A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio
Figline Valdarno, Tuscany
About the location: Tuscany…a landscape of wooded hills, olive groves, vineyards, and hill towns. Vistas that have barely changed since Renaissance artists first beheld them. On this culinary tour of Tuscany you will see and experience the treasures of this rich region, learning its cuisine and culture, and taking authentic Tuscan cooking school like lessons.
Your week in Tuscany takes place in the medieval town of Figline Valdarno, set in the triangle formed by the great cities of Florence, Arezzo and Siena. Your home will be the charming relais property of Chef Claudio.
Chef Claudio’s countryside relais is located just 5 minutes outside of town, amidst the Chef’s own vineyards and olive groves. The setting is quintessential Tuscan, with panoramic views of the valley. The accommodations themselves are quite simple; the five cottages are small and rustic, but air conditioned and are basically equipped with hairdryers and telephones. Two of the cottages have small bathtubs. Claudio’s restaurant is also located on the rustic property, and a simple pool completes the setting. If you are prefer upscale accommodations, this is not the place; but if you looking for a most authentic experience with an incredibly warm and welcoming Tuscan family, this is it! Please click here to see images of the chef’s property. (For groups of 10 or more, we offer accommodations at a lovely local hotel).
About the unique cooking courses in Tuscany: The lessons are led by Chef Claudio Piantini. Claudio grew up in a typical Italian home, where the quality of food and cooking was very important. At the tender age of 14, Claudio worked secretly as a waiter in a fine restaurant and this was the beginning of an illustrious career. He recognized how the pleasures of good food could unite people from all different backgrounds. Following his formal chef training, he became a professional sommelier and managed a restaurant in Florence. His dream, of course, was to have his own restaurant, and he returned to his home town to open Torre Guelfa Restaurant, which immediately put his rising star on the culinary horizon. In 1995 The International Kitchen was fortunate to begin a collaboration with this wonderful, passionate and charming chef, whose delight in his art is totally contagious! During your Italian cooking school style lessons, you will learn classic dishes of Tuscan cuisine, known for its refined simplicity. You will prepare classic dishes such as ribollita and crostini, along with more unusual dishes such as castagnaccio. Whether you are an advanced cook, or an eager beginner, Claudio is able to manage every level, much like a conductor with each section of the orchestra. You will come away with a vast number of recipes from the hands of a true Tuscan chef, imparting his knowledge with infinite kindness, patience and generosity. We truly love Chef Claudio!