Cooking Tours in Tuscany, Italy: Tuscan Cooking School
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A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio
Figline Valdarno, Tuscany

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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!

A Classic Tuscan Table with Chef Claudio Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrival transfer from the Florence airport or railway station to Figline Valdarno.
  • Check in to your accommodation and get settled.
  • Time to relax before your amazing welcome dinner.
  • Dinner tonight will be around 7:30 pm.
  • Overnight.

Day 2

  • Breakfast.
  • After breakfast, participate in your first cooking class with Chef Claudio Piantini. The lesson will be held at Claudio‘s teaching kitchen at his B&B. During the class, which will last about 3 hours, you will learn to prepare many traditional and seasonal Tuscan dishes.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • This afternoon, enjoy a guided wine tasting at Claudio’s private cellar, as well as a wine and cheese tasting. You will learn to judge the color, flavor, and smoothness of the wines.
  • Light dinner to follow.

Day 3

  • After breakfast, meet with Chef Claudio or assistant for a brief visit of the very authentic outdoor food market in Figline.
  • Afterwards you will participate in your second cooking class with Chef Claudio, with lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the afternoon meet with your driver for a half-day excursion to the delightful town of Arezzo. The Renaissance architect and artist Vasari hails from this town, and the famous frescoes of Piero della Francesca can be found in the church of San Francesco. Enjoy a two-hour guided tour through the historical center and picturesque alleys where the Oscar-winning film “Life Is Beautiful” was filmed. Your visit of this beautiful but lesser-known Tuscany jewel will be led by a licensed guide who also took part in the restoration of the Piero della Francesca frescoes. You will also have some time on your own to explore.
  • Light dinner in a trattoria/wine bar in Arezzo, local wine included.
  • Overnight.

Day 4

  • After breakfast, enjoy your third cooking class with Claudio, with lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • In the early afternoon departure with your driver for a half-day excursion into the famous Chianti Classico region.
  • Visit the charming village of Greve in Chianti with its covered archways and browse the quaint shops, visiting the famous Falorni butcher shop.
  • Afterwards it is on to the nearby castle village of Montefioralle, with a spectacular view of the valley, a great “photo op.”
  • Dinner today is at the delightful restaurant “Le Scuderie” (local wine included), surrounded by Tignanello and Solaia vineyards and owned by the Antinori family.
  • Return to Figline and overnight.

Day 5

  • Breakfast. (For those of you on the four-night program, return transfer to Florence airport or train station.)
  • After breakfast, you will have your final cooking class with Chef Claudio, followed by lunch.
  • Afternoon free for leisure activities. If you would like, we can arrange a trip to a local olive mill in Santa Tea or Florence, or visit the mall (you can make arrangements with our Florence office once you are in Italy).
  • Dinner tonight at the Relais.
  • Overnight.

Day 6

  • Breakfast.
  • Afterwards, meet your driver for a full-day excursion to Siena and San Gimignano discovering the beauties of these perfectly preserved medieval towns. You will be on your own in Siena and San Gimignano, although your driver can make recommendations of places to see and where to eat.
  • After lunch on your own, return to Figline in the late afternoon.
  • Farewell dinner tonight at Relais Torre Guelfa.
  • Overnight.

Day 7

  • Breakfast and return transfer at 10 a.m. to Florence airport or railway station.