Italian cooking and wine break

Tuscany Region, Tuscany, Italy

5 days from
per person

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Holiday Itinerary

Join this 4 night / 5 day Italian cooking and wine short break in this amazing, lush part of Northern Tuscany where you will be welcomed by your hosts, Rita and Alex, for a truly authentic and memorable holiday experience.

During 2 hands-on Italian cooking lessons, you will learn how to make delicious rustic classics including fresh pasta and pizza.

Combining cooking and wine makes for the perfect marriage as we learn all the basic Italian cooking techniques and traditions that 'la bella' Garfagnana and Serchio Valley has to offer.

Through the additional cultural element of the holiday, you will visit the fresh local markets, wander the streets of Barga, known as one of the prettiest villages in Italy, and visit Lucca, known for its intact Renaissance-era city walls. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste & learn everything you need to know about a variety of local Tuscan wine.

The area also gives you the opportunity to experience Italian culture first hand with concerts, folk festivals, theatre, Barga Jazz and the Opera Barga, as well as food festivals that all run throughout the year.

Who is it suitable for?
- Italian cookery short breaks are suitable for all levels from complete beginners to experienced cooks but are probably more suited to those who wish to learn the foundations of Italian cuisine
- Minimum age 18 (under 18s must be accompanied by an adult)
- Your hosts are Italian but also fluent in English and French
- Cooking classes are taught in English

I'm a solo traveller - can I join?
- These cookery holidays make great singles holidays and singles are welcome to join an existing group
- Solo travellers can pre-book a private single room without a single supplement
- No minimum number is needed for the holiday to go ahead but you may be the only one attending that week, please email if you would like more information

When can I start?
- All arrivals are on set dates throughout the year
- It may be possible to arrange cookery holidays on alternative dates, to check availability, email with your preferred date
- Cooking short breaks are for 4 nights/5 days
- If you wish to stay for extra nights, please email to check availability for your preferred duration and we will do our best to accommodate you
- If dates appear ‘on request’, please email us and we’ll check availability for your preferred day of arrival as quickly as possible

Typical itinerary
The itinerary is for guidance only and is subject to change depending on the group’s needs and wishes but is typically as follows:

Day 1 - Arrival and welcome dinner
- Arrival at Pisa airport
- Transfer to residence (1 hour 15 minutes) where you will enjoy a welcome drink and a discussion regarding the week's activities before settling in and relaxing in your room
- In the evening, there will be a welcome drink followed by wine tasting
- Enjoy a welcome dinner served at the cookery school all home made with local produce

Day 2 - Visit to Barga and afternoon cooking lesson
- After breakfast, you will head to the medieval village of Barga where you can walk the ancient streets and step inside the 11th Century cathedral and take a moment to take in the picturesque views of the Serchio valley
- A light lunch in Barga will be followed by a cookery lesson starting at about 2:30pm
- Your cookery lesson that day will last 3-4 hours and you will learn to make fresh pasta and various sauces
- After the lesson, take some time out to relax on the veranda before indulging in the meal you've prepared

Day 3 - Free time in Lucca, Pisa & BBQ dinner
- After breakfast, you’ll spend the morning in Lucca for an opportunity to poke around the shops or just admire the various cathedrals and squares
- You’ll have lunch at Lucca, then head off to Pisa to visit "Piazza Miracoli", one of the finest architectural complexes in the world, known for its cathedrals and Leaning Tower
- Once back at the cookery school, you will learn to make a fish based dinner or BBQ before sitting down to enjoy it together

Day 4 - Tour and lunch in Castelnuovo Garfagnana & pizza lesson
- Today, you will set off to visit another medieval village, Castelnuovo Garfagnana, here’s your chance to hit a few local stores or wander around the market that proudly sell local products
- You’lll enjoy lunch in the village or perhaps back at the residence
- Today's cookery lesson will be the beloved favourite, pizza, as well as focaccia
- You will be shown various techniques of making pizza in both a wood oven and traditional oven, using the freshest ingredients

Day 5 - Departure day
- Unfortunately, this will be your last breakfast together before Rita and Alex see you off to the airport where you will fly back home with amazing memories, experiences and new cookery skills

About your hosts
- Your Italian hosts are Rita and Alex
- Your chef is Rita, whose parents moved onto Scotland to open a catering business, whilst she stayed behind in Italy to practice the traