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7 Days Italian Cooking & Food Vacations in Marche

  • Flavor of Italy, Via Stazzo Quadro, 15b - Roma, Riano, Italy

Italian Cooking Tours

Learn how to cook simple delectable Italian dishes. Learn how to create Italy's several flavorful pasta dishes, popular fish stew, sweet irresistible desserts, their delish antipasti and tasty main dishes. Have fun on the gourmet outing where not only will you use your sense of sight but also your sense of taste. Delight your taste bud on this gastronomical adventure you surely wouldn't want to miss. Join Flavor of Italy now for this wonderful culinary vacation.


  • Hands-on cooking classes
  • Visit the fish and vegetables markets
  • Wine tour with tasting of various wines
  • Visit producers of olive oil, lavender jams, and cured meats
  • Visit Val Marecchia and taste Formaggio di Fossa
  • Receive a cooking course certificate
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 5 days with instruction
  • Italian, English
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Portonovo di Ancona is home to an elegant four-star ocean-front hotel which dates back to 1811 when Napoleon Bonaparte ordered construction of an impressive fort to enable him to track the movement of ships in the Adriatic). Designs by Leonardo da Vinci and Francesco de Giorgio Martini, along with classic French military designs, were adapted to the site. Stones from the venerable Santa Maria di Portonovo Monastery enhanced the forts stately presence. Today, the invasion comes in the form of nature lovers, history buffs and luxury seekers. Since 1969, when the fort was converted into a hotel, guests have enjoyed the splendor of the well-appointed rooms and the gorgeous grounds.

Lazio is fast becoming the new Tuscany. Discover the culinary highlights of this vastly underrated region with Flavor of Italy in a gourmet kitchen. You start off with a fabulous market tour, then you will head into the kitchen. Cooking classes are completely hands-on. During each class, you will prepare many dishes including homemade pastas, risottos, gnocchi, fish and meat dishes, wonderful vegetables, and mouth watering desserts. You will decide on what to cook based on what's fresh in the market, along with any input you've given Flavour of Italy on your wish list of what you would like to learn.

You will use only the best, fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. During the week, you will visit a local wine producer for a wine tasting, youll visit the fish and vegetable markets in a neighboring Adriatic coastal town, and visit a cheese producer in the hills surrounding Atri. On one evening, you will dine in the Trattoria Alla Corte, in the historic center of Atri. This charming restaurant location was originally a convent and dates back to the 14th century. Seasonal gastronomical tours will include several of the following:

A half-day outing to Ancona with lunch and a half-day outing to Montegranaro shoe outlets with lunch.

A visit to Talemmo, a small town in the Val Marecchia, where Formaggio di Fossa is produced. This strong-bodied cheese is aged in limestone caves for months to achieve its unusual flavor.

A visit to the town of Acqualagna where you will observe specially trained hunting dogs as they search for the regions much-prized white truffle. Of course, youll get to taste this rare delicacy.

A winery tour, where youll sample some of the finest wines made in Italy today, including the Rosso Conero and the pride of Le Marche, the white Verdicchio, made with the grape of the same name.

Recipe booklet and commemorative hand-painted Vietri ceramic plate will be given to all participants at the end of this culinary tour.

Tours to the regions well-known producers of olive oil, lavender jams, and cured meats.

Cathedrals, castles and, ancient fortresses, bustling cities, and idyllic resorts provide the perfect complement to a landscape bursting with flora and fauna, rugged gorges, underground caverns, serene mountain lanes and, of course, picturesque views of the shimmering sea. Yet, for all its allure Le Marche remains largely undiscovered, and unspoiled, by international tourism.

For the traveller in search of an authentic flavor of Italy, Le Marche offers an increasingly rare treat. Located just 12 kilometers (9 miles) south of Le Marches energetic capital city of Ancona, Portonovo might as well be in another world. This charming seaside village on Italys Conero Riviera rests on one of the many secluded inlets, some reachable only by boat, where the limestone cliffs of Monte Conero plunge into the sea.

Day 1: Arrival, welcome dinner

Group transfer from Ancona to Portonovo.

Welcome dinner at the resort.

Chef Paolo will outline the culinary program he has designed for you this week.

Day 2: Cooking class, free time

Your culinary adventure begins this morning with an introduction to pasta.

Youll learn to prepare first-course pasta dishes such as Vincigrassi, Le Marches own version of homemade lasagna.

After lunch, a bus will be available to take you into the historic center of Ancona.

You may wish to visit the Palazzo degli Anziani, built in 1270; the Anfiteatro Romano, which dates from the first century; or numerous historic churches, including San Francesco alle Scale.

Day 3: Excursion, cooking class, free time

You will start off by checking out the catch of the day in Anconas fish market.

You will shop for all the ingredients necessary to make one of the regions most famous, and flavorful, culinary specialties: Brodetto allAnconetana.

Chef Paolo will teach you how to make his own delectable version of this popular fish stew.

This afternoon you might want to take a leisurely walk to visit the early Romanesque Church of Santa Maria di Portonovo, which dates to the year 1034.

The de Bosis Tower is also well worth a visit or you might prefer instead to relax by the pool or walk along the lovely beach.

Day 4: Cooking class, wine tour, wine tasting

You'll be swept up in Italys true Dolce Vita today, as your morning cooking class centers on the art of dessert.

