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Italy Cooking Vacation

Join Julie for a cooking tour in a foodie paradise, Tuscany, Italy. Tuscany in the fall is special, marking the end of the grape harvest and the beginning of the olive harvest. Nowhere else in Italy that offers the spectacular scenery and incredible food and wines in such a compact area. You will learn culinary techniques to cook delicious meals with confidence and will leave inspired with lots of new ideas and techniques.

Meet the instructors

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  • Hands-on cooking classes
  • Wine education and tastings
  • Visit to a local olive oil producer
  • Special dinner to taste the real bistecca alla Fiorentina
  • Immersion in Tuscan food traditions
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Truffles hunting
  • Daily meals


7 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: English
The maximum participants in the group is 10
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During the trip, you will stay at Terre di Barcio, Tuscany, Italy. The residence has five apartments available for guests. Each with independent entrance, situated on the first floor of the farmstead and in the old dovecote tower. These apartments have been designed for couples or families and all have shady outdoor areas. All are equipped with kitchen and bedroom with en suite bathrooms.

All the apartments are tastefully furnished with pieces originating from Guatemalan antique dealers. The highly colorful fabrics, the hand-painted tiles in the bathrooms and kitchens, and the articles in wrought iron that make these apartments unique have also been created by Guatemalan craftsmen from the city of Antigua. All the apartments have central heating, satellite TV, and in-room safe.

The sitting-room on the ground floor of the Casale has a large fireplace and is completed with a Wi-Fi area.


La Piccionaia

This is a two-floor apartment with an access from the main entrance of the Casale. It consists of a kitchen and dining room with a wood burning fireplace, two bedrooms on the upper floor in the characteristic dovecote tower, and two split level suites. All the bedrooms are complete with bathroom and the suites are equipped with minibars and kettles. The apartment sleeps a total of eight people.


This is an apartment with an access from the large courtyard of the Casale. It consists of an entrance room complete with fireplace, two split level bedrooms with bathrooms ,and a kitchen and dining room. The apartment also boasts a large outdoor pergola equipped with table and chairs. The apartment accommodates four people.

La Rondine

This is a delightful apartment with access via the characteristic bridge. It comprises a bedroom with bathroom, kitchen, and dining room equipped with fireplace, and a shady outdoor area equipped with table and chairs. This apartment sleeps a total of two people.

La Corte

La Corte is an apartment with access via the characteristic bridge, consisting of a spacious kitchen and dining room that separates the two double split level suites. It is also equipped with bathrooms. On the upper level, one of the two suites are two single beds and there is another in the adjacent study. The apartment sleeps a total of six people.

The rooms

There are four rooms available: La Mangiatoia, Il Giogo, La Stalla, and La Fonte. All the rooms are double room with bathroom, satellite TV, minibar, and kettle. If desired, the double bed can be divided into two singles. The La Fonte room is equipped with access and services for the diversely able.


The trip includes an early morning truffle hunt, cooking classes, and visits to wineries. The olive harvest will be in process at this time too. In this tour, you will learn how to evaluate extra virgin olive oil and visit gorgeous hillside towns, producers of artisan foods of the region. In addition, you will be cooking with ingredients gathered from the region and daily trips around the Chianti region.

Truffle hunting

Tuscany in the fall is considered as the most glorious time to visit. Your stay in Tuscany is an opportunity to experience truffles hunting, rare and precious thing with its intoxicating aroma and a hidden treasure at the height of the season. White truffles are the most expensive and sought-after culinary wonders in the world and they can be found in Tuscany. You will go for truffle hunting with a truffle hunter (tartufaio) and his dog and learn the art and secrets to truffle hunting first-hand.

Daily schedule

Friday, November 11, 2016

Arrival in Florence. Meet your driver to be transported via minivan to your Tuscan home for the week, followed by a welcome and introduction to villa, guests, and the program.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

  • Visit a couple slow foods culinary artisans in San Miniato
  • Explore truffle fair followed by light lunch at a slow food butcher
  • Visit to an olive mill
  • Light seasonal dinner at villa based on the cooking class menu (local wines included)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

  • Short hike to the Tuscan hills for those who want to walk for wine tasting
  • Tour and tasting of a small family winery followed by a visit to one of the oldest family butchers in Italy
  • Lunch at a slow food restaurant in Montefioralle
  • Afternoon in Greve to visit a traditional butcher, wine tasting, and shopping
  • Hands-on cooking class with Julie at the villa
  • Light seasonal dinner at villa based on the cooking class menu (local wines included)

