Weekly Program

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This cooking tour in Italy has been designed for lovers of Tuscany and all that it represents – the charming medieval towns, the centuries old traditions, the people and their culture, the art and of course, the great food and wine!!

We have spent time with our friends, tourism professionals, the guides and chefs all from Tuscany to create a Italy cooking tour dedicated to the secrets and traditions of Tuscan cookery and participants will spend many hands on hours perfecting the skills of Tuscan cooking in the original kitchen of a 14th century Villa and a 13th century Castle.

The good tastes of tuscany Culinary Tours Italy offers during the week
a wonderful intense ‘Introduction to Tuscan Cuisine’

Discussion a of the history of the Tuscan diet, typical dishes,Tuscan bread, peasant foods, and how the gastronomy has changed throughout the medieval and renaissance periods up until modern times. Sometimes the day cookery class is changed to evening classes to allow for extra excursions and time to enjoy the estate and lovely long tuscan days.

The Florence cooking vacation typical cookery class day consists of:

Each day you will prepare a full five course meal , the chefs instruct the coordination and timing of preparing a full menu.

‘I primi piatti’ -Risotto’s , tuscan soups , gnocchi and fresh handmade pasta
‘A focus on pasta’ – what would Italy be without it?! We will discuss different pasta making techniques, stuffed pastas, colouring and flavouring pastas, different sauces and how to match them with different types of pastas. Hand made pasta from rolling out picci , making pasta with the gitara to using the pasta machines.
Risotto’s- what makes a great risotto? The do’s and don’ts, shortcuts and the broths. Professional tricks to save you all the stirring.
Salads and soups- there are many dishes in our region that focus on soups in the winter and salads in the summer using old bread and the wonderful variety of vegetables in season. The combinations seem countless and it all began with Florence cooking.
Gnocchi- There are many varieties of gnocchi from dressed and undressed ! Discover what this means during your florence cooking vacation with us !

‘Seasonal Cooking’ and ‘Antipasti & Desserts’

The secret of all Italian cookery are the fresh products used. Fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables are the base of all tasty dishes and frozen products are almost never used. During the year the menu’s in all restaurants change , adapting to the produce available and we will discuss the various dishes popular for each season.
Antipasti- Always a must , it is the start of the culinary experience of each meal. It can be a simple bruschetta with fresh basil, tomato and garlic chopped and placed on the country style wooden baked oven bread , sprinkled with pepper and salt and drizzled with only the best extra virgin olive oil to a artichoke salad , do not be intimidated also taught in the cooking class is how to prepare artichokes .. Italian bread and pizza class – We have included also how to make a focaccia and italian pizza.

‘Secondi and Contorni’

These are the meat, fish and game dishes accompanied by vegetables and flans.
Italy has many meats, the game is handled and treated perfectly and there is no waste of any of the animals , dishes are cleverly invented to use all the organs and cuts of any meats with outstanding results.
The vegetable dishes used in the tuscan cooking class are endless so vegetarians are not disappointed , seasonal vegetables make each season’s cookery vacation interesting , the zucchini flowers that are stuffed , fried or used in risotto or pasta sauces, wild mushrooms , artichokes, black kale , italian spinach, cabbages ,cannellini beans.. so many uses and also incredible when fresh, used for antipasto as salads and crostone to side dishes in the winter.

What to Expect from Cooking tours Italy …

…The most memorable culinary vacation in Italy.

Cooking tours Italy- ‘Arrival to Villa Pandolfini Estate

Orientation and ‘Benvenuto’ to meet the Chefs and your hosts’ who will be with you for the cooking vacation.
The entire group will arrive after lunch and settle into their accommodations, having time to explore the estate, relax and freshen up for the ‘Benvenuto’ which will take place in the villa’s historical 14th C kitchen featuring the original stone fireplace, marble sink and vaulted ceiling.
The kitchen will be the heart of this gastronomical adventure. Participants will receive their recipe books and course guidelines. Partners are also welcome to join. You will feast on traditional Tuscan fare of the season and enjoy the estate’s wine. Meet your chefs who, by the the week’s end will become your lifelong friends!! The dinner class is prepared by the chef.

