Friday, October 29, 2010

A Dream Come True - A Cooking Class in Italy


Villa Pandolfini
Good Tastes of Tuscany is the name of the cooking school in Tuscany I attended in September 2010. The school promised to offer what I was looking for - a good balance between cooking, trips to the surrounding areas and some wine tasting. The eight-day program took place at Villa Pandolfini, a 15th century castle in Lastra a Signa just outside of Florence. My accommodations were in the Limonaia, which used to be the orangery and winter garden, and included two large bedrooms and a huge kitchen and living/dining room (which I shared with one of the other guests).



Taught by two Italian chefs, the classes included four 5-hour hands-on cooking lessons, wine and balsamic vinegar tastings (the wine tasting was in Montalcino where we tasted the famous Brunello), a day trip to Florence with a visit to the market,  a visit to Poggio a Caiano, one of the Medici villas in that area, a wonderful dinner at Enrico Caruso's villa and much more. There was enough free time to plan a few extra excursions. With a couple of course participants I went to Pisa and Cinque Terre where the scenery is absolutely stunning.




The cooking classes were fantastic - very well planned, well instructed and the end result tasty! They all included an appetizer, first and main courses and dessert. Course participants received a copy of the school's cookbook and an apron. I have tried many of the recipes at home with great success.



If interested, take a look at Good Tastes of Tuscany http://www.tuscany-cooking-class.com/ and Villa Pandolfini http://www.villapandolfini.com/. I highly recommend it!

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