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Develop your culinary skills in one of the most beautiful settings in Italy. You will be confronted with each aspect of Italian cooking and will learn to make creative choices depending on the season and the availability of the best ingredients at the time of your course. You will witness the importance of local purveyor relationships, experience shopping at specialty markets, and develop the general outlay of the menu upon the purchases made. You will also have ample time to explore the surroundings and enjoy the comforts of the wonderful villa where you will be staying.
Montecastelli is a restored fortress perched high atop a hillside overlooking the Elsa River Valley. The villa has been immaculately renovated to offer its visitors an authentic luxury experience in Tuscany centered on food and wine. Located one-hour south of Florence, the villa is surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and nature reserves at its base. Montecastelli is a full size working organic farm, that produces extra virgin olive oil, as well as a unique and vast assortment of garden produce and herbs which will be used in the cooking class throughout the week. The pool offers an oasis for relaxation and views over the beautiful landscapes that surround the villa.
Montecastelli offers multiple room options of varying sizes. Each is filled with beautiful antiques, luxurious linens and all are warm and charming. The villa has many shared sitting areas both inside and out, a library filled with books about Italy, food and wine, as well as a professional chef’s kitchen, where your cooking classes will take place.
Each day you will learn how to prepare one course of a four-course menu. The last day you will practice what you have learned by cooking a full meal.
Check in and free day for you own activities.
Antipasti, cold and warm.
Secondo Piatto or main course based on fish and meat.
You will cook the whole menu for a fellow student and enjoy the meal prepared for you in exchange.
Free day for you own activities and check out.
This vacation will take place in Siena, Italy, in the region of Tuscany. The region is known for the production of high-quality wines, cheeses, and olive oil.
In most seasons you can buy olive oil, which is made right at their farm, enjoy fresh organic produce from the garden, sample Montecastelli's homemade prosciutto and salumi or gather fresh eggs from their hens. You can book a privately catered dinner that will be prepared using farm fresh ingredients, or schedule a pizza night cooking outdoors in the 1000-year-old pizza oven. You will be able to try delicious gourmet food and world class wines and also eat at local trattorias with traditional food.
You will find multiple activities taking place close to the villa. You can go to a crystal glass show in Colle Val d'Elsa; visit the multiple museums, antique churches, and the Duomo; book a wine tour or an olive oil tasting; go truffle hunting; swim; learn how to make cheese; bike; hike; or even take a trip in a hot air balloon.
The closest airports are Leonardo da Vinci - Fiumicino Airport (FCO), Pisa International Airport (PSA), or Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR).