7 Days Tuscan Women Cook Cooking Holidays in Italy

  • La Chiusa Hotel, via della Madonnina, 88, Montefollonico SI, Italy

Overview

Cooking Vacations in Tuscany, Italy

Indulge yourself in the Tuscan lifestyle and discover the regions passion for food and wine. The best cooks in all of Tuscany, the local women, teach our classes. Theyll share regional techniques, ingredients, and family recipes that have been passed down over the centuries.

Highlights

  • 4 cooking classes, market visit
  • 2 wine tastings, cheese tour, cheese tasting
  • Excursions to Florence and Cortona
  • Restaurant trips, meals with wines
  • 6 nights luxury accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • 4 days with instruction
  • Italian, English
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La Chiusa Hotel, Tuscany, Italy

Your accommodation is an elegantly restored farm house and olive oil mill. La Chiusas luxurious accommodations and award-winning restaurant have been critically acclaimed for decades, and travelers from all over the world come to Montefollonico just to stay in this enchanting place.

Youll find every part of La Chiusa tastefully decorated with Tuscan antiques, and every taste of it paying homage to the rich farmlands which surround it. Each of the 15 rooms is unique, featuring architectural elements from the original structure - exposed brick walls, millstones from the olive press, wood-beamed ceilings, and fireplaces.

Thats not to say that you wont also feel very pampered here - rooms have deep soaking tubs, many with Jacuzzis. Everyone you meet at La Chiusa, beginning with Dania and Umberto, warmly welcomes you into the family, delivering superior custom service. Not surprisingly, this place has many return visitors.

Michelin star restaurant

The restaurant presents an airy, gracious setting, with white-table-clothed-draped tables adorned with wildflowers. Dania Masotti is the shining star here, a recipient of a Michelin star for her cooking. Shell be one of your cooking teachers and is also a most memorable hostess.

Using produce from La Chiusas gardens and orchards, along with food from local producers, Dania cooks Montefollonicos classic peasant dishes in elegant renditions that dont lose any of their soulful quality in the process. Most outstanding is her homemade pappardelle with ragu - silky pasta with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce.

Guests enjoy the restaurants old world style. Sorbets are served between courses. Small ottomans are placed next to womens chairs so they have a place to perch their purses. The wine cellar offerings range from top local picks (Vino Nobile, Brunello di Montalcino), to world renowned vintages.

Day 1, Sunday - Welcome to your new Tuscan home

  • Arrival.
  • Check in at the historic La Chiusa hotel in the medieval walled village of Montefollonico.
  • Share antipasti and a glass of Prosecco together before the first dinner tonight at a charming local restaurant. Make a toast to new friends and new flavors.
  • The chef will prepare a delicious Tuscan meal for us to begin our week together.
  • Let the delicious journey begin.

Day 2, Monday - Ready, set, Mangiamo!

  • Its time to get cooking! Your adventure begins in la cucina with Dania Mazotti, the world-famous chef at the Michelin-starred La Chiusa restaurant in the village. Chef Mazotti teaches you essential foundational Tuscan techniques as she prepares chicken alla contadina, white ravioli stuffed with farm-fresh ricotta, Pappardelle Dania, and caramel gelato with strawberry flamb.
  • After this extraordinary lunch, you'll wind through the historic medieval hilltop village of Pienza to peruse the galleries of many of the local artisans.
  • Tonight you'll dine at the internationally acclaimed Osteria La Porta in Montichiello, which was recently profiled in the New York Times. Wine pairings from Montalcino will be featured with your sumptuous meal. Mangiamo!

Day 3, Tuesday - Pici-licious pasta and More

  • Join Tuscan Women Cook for a cappuccino in the village of Montefollonico before this mornings cooking class at 13 Gobbi. Simonetta, Ima, and Sabrina will teach us today. Cooking class this morning features hand-rolled pici, the delicious eggless pasta that originated in our area of Tuscany. You will also prepare aglione (garlic and tomato) sauce, pollo diavalo, savory grilled fresh vegetables topped with local extra virgin olive oil, and crostata suisina.
  • This afternoon you visit the medieval hill town of Montepulciano where the famous Vino Nobile wine is produced.
  • Dinner will be at the renowned Ristorante Walter Redaelli.

Day 4, Wednesday - Footloose in Siena

  • You depart early for Siena today.
  • It is Market Day in Siena - the largest weekly market in Tuscany. You will have a chance to taste and purchase regional gourmet items, aged balsamic vinegar and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  • You have a professional guide today who will take you sightseeing and shopping in Tuscany's most elegant city.
  • Lunch today will be at one of Siena's highest regarded Osterias.
  • Feel free to take off and enjoy the sights and shops of Siena or let our professional guide escort you.
  • You will enjoy an early dinner tonight since you have another full day tomorrow.

