Host Interview: Tuscany’s Treasures Culinary Vacation

November 19, 2020  |  By Liz SanFilippo Hall
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Often our interviews at The International Kitchen feature a Q&A with the chefs of our culinary vacations, but we can’t overlook another important aspect of your trip: your hosts overseas, who don’t always play the role of cooking class chef as well. At our Tuscany’s Treasures trip, George and Linda, a husband and wife team, are foodies who’ve created a delicious slice of Tuscany with their special and unique trip in the medieval hillside town of Montefollonico. While originally from New Orleans, they found their calling in Tuscany, and today they bring their Southern hospitality to this beautiful part of the world.

“We want our guests to see and feel like they live here in the village, so we give them a true authentic visit,” George says. George too enjoys cooking in the kitchen, as he’s traveled around the world, cooking and eating in both obscure parts of the world as well as alongside MIchelin-rated chefs. With his trip to the heart of Tuscany, he organizes a variety of hands-on classes, led by local women, for his guests. Here’s a bit more about these two lovely hosts, with answers from George, and what you’ll discover during a culinary journey with them.

What made you fall in love with Italy? Tuscany and Montefollonico in particular?
That’s easy.The Tuscan life style is simple and based on family and friends. We are both from New Orleans, where food and family are cherished. Tuscany reminds us of home. Where friends are family and everyone is welcome for dinner. Montefollonico is a small village with lovely people. They welcome everyone.

What’s your favorite regional dish — to eat, and/or make?
Melanzane parmigiana would have to my favorite to make and eat. It is such a simple dish and yet everyone thinks it is so difficult. Isa, one of the cooks, makes this dish with simple and fresh ingredients. It’s a guest favorite!

What do you hope people discover and experience during a trip with you? We want people to feel like they live in Montefollonico and to experience the culture through its food, kitchens, locals, and our love of the region. My favorite things is to tell the fun stories about why the cheese looks like it does, or the reason Pienza is a village of “love.” Its the stories you don’t hear on a trip alone or even on a bus tour. These stories are local.

Anything else you’d like to share with clients of The International Kitchen?
A trip with us is not just a trip to Italy it’s a trip to make life memories and experience Italy like you’ve lived there your whole life.

Most of our Tuscany cooking vacation include accommodations, hands-on cooking classes, as well as all meals and excursions around one of the most popular regions in all of Italy.

By Liz Hall

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