Cooking Tours Italy – ‘Southern Tuscany Tour’

This day we have designed to give you an introduction to the Tuscan countryside, it’s people, history and the culture. We will share with you firsthand the origins of Tuscan produce which is the soul of this land’s cuisine.
This will be an authentic travel experience visiting medieval villages, admiring impressive castles and witnessing centuries of history whilst driving through the green Chianti valleys, the Sienese Crete which is farmhouse for it’s red earth and the magnificent Val d’Orcia. In this area, the ‘Gladiator’ film was also made and the most photographed row of cypress trees.
Throughout the day the group visits a charming vineyard estate where everyone has the opportunity to tour the cellar , learn about the wine making to savour their wines including Brunello, olive oil, cheese and salami and enjoy a light lunch either at the vineyard’s restaurant or in one of the quaint village trattorias.
Then we continue onto the characteristic towns of San Quirico and Bagno Vignoni, famous for the natural hot springs. Relaxation time in Pienza, a quaint village famous for the pecorino cheese, made for centuries in a huge variety of methods, the small shops decorated with the incredible varieties are eager to have you taste them . The village is full of lovely shops selling crafts and local produce and the view overlooking the Val d’Orcia is absolutely spectacular. Dinner is at our local pizzeria then home to rest your weary heads before getting started with the lessons of the cooking tour !

Cooking Tours Italy- cookery Class 1

Breakfast in your villa and then head to the kitchen for your cooking class, there will be a hot pot of moka coffee to greet you and your tuscan chef , the 5 course cooking class will finish in lunch prepared by the students around the long tuscan table..
Afternoon – Free Time. The group can relax or opt to choose additional activities and tours offered in our ‘ Additional Activities’ program.
Dinner ..if you can fit it in after the five course tuscan lunch can be enjoyed at your villa with your group, a glass of Chianti wine and a cheese and meat platter from your basket.

Cooking Tours Italy – cookery Class 2

Also today’s cooking class will finish in lunch prepared by the students.
Afternoon Florence or – OPTIONAL afternoon tour ( to be paid separately) ‘Chianti & San Gimignano’
You either have the choice to relax and do your own thing or join us on this afternoon trip where we will take you through the hidden country roads through the glorious Chianti region of Tuscany. We will take you to an ancient Abbey which has a spectacular view over the vineyards of one of the top 2 winemakers in Italy. You will also have the opportunity to taste their wines. Winding through these country roads, admire & enjoy breathtaking scenery and some of the most charming Chianti villages. If luck allows, you may also get to listen to the famous ‘Dante reciting’ butcher!! People all around the world come to this little town in the hope that they hear his ‘pose’.
The group will then visit a farm where ‘Chianina’ cows are raised; and here is where we will settle and relax for a wonderful meal while enjoying the view up to the medieval town of San Gimignano. You really will feel like you are part of another century!

Cooking Tours Italy- Florence Day

Visit to ‘Mercato Centrale, Lunch and afternoon in Florence’
The group will leave the estate in the morning to travel into Florence to visit the famous ‘Mercato Centrale' , Florence food markets. Meet the chef or the guide here and they will guide you through the multi level marketplace where for centuries Florentines have purchased their fresh produce. Take a glimpse at an amazing Florentine tradition and then eat lunch together, shoulder to shoulder with the Florentine people.
When time allows we also include a historic tour with the guide of Florence to expose you to what this incredible city is all about from the time of the Medici’s.
After lunch you are all free to enjoy Florence, to go shopping in the leather markets, try the best gelato in the world and walk the stone streets enjoying this romantic and enthralling city. Do not forget to rub the boar’s nose so ensuring your return to Florence.
For those who wish to have a personal guided tour of Florence or museums. Evening dinner at a historical Florentine famous restaurant with us after dinner you will be brought home.
In the hotter summer months the dinner may be in the country on the Florentine hills in which case returning home after your day, have time to freshen up, and then experience another incredible Tuscan meal and beautiful setting.