Day 5, Thursday - The authentic classic dishes and wines

  • You'll start our day with a delicious cappuccino at the Bar Sport in our village.
  • This morning Isa is your outstanding nonna della cucina. This could be the favorite meal of the entire week, but most of our guests say that same phrase every day. Parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant Parmesan), ribolita (Tuscan vegetable, bean and bread soup), roast loin of pork, potato smorfato, cantucci (biscotti) and panna cotta. Squisito! (Yummy!)
  • Later in the day, you will join local wine master, Vittorio Innocenti, for a wine tasting in his 750-year-old cantina. Vittorio is famous for his Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and his award-winning Vin Santo.
  • Dinner tonight is at another of our wonderful restaurants in Montefollonico, La Botte Piena (the full barrel). The owners are affiliated with the Slow Food movement and will give you an incredible Tuscan family style dinner with wines.

Day 6, Friday - Making memories with the Bernadinis

  • Three generations of a Tuscan family will lead your class today at the Bernadini family home and agriturismo called Belaggagio. Grandmother Ada, daughter Antonella and granddaughter Gloria were the very first women cooks in 2000.
  • You will make pizza in an ages-old wood-burning oven. Additionally, stuffed fried zucchini flowers, the best ever pasta al forno (lasagne) and tiramis; youll be highlighted today.
  • After a nice pausa, we will have time for one more wine tasting with one of the young Super Tuscan vintners, Flavio Andreucci of Tenimenti Adreucci Winery, who was recently honored at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City for his outstanding wines.
  • Your final dinner together is at the Michelin-starred La Chiusa restaurant. You will enjoy a seven-course degustazine dinner with outstanding Tuscan wines, including the world-famous Brunello di Montalcino.

Day 7, Saturday - Ciao! Ci vediamo qui presto!

  • Sleep this morning.
  • Enjoy another delicious leisurely breakfast and depart at your pleasure this morning.

La Chiusa is ideally situated for glorious views of the Chiana Valley - rolling hills covered with olive trees and vineyards, and the ivory-colored hilltop town of Montepulciano in the distance. You can have breakfast on the terrace, enjoying bread thats been freshly baked in La Chiusas wood-burning oven, slathered with jam made from the propertys fig trees. A breeze may blow through, carrying with it the scent of lavender from the herb garden. In the evenings, the sunsets over La Chiusas panorama will dazzle you. Here is a country retreat that calms, inspires, and lifts your spirits.

At both lunch and dinner, you'll dine in a variety of Tuscanys finest restaurants, humble local osterie, and the private homes on Tuscan farms. You will dine at La Chiusa in our village of Montefollonico and sample the lamb with rosemary oil or duck with fennel, or both if you're so inclined. Conde Nast called this Michelin-starred restaurant the best country inn in Italy.

You'll want to take advantage of local markets, festivals or sagre, and flea markets. Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to visit the Palio in Siena, Tuscanys best antiques market in Arezzos Piazza Grande, the donkey races in Torrita di Siena, the olive oil festival in San Quirico dOrcia, or even experience first had the picking and crushing of the seasons grape, what Tuscans call Vendmmia.

You are invited to explore the surrounding area and make the program as structured or unstructured as you wish. There will be plenty of free time to explore the area on your own and in small groups. Outings often include day trips to any of the wealth of local towns or cities within striking distance by car.

Be prepared to rejoice in the scenery and rejuvenate your soul. Everyone loves Tuscany as you simply become one with all the elements. Enjoy the quiet days and cool nights. Relax by the swimming pool. Come here to cycle, trek, or soar in a hot-air balloon.

  • 6 nights accommodation at La Chiusa in Montefollonico on double occupancy
  • All meals including wine
  • Cooking classes
  • Sightseeing
  • Transportation during the week for all activities
  • Visits to local markets and historical towns
  • Winery visits and tastings
  • Airfare and ground transportation to and from Montefollonico are not included.
For information about the booking conditions, please send Tuscan Women Cook an inquiry.

Testimonials

  • Review by Susan S

    "As a single woman, it is difficult to plan a trip to Europe and not feel like a "third wheel". I do not like tours, so because of my love for cooking, I thought I would give this a try. I took the 1-week class. I had the best vacation ever. Bill and Patty make everyone feel welcome. The diversity of the group makes for interesting company. Was it just this group or does it always happen? I think, by reading the reviews of others, this is the norm. Learn great cooking skills. Enjoyed great meals with interesting people. And the setting... Well it is like out of a movie. Beautiful Tuscany. I can't wait to go back. Treat yourself to a week of Tuscan Women Cook. You won't regret it, and will never forget it."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Connecticut, USA

    "We attended the week-long program in June of 2014. (The site only has drop down dates back a year) Being independent travelers, we were apprehensive about a week in close proximity with a group of people we didn't know. We were so apprehensive that we took two years to actually book. We were so glad we did! Yes, it is pricey, but worth it. Save your pennies and experience this beautiful location with locals. In addition to cooking with local women the excursions are fun, wine tastings, cheese tasting and touring other villages all compliment the cooking and eating aspects of the program. Since it is a group, it would even be appropriate for a single traveler. We had a woman traveling alone and Bill was sure to make sure she was comfortable and having a good time. Bill takes the time to "study" the participants prior to arrival and on the first night at the welcome reception, you immediately feel like you matter. These personal touches made the week fabulous."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Jos W from Greater Perth, Australia

