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.

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, perhaps based on Frances Mayes’s famous stay in Tuscany immortalized in the book and movie. Your menu might include: eggplant roll with prosciutto and mozzarella, pici pasta with tomatoes and herbs, beef loin with shallots and balsamic, and poached pear with cheese and sabayon.
  • 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.
  • A wine tasting will follow with dinner at the restaurant.

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.”
  • Lunch at Bottega Baracchi, your hosts’ Tuscan Bistro in town.
  • Return to Il Falconiere for your afternoon cooking lesson.
  • Dinner to follow based on your efforts, wine included.

Day 4

  • After breakfast depart for a visit to a local farm, where you will see sheep, chickens, rabbits, geese, and other animals. You will also get the milk for your cheese-making class, and will enjoy a light lunch featuring local products.
  • This afternoon enjoy a visit of Montalcino and Montepulciano. You will love the stunning landscape of the Val d’Orcia, and will visit outstanding wineries to taste the famed Rosso di Montepulciano and Brunello wines.
  • Dinner back at the restaurant.

Day 5

  • Breakfast, then depart for a visit of amazing little Tuscan towns, including Asciano, which is home to the Tuscan white truffle. Depending on the season, you might visit truffle hunters, or might enjoy a walk through the woods.
  • Lunch out during the excursion based on local food specialties.
  • Back at the Relais, enjoy your next cooking lesson, based on Etruscan cuisine. Your menu 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.

Day 6

  • Breakfast and departure for a visit to a local vegetable producer close to the relais, where you will get some vegetables for your last class.
  • This afternoon, transfer to the nearby Locanda del Molino in Cortona for your cooking class.
  • Farewell dinner to follow.

Day 7

  • Breakfast.
  • Departure.