Cooking in the Valtellina Valley

The stunning Valtellina (Valtelline) valley lies in northernmost Lombardy, on the border with Switzerland. Known in the winter for its skiing and hot spring spas and in the summer for its hiking and golf, it is also famous for its food and wine. Cheeses such as Bitto and Casera, the well-known wines of Sassella and Grumello, and time-honored local pastas and desserts make it an ideal location for one of our most unique culinary vacations in Italy. This land is unlike the touristy parts of the country, instead rife with glorious landscapes, modest and friendly locals, Italian comfort food and plenty of fresh air. The Valtellina’s location not only makes it an ideal starting point for a foray into Switzerland (and its famous resort town St. Moritz), but also an intriguing mix of various cultures: Swiss, Austrian, Romansh, German and of course Italian.

Your home in the Valtellina will be the town of Sondrio, located in the heart of the valley. With over 22,000 inhabitants, the comune boasts plenty of sites (including its central piazza Garibaldi, the Palazzo Sassi art and history museum, and the Masegra Castle).


Latest Review

We gave this trip 4 stars
Adele & Sarah
New York
Trip taken June 2013
I cannot say that our cooking vacation did not meet our expectations but in some ways that is true. We had received in the mail from you, a program of our week in Sondrio. Upon our arrival the concierge at the hotel, which by the way, was fabulous, handed us their program. There were a few changes, some of which were not to our liking. First of all they had us booked on the Red Train to St. Moritz on a Sunday when everything would be closed. That was rearranged and worked out okay but it took some doing and the Manager of the Hotel to arrange it. Your program also had us at a "farewell dinner" on Sunday evening, our last night in Sondrio. Apparently you did not have close contact with the hotel because the kitchen is closed on Sunday. I do think it behooves you to be totally knowledgeable about the hotel and its programs before you arrange a calendar for your guests. That being said, I want to commend the staff of the hotel, all of whom went out of their way to make sure we had a good time. Also the sommelier, Cristina, was superb and Gigi, our guide, was also excellent. All in all we had a great time but it was not exactly what we expected. We thought it would more of a "cooking course" and instead we were in the hotel kitchen with the chef, the sous chef and his assistant and that was great fun. I think we did learn something and I for one will try to duplicate one of the recipes we learned to make. I hope this satisfies you and that in the future you will be sure you have all the details down pat before you send daily programs to participants. Adele W., NY _Note from The International Kitchen: The hotel provided a complimentary trip to Lake Como._

Trip Details

Your 3 cooking courses will be a combination of hands-on and demonstration, and will include:

  • A class on the famed ‘pizzoccheri’ pasta and ‘sciatt’ fritters
  • A class on traditional pasta sauces
  • A dessert class on Valtellina cakes and desserts


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Itinerary

Day One

Depending on season and theme, itinerary details and order of activities may vary.

  • Arrival on your own in Sondrio. (The hotel is a 5-minute walk or short taxi ride from the train station. Or, transfers from Milan can be arranged on request.)
  • Check in and time to relax, or to explore this charming town.
  • This evening enjoy an aperitif with a local sparkling wine during which the updated itinerary for the week will be presented.
  • Three-course dinner in the hotel restaurant, beverages not included.

Day Two

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, a cooking lesson at the hotel. Learn to make such traditional dishes of the Valtellina as pizzoccheri and sciatt. Pizzoccheri are a long flat pasta, similar to tagliatelle, made with 80% buckwheat flour and traditionally prepared with greens such as Swiss Chard, cubed potatoes, and local cheeses (the Valtellina Casera cheese and Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano), and dressed with garlic and sage. Sciatt in the Valtellina dialect means “toad,” but here refers to crispy fritters stuffed with cheese and served on a bed of chicory.
  • Enjoy a lunch based on your efforts, wine included.
  • This afternoon, a visit to a producer of the famed Italian Bresaola (air-dried, salted beef originating in northern Lombardy).
  • Afterwards, enjoy a guided tour to an old family distillery with tasting of grappa and local products. (Please note this visit can also happen other days during the week, depending on availability.)
  • Evening and dinner on your own.

