The Living Kitchen at our Tuscan Villa Cooking Vacation
Wherever you take a cooking vacation in Tuscany with TIK, you’ll be learning about the foods of a specific region, but the kitchen at our 16th-century villa in the Tuscan countryside takes it a step further. In 2017, they offer a new philosophy, that of the “living kitchen.”
Before you arrive in the kitchen though, there’s also the experience of arriving at Villa Gobbi Benelli for your cooking vacation in Tuscany. Traveling from Pisa, the approach to the villa is stunning on its own, as the villa is situated among the hills of the Versilia. From the villa, you may catch a glimpse of Pisa’s leaning tower, the archipelago of the Cinque Terre, as well as the incredible panorama of the Tuscan coastline. And then you enter the charming villa, a family-run property where the hosts even welcome you like family (just ask vice president Peg who visited earlier this year!). While the villa has been restored over the years, you’ll see the historical charm has been retained, creating an elegant and refined atmosphere that’s also comfortable and relaxing.
Then it’s on to the kitchen, where you’ll discover even more of the spirit and gusto of those who work at the villa. Not one but three chefs are your guide in the kitchen, and they all embody the spirit of the “living kitchen.” Through their classes, they share the history and richness of the area’s cuisine, and share recipes that have largely been lost through the centuries. To help you further understand what you’re putting on the table, you’ll get to select the ingredients directly from local suppliers, providing an opportunity to learn about the origins of what you’re eating.
Chef Aurora, a young housewife and chef, shares her knowledge of Tuscan cuisine through two classes; one focuses on fresh pasta and some accompanying sauces, while the other is all about meat and vegetables from the garden. The pizzaiolo (or pizza maker) Ruben also teaches you how to use the wood-fired oven in the kitchen to make your own personal pizza, crust and all. And last but certainly not least, learn about the fish of the region with a fish class with Chef Andrea. Taken all together, these classes provide an in-depth look into the gastronomy of the region.
But cooking and eating food is not a standalone activity, especially in a place like Italy. It’s also more than a social one too. The cooking classes can be done in conjunction with other extra activities that are both directly food related — such as meeting with a nutritionist; visiting a local cheese and ham maker; or enjoying a dinner with a historical figure in the villa’s hunting room– and complementary, like taking a yoga lesson.
Whichever activities you decide to do know that you’ll leave feeling like family too!
Our At Home in a Tuscan Villa cooking vacation is available any week on request, or as a Women Only Week September 17-23, 2017.
By Liz Hall
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