(Options: Wine and Food Tours, Shorter or Longer Stays)
Tuscany, Italy - 3 nights
Available end of March to end of October for packages
Available year round (except week before Christmas) for Day Cooking Classes
If you want to learn how to cook true Italian food, then this cooking vacation is the one for you. You will learn traditional family recipes from Italians who have been giving hands-on cooking lessons for over 25 years. Classes are taught in English in an authentic country home, a beautiful stone farmhouse with an organic garden. If you prefer, you can stay in other accommodations in a nearby village.
Most guests choose to stay in the rustic 13th century "casa colonica" which is a typical Italian farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside with terracotta floors and chestnut beams. Enjoy comfortable bedrooms with 2 bathrooms and 2 showers just in front of the rooms, used only by the guests. Each room will have its private use of the bathroom. The house has been lovingly restored by the family which is one of the oldest noble families in Italy. There is an organic garden, vines, olive trees, roses, oleanders, geraniums, spices, fruit trees and other typical plants of the area. You can also choose to stay in a gorgeous 4 star hotel or a lovely bed and breakfast in a nearby village.
In the area, you can discover the treasures of Chianti, an area well-known for its castles, its medieval "borghi", wine producers, skilled craftsmen, warm and hospitable people, restaurants, typical Tuscan food, Chianti Classico wine and olive oil. The Chianti region offers picture-book rural scenery, from fields to sunflowers to rows of ubiquitous pencil pines in the hazy distance. Smaller towns such as Radda in Chianti, Monteriggioni, Volterra, San Gimignano are all an easy drive away, with stunning atmosphere and scenery. Tuscany is centrally located and is well connected by highways and a fast rail network to the rest of Italy, so you can visit other areas after or before your stay.
THREE NIGHT ITINERARY
Welcome to Italy! Arrival at Montevarchi Train Station at 6:00 pm from Florence (or if you are arriving on your own you can arrive at 6pm by rental car.)
Transfer by private car to the cooking school.
Time to mingle with the other guests and welcome dinner with the family.
Breakfast with the family. Today is your first hands on cooking class with your instructors. You will learn to prepare 4 or 5 different recipes. Enjoy a wonderful lunch of your creations with an accompanying wine.
Enjoy a guided excursion in the Chianti area. You will visit a winery and have a wine tasting. You will also visit a beautiful ancient town with the opportunity to purchase leather goods, ceramics and other goods from traditional artisans.
Dinner at home with your hosts.
Breakfast followed by your second hands on cooking class. Enjoy lunch together dining on the recipes you learned and of course sipping some nice Italian wine.
This afternoon is free for you to relax, reading in the garden or in front of the fire during wintertime or walking around the quaint village to discover your surroundings.
Dinner at the home.
Breakfast with your new friends followed by your final hands on cooking class, preparing once again 4 or 5 different Italian recipes.
Lunch together with accompanying wine.
Transfer by private car to Montevarchi and train connection to Florence (you will arrive in Florence about 4:30pm)
NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS IN CHIANTI
Morning Hours (9:30 am -2:00 pm);
Afternoon Hours (4:00 pm-8:30 pm)
Description: The hands-on course covers traditional, home-style Tuscan and Italian recipes. Many people like this approach as they come away feeling they've had a real holiday, having enjoyed the wonderfully intense flavours and freshness of traditional Italian dishes cooked in an evocative stone farmhouse in the hills of Chianti, surrounded by vineyard and olive groves. The classes are held in a friendly atmosphere and you have the chance to make new friends and learn a few secrets from your instructors. Participants cook and eat dishes prepared using fresh, natural ingredients. A complete meal (5 recipes) such as appetizers, a pasta dish, a vegetable or meat dish and then a dessert is prepared and is accompanied by the wine which best complements it.
(Please inquire about large groups)
An example of our most popular menus:
Antipasto (Starter) Bruschetta or Crostini with Herbs
First Course: Fresh hand-made pasta or Potato gnocchi or Dry pasta with red or white sauces or pici (Tuscan "big" spaghetti)
or Pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan vegetable soup)
Second Course: Roasted meat (Arista alla Fiorentina) or stuffed vegetables, Turkey Breast with Balsamic Vinegar or Chicken cooked Tuscan Style or Stuffed vegetables or Savory Cakes with Zucchini
Dessert: Tiramisu' or Panna Cotta or Gelato
Many more menus are available - do you have a special request? Just ask!
A minimum of 1 participant is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 10 participants. (For special groups a maximum of 20/25 can be accommodated)
(The number of participants refers to how many persons are required to run the tour, not to how many persons you must have in your party. Please inquire.)
HOW TO ARRIVE
Closest Airports/Train Stations:
Pisa Airport - 2 hour drive
Leonardo da Vinci (Rome) Airport - 3 hour drive
Malpensa (Milan) Airport - 4 hour drive
**We can also arrange from Rome airport, but it is quite expensive, about 300€. We suggest catching a flight or a train to Florence and we can organize a transfer from Florence.
