Cooking in the Valtellina Valley
Sondrio (Valtellina), Lombardy
About the location: The stunning Valtellina (Valtelline) valley lies in northernmost Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland. Known in the winter for its skiing and hot spring spas and in the summer for its hiking and golf, it is also famous for its food and wine. Cheeses such as Bitto and Casera, the well-known wines of Sassella and Grumello, and time-honored local pastas and desserts make it an ideal location for one of our most unique culinary vacations in Italy. This land is unlike the touristy parts of the country, instead rife with glorious landscapes, modest and friendly locals, Italian comfort food and plenty of fresh air. The Valtellina’s location not only makes it an ideal starting point for a foray into Switzerland (and its famous resort town St. Moritz), but also an intriguing mix of various cultures: Swiss, Austrian, Romansh, German and of course Italian.
Your home in the Valtellina will be the town of Sondrio, located in the heart of the valley. With over 22,000 inhabitants, the comune boasts plenty of sites (including its central piazza Garibaldi, the Palazzo Sassi art and history museum, and the Masegra Castle). Right in the heart of this charming town is the four-star Grand Hotel della Posta, which since 1862 has been welcoming guests to the region. Recently restored with great attention to detail and maintaining the building’s historical importance and unique charm, the hotel now offers all the modern comforts, including spacious rooms, an elegant restaurant and bar, an exercise room and a relaxing spa. The large rooms include flat screen TVs, telephones, wi-fi access, mini bar and safe in addition to modern bathrooms in marble. Wander through the halls and admire the vaulted ceilings, frescoed walls, and period furniture and you will feel like you are staying with a rich noble family in the heart of Lombardy’s mountains.
About the cooking lessons: Your cooking courses — a combination of hands-on and demonstration — will be held by the executive chef of the hotel’s renowned “1862 Ristorante dalla Posta,” Mattia Giacomelli. While a young chef, Chef Giacomelli is a globetrotting chef who has already earned himself a variety of prestigious awards and experiences; he also speaks five languages, including English. He began his studies at age 14 at the "Istituto Alberghiero" in Chiavenna and then set off to cook around the world. He began his career in the 5-star hotel Le Meridien in England, and he's worked in kitchens in New York, Germany, Tuscany, and now the Valtellina Valley. No matter where he's cooking, his goal is the same: to prepare impeccably-composed courses. During your 2-hour cookery lessons at the Grand Hotel della Posta, Chef Giacomelli will lead you in the preparation of complete menus based on fresh seasonal products, savory sauces, local specialties, and regional pastries. Come and enjoy the best that the Valtellina has to offer during this amazing and unique cooking vacation in northern Italy.