again!
The above is an outline of the cooking vacation program we offer may change slightly depending on the local festivals and sagra’s, the seasonal produce and harvests at the time when the course is held. This menu list may change at any time. Some cooking classes may be scheduled to pm classes to give you free time to enjoy the pool in hotter months or excursions.