Cooking Tours Italy- Cookery class 3 (10am – 3pm)

The day’s cooking will finish in a 5 course lunch prepared by the students. Afternoon – Truffle hunting (seasonal) or Free Time. The group can relax or opt to choose additional activities and tours offered in our ‘ Additional Activities’ program

Cooking Tours Italy tour Tuscan Cultural Day Tour & Cookery Class 4

Italian breakfast at a bar with pastries and steaming cappuccino then Hand Painted Ceramics, lunch , another unforgettable culinary experience and the farewell cooking class dinner.
This morning we start with stop at the local bar to savour the pastries and coffee whilst witnessing the Italian not so slow breakfast . We are going to share with you one of the centuries old crafts, that is still alive and well today- hand painted ceramics!The visit to a local ceramic manufacturer ,see the products being spun and painted and have the chance to purchase directly from them. They can then ship to anywhere in the world. Off then to visit either a local winemaker which has marvellous underground cellars or to one of the nearby hill towns through the winding hills to reach a magnificent Medici villa which we will visit and get an insight into the incredible word of the Medici family and the last royal family of Italy.
Lunch in the Hamlet of Artimino
The group will then be taken to the nearby medieval hamlet of ‘Artimino’ which sits on top of a hill overlooking the vineyards and farmland of Etruscan times. From this hamlet you can also look over to another of the Medici Villas.The opportunity to admire this magnificent villa, famous for the 100 chimneys, this differs from the previous villa in that it was not a residence but a hunting lodge. Dine at a very famous restaurant with incredible views, in the summer and spring we sit on the terrace and in the winter in the old restored farmhouse converted to a restaurant. We then head back to relax before the cooking class begins in the afternoon

5pm 10pm- Cooking Tours Italy - farewell dinner cooking class
The purpose of today’s cookery class will be the preparation of the farewell dinner for the entire group!
At the grand finale dinner participants will be presented with a certificate of attendance.

Cooking Tours Italy Checkout

Thank you, and come again!

The cookery vacation Tuscan experience is
a gastronomical discovery of quality, intimacy and enjoyment.

Chosen for you are places that only locals find.

Examples of seasonal menus

Spring Summer Program

'Panzanella' - Typically Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onion and fresh basil
'Ravioli di Zucchini' - Freshly made ravioli stuffed with zucchini & zucchini flowers
'Tagliatelle al Pesto' - Egg noodles with homemade pesto
'risotto con porri'
'risotto con gamberi e zucchini'
'Verdure Fritte' - Tuscan style mixed fried vegetables.
'Faraona Arrosto' - Oven Roasted Guinea Fowl with Pancetta & herbs
'Crostini Toscani' - Chicken Liver Pate with Vin Santo
'Etruscan chicken'
'Pork with grapes'
'Mezzaluna di Pesto and Zucchini' - Strudel filled with pesto and zucchini
'Torte Salata con Pere and Gorgonzola' - Savoury Tart of Pears & Gorgonzola Cheese'
'Torte salata con Parmigiano and Cipolle Caramelizatta' - Savoury Tart with Caramelized Onions and parmesan cheese
'Cestina di Parmigino con Insalata di Stagione' - Parmesan Basket with Seasonal Salad
'Branzino alla Isolana'-see bass oven baked with olives, pototoes.

'Flan di Fragole' - Strawberry Flan
'Crostata di Frutta Fresca con Zabaglione' - Fresh Fruit tart drizzled with Zabaglione Cream
'Panna cotta with fresh berries'
'Brodo di Carne' - Light Meat Broth- you will also learn how differet broths are made & used.
'Gnocchi di Semolina' - Semolina Gnocchi
'Salsa di Beschiamella' - Real Beschiamel Sauce
'Gnudi di Spinaci e ricotta' - Naked pasta of spinach and ricotta
'Spaghetti con aglio, olio e pepperoncino' - Spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and chili
'Vitello' - Thinly sliced veal escalope oven baked with cheese and tomatoes
'Melanzane alla Parmigiano' - baked eggplant layered with cheese and tomatoes
'Cioccolatisima' - Rich Chocolate Cake

For the Aperitivo
'Grissini with prosciutto swirls'
Spiedini con piccoli mozzarelle e pomodorini
Assagi di uve e parmigiano

Dinner Menu
'Fiori di Zucca Ripieni' - Stuffed Zucchini Flowers
'Salvia Dorata' - Fried sage leaves
'Risotto di Zucchini e Fiori' - Risotto with zucchini and zucchini flowers
'Arista con Finocchio e Scaglioni' - Oven Roasted Pork marinated with fennel, scallions and white wine
'Sformato al marsala con zabaione caldo' - Marsala and Zabaione Flan
'Tirimisu tradizionale' - Traditional Tiramisu

