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Join a superb hands-on cooking holiday. Surround yourself with wonderful local chefs, which will guide you through the preparation of a variety of simple but delicious Italian recipes. From panzanella to risotti, as well as a broad variety of dishes, prepare yourself to acknowledge practical cooking tips and some of the chefs culinary secrets. Join this week-long unique experience and embrace delicious Italian organic cuisine!
During the holiday you will stay in a charming, lovely restored villa, surrounded by vineyards and olive groves. From the pool and garden, you will see the towers of San Gimignano, just twenty minutes away. All the rooms are charming, decorated in clean, simple, bright lines and colors. They are high-ceilinged and all have private bathrooms. All look out onto the most Tuscan of views - vineyards and olive groves. Until a few decades ago, this villa belonged to a local noble family and was where farming families would live to work the surrounding fields.
There are beautiful walks to be taken near the villa, where you can observe and photograph some unique Tuscan flora and fauna. Twenty minutes walk away you will find a hamlet and a popular trattoria with very friendly owners. Within a ten minutes drive you will find some of the most beautiful and unspoilt medieval villages in the area. Walking through the shady streets of Certaldo or Barberino Val dElsa, you can imagine what life must have been like in rural Tuscany hundreds of years ago.
The cooking classes will take place in a well-equipped ground floor kitchen. You will generally eat outside, on the terrace, with spectacular views across the neighboring valleys. There is a cozy indoor sitting room for you to relax in, as well as lovely spaces outdoors. You will also find a shady corner to read in the pretty garden, or enjoy the pool with its 360-degree views. The kitchen downstairs is used at breakfast time, but you are free to use it any time you want to prepare a light snack or meal. This is self-catering accommodation (similar to a holiday rental) so there is no daily maid service for your rooms, although there will always be people on hand should you need something.
Organic Tuscany is conveniently located for both Florence (FLR) and Pisa (PSA) airports (50 minutes or one hour and 15 minutes drive, respectively). Courses are run from a lovely farmhouse, which is a few miles outside the medieval town of Certaldo. Certaldo is a little off the usual tour routes; it is a charming historic centre, refreshingly free of tourists and tourist traps. Its claim to fame is that the author of the Decameron, Giovanni Boccaccio, lived and died there. Forty minutes away you will find the unique art towns of Florence and Siena, and half an hour away, the little medieval gem of San Gimignano (whose towers you will see from Organic Tuscanys garden). The hills all around are covered with vines and olive groves and there are great walks to be taken. Horse riding is also a great way to see the surroundings. The countryside is dotted with charming hamlets to explore, as well as farms and vineyards, where you can buy delicious wines.
Indulge in Italian dishes during this holiday. Youll have warm foccaccia straight out of the oven, accompanies grilled organic vegetables, local biodynamic cheeses and crisp salads, all washed down with local biodynamic wine during the welcome dinner.You will be making handmade fresh pasta, 3 seasonal sauces (a meat sauce, an asparagus and ricotta sauce and an artichoke sauce), Sicilian fennel and orange salad and tiramisu in your 1st cooking class.
Try your hands at crostini with roast peppers and with salsa verde, pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan tomato and basil soup), potato and spinach gnocchi, slow cooked beef with vegetables and herbs, artichoke and parmesan salad, custard and fruit tart in the 2nd cooking class. In the 3rd cooking class, youll have an opportunity to learn and make panzanella (Tuscan bread and tomato salad), risotti (for example: artichoke, asparagus, porcini mushrooms), herby turkey cooked in milk, and moist apple cake.
End your cooking adventure by making delectable antipasti (marinated sundried tomatoes, baby onions slow-cooked in balsamic vinegar), vegetable sformati, pollo alla cacciatora (chicken with herbs, wine and olives) and almond biscotti in the last cooking class. Some of the dishes that you will prepare during the holiday are the following:
Organic Tuscany encourages you to visit San Gimignano medieval city, 20 minutes away. You will have the opportunity to explore surroundings on your own, such as the Chianti area, Volterra and other parts of the region. In your free time, you can have a dip in pool, explore beautiful Certaldo and the surrounding countryside, or do some shopping.
It is possible to get to Certaldo by train from Rome or Milan (around 3 hours, changing in Florence). If you will already be in Europe, you may also want to consider taking the train. There are often special offers for Paris-Florence trains.