Sapori d'Abruzzo

Abruzzo is an unspoiled, authentic part of Italy situated due east of Rome on the Adriactic coast. It boasts miles of seaside and pristine beaches, medieval villages perched on hilltops and nestled in valleys, and natural wonders in its famous parks. Indeed, a full third of the region is protected parklands full of lush forests, majestic mountains, and charming towns. Your home for your fabulous cooking vacation is the town of Carunchio, an ancient borgo perched on the top of a hill in southern Abruzzo.

Situated at the top of Carunchio is the recently restored palazzo that will be your home. Owner Massimo Criscio left a job in corporate America to return to his homeland and provide an authentic and unforgettable culinary vacation for his clients. As a result, Massimo has created a lovely small hotel in the middle of Abruzzo complete with a gourmet restaurant and a charming, separate teaching kitchen for the cooking classes. One of Massimo’s passions is wine, and during your stay in Abruzzo you will enjoy that most famous of central Italian wines, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Abruzzo combines some of the finest of tradtional Italian products—cured prosciutto and salami, sheep’s milk cheese, homemade pastas—with fresh seasonal produce to create a regional cuisine that is both simple and full of natural flavors. Its natural landscape (mountains to coast) means access to both wonderful meats and fresh seafood. Your cooking lessons will explore healthy Mediterranean cuisine, homemade pastas and sauces, mouth-watering desserts, and the wonderful preserved fruits and vegetables that are such a staple of Italian life. No more going to the store to buy pickled peppers, canned tomatoes or eggplant sott’olio! Soon you will be able to create these scrumptious delicacies on your own.

Sapori d'Abruzzo Reviews

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We went to Abruzzo and were delighted with the way we were treated. Since we went "off-season", we were the only ones in the class so it felt less like a class and more like a visit to an old friend. The chef was very knowledgeable and taught us, not only Italian cooking, but tips on cooking in general. We stayed in an out-of-the-way part of Italy and never ran into another tourist. It was delightful. My Italian was minimal, but the people were cheerful and gracious. Our host, Massimo, went far beyond the expected to help us have a marvelous vacation. I especially liked the wine class where he showed us various wines and how to appreciate them. The trips to the little towns in the area gave us memories of a unique Italy. We had such a problem with hair. We had a converter, but the curling iron, hair dryer, or electric curlers would not work with it. I'm not sure this is something you want to warn people about or not. [Note from TIK: this is a common problem when using electronic devices in Italy! We suggest you bring your own dual voltage hairdryer, along with a two prong western European plug. Do not bring any electrical appliance that requires a converter; you risk damaging the electrical system as well as destroying your appliance. Irons and curling irons can be particularly problematic. You can get an iron at almost anywhere you will be staying and consider a butane model for the curling iron.] I thought the International Kitchen staff were very prompt and courteous in answering all our questions and helpful in getting us prepared to take the trip. Thanks for a wonderful time. Hopefully we will be able to take another trip soon. L. & C.
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I have just completed a cooking vacation to Abruzzo, Italy. It was much, much more than I expected. Our host, Massimo, was incredible. He seemed to anticipate our every need. He was so knowledgeable and all of his tours were not only fun, but very informative. We got to know and love Abruzzo during that week. It is a beautiful area with warm, friendly people and few tourists. Our chef, Cheryl, gave us great recipes as well as many helpful cooking techniques. She had a great understanding of Abruzzo foods and how to prepare them, but most of all, she was very entertaining company. We thoroughly enjoyed our cooking lessons. This week will be one of my best memories. Thank you so much. Linda L., TX
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We really enjoyed the class in Abruzzo. The region was different from the others we have visited. Massimo was a great host, having grown up and lived in the area. The palace was great, a wonderful place to relax while not cooking or out on trips. Cheryle and Dino were very good instructors. The recipes were adapted to the season and what was available, however Cheryle shared other tips and recommendations based on what might be available in other seasons or once we got back to the states. Everything was very adaptable to doing at home. The trips around the region were also very interesting. We have been to Amalfi, Tuscany and Spoleto through the International Kitchen, and all have been different. On this trip we were treated to some of the unique characteristics and experiences of Abruzzo. The trip to the fishing house was wonderful, even though it was off season. Massimo made sure we were treated to some of the unique food items there. We were especially impressed by the sausage place in town, and were sad that we could not bring any of it back to the states. The cheeses were great, also. Happily we were able to bring home freshly pressed olive oil that has continued to remind us of the great experience there. It was nice that they had a separate kitchen to hold the classes in. We were treated to some of the regional foods when we ate out while we were on trips, which was fun. All in all, a great experience. We have come to expect great experiences from The International Kitchen's trips, and this was no exception.
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All in all we had a great time on the Sapori D'Abruzzo cooking vacation. Enjoying both the cooking classes and the field trips. Cheryle was an outstanding instructor and Dino was an excellent chef. All of the recipes are managable and we will try them out at home. I liked best the peperoni ripieni and polpettine cacio e uova, and Cheryl enjoyed the baked amaretti peaches. Dino is welcome to come to my house and cook anytime. All of the field trips were fun. Highlights included visiting a salami maker and having lunch with him, visiting Massimo's cosmetic lab, think donkey milk soap, and touring the Di Pasquo dairy. We also had a great day in Vasto. Carunchio is a very small friendly town. James P., IL
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This was our first cooking school experience and our host Massimo did a superb job. Everything was well organized and enjoyable. From the time he met us at the airport until he made final arrangements for our departure our experiences were delightful, educational, and fascinating. Massimo, Sheryl, and Dino were our chef instructors. They encouraged everyone to participate, and expertly guided us in the preparation of numerous dishes. We will highly recommend that our friends enjoy this program. Thanks to the International Kitchen for making arrangements for our participation in the program.
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Even though there were 24 of us participating, the staff made our experience a personal one. I can't say enough wonderful words about these people and the Palazzo. We were fed very high quality food at all meals. Breakfast is Italian which is home cooked baked goods, yogurt and fresh fruit. The cappuccinos were amazing. Our day trips were very appropriate and interesting (wine, cheese, Vasto and bell foundry). We were able to purchase fine wines and foods at a low cost. The staff were very attentive and entertaining. They handled any problems, which were minimal with calm and expertise. They speak English very well. We were all very happy, comfortable and stimulated. Four people in our group were on a return trip. I would recommend this experience to anyone! Janet M., PA
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Our cooking vacation, Sapori D'Abruzzo was fabulous. Every aspect of our time at the Palazzo was beyond our wildest dreams. Our host and the entire staff was perfect in every way. They made us all feel like family. The classes were fun and informative. The views from the Palazzo, at the top of the mountain were spectacular. It was hard to leave such a beautiful place. We would do it again in a heart beat. The entire staff at The International Kitchen is fabulous. So professional and friendly. They were always ready and happy to answer any question. Barbara D., Ellen H., and Nancy D., OH