Autumn/Winter Menu

'Ribollita' - Bread and Vegetable Soup
'Crostini Misti' - sausage and stracchino cheese OR 'Cavolo Nero' black cabbage
'Lasagna di Carciofi' - Fresh egg lasagna layered with artichokes , cheese and beschiamella sauce
'risotto allo zafferano'
'pumkin risotto'
'seafood risotto'
'Spezzatino al Chianti' - Beef slowly cooked in Chianti and onions
'Cinghiale in umido'-wild boar stew
'Pork with fennel and scallions'
'orange duck'
'Spinaci alla Fiorentina' - Florentine Spinach
'Ravioli di zucca gialla' -pumkin ravioli
'Mezzaluna di Cavolo Nero' - Strudel filled with black cabbage and cheese
'Flan di Patate e Tartufo' - Potato Flan scented with truffles
'Cestina di Parmigino con Insalata di Stagione' - Parmesan Basket with Seasonal Salad
'Involtini di Verza e Carne' - Individual rolls of Cabbage e Spicy Meat
'Panna Cotta con una Salsa di Frutta di Bosco' - Panna Cotta served with a sauce of mixed berries
'Crostata Autunnale' - A light tart of pear, apples, raisins on a base of amaretto and almonds
'Crostata di Castagne' - Chestnut Tart served with a light vanilla cream sauce
'Torta di Ricotta'-Ricotta and pine nut cake with chocolate sauce
'Brodo di Vitello' - Veal Broth - you will also learn how differet broths are made & used.
'Gnocchi di Semolina con Tartufi' - Semolina Gnocchi with Truffles
'Salsa di Beschiamella' - Real Beschiamel Sauce
'Gnudi di Spinaci e ricotta' - Naked pasta of spinach and ricotta
'Risotto di Parmigiano e Zafferano' - Saffron and Parmesan cheese risotto
'Cioccolatisima' - Rich Chocolate Cake

For the Aperitivo
'Grissini with prosciutto swirls'
Spiedini con piccoli mozzarelle e pomodorini
Assagi di uve e parmigianoDinner Menu
Salsa di Funghi Porcini - 'Sauce of porcini mushrooms for Crostini
'Risotto di Zucca' - Pumpkin risotto
Agnello Arrosto con Carciofi - Roasted Lamb served with carciofi
Souffle di Panettone- Italian Christmas Cake Soufflè

The Cooking Tour Italy Program Cost

Participants: The price of € 2,300 per participant is inclusive of accommodation, the meals as specified and the welcome basket with breakfast items, cold cut , cheeses, breads, yoghurt etc, historic tour , visit to central market in Florence with guide,lunch and transfers,Dinner in restaurant , 'Southern Tuscany Day Tour' including breakfast, lunch, wine tasting and pizza dinner, local area tour with breakfast and lunch in Artimino, 4 days intensive cooking and instruction from the chefs, all food ingredients, five course lunch on the 4 vacation cooking days, the final farewell dinner, a 'Good Tastes of Tuscany' apron, your recipe book & all taxes**This price is based on double occupancy. Any single supplements will be charged an extra € 300 per week.** There is a 4% booking fee

Non cooking Participants: The price of € 1,900 per participant based on double occupancy ( single room supplement of €300 if requested): is inclusive of accommodation, welcome and farewell class dinners, welcome basket,visit to central market in Florence with lunch and transfers, 'Southern Tuscany Day Tour' including breakfast, lunch, wine tasting and pizza dinner, local market trip , transfers and lunch in Artimino,five course meals after the classes & all taxes except the 4% . Any additional meals, OPTIONAL day tours, transfers, car rental, any tips, groceries purchased for your private accommodations, rental of cell phones, any additional cleaning or maid service, purchase of estate wine and olive oil.

The following can be provided at an additional cost:

Airport transfers on request from Pisa, Rome or Florence Airports.

Hotels, bed and breakfasts, villas or apartments for those wanting to extend their stay in Italy.

We can book outings & tours. Please ask for our complete Tours list



Please Note:
The above is an outline of the cooking vacation program we offer may change slightly depending on the local festivals and sagra's, the seasonal produce and harvests at the time when the course is held. This menu list may change at any time. Some cooking classes may be scheduled to pm classes to give you free time to enjoy the pool in hotter months or excursions.

The Villa Pandolfini Estate

The 150 hectare estate comprises of a private forest, vineyards and olive groves. Antiques, frescoes, beautiful loggia looking onto a breathtaking renaissance garden. Outdoor dining, walks, very quiet and private. This is the perfect place to discover Florence and enjoy the real Tuscan countryside this elegant castle that has accommodated guests such as Napoleon Bonaparte and King Charles VIII of France. Famous architecture design. Shared Swimming Pool.Wonderful dining experiences at the many local restaurants, some noted as being the best in Italy. Relax at the villa and enjoy its grounds, wine and forest, or discover the many local attractions such as horse riding, trekking, antique markets, Caruso’s villa and gardens, medieval villages and Etruscan ruins.

Accommodations are in the villa or one of the farmhouses, the rooms and villa are chosen by us based on the size of the group and composition, supplements paid etc.
The culinary vacation is designed to have you experience and live like a tuscan in a home .
Located 12 kms from the Florence centre. Trains, buses and all shops within walking distance and close to all major highways. Stroll down and buy your fresh bread or morning cappuccino and feel like a local!! The area is full of great restaurants , weekly open air small markets, straw museum and horse riding .Throughout the year the little villages and towns scattered through Tuscany celebrate 'sagre' which give visitors a perfect opportunity to share in this unique experience. We will happily give you advice on events taking place in the area. You are 20mins to Montecatini, famous for the thermal spas and fancy shops and cafes, 40 mins to Pisa, Lucca or Siena 60 mins to Bologna, Forte Dei Marmi, Volterra, San Gimignano.

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Testimonials

What Our Guests Say

  • We loved the whole week.
    We took a train to Lastra a Signa and Emily and June met us at the station. It was like living in a fairy-tale castle. We loved the whole week. The 3 chefs, the cooking classes, the food, the day-trips, the guide in Florence, the owners and their family and staff were all fantastic. So professional!! They couldn't have done any more for us. We will treasure the memories forever. Ian and Chef Luciano swapped hats, so, Ian now has a chef's hat and Luciano has a farmers hat.
    Jan & Ian
  • Words can not express the amazing time I have had.
    June, Mary and Sarah, I wanted to first tell June that I arrived in Venice safely and at the hotel. Words can not express the amazing time I have had this culinary week thanks for suggesting this , all of you were wonderful and all 3 of us have been talking you guys up and spreading the word also about the villa (I even told someone in venice so far that said she wanted to go to cooking classes in Florence).Please thank so much the people in Tuscany for taking such good care of me and you guys are an amazing family and it helps when you are traveling by yourself to feel part of another family! Thanks so much and I will definitely keep in touch and send pictures when I get home. ~ Jen
    Jennifer
  • Superb hospitality professionals and personalized the experience for your guests.
    It's been two weeks since I returned home and three since leaving Villa Pandolfini and I'm still searching for the words to express what a wonderful time I had! From beginning to end, the time spent with all of you exceeded my expectations. And believe me, that's saying a lot coming from someone who has spent 35 years in the luxury hospitality industry! From our quaint little villa, so well stocked, to Roberto Cardini's tour through southern Tuscany, Sylvia's personalized tour of Firenze, the lovely dinner atop the hill at Villa Caruso, the ceramics factory, etc. etc. - it was all perfection! The warmth and hospitality of the team you have assembled is par excellence! Then of course was the ultimate experience - cooking with Maurizio and Luciano! WOW! Not just in the cooking instruction: Then of course was the ultimate experience - cooking with Maurizio and Luciano! WOW! Not just in the cooking instruction, but the helpful hints, the hospitality, the music (and singing from Maurizio), laughter and fun - what an experience! I have taken away not just recipes and technique, but the warmth, laughter and love that is so much the Tuscan culture. You have put together a fabulous program, staffed it with superb hospitality professionals and personalized the experience for your guests. I have recommended Villa Pondolfini to everyone I've spoken with since leaving, so hopefully you'll have some great referrals for you and them and future business. Once again, thank you for a fabulous time.
    Susan
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