Tuscan Dream: Italy Culinary Vacation
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Tuscan Dream: Cook in a Luxury Chianti Villa
Greve in Chianti

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Get to know the real Tuscany with a locally focused cooking vacation and native experts, all while staying in a spacious, private luxury villa near the charming town of Greve-in-Chianti. Situated in the heart of Chianti, this is one of the most unspoiled places in the region; this beautiful area is surrounded by olive groves and vineyards that are managed by a close-knit group of vintners who promote sustainable and organic vineyard techniques. It's the Tuscany culinary trip you've dreamt about — and so much more.

As you’ll be vacationing in a private villa, you’ll be treated like a guest staying in a friend’s home. In fact, during this trip, you’ll have your very own professional assistant at your disposal, who will happily share their knowledge of the Tuscan lifestyle, traditions, culture, and of course, gastronomy and wine.

About the accommodations: The beautifully restored farmhouse is located in the Tuscan countryside a short drive from Florence, Greve in Chianti, and Siena. Decorated in Tuscan style — complete with wooden beams and terra-cotta floors — the property offers modern comforts, large living areas, a swimming pool, and indoor and outdoor spaces that make it easy to relax and enjoy the view.

Chef Babs leads a cooking classAbout the cooking classes: All your classes are led by a Cordon Blue trained chef, Barbara, who is affectionately known as Chef Babs. After growing up in Canada, Italy, and England, she decided to pursue her passion for chocolate — and cooking. After graduating from Cordon Bleu with a Grand Diplome, and after becoming a qualified sommellier, she worked for two well-known Chianti wineries and a variety of restaurants. Today, she focuses on teaching professional and non-professional cooking courses.

During your three hands-on cooking classes in the well-equipped kitchen, Chef Babs will teach you how to make authentic Italian recipes including everything from homemade bread and pasta to entrees, side dishes, and desserts. You will cook with top-quality produce from local producers and farmers and will master the art of Italian preparation and seasoning.

Tuscan Dream: Cook in a Luxury Chianti Villa Itinerary

Day 1: Saturday

  • Arrive on your own at the Tuscan villa. (Transfers can be arranged for an additional fee).
  • Meet your host, who will provide an overview of your week in Tuscany.
  • A welcome dinner will be served by Chef Mimmo, who prepares your dinners when you don’t have a cooking class; as with your other meals, the dinner will be prepared with fresh, organic products straight from his garden. During dinner, you’ll also have a chance to meet Chef Barbara, who leads all your cooking classes.
  • Overnight.

Day 2: Sunday

  • Breakfast.
  • Morning on your own to enjoy the villa, or perhaps take a stroll to Greve.
  • At the villa, enjoy a light lunch based on typical Tuscan specialties.
  • In the afternoon, take part in your first hands-on cooking class with Chef Barbara.
  • Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
  • Overnight.

Day 3: Monday

  • Breakfast.
  • Today you’ll be picked up from the villa by a private minibus. An expert guide will take you to Siena and then San Gimignano, where you’ll visit an organic farm that cultivates a special purple crocus flower that saffron comes from, as well as vegetables and Tuscan herbs (such as thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage, and mint). The farm also produces an olive oil. While here you’ll also learn about the farm’s sustainable production of tiny red threads known as saffron.
  • After a brief tour, have lunch out on a open terrace with a view of the hills, San Gimignano, and its towers. The lunch, including a course with a saffron dish, will be prepared by the farm’s owner, who focuses on true farm-to-table meals, as he uses fresh vegetables and herbs from his garden.
  • In the afternoon, it’s off to San Gimignano, a well-preserved medieval town known as the “city of the fair towers,” since it has 14 tours that dominate the skyline.
  • Return to the villa.
  • Dinner on your own.

Day 4: Tuesday

  • Breakfast.
  • In the morning, take a walk with the guide out into the countryside to visit a working farm situated on olive groves and vineyards.
  • After a guided tour of the farm’s wine cellar, have a tasting of the farm’s wine and extra virgin olive oil. A light lunch will also be served.
  • In the afternoon, experience your next hands-on cooking class with Chef Barbara. Dinner to follow.
  • Overnight.

Day 5: Wednesday

  • Breakfast.
  • Day on your own. Perhaps take a stroll in Greve, or explore other Chianti villages or Florence by taking the public bus. (Other private excursions can be arranged, such as to Arezzo and Cortona, at an additional cost). Lunch and dinner on your own.
  • Overnight.

Day 6: Thursday

  • After breakfast, depart by private minibus to the towns of Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano with your guide. You’ll also have a chance to see the breathtaking landscapes of the Orcia Valley, which is known for its superb wines.
  • First stop: Montalcino, a fascinating ancient village best known for its red Brunello di Montalcino wines.
  • Next, visit Pienza, a Renaissance town. Here you’ll have some time for lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, visit Montepulciano, a small village of Etruscan origins and one of the most beautiful hill towns in all of Tuscany. The Nobile wines of Montepulciano were the first wines to be given DOCG certification. Here, you’ll experience a private guided visit in a flagship wine cellar and end with a wine tasting.
  • Return back to the villa, where Chef Mimmo will prepare a wonderful dinner for you.
  • Overnight.

Day 7: Friday

  • Breakfast.
  • Morning on your own for sightseeing or taking a walk in the countryside.
  • A light lunch will be served at the villa.
  • In the afternoon, return to the kitchen for your final cooking class with Chef Barbara. Dinner to follow based on your efforts.
  • Overnight.

Day 8: Saturday

  • Breakfast and check out by mid-morning.