    "It has been 2 months since my trip to the most amazing time of my life and meeting a great bunch of people! Tuscan Women Cook classes were so much fun, food and wine! This is due to the amazing hosts Shelby Sutherland and her team, Rhonda, Denise, and Rambo, and the delightful La Chiusa master chef Dania and our translator, Christina. Our cooking classes were dispersed with trips to local restaurants, vineyards, cheese making and the villages surrounding Montefollonico which not only have great shopping but packed with historical interest."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Milagro from Nuevo Mexico

    "This truly was the trip of a lifetime! Our hosts: Shelby, Rhonda, Denise, and Rambo could not have done a better job of filling in for Bill and Patty! They brought the feel and beauty of Tuscany to life. The area women cooks, who had the patience and hospitality to allow us to invade their kitchens and attempt to make pasta was memorable, to say the least. I have come home with many fantastic memories and new friends that I'm sure will be with me for a very long time. I look forward to returning and getting another "Tuscan Women Cook" plate for my kitchen."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Robert C

    "Each class provided new and interesting recipes. We had the opportunity to see detailed techniques and leave with recipes, and hands-on learning which can be repeated at home. Great chefs and several teaching assistants. We made several new friends and would highly recommend this experience."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Chad from Montana

    "Bill and Patty do the whole thing right. From the moment you arrive until you leave, you are family! I love them both. My wife and I have gone twice. That's how much we liked it!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Rodi from New Jersey, USA

    "Just returned to New Jersey from the October 3, 2010 cooking class. Went with two girlfriends and just had the most wonderful experience. Bill and Patty Sutherland were excellent and charmimg hosts. Our transportation to wine and cheese tastings and cooking classes etc. were all in private air conditioned vans with Fabio as our driver. All the cooking classes were taught at different locations with wonderful and talented local chefs. It definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a great combination of fun, cooking, amazing eating, beautiful scenery and socializing. I would recommend it to my friends."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Wilson from Chestertown, USA

    "My wife Karen and I just returned from a week with Patty and Bill Sutherland at their program Tuscan Women Cook. We went with another couple and I was the only non-cooking enthusiast among us. Hence, I had some pre-trip reservations. I have none now. The daily (except Wednesday) 3 hour cooking school was taught by local women who are superb cooks (one the top chef at Ristorante Relais La Chiusa, one of the best in Italy, the other at 13 Goblins) and the teaching and demonstrations in which everyone had a part to do were serious; the recipes were supplied and the delicious results eaten for lunch. In addition to the lesson plan, a lot of fun was had. Bill Sutherland augmented the translator (the cooks are so authentic, they don't speak English) and, as a lifelong foodie was a font of Italian cooking practicality and lore.But the fun just started there. The Sutherlands have lived in Tuscany both full-time and part-time for many years and filled our afternoons and evenings with delightful and instructive activities that ranged from sightseeing including a trip to Florence to wineries and wine-tastings with extremely generous pours. Our group of 17, one more than usual, were interesting and friendly people and we lingered over every meal in conversation. We stayed in La Chiusa with its incredible view and staff that could not do enough for us. Others in our party were at La Costa, both in Montefollonico, with its even better view and great food. All told, it was a wonderful week and one we recommend highly."

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Dallas, USA

    "My husband and I have also attended this fabulous cooking school, not once, but twice! That's how much we loved it. I absolutely adored the cooking lessons from the older ladies of the village of Montefollonico who taught us recipes that have been handed down over the generations. What we were both surprised by, and the reason we came back a second time, was the graciousness of Patty and Bill Sutherland (the very much hands-on owners of the cooking school). They each bring unique perspectives to the trip. Bill is a resall foodie and Patty is an artist. The afternoon trips to local villages (all on a private Mercedes mini-bus with the most wonderful driver - Fabio) were beautiful, illuminating and just plain fun. We loved the wine tasting and tour of centuries old wine caves and the trip to the Florence food market was truly fabulous. The dinners are also wonderful. They are all in local restaurants which serve excellent, authentic Tuscan cuisine and one is the stupendous La Chiusa (where one of the cooking lessons is taught). This restaurant is Michelin starred and we are still dreaming about the lamb. Overall, this trip has far exceeded our expectations - both times!"

    Trip Advisor website, edited

  • Review by Lynne Gibbons from Florida, USA

    "You did not prepare us for the terrible withdrawal symptoms upon leaving you!!! I miss the cobblestone streets of Montefollonico. I miss the stories of the village, I miss the birthday celebrations. I miss our wonderful group. I miss the homemade pasta and the great wine and the charming, wonderful Tuscan women who shared their passion for food with us!"

    Tuscan Women Cook website, edited

Torrita di Siena, Italy

Cooking classes in a weeklong program in Montefollonico in Tuscany, Italy.

Speaks English

from --

7 days / 6 nights

Availability

This vacation is available from May to October with arrival on Sunday, departure on Saturday.

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