Day Three

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • In the morning a visit to a local vineyard where you will tour the cellar and have a wine tasting.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, a professional sommelier will give a course on wine parings and the right glass to use with different wines.
  • Dinner on your own.

Day Four

  • Breakfast in the hotel.
  • Today enjoy an excursion on the Bernina “Red Train” to Swiss St. Moritz. (This excursion is organized on Sundays only, as the hotel restaurant is closed today). The train ride (which takes around 2 hours 20 minutes) is truly spectacular. The only railway line that goes through the Alps in the open (and not through tunnels), the train reaches an elevation of over 1800 meters and faces the sheer mountainsides of the Alps.
  • Having arrived in Swiss St. Moritz, you can explore this deluxe resort town and its many attractions before taking the train back to Sondrio.
  • Evening and dinner on your own.

Day Five

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, your second cooking lesson, focusing on traditional Italian sauces (ragù, amatriciana, fresh tomato sauce, etc.). Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • This afternoon, travel the 12 miles to Morbegno to visit the renowned Ciapponi shop, where you will learn about typical Valtellina cheeses such as Bitto and Casera.
  • Dinner tonight at the restaurant of the hotel, beverages not included.

Day Six

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, your final cooking lesson on Valtellina cookies and cakes. Taste your creations after the class.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • This afternoon, a professional sommelier will teach you about wine combinations.
  • Farewell dinner tonight in the hotel’s restaurant, beverages not included.

Day Seven

  • Breakfast and departure on your own (or transfers can be arranged on request).

Day One

Depending on season and theme, itinerary details and order of activities may vary.

  • Arrival on your own in Sondrio. (The hotel is a 5-minute walk or short taxi ride from the train station. Or, transfers from Milan can be arranged on request.)
  • Check in and time to relax, or to explore this charming town.
  • This evening enjoy an aperitif with a local sparkling wine during which the updated itinerary for the week will be presented.
  • Three-course dinner in the hotel restaurant, beverages not included.

Day Two

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, a cooking lesson at the hotel. Learn to make such traditional dishes of the Valtellina as pizzoccheri and sciatt. Pizzoccheri are a long flat pasta, similar to tagliatelle, made with 80% buckwheat flour and traditionally prepared with greens such as Swiss Chard, cubed potatoes, and local cheeses (the Valtellina Casera cheese and Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano), and dressed with garlic and sage. Sciatt in the Valtellina dialect means “toad,” but here refers to crispy fritters stuffed with cheese and served on a bed of chicory.
  • Enjoy a lunch based on your efforts, wine included.
  • This afternoon, a visit to a producer of the famed Italian Bresaola (air-dried, salted beef originating in northern Lombardy).
  • Afterwards, enjoy a guided tour to an old family distillery with tasting of grappa and local products. (Please note this visit can also happen other days during the week, depending on availability.)
  • Evening and dinner on your own.

Day Three

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • In the morning a visit to a local vineyard where you will tour the cellar and have a wine tasting.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • In the afternoon, a professional sommelier will give a course on wine parings and the right glass to use with different wines.
  • Dinner on your own.

Day Four

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • This morning, your second cooking lesson, focusing on traditional Italian sauces (ragù, amatriciana, fresh tomato sauce, etc.). Lunch to follow based on your efforts.
  • This afternoon, travel the 12 miles to Morbegno to visit the renowned Ciapponi shop, where you will learn about typical Valtellina cheeses such as Bitto and Casera.
  • Dinner tonight at the restaurant of the hotel, beverages not included.

Day Five

  • Breakfast and departure on your own (or transfers can be arranged on request).

