Active Gourmet Holidays
Active Gourmet Holidays

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(Option: Customized Itineraries)
Portofino, Italy - 5 nights

Available March to October


Put Liguria on your bucket list! The Italian Riviera is known all over the world as one of the most beautiful destinations. The region of Liguria is captivating and it is here where you will learn about the cuisine which is the true Mediterranean diet characterized by the use of fresh herbs and vegetables. Take two hands on cooking classes in breathtaking Portofino featuring typical Ligurian cuisine and simple, yet fresh and flavorful ingredients. Your instructor is a native chef who was born and grew up in Liguria. You will also learn about the very important olive oil of this area and explore charming seaside villages.


Your home for the week will be a 4 star hotel located right in the center of Santa Margherita village. Santa Margherita Ligure is one of the most charming and elegant seaside towns of the Italian Riviera, located between Portofino and the Cinque Terre. With lots of things to see, including botanical gardens and amazing cathedrals, you will be thrilled to be in this unique location.      


This holiday allows you the time to become acquainted with and explore the amazing village of Portofino.                                                                                                                                                                 








Santa Margherita Ligure                                                                                                                                                                                            

Arrival on your own to Santa Margherita Ligure. Accommodation at the 4 star hotel. Time at leisure to walk through the ancient city center or along the seaside “promenade”.                                                                                                        

Dinner in a gourmet restaurant, walking distance from your hotel.  


Welcome to Liguria! 




Cooking Lesson - Pasta & Pesce                                                                                                                                                                                                      

In the morning you will take the public boat to Portofino where you will meet the chef. You will reach the vegetable garden of the cooking school, up on the hill, where you will pick up the vegetables that you will use to prepare typical dishes. Back to the school for your first hands-on cooking class in Portofino where you will use those vegetables to prepare some typical sauces.


The chef will teach you how to prepare the most typical Ligurian recipes: potato dumplings and “pansoti” (hand made stuffed pasta). Then you will prepare a second dish based in Ligurian recipes such as “ Pesce alla Ligure”  (Ligurian style fish). Lunch at the cooking school will follow.      

Afternoon on your own : enjoy a walk in this wonderful world famous small village. From Portofino you can reach by public boat San Fruttuoso, a small fishing village in a deep inlet along the coastline of the Portofino promontory, one of the most beautiful places in Italian Riviera. Take the public bus or public boat to reach Santa Margherita Ligure. Dinner on your own. 




Cinque Terre                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Meet your guide at the hotel for a full day tour of the Cinque Terre : you will visit the villages of Monterosso, Vernazza, Riomaggiore, Corniglia and Manarola which make up this stunning area of shoreline dotted with villages and rocky cliffs. First you will reach Riomaggiore. In Vernazza enjoy a tasting lunch  in the most typical restaurant of the Cinque Terre.


Continue by boat or by train to Monterosso, another stunning village.



Back to Santa Margherita Ligure and dinner on your own. 




Cooking Lesson Pesto  & Stuffed Vegetables                                                                                                                                                                                                       

In the morning you will attend your second cooking lesson. You will take the public boat to Portofino where you will meet the chef. You will walk through the path that leads to the grounds up on the hill with a breathtaking view over Portofino. You will stop for a break where the local basil grows and the chef will tell you all about it. Then you will receive all the ingredients and a mortar and the chef will guide you in the preparation of Pesto. 


Back to the cooking school where you will prepare another typical recipe of the Ligurian cuisine : stuffed vegetables. Lunch will follow.      


Time at leisure in the afternoon. You could also visit Camogli, a city of ancient maritime traditions, famous for its colorful, typical Ligurian tower-houses overlooking the bay.


Take the public bus or public boat to reach Santa Margherita Ligure, then, if you want you can reach Camogli by public bus (it takes 20 minutes). Dinner on your own.




Olive Oil and Aromatic Herbs 


In the late morning take the bus to Portofino where you will meet the chef. You will head to the olive tree groves up on the hill behind Portofino. The guided tour is held outdoors surrounded by the marvelous green of Mount Portofino. You will learn about the history and the description of the olive tree, and the chef will show you the techniques used to harvest and press the olives. Then follows the explanation of the characteristics of the product of the pressing: the olive oil! 



Walking through the Mount Portofino you will see the many aromatic herbs which are used to prepare many Ligurian dishes and you will learn all about them. The tour ends back at the cooking school in the center of Portofino where you will taste the two varieties of olive oil produced by the cooking school. The characteristics of the olive oil will be fully analyzed and you will discover more than 30 true untold details about the olive oil”. A light lunch based on typical Ligurian appetizers.


Time at leisure in the afternoon. Dinner in a gourmet restaurant in Santa Margherita Ligure. 




Check out and departure 





A minimum of 2 participants is required to run this tour and the tour is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.


(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.)






Closest train station is Santa Margherita Ligure (just a few steps from the hotel)


Closest airports are Genova and Florence and Milan

*Private transfers by car or minibus can also be arranged


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






2018 Fees Per Person


Double Room/US$2525
Single Room/US$550


*Please inquire about lower pricing based on four or more persons
*Pricing may vary depending on market fluctuation




After availability is confirmed, a 30% non-refundable per person deposit and the completed and submitted registration form will secure your reservation. Final payment is due in full 75 days before your arrival date.


2018 Dates


Available March to October - please inquire regarding dates.



*Five (5) nights accommodation at the 4 star hotel on B&B
*Two (2) hands on cooking classes in Portofino followed by lunch (drinks included) 
*Olive oil and aromatic herbs experience in Portofino 
*Two (2) dinners and one lunch (drinks not included) 
*English speaking guide where indicated
*Train and boat tickets for the Cinque Terre excursion
*Return boat tickets from Santa Margherita to Portofino  


Airfare, personal expenses, train tickets for the Cinque Terre excursion, return tickets for the public boat to Portofino are not included.


For further inquiries or to register, click here.

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





Furnished upon request.


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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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"Dear Jo-Ann - We just had the most amazing week. It was everything we could have hoped for and more. We are already planning a "make your own pasta party" at our house to introduce friends to the very unique flavours we tried and made! Jo-Ann, the others who came through Active Gourmet - Ed, Cathy and Kelly were all very complimentary about the service they had received from you, as were we. I was hugely impressed with your immediate attention to every detail and I will certainly recommend friends to your website if they are considering similar trips to ours." - Joneen and Ray S., Auckland, New Zealand

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