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8 Days Classic Cooking Vacation in Umbria and Tuscany, Italy

Umbria Cooking Holiday Italy

Premier Cooking Vacation in the verdant hills of Umbria, All Inclusive Tour from the moment you arrive at the designated train station to the moment you are dropped off.

Highlights

  • Visit Tuscan cheese-maker with cheese tasting
  • Wine tasting with a sommelier in a leading Tuscan winery
  • Walking Tour through the open-air market to experience local living
  • Walking Tours through Cortona, Pienza, Montepulciano, Castiglione del Lago, Orvieto, Siena
  • 6 hands-on cooking courses with professional rained chef instructors
  • 7 nights accommodation in an authentic Italian inn
  • 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
  • Wine and water included

Skill level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


6 days with instruction in English
Spoken languages: Italian, English
The maximum participants in the group is 15
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Accommodation

Romitorio is a country house surrounded by olive groves and vineyards on the border between Umbria and Tuscany, near Castiglione del Lago, five kilometers from Lake Trasimeno. Its seventeenth-century church, dedicated to Saint Anthony the Abbot, is a testimony to its deep historical roots. Maintained by a lovely Italian family it offers a quiet setting to experience Italian living. %Locanda Poggioleone is a lovely small hotel where you will experience the warm embrace of a family atmosphere: terracotta flooring, exposed roof beams, antique furnishings and quality finishings will make you feel truly at home.

This traditional feel is integrated with the best elements of modernity, from the latest bathroom fittings to minibars, from safes to televisions, from air conditioning to wireless.It lies on the border between Umbria and Tuscany near Castiglione del Lago.%Occasionally we may include alternatives depending on availability. We will advise you at the time of booking.

Cucina Della Terra Cooking Vacation in Umbria Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival

Arrival in Rome. Transfer by train to Chiusi Chianciano station, where you will be greeted and shuttled to the farmhouse. You will have time to relax and explore the property before joining the full group for dinner at a nearby family-run Osteria specializing in traditional Umbrian cooking.

Day 2 - Cortona Tour, Wood-fired Outdoor Grilling Class

Best known as the picturesque hill town in “Under the Tuscan Sun,” Cortona is bustling with small boutiques selling unique artisan leather, textiles, clothing, jewelry, art, and food. After a morning of wandering the streets of Cortona, we will enjoy a relaxing lunch. In the evening, we will light our outdoor wood-fired grill and enjoy our first cooking experience at Cucina Della Terra.

The menu will celebrate Italian grilling traditions, featuring authentic bruschetta (made with olive oil harvested on the property), as well as Umbrian sausages, beefsteak, small game, local vegetable dishes, and, of course, “Dolci.”

Day 3

Pienza Tour, Visit to our outstanding Cheese-maker and Pasta-Making Class

Pienza, a town in the province of Siena and UNESCO World Heritage site, sets the stage for a delightful stroll overlooking the verdant Val d’ Orcia. Postage stamp shops overflow with Italian-made linens, handcrafted ceramics, leather goods, and the famous pecorino cheese of Pienza.

Meet a local artisan who specializes in these outstanding raw milk wheels – as well as ricotta – and deepen your knowledge of the process behind these two unique products. In the evening, we will return to the kitchen at Cucina della Terra where we will learn to hand-make pasta and a lusty wild boar ragu along with ravioli stuffed with our sheep’s milk ricotta topped with a seasonal sauce.

Day 4 - Wine Tasting in Montepulciano, How to Make a Creamy Risotto and the Italian Way to Saute

High in the hills of Tuscany, overlooking the olive groves and vineyards of the Val di Chiana, sits Montepulciano. You’ll discover this historic wine town by first visiting a select group of artisans.

Most notably, our tour will bring us to a top winery for visit to the cellars, vineyards, historical library and finally a tasting encompassing the vineyard's wines: Vin Nobile di Montepulciano, Rosso di Montepulciano and two more of their select labels. In the evening, our cooking class will feature traditional risotto technique, as well as the Italian art of pan-sauteed proteins and vegetables.

Day 5 - Castiglione del Lago Green Market Tour, How to Make Gnocchi and Rustic Roasting Techniques

Wednesday is the open-air market day in Castiglione del Lago, just five minutes from Cucina della Terra. Nothing can adequately express the social atmosphere and the warmth of small-town life as we meander shops overflowing with the renowned salumi, cheeses, balsamics, lentils of castelluccio, the ancient grain farro, beans of Lake Trasimeno, and olive oils.

For those looking for a “deal,” this is the day to buy from the street vendors! If desired, you can visit the Palace of the della Corgna family and walk through the narrow passageway of the fortress to get a better feeling of defense centuries ago. Our afternoon lunch provides a taste of the famous porchetta sandwiches and torta al testo of Umbria. The afternoon allows time for a swim, a walk through the hills, or relaxation before returning to the Cucina for a night of crafting one of Italy’s most beloved foodstuffs and our most sought-after gnocchi dish – gnocchi & mushroom ragu – as well as a master class in the techniques of roasting.