Trip Details

Included in the 6-Night Trip

Accommodations

6 nights accommodation at Grand Hotel della Posta in standard double room

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 lunches (local wine included)
  • 3 dinners (beverages not included)

Classes & Instructors

Your 3 cooking courses will be a combination of hands-on and demonstration, and will include:

  • A class on the famed ‘pizzoccheri’ pasta and ‘sciatt’ fritters
  • A class on traditional pasta sauces
  • A dessert class on Valtellina cakes and desserts

Excursions

  • Visit of a Bresaola producer, with tasting
  • Visit of a grappa distillery, with tasting
  • Local vineyard tour with tasting
  • Train excursion to St. Moritz on the ‘Red Train’
  • Visit of the Ciapponi shop to learn about Valtellina cheeses

Transfer Details

  • Transfers are not included, but the hotel is across the piazza from the train station, a short, 5-minute walk. (Or, transfers can be arranged from Milan at an additional cost.)

Miscellaneous

  • Tickets for the Bernina Red Train to St. Moritz (Organized on Sundays only)
  • Wine pairing lesson at the hotel
  • Unlimited access to the wellness centre Fonte della Posta for the entire stay

Included in the 4-Night Trip

Accommodations

4 nights accommodation at Grand Hotel della Posta in standard double room

Food & Beverages

  • Daily breakfast
  • 2 lunches (local wine included)
  • 2 dinners (beverages not included)

Classes & Instructors

Your 2 cooking courses will be a combination of hands-on and demonstration, and will include:

  • A class at the Accademia del Pizzocchero, dedicated to regional cuisine, including the famed ‘pizzoccheri’ pasta and ‘sciatt’ fritters
  • A class on traditional pasta sauces

Excursions

  • Visit of a Bresaola producer, with tasting
  • Visit of a grappa distillery, with tasting
  • Local vineyard tour with tasting
  • Visit of the Ciapponi shop to learn about Valtellina cheeses

Transfer Details

  • Transfers are not included, but the hotel is across the piazza from the train station, a short, 5-minute walk. (Or, transfers can be arranged from Milan at an additional cost.)

Miscellaneous

  • Tickets for the Bernina Red Train to St. Moritz (Organized on Sundays only)
  • Wine pairing lesson at the hotel
  • Unlimited access to the wellness centre Fonte della Posta for the entire stay

Accommodation Information

The 4* Grand Hotel della Posta has been welcoming guests to the region since 1863. Recently restored with great attention to detail and maintaining the building’s historical importance and unique charm, the hotel now offers all the modern comforts, including spacious rooms, an elegant restaurant and bar, an exercise room and a relaxing spa. The large rooms include flat screen TVs, telephones, wi-fi access, mini bar and safe in addition to modern bathrooms in marble. Wander through the halls and admire the vaulted ceilings, frescoed walls, and period furniture and you will feel like you are staying with a rich noble family in the heart of Lombardy’s mountains.

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Pricing & Tour Dates

Looking for tour date information?


Year-Round Pricing:

6-night Program
US$2700 per person based on double occupancy

    30% deposit due to confirm booking.
    Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

    Please inquire for single occupancy pricing and upgrade costs.


    Tour Dates

    Available the following dates for a minimum of 2 people. Other start dates also possible, please inquire.

    2019
    January 20-26
    January 27-February 2
    February 3-9
    February 10-16
    February 17-23
    February 24-March 2
    March 3-9
    March 10-16
    March 17-23
    March 24-30
    March 31-April 6
    April 7-13
    April 14-20
    April 21-27
    April 28-May 4
    May 5-11
    May 12-18
    May 19-25
    May 26-June 1
    June 2-8
    June 9-15
    June 16-22
    June 23-29
    June 30-July 6
    July 7-13
    July 14-20
    July 21-27
    July 28-August 3
    August 4-10
    August 11-17
    August 18-24
    August 25-31
    September 1-7
    September 8-14
    September 15-21
    September 22-28
    September 29-October 5
    October 6-12
    October 13-19
    October 20-26
    October 27-November 2
    November 3-9
    November 10-16
    November 17-23
    November 24-30
    December 1-7
    December 8-14
    December 15-21
    December 22-28

    Looking for tour date information?


