Cooking Tours in Tuscany, Italy: Cook in the Heart of Chianti
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Cook in the Heart of Chianti
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Tuscany

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About the location: Tavarnelle is Italian for tavern, and in this quaint town of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa among the Tuscan hills, you’ll be greeted with open arms. Tucked away in the Pesa Valley in the heart of the Chianti countryside, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa offers a peaceful getaway that is perfectly situated between the major cities of Florence and Siena, which once placed it on the royal road that connected Florence to Rome. Today, the town continues to be known for its monasteries and churches — particularly the Badia di Passignano from the Middle Ages — but it offers something more than that too. The medieval town’s economy continues to thrive based on shoe and paper making as well as the production of wheat, grapes, and olives that supply many in Tuscany and beyond.

About the accommodations: Just a short walk from Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Borgo di Cortefreda offers a relaxing getaway where you will be treated like family. The classic double rooms are spacious, which is not often the case in Italy, and are decorated in a rustic but modern style; the rooms include a bath, telephone, hair dryer, satellite TV, fridge, air conditioning, and a balcony or terrace. The hotel also features a beautiful pool on the terrace, with its stunning views of the valley and surrounding countryside.

Chef AlessandroAbout your cooking classes: Chef Alessandro leads the cooking classes at the hotel, and has worked for years in restaurants in Tuscany. He believes that the best and freshest seasonal products are necessary, and the herb and vegetable garden at the hotel helps with supplying many fresh items. He's joined in the kitchen by Chef Veronica, who has worked at the Borgo di Cortefreda's restaurant since 2014 and has been assisting him with the cooking classes since 2016. Prior to becoming a cooking class instructor, she was trained as a chef at the Accademia Italiana Chef, and has worked in various restaurants throughout Tuscany.
You will learn traditional recipes such as Pappa Pomodoro, ravioli with sage and butter sauce, tiramisu, cantucci, etc.  And everything is delicious!

Cook in the Heart of Chianti Itinerary

Day 1 - Sunday

  • Transfer from Florence airport or train station to Borgo di Cortefreda Resort in the heart of Chianti Classico.
  • Enjoy a warm welcome from Nadia, the manager, and her young and passionate staff.
  • Welcome dinner and overnight.

Day 2 - Monday

  • Following a buffet breakfast, begin your first hands-on cooking lesson with Chef Alessandro or Chef Veronica, where you’ll make Tuscan appetizers and a first seasonal course.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, local wine included.
  • In the afternoon, depart for the village of Greve in Chianti to visit the butcher, “Il Falorni.” You will also see the medieval village of Montefioralle, which is famous for its amazing views of Greve Valley. Your afternoon excursion ends with a wine tasting at a local estate.
  • Dinner tonight at the beautiful restaurant “Le Scuderie” in Badia a Passignano.
  • Return to the hotel and overnight.

Day 3 - Tuesday

  • Buffet breakfast.
  • In the morning, your next cooking lesson, which focuses on pasta and sauces.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts, with local wine included.
  • In the afternoon, meet your host Nadia in Cortefreda’s wine cellar for a guided tasting of the area’s wines.
  • Dinner at the hotel and overnight.

Day 4 - Wednesday

  • Buffet breakfast.
  • Head out to Siena, which is famous for its horse race “Il Palio.” (Your English-speaking driving guide will give you art/history information about Siena on the way. Optional licensed guide in Siena can be arranged for 150 Eu for 2 1/2 to 3-hour tour, to be arranged in advance.)
  • Light lunch in a local trattoria with a glass of local wine.
  • In the afternoon, return to Cortefreda for the third cooking class with Chef Alessandro or Chef Veronica. The chef will lead you in a preparation of a Tuscan main course with seasonal side dishes.
  • Dinner based on your efforts will follow with local wine.
  • Overnight.

Day 5 - Thursday

  • For those on the 4-night program, buffet breakfast and checkout. Private transfer to Florence train station.
  • For those on the 6-night program, depart after a buffet breakfast for an unforgettable excursion to the medieval village of San Gimignano with its original “skyline” and Volterra, famous for its alabaster crafts.
  • Lunch on own in San Gimignano with some time to explore the city.
  • In the late afternoon, return to Tavarnelle for dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 6 - Friday

  • Buffet breakfast.
  • Meet the chef for your final cooking lesson, which focuses on making a full Tuscan meal.
  • Lunch to follow based on your efforts with local wine included.
  • Afternoon on your own to relax, and perhaps enjoy the pool.
  • Farewell dinner tonight at Cortefreda.
  • Overnight.

Day 7 - Saturday

  • Buffet breakfast and checkout.
  • Private transfer to Florence train station or airport.