Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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Cortona, Italy - 3, 5 or 6 nights
Available year round 


Stay in a gorgeous 17th Century Relais & Chateaux property located in the quiet countryside of Tuscany, just over one mile from the beautiful walled Etruscan town of Cortona which has been written about in the very popular Frances Mayes books. Enjoy an unforgettable cooking vacation with hands-on cooking classes taught and held by owner and Michelin star chef Silvia Baracchi together with Executive Chef Richard Titi. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking panoramas of this famed area of Italy. This promises to be an incredible experience.  


The hotel is ideally located south of Tuscany and very close to Umbria allowing you to enjoy the pleasures of each region. By car in one hour you can reach Siena, Florence and Assisi and in just half an hour you can visit Montepulciano, Pienza, Arezzo and Perugia.


The villa is surrounded by a garden of horse-chestnut trees and cypress trees. From here a path between olive-oil trees and vineyards leads to our deluxe area, where the Suites are located, with private entrance from the garden and breathtaking view over the valley and our vineyards, right in front of the town of Cortona.


The two beautiful outside swimming pools overlook the town of Cortona and the Relais' vineyards which produce high quality wines. The restaurant is a one Michelin star and has an outside terrace for summer season and proposes a creative cuisine, tied to the territory and its great culinary traditions. The cellar matches their menus with a wide range of Italian and international wine labels. 


The recipes reflect Tuscan cuisine, some of them specifically from Cortona and the Chiana Valley territory. The chef selects the recipes using modern techniques making them palatable for modern tastes. There is one day where the chef dedicates the menus to the Etruscans: rich in local history and culture. The recipes are simple and homey, and are easy to replicate for a dinner party with family and friends, accompanied by Tuscan wines! 





Day One 


Arrival late afternoon around 3pm or later. 


Settle into your beautiful home for the week.


Relax before a welcome cocktail with your hosts for the week.


The aperitif will be followed by a delicious gourmet meal at the property's Michelin star restaurant.


This is the beginning of a very memorable Tuscan experience!     





Day Two 


After breakfast you will have your first cooking lesson . An example could be Frances Mayes menu Eggplant roll with prosciutto and buffala mozzarella; Pici with cherry tomatoes and aromatic herbs; Beef loin with shallot and balsamic vinegar; Pear cooked in red wine with cheese and sabayon Lunch with your creations accompanied by great Tuscan wines. 


After lunch you can relax at the Spa enjoying the sauna, steam bath, Hydro massage pool, and perhaps schedule a massage. In the evening, tour of the vineyards and winery including a guided walking through the vineyards and an in-depth explanation of winemaking from the vineyards to the bottles. Followed by the sabrage of our Metodo Classico and wine tasting during the dinner at the restaurant.


Day Three 


In the morning, after breakfast, departure for a guided sightseeing tour of Cortona for a visit of this charming city, setting of the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.”


Lunch at our Tuscan Bistrò.


Return to the Relais for the second cooking class with recipes from Frances Mayes’ bestseller. 


You will enjoy a dinner of your creations matched by great Tuscan wines.




Day four 


Today you will visit a local farm where you will see all kinds of animals - sheep, chickens, rabbits, geese and more. We will buy the milk we will use for our third lesson focus on making cheese.


Light lunch and ready to become expert cheese makers! 


In the afternoon you will visit amazing Montalcino and Montepulciano. You can't help but be cativated by the enchanting landscape of Val d’Orcia. We will visit outstanding wineries and will taste the famous Rosso di Montepulciano and his majesty the Brunello. 


Dinner at the restaurant. 




Day Five 


Today will be dedicated to the amazing little Tuscan towns famous for their excellent food and wines. We will visit one of the most important towns among the truffle production areas, Asciano where the white truffle grows. Depending on the season we could be guided by truffle hunters in a fun and interesting walk through the woods, looking for the precious “white gold”. 

Lunch in a typical trattoria discovering the many ways to taste truffles.


In the afternoon the fourth cooking lesson focused on “the Etruscan cuisine” followed by dinner.



Buon appetito!







Day Six 


After breakfast we will go to visit a local vegetables producer, close to the relais. We will buy some seasonal vegetables that will be the ingredients of your last cooking lesson.


Farewell candlelight dinner with music and lots of fun.


The evening will end with you receiving your cooking certificates. 


We hope you have enjoyed this incredible culinary week in Tuscany! 


Day Seven 



Departure after breakfast/before noon. 



Buon viaggio!



*The content or order of the itinerary may change depending on dates, availability of services or activities, local festivals/holidays, weather constraints, etc.


*Menus are samples and may vary according to the season











If you don’t have time for a full culinary week or weekend, you can take a single day cooking class. This will add a pinch of Tuscan cooking to your vacation working with our one Michelin star Chef and professional staff. The one-day cooking class will be followed by a delicious dinner with your preparations. Class begins at 4/4:30pm and lasts until about 7:30/8pm with dinner following. 


You will learn how to prepare an entire meal, from the appetizer to the dessert, with recipes based on selected fresh seasonal ingredients preparing, for example, hand-made pasta, bread or special traditional dishes:


Pinzimonio, Traditional wild herb pie with parmesan sauce, traditional pici pasta with cherry tomatoes and aromatic herbs, local lamb in crust of Tuscan bread, sautéed greens, napoleon of custard and pears with chocolate sauce and pine nuts.


Different themes and recipes are available a per your specific request and/or depending on the products of the seasons.


*Tuscan countryside recipes - Traditional Tuscan meal
*Flavors from the see - Fish, fish and fish
*The many flavors of Tuscany - Home made pasta and bread
*Bio and natural cuisine - Flowers and aromatic herbs
*Along the Etruscan traces - Etruscan tradition and food
*Flavors from the vegetable garden - A nice and tasty vegetarian menu
*Crazy for pizza! - Make the dough and prepare many different pizza
*Cheese making - How to make the pecorino cheese and ricotta *






A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 12 participants (up to 14 participants for the day cooking class)


(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.) 






By train: From Roma - about 2 hours; From Florence - about 1 hour and 15 minutes


Airports: PISA Airport - about 2 hours – Perugia is a 45 minutes drive – Florence is a 1 and a half hour drive - Rome Fiumicino  is a 2 and a half hour drive


*These details are provided as additional information. Please check below to see if transfers are included in this tour.





For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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Please contact us for cancellation policy information. Travel insurance is highly recommended.






{slide=Karen A., Richmond, Virginai} "Jo-Ann was wonderful in helping us select a trip which not only met but exceeded our expectations. She was also extremely helpful in dealing with our travel delays and cancellations and helped ensure we would have the trip of a lifetime. The program was fantastic and we would recommend it to anyone who wanted to stay in a wonderfully elegant country hotel and take lessons from a Michelin star chef. Everything was fabulous and AGH went above and beyond for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience!"


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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.

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"It was an absolutely marvelous week. The accommodations were superb. I loved the course, the host, and the Chambre d'Hote which is a lovely country house equipped with everything one could possibly need. I was incredibly pleased to when dealing with AGH. All in all, a fantastic experience that I hope to be able to repeat, perhaps in Italy next time." Anita D., Encinitas, California

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