    Year-Round Pricing:

    4-night Program
    US$1750 per person based on double occupancy

      30% deposit due to confirm booking.
      Balance payment due 60 days prior to tour start date. Questions? Please contact us!

      Please inquire for single occupancy pricing or upgrade costs.


      Tour Dates

      Available the following dates for a minimum of 2 people. Other start dates also possible, please inquire.

      2019
      January 20-24
      January 27-31
      February 3-7
      February 10-14
      February 17-21
      February 24-28
      March 3-7
      March 10-14
      March 17-21
      March 24-28
      March 31-April 4
      April 7-11
      April 14-18
      April 21-25
      April 28-May 2
      May 5-9
      May 12-16
      May 19-23
      May 26-30
      June 2-6
      June 9-13
      June 16-20
      June 23-27
      June 30-July 4
      July 7-11
      July 14-18
      July 21-25
      July 28-August 1
      August 4-8
      August 11-15
      August 18-22
      August 25-29
      September 1-5
      September 8-12
      September 15-19
      September 22-26
      September 29-October 3
      October 6-10
      October 13-17
      October 20-24
      October 27-31
      November 3-7
      November 10-14
      November 17-21
      November 24-28
      December 1-5
      December 8-12
      December 15-19
      December 22-26

      Pricing & Dates

      Class Pricing

      Reviews

      We gave this trip 4 stars
      Adele & Sarah
      New York
      Trip taken June 2013
      I cannot say that our cooking vacation did not meet our expectations but in some ways that is true. We had received in the mail from you, a program of our week in Sondrio. Upon our arrival the concierge at the hotel, which by the way, was fabulous, handed us their program. There were a few changes, some of which were not to our liking. First of all they had us booked on the Red Train to St. Moritz on a Sunday when everything would be closed. That was rearranged and worked out okay but it took some doing and the Manager of the Hotel to arrange it. Your program also had us at a "farewell dinner" on Sunday evening, our last night in Sondrio. Apparently you did not have close contact with the hotel because the kitchen is closed on Sunday. I do think it behooves you to be totally knowledgeable about the hotel and its programs before you arrange a calendar for your guests. That being said, I want to commend the staff of the hotel, all of whom went out of their way to make sure we had a good time. Also the sommelier, Cristina, was superb and Gigi, our guide, was also excellent. All in all we had a great time but it was not exactly what we expected. We thought it would more of a "cooking course" and instead we were in the hotel kitchen with the chef, the sous chef and his assistant and that was great fun. I think we did learn something and I for one will try to duplicate one of the recipes we learned to make. I hope this satisfies you and that in the future you will be sure you have all the details down pat before you send daily programs to participants. Adele W., NY _Note from The International Kitchen: The hotel provided a complimentary trip to Lake Como._
      I gave this trip 5 stars
      Susan
      Texas
      Trip taken October 2011
      I loved the town of Sondrio. I had been all over Italy except for the northern portion so that was my reason for choosing the Valtellina Valley class. The town was small enough to be charming but not so small that there wasn't enough to do. Although many of our dinners were at the hotel, we found some wonderful restaurants right off of the square where our hotel was situated. Our hotel, the Grand Hotel Della Posta was amazing! It was beautifully decorated and by the end of the week we knew everyone there on a first name basis. The breakfast room in the basement level was amazing. It looks like a stone grotto. We were delighted when we walked in for the first time for breakfast. We never made it to the spa (also on that level) but it looked first-rate. After our cooking class, we would go outside to the outdoor dining are in the garden and have a glass of prosecco or two while we waited to be served what we had just learned to prepare.This was served with a nice bottle of wine as well.
      We gave this trip 5 stars
      Sutton & Anne
      California
      We were treated like VIP family. The hotel was exceptional, the excursions were very special and the service was memorable. Every person we encountered was professional, personal, and polite. The food took Italian cuisine to a whole new level. The classes were customized to our preferences. This experience was a once in a lifetime. Every meal at the hotel was phenominal. This partner went far beyond our expectations in every facet of the vacation.