*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.
THREE NIGHT PROGRAM
Double/Single Room in Italian Home/US$1275
NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
*NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS/US$$235
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation
After availability is confirmed, a deposit of 30% per person and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.
Dates of day cooking classes take place every week except the week before Christmas. Residential programs take place April to October.
THREE NIGHT PROGRAM
*Three (3) hands-on cooking classes with accompanying meals and wine
*Three (3) nights' accommodation with breakfast and light dinner every day with the family
*One (1) guided excursion in the Chianti region
*Welcome dinner at home on the arrival evening
*Apron and recipe book
*Free WIFi connection at the school
*Transfer at the beginning and at the end of the course from/to Montevarchi to/from the accommodation by private car (Montevarchi is connected to Florence or Rome by train)
NON RESIDENTIAL DAY COOKING CLASS IN CHIANTI
*Hands on cooking class (5 recipes)
*Meal with wine, snack with drinks and wine during the lesson
*One (1) English speaking instructor
*Apron and recipe book
Airfare, transfers from airports or train stations (except Montevarchi), and personal expenses are not included.
For further inquiries or to register, click here.
Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Danielle and Ashley P., Ontario, Canada"We had an absolutely amazing time during our cooking holiday. The hosts, the location, the food and the whole experience was a dream come true. I have prepared some of the dishes since coming back home and they always remind me of our fantastic trip."
Szilvia B., Budapest, Hungary
“It was one of my best experience in my life. The house, the surroundings, and of course, the delicious, but simple homemade fresh dishes!! Living with an italian family, with so much caring and kindness - was so touching. And the course so much fun, that it was incredible! Thank you!!! "
Erin S. and Flor V., New York, New York
“Hi Jo-Ann - We wanted to let you know that we had an AMAZING time at the cooking school. My mother and I could not have had a better time. .. wonderful hosts and teachers. We were treated like family. The house and property were beautiful. The hands-on cooking classes were so much fun...we learned so many great recipes that I cannot wait to test on my friends back home. I will definitely be recommending this experience to all of my friends and colleagues. Thank you so much for all of your help in setting up this once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation. It is something neither one of us will ever forget!"
Janet and Doug W., Vienna, Austria
“This ranks as one of our top holidays. The area was beautiful, the trip relaxing and the cooking was fun. We enjoyed the other guests and our hosts...and their family made us feel welcome in their home. A great experience!”
Vickie C., Cedarburg, Wisconsin
"Dear Jo-Ann - The course was everything we hoped and more!! We felt a true part of an Italian family. Everyone was as gracious and welcoming as they could possibly be. From Luigi to the little girls, we found them all delightful. The food was great, the instruction was great, the ambiance, the wine....everything was great. We visited Radda, a winery, and Greve with Simonetta. She was so knowledgeable and willing to share that we thought it was very enriching experience. Thank you so much for all of your help in arranging it. It's a little scary to just pick a site off the Internet and trust that all will go well. From the first email and your quick response, I was put at ease. Needless to say, I would have no hesitation in recommending your services."
Teri S., Brick, New Jersey
"We had a fabulous time!! The four of us were very happy. My friends have never had the experience of eating in a true Italian home (my husband and I have since my husband has family there) and the experience for them was priceless. I have already told so many people about you.. I will keep in touch with you since I am sure I will be booking more through you. Thank you again!"
"I just wanted to thank you for the truly inspirational and wonderful time I had at your home and the cooking school. I had such a lovely holiday in Italy and the highlight was definitely my stay with you. Thank you for welcoming me into your home, for the chance to have fun with real Italian cooking, for driving me around sightseeing and for delicious meals with the family. I am working my way through the menus we made while they are fresh in my mind, and my children are enjoying the results. Thank you once again for a magical Italian experience."
"Just a quick message from me to thank you for a wonderful week in Tuscany, I haven't stopped telling everyone. I have cooked your recipes every night I'm so pleased with everything I learnt and brought back."
Joanne and Gord F., Canada
"I thought the trip was very well planned and the experience was amazing. I thought the gift package we received before we left was a really nice touch, and got us excited about our trip. The hosts were amazing and they did everything possible to make us feel welcome and comfortable. Their English was very impressive and it was very easy to communicate with them. We really enjoyed the authentic experience and had a blast staying with the family. We had such a great experience that I would consider booking with Active Gourmet again and would definitely recommend Active Gourmet to my friends and family."
Nancy W., US
"The photos bring back memories of the smells, the tastes, the friendship and the wines. I'm sharing your information with others who want to experience a real Tuscan cooking school."
David and Jan L., Cincinnati, Ohio
“It was spectacular! The hosts were eager to accommodate our every need. They went out of their way to make us feel comfortable even though we did not speak their language.”
This exciting region is depicted below. You can also access Google MapsTM by clicking HERE.
*In some cases mapping may give clients a general sense of location due to changes in venue. Please inquire about specific location.