Authentic Experience in Piedmont: Italy Cooking Vacation
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Authentic Experience in Piedmont
Casalborgone (Turin)

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Travel to the very north of Italy, and you'll discover Piedmont, a majestic land of pastures, mountain fortresses, vineyards where Nebbiolo grapes for Barolo wines are grown, and stunning views of the Alps. This northern region is also home to Turin, a unique and thriving city that is known both for its stunning architecture, including baroque palazzos, as well as its shopping, what with the city's many charming boutiques. It's also a place where culinary traditions thrive; pair the region's famous Barolo wines with everything from starters like grissini, to entrees of agnolotti, and desserts of gianduja chocolates and biscotti, and you'll be living like the locals do.

Just forty minutes outside of Turin is the quaint medieval town of Casalborgone. Situated among the hills, it offers breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, which you can experience and see from your accommodations, the bed and breakfast ViaVai, a top-rated hotel on TripAdvisor. Once a family home, today this B&B is run by Francesca and her husband Albert, who treat their guests like family. Opened in 2007, the renovated property seamlessly blends the modern with the old in its six guest rooms (only double rooms are available). As Francesca likes to say, these are not formal accommodations; rather, it's a country palace and the perfect place to get to know Italy while enjoying the peace and relaxation of the countryside.

FrancescaAbout the cooking classes: Inspired and taught by a family of good cooks, Francesca also developed her skills in the kitchen with Cordon Bleu chefs. While she loves to shop for and use local ingredients, she's also passionate about making as much as possible by hand, and that includes pasta, bread, cakes, biscuits, pastries, and crusts.

During the hands-on courses, Francesca will teach you basic tricks of the trade as well as how to cook with the seasonal ingredients and products of Piedmont. She often brings guests to the local grocery store to pick the ingredients for class or the local mill in Casalborgone to purchase flour that's been milled by hand. In the kitchen, you'll discover the traditional flavors of the region, and enjoy meals out on the terrace.

Authentic Experience in Piedmont Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrive at Turin airport and transfer to your bed and breakfast accommodations.
  • After checking in, take some time to settle in and relax by the pool.
  • In the early evening, Francesca will you show you around the charming village of Casalborgone with its shops and historical center.
  • Return to the property for your first cooking class in which you’ll prepare a delicious aperitif, perhaps salatini, torte salute, or sage focaccia.
  • Enjoy dinner out on the terrace with some local wine.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Breakfast buffet, which includes fresh fruits, omelets, handmade cakes, bread and butter, local cheese and ham, and cold mint tea, between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
  • In the morning, return to the kitchen for your second hands-on class, which will focus on the basics of all Italian cuisine: fresh pasta. You’ll also make a dessert, such as a delicious tiramisu. You might start your class collecting vegetables from the garden, or by visiting the local flour mill. The menu will be based on what is available seasonally.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, drinks included.
  • In the afternoon, some time on your own.
  • In the early afternoon, Francesca can transfer you to the Abbey of Vezzolano (10 minutes away) and Cocconato, a lively local village, to explore on your own.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 3

  • A light breakfast out on the terrace.
  • Around 10:30 a.m., depart for Turin. Francesca (or a close friend who is also a food expert) will accompany you to this extraordinary town, as a guide, architect, and personal shopper. You’ll stop in one of the biggest European markets, “Porta Palazzo,” to see its monuments and shops. If you’re still hungry, break for a second breakfast (on your own) in one of the city’s famous bars, and then continue the tour based on what you’d like to see.
  • Stop at a special place for your lunch on your own, depending on your preferences (with suggestions). Perhaps dine in an Egyptian museum, or a cinema and art gallery. (Museum tickets and lunch not included)
  • In the afternoon, return to the property for a wine tasting of 4 regional wines with a professional and famous sommelier, Ezio Cravero.
  • Dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • Breakfast followed by check out.
  • If you have time before your flight, visit a local biscotti producer.
  • Return transfer to Turin airport.