Monday, November 14, 2016

  • Morning free to relax or take a walk in the countryside
  • Hands-on cooking class with Julie at the villa
  • Light lunch at villa based on the cooking class menu (local wine included)
  • Wine tasting at local Chianti winery
  • Classic Tuscan Bistecca dinner in a small dining room in the one of the most famous butchers in Italy

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

  • Visit a local goat farm to learn about making artisan goat cheese
  • Lunch at farm
  • Chianti Classico wine tasting
  • Hands-on cooking class with Julie at the villa
  • Fall dinner at villa based on the cooking class menu (local wines included)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

  • Visit Certaldo. Head to a secret location to join a tartufaio (truffle hunter) and his dogs to hunt for rare white truffles in one of the best regions for truffles in Italy. After the truffle hunt, join Giuseppina for a hands-on Tuscan cooking class followed by lunch paired with Tuscan wines
  • Free time to explore Certaldo
  • Hands on cooking class followed by a light dinner at villa (local wines included)
  • If it is raining at the time of the hunt another activity will be substituted

Thursday, November 17, 2016

  • Walking culinary tour of the historical center of Florence. You will visit Mercato Centrale and taste many of the local specialities of Florence such as lampredotto, gelato, cheese, balsamic vinegar, and more
  • Lunch in Florence at an Osteria
  • Free time and check in to hotel
  • Farewell dinner at a restaurant in Florence

Friday, November 18, 2016

  • Breakfast at hotel and check out

Included excursions

Included in this program is truffle hunting, a hike to Tuscan hills, and some visits to wineries.


Julie Logue Riordan
Julie is passionate about teaching cooking to home cooks to serious foodies. She is classically trained by some of the world's most accomplished French master chefs. She has been teaching for more than 25 years and is a Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. After living and working many years abroad in Asia and Africa, she now makes her home in Napa and started the cooking school Cooking with Julie in 2005. In addition to teaching, she leads culinary tours to Europe and works as a private chef.


The cooking tours will be held in Terre di Baccio, Tuscany, Italy. It is situated on a hilltop with spectacular views. It is near the little town of Greve in the heart of Chianti, an area steeped in history, art, culture, and food and wine traditions. It has a 50-acre estate planted with vineyards and olive groves. The vineyard, the olive grove, and the beautifully garden are merged to create a magnificent backdrop to the farmstead, the barn, and the panoramic swimming pool overlooking the Chianti hills.

Nearby places

  • Badia A Passignano, 13 kilometers
  • City center of Greve in Chianti, 2.5 kilometers
  • Florence Airport (FLR), 63 kilometers
  • Montefioralle, 13 kilometers



  • Cooking classes
  • Cycling nearby
  • Golf course nearby
  • Hiking nearby
  • Horse riding / rental nearby
  • Massage
  • Mountain walking / trekking nearby
  • Outdoor swimming pool
  • Sauna
  • Shopping nearby
  • Spa
  • Swimming


  • Balcony
  • Dining area
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Fireplace
  • Garden
  • In-room safe
  • Kitchen
  • Restaurant


  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Tour assistance


During the trip, you will be served daily delicious meals including the local wine.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

  • Cycling
  • Explore surrounding areas
  • Hiking
  • Join local festivals
  • Shopping
  • Trekking
  • Visit local markets
  • Visit museums
  • Wine tasting

Spa treatments

At additional costs, you can book the sauna or choose to relax with Ayurveda massage with perfumed oils.

What's included

  • 1 short hike to Tuscan hills
  • 1 visit to a local goat farm to learn about making artisan goat cheese
  • 1 visit to a local olive oil producer
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Daily cooking class
  • Daily meals
  • Wine education and tastings
  • Truffle huntings

What's not included

  • Additional massage service
  • Airfares
  • Optional activities

How to get there

Driving directions

For those arriving from the North: A1 motorway Firenze Impruneta exit (Via Chiantigiana vecchia).

For those arriving from the South: A1 motorway Firenze Sud exit (Via Chiantigiana nuova).

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Florence Airport (FLR). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Cooking with Julie will pick you up from the airport. The pickup time in Florence will be scheduled in the afternoon of the arrival date generally between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. On departure dates, transfers are scheduled between 6:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. For early and late arrivals or departures, Cooking with Julie will contact a taxi service for an additional fee.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 100% of the total price.
  • The deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 2 days before the arrival date.
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