Day 6 - Cultural Tour of Orvieto and Mediterranean Fish Cooking Class

The former papal state of Orvieto sits atop a large butte of volcanic rock called “tufa.” At the base of the town, a necropolis bears the remains of Etruscan tombs, while in the town center, a 175-foot deep well (designed in the 16th century) remains a feat of engineering. At the top of the town lies a glistening Gothic cathedral, built in the 1300s and housing magnificent frescos, mosaics, and stained glass. Those seeking gifts and exquisite craftsmanship will enjoy a wide range of ceramic, olive wood, hand-made woolens, and jewelry shops. We’ll stop for lunch in an authentic trattoria before returning home to prepare a healthful feast of fish and seafood from the Mediterranean.

Day 7 - Fritatta, Italian Salads and Siena Tour with Dinner

For our final full day in Italy, we start in the kitchen, diving into the techniques of Italian salads and egg cookery. Local cereals and grains will find a place on our menu as we enjoy a final well-earned lunch at the property. By late afternoon, we will be on our way to Siena, one of Italy’s most visually-stunning cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In the famed Piazza del Campo, eight streets radiate from the center of the square and invite you to explore the town’s historic and artistic significance. (If you have ever wondered what panforte and Vecchiarelli cookies taste like, this is the city to try them!) Our evening ends with a farewell dinner at an elegant local restaurant in a 13th-century cave.

Day 8 - Early Morning Departure by Train to Rome

A farewell breakfast ends this unique cooking vacation experience. Following breakfast, guests will be transported to Chiusi Chianciano Station

Included excursions

  • Walking tour through Cortona, Pienza, Montepulciano, Castiglione del Lago, Orvieto, Siena
  • Cheese tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Market day tour

Instructors

Gerri Sarnataro
Growing up in Queens, New York, it was easy for Gerri to fall in love with food. Her Italian-born grandfather owned a fine food store, so her family regularly feasted on such farm-to-table foodstuffs as local squab and fresh produce from Long Island. Yet, despite this unusual access to the region’s freshest flavors, Gerri’s original career plans bent towards academia instead of the kitchen. Since 2008, Gerri has split her time between teaching Italian cooking and professional baking at the award-winning Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan and developing immersive culinary tours.

Location

Cucina della Terra is located in the rolling hills of Umbria, Italy. The nearest city is the regional capital of Perugia, and the school is located just five minutes up the road from the town of Castiglione del Lago, a beautifully preserved medieval town on the banks of Lake Trasimeno.

Among the many wonders of this beautifully preserved region, Umbria boasts a legacy as the home of St. Francis of Assisi and successive generations of Papal rule. It is thus home to many significant abbeys and churches, as well as the vinicultural heritage of local religious orders. Gastronomically, the most famed dishes of the region rely heavily on local grains, vegetables, fresh herbs and Umbria’s “liquid gold”; olive oil.

Guests of Cucina della Terra always cook with oil pressed from olives that were harvested right on the property. During the fall and winter, both black and white truffles reach their peak, with numerous local festivals celebrating the coveted foodstuffs. Finally, the region’s exceptional salumi and grilled meats are not to be missed, including spit- or a wood oven-roasted game like rabbit or wild boar.

Food

During this tour, you will experience a variety of dining styles, from trattoria, osteria, ristorante and of course, pizzeria. Our cooking classes are based on teaching the fundamentals to Italian Cuisine. You will learn wood-fired grilling, pasta-making, gnocchi-making, risotto-making, saute technique, roasting techniques, braising techniques, egg cookery, salads and of course desserts.

You'll go home with a recipe packet filled with over 35 recipes that you will be able to recreate in your kitchen.

Our cooking classes include authentic wood fired bruschette, grilled beefsteaks, sausages, ribs, quail, paparadelle with wild boar ragu, sheep milk ravioli with seasonal sauces, roast leg of lamb, roasted cippolini, assorted seasonal vegetables, veal rollatini, turkey rollatini, seasonal risotto (squash, red wine, seafood, pea, zucchini blossom & squash), branzino, clams, mussels, scampi, frittata, farro salad, desserts of all kinds: biscotti, crostata with homemade jam, granita, gelato, limoncello, olive oil cake, lavender scented seasonal fruits, perugina chocolate cake with whipped cream, the most delicious tiramisu .

All meals paired with carefully selected Italian wines to complement the dishes.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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

  • Gluten Free
  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
  • Pescatarian
  • Seafood
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)

In between your daily excursions and cooking classes, there will be time to rest poolside, walk, nap, play ping pong or a game of bocce.

What's included

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 7 lunches
  • 7 dinners. 2 of these dinners are at regional restaurants while the remaining 5 will be enjoyed at the end of our nightly cooking classes
  • 7 nights accommodations in a country inn
  • recipe packets to take home
  • All transportation to and from daily tours on a chartered bus
  • Scheduled ground transportation to and from Chiusi Chianciano station
  • Limited Travel insurance for medical coverage

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses including phone, tips for staff, as well as heating at the property

How to get there

Arrival by train

Guest should arrive at Chiusi Chianciano station. Transfer from and to this railway station is included. Cucina della Terra will pick you up from the station.

Cancellation Policy

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 90 days before arrival.
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