Italy Cooking Vacation: Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun
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Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun - BEST SELLER
Cortona, Tuscany

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Featured on NBC Extra's Mansions & Millionaires, September 2014.
Located just three kilometers from the historical city of Cortona, famous for its hidden treasures and gorgeous landscapes, Il Falconiere is a small, luxury hotel in the heart of Tuscany. Within easy reach of Montepulciano, Pienza, Arezzo, Perugia, Assisi and Siena, and not far from Orvieto and Florence, Il Falconiere puts you in the heart of Italy.

The hotel’s 22 bedrooms and suites are decorated individually and boast amazing views over the vineyards and the olive groves. The simple combination of antique furnishings and magnificent fabrics creates a scene of timeless elegance and comfort. Each bedroom is individually designed and decorated by your hosts to give it a unique feel. The estate also boasts a famed 1* Michelin restaurant, a beautiful spa, and of course the Baracchi Winery, run by your host Riccardo.

Il Falconiere was for many generations the Baracchi family house before being made into a luxury hotel. The owners, Riccardo and Silvia Baracchi, manage the property and personally take care of the guests, giving the hotel a warm and inviting atmosphere, like staying at a friend’s gorgeous, sumptuous villa.

Learn to cook traditional Tuscan recipes with Chef-Owner Silvia Baracchi, or one of the other restaurant chefs. This is a cooking school experience for students of all levels, but the kitchen is located in a charming house, where you can relax while getting to know the cuisine of the region. After making delicious bread, delectable starters and main courses, and enticing desserts, enjoy what you've created in a beautiful dining room. Il Falconiere Cooking School will increase your natural love for food and provide you with the skills you need to translate this love into beautiful and imaginative cuisine, even once you return home.

See our classic 6- night cooking itinerary below, and note that we also offer a special What Women Want itinerary, the perfect week-long indulgence in Tuscany!

Cooking Under the Tuscan Sun - BEST SELLER Itinerary

Day 1

Sample itinerary: order of activities subject to change.

  • Welcome cocktail around 8:00 pm with Silvia & Riccardo Baracchi, your hosts.
  • The aperitif will be followed by a delicious dinner in the hotel’s famed Michelin-star restaurant.

Day 2

  • After breakfast, your first cooking lesson, “Pane, olio e fantasia” (“bread, oil and imagination”). Your menu might include: stuffed eggplant with almond, tomato confit and basil, ribollita; traditional Tuscan soup; saltimbocca of pork fillet with sage, juniper berries and bay leaves; and cantucci.
  • Lunch to follow accompanied by great Tuscan wines.
  • Afternoon at leisure. You can relax in the Thesan Spa (which has a Sauna, Turkish bath, Hydro massage pool, and Chromo Emotional shower) and perhaps schedule a wine therapy relaxation massage .
  • In the evening, take a guided walk around Baracchi’s vineyards and winery and learn about the process of wine making, from the vineyard to the bottle.
  • Dinner this evening on your own.

Day 3

  • Breakfast.
  • In the morning a guided sightseeing tour of Cortona for a visit of this charming city, setting of the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” If possible, we will stop also at the weekly market to buy ingredients for the lesson.
  • Lunch on your own in Cortona.
  • Return to Il Falconiere for your afternoon cooking lesson featuring Etruscan cuisine. This menu is based on the ancient Etruscan civilization and might include: traditional wild herb pie with parmesan fondue, “gnudi” pasta with ricotta cheese, local lamb in a crust of Tuscan bread, sautéed greens, and berry cake with mascarpone cheese mousse.
  • Dinner to follow based on your efforts, wine included.

Day 4

  • After breakfast depart around 9.00 am for a guided sightseeing tour of either Assisi or Arezzo.
  • Lunch break in a typical Umbrian Restaurant with wine tasting of the finest Umbrian wines.
  • Some time for relaxing, and in the late afternoon, a cheese making lesson and special dinner in the kitchen with Silvia.

Day 5

  • Breakfast, then a visit to the local open air market. At the market you will help select vegetables and other ingredients to use during your class.
  • Lunch alfresco with local specialties.
  • At 4:00 pm leave for the Locanda del Molino for your third cooking lesson, “The many flavors of Tuscany.” Your menu might include: panzanella, pici pasta with tomato and aromatic herb sauce, tagliatelle with duck sauce, ricotta and nettle ravioli served with sage and butter, scottiglia with polenta, and lattaiolo.
  • Dinner to follow with a selection of Tuscan wines.

Day 6

  • Breakfast and departure from the hotel for a guided sightseeing tour of Pienza & Montepulciano.
  • Break for lunch at a local establishment during your excursion.
  • Return to the Relais for your last cooking lesson, “Fish and its Secrets.” The menu might include: basic fish broth, bacon-wrapped scallops with potato puree and bay leaves, ricotta with saffron and seafood, casserole of monkfish and scampi, as well as napoleon of custard and pears with melted chocolate and pine nuts.
  • Farewell dinner to follow.

Day 7

  • Breakfast.
  • Departure.