During a recent trade show visit to Florence, I was lucky enough to spend a day and night at Il Falconiere, home of our cooking vacation “Cook Under the Tuscan Sun.” What a fabulous 24 hours! I envy our clients who get the opportunity to spend 3 or 6 nights at this luxurious, yet comfortable property. Although Il Falconiere is a luxury property and boasts all of the trimmings of one, there is still a sense that it is family owned and you are therefore treated as such, like family.
My day began with a tour of the Baracchi winery given by Riccardo, owner of Il Falconiere, and his son Bennedeto. Riccardo and Bennedeto are clearly proud and passionate about the family winery that was started in 1860 by Riccardo’s father and has now become a dynamic vineyard producing high quality wine.
The Baracchi vineyards are spread out over 22 hectares of the 60 hectares of the estate. We learned that the soil on the estate is perfect for Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and Trebbiano. Riccardo has embarked on a new challenge of growing Pinot Noir grapes.
After the tour of the winery we met with Silvia, the chef and owner, in her beautiful kitchen. What a party could be had in there! With room for all 20 of us, we rolled pasta and sampled Silvia’s “gnudi” pasta (nude pasta) with vegetables.
There is a beautiful patio connected to the kitchen where you can enjoy your cooking efforts after a morning or afternoon cooking lesson with Silvia. From this patio, which is situated on the top of a hill, you can see the entire property as well as the city of Cortona in the distance. I’m not sure that there could be a more peaceful sight in the world.
Next we ventured into the property’s 1* Michelin restaurant for a decadent dinner of pasta with porcini mushrooms, filet, pork made three ways, and a pear and chocolate dessert that almost looked too pretty to eat…almost!
Finally, we were introduced to our beautiful rooms. The 22 rooms at Il Falconiere have exquisite, yet simple, furnishings and linens. Depending on the weather, you can leave your windows open at night and breathe in the fresh, Tuscan air while you sleep. What a beautiful sight to wake up to in the morning…The Il Falconiere estate with Cortona on a hilltop in the background.
The cooking program, “Cook Under the Tuscan Sun,” is so special that you will actually feel like you are in the movies and you will never want to leave!
By Kerry Herbst
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