You might learn to make Salamino di Ficchi, a delicious fig torte, or Frustingo, one of those true Italian treats whose ingredients and name can vary, depending on who is doing the cooking. Chef, of course, has created his own version.

After lunch, you will set out for a nearby vineyard and winery.

You'll see where the award-winning Verdicchio wine is produced, and sample this glorious nectar, a perfect accompaniment to the regional fish recipes.

You may just be tempted to buy some wine to share with your friends back home.

Day 5: Cooking class, cheese or olive oil tour

Today you will concentrate on the main course.

You might prepare Stoccafisso allAnconetana, another of Anconas fish delicacies, or Quaglie al Cognac, quails in cognac sauce.

Perhaps the chef will want you to experiment with one of his recipes for pork, such as roasted suckling pig marinated in a delicate blend of wild herbs.

The afternoons highlight is a gourmet outing to a local producer of olive oil or formaggio di fossa cheese, depending on the season of your visit.

Day 6: Excursion, cooking class

For a change of pace, this morning, you will visit the town of Montegranaro in the heart of Italys largest shoe-manufacturing paradise.

Youll have time to shop for the most fashionable Made in Italy leather shoes and boots.

Later, you will stop for lunch in a local restaurant, and sample more of Le Marches singular gastronomical specialties.

This afternoon, your last cooking class will focus on the essential beginning to any complete Italian meal: antipasti.

Youll learn how to prepare an assortment of Portonovos delectable seafood appetizers, such as raguse (snails cooked in a wild fennel and tomato sauce), crocetti, bombetti, moscioli (sea mussels), clams, and even wild oysters.

Day 7: Departure

Following a leisurely breakfast in the hotel, the group will transfer to the Ancona train station.

Le Marches sublime cuisine features recipes that have been handed down for generations and adapted by todays finest chefs. Brodetto allAnconetana, a rich stew from Ancona that traditionally features 13, or more, different varieties of local fish, is one such recipe. Cioncioni, a hearty pasta of wheat and fava-bean flours served with a delectable white fish sauce, and Olive Ascolane, the divine stuffed olives from Ascoli Piceno, also imbue the flavor of the coast.

  • 2 dinners
  • 4 lunches
  • 5 hands-on cooking classes
  • Commemorative hand-painted Vietri ceramic plate
  • Course certificate
  • Daily breakfast
  • Recipe booklet
  • Round-trip transportation to train stations

Arrival by train

The nearest train stations to the location are Portonovo and Ancona train station. Flavor of Italy will pick you up from the train station. The puck-up is included in the price.


  • Review by a traveler from Canada

    "I would highly recommend Flavor of Italy Cooking School. The setting was incredible. Wendy has a beautiful villa with a professional kitchen! My husband and I enjoyed it immensely. Wendy is very funny, friendly, enthusiastic and enjoys teaching us her techniques. What a great way to celebrate my birthday!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Canada

    "My family and I were in Roma for 3 days before going on a cruise. We found Wendy, the chef, on Trip Advisor. We took a chance and it turned out to be great. We cooked everything from scratch. There were 7 courses to be made and they change every time that you go. This was the highlight of my trip. She was very educational and fun. After you made and cooked the food, you get to eat it. How fun, right? After you are done eating you can go into the swimming pool. They have breathtaking views and a very nice property. I highly recommend this. It is a must-do!!!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Barbara

    "One of the best highlights of my dream vacation was meeting the beautiful hostess and elegant chef extraordinaire Wendy Holloway to enjoy a day long cooking class with! Everything started that morning with meeting Wendy in town.Then on to visit a local bakery (one in which I thought I had died and gone to heaven too!), they not only offered coffee/espresso but also gelato, savory pastries as well as a plethora of fine delicious Italian desserts, really I did not know where to look first!From there we went around the corner to the local marketplace that offered every type of seasonal produce your heart could desire, wonderful local handcrafted cheeses (local buffalo mozzarella) which had been made only 24 hours earlier which I crave to this day! Beautiful fresh beef, pork, chicken, rabbit, and seafood.Then on to Wendys beautiful countryside home in which she has the best equipped kitchen you could dream of. A chefs dream (certainly mine). Wendy is truly a professional, when you arrive everything is ready for you to jump right in and start cooking.Wendy takes you through the steps and she will work to your skill level. She lets you be involved in every step of the cooking process and as hands on as you would like to be. You will not walk away this day hungry at all.Even though I am a trained chef, my dream had always been to go to Italy and take a cooking class to learn about the local regional foods and Wendy was just the perfect person with all the passion to share and that truly fulfilled my longtime dream.Wendy has such great passion for everything fresh, local and sustainable and it shows in the wonderful meal you will produce spending the best day of your visit!So if you are ever in Rome Italy all I can say is you have to meet Wendy and spend the day cooking with her-believe me you will have no regrets. You will certainly have a feast to remember!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Theresa from United States

    "My daughter (age 11) and I booked a one-day cooking class with friends who unfortunately were unable to participate at the last minute. Our Host Wendy adjusted quickly to the size of our group and pared down the portion sizes.She was extremely nice and very knowledgeable which helped to make us feel right at home and not participating in a "cooking class". We started in the local market picking up our ingredients and then headed to Wendy's beautiful home in the countryside!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited