Italy Cooking School Vacations: Splendid Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre
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Splendid Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre
Santa Margherita, Liguria

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About the location: Liguria is one of the loveliest and most picturesque regions of Italy. This region is home to captivating seaside villages such as Santa Margherita, Portofino and Camogli and further south to the simply captivating towns of the Cinque Terre: Monterosso, Vernazza, Coniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. The coastline is breathtaking, with pastel colored villages crowned with medieval churches and abbeys rising up on dramatic rocky outcrops, and vineyards and olive groves descending vertically down to the turquoise sparkling sea. Lush pine forests hug the coastline, shading many trekking paths between villages. This land is so rich in history, culture, natural beauty, perfumes and mouth-watering cuisine, it will give you an extraordinary Italian experience.

Ligurian cuisine is the true Mediterranean diet and is characterized by its use of fresh herbs and vegetables such as basil, bay leaves, fennel, marjoram, zucchini (courgette), eggplant (aubergine), seafood (anchovies, swordfish, sea bass, etc) and of course extra virgin olive oil and fragrant wines. Local specialties of the area include Focaccia (delicious flatbread), Pesto Genovese (gorgeous sauce made with basil, pine nuts, walnuts, Parmigiano and Pecorino cheese, and ample olive oil and garlic – all served over pasta), Vegetable quiches, Pansoti (hand made pasta).

Santa Margherita Ligure is one of the most charming and elegant seaside towns of the Italian Riviera, located between Portofino and the Cinque Terre. This small town is worldwide famous for its wonderful natural landscape and historic villas as well as its special style of life. Santa Margherita boasts a range of things to see, from local antique shops to beautiful cathedrals. Your four star hotel is in the heart of the town center, on the promenade facing the sea. A Liberty building dating back to 1901, it’s recent renovation offers all modern comforts.

About the lessons: The objective of the cooking lessons is to experience the heart and soul of Liguria through food, history, and culture, more than just a list of ingredients and how to cook them. Your hands-on lessons will be at a local cooking school and will feature typical Ligurian cuisine and simple, yet fresh and flavorful ingredients.

Splendid Santa Margherita and the Cinque Terre Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival on your own in Santa Margherita, Liguria.
  • Accommodation at the hotel and welcome cocktail with tasting of typical Ligurian gastronomic fare (anchovies, focaccia, vegetable quiche, pesto).
  • Free time to walk to the ancient city center or along the elegant seaside promenade.
  • Dinner in a typical Ligurian restaurant.

Day 2

  • In the morning, you will attend your first hands-on cooking class. Your chef will teach you how to prepare the most typical Ligurian recipes. You can reach the class in Portofino either by public bus, ferry, or taxi (the hotel concierge will help you make arrangements).
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • Afternoon on your own: we suggest you spend some additional time in the wonderful small village of Portofino.
  • From Portofino you can reach San Fruttuoso by public boat. San Fruttuoso is another small fishing village in a deep inlet along the coastline of the Portofino promontory, one of the most suggestive places in Italian Riviera.
  • In the late afternoon don’t miss the fish market in Santa Margherita where fishermen sell the catch of the day.
  • Dinner tonight on your own at one of the many wonderful seaside restaurants in town.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, meet your guide 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, where you will visit an organic farm which produces wines, olive oil and grapefruit.
  • Return to Santa Margherita. Dinner on your own.

Day 4

  • In the morning make your way again to Portofino for your second cooking lesson, and the chef will teach you how to prepare typical Ligurian dishes.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • Afternoon on your own.
  • Dinner in Santa Margherita.

Day 5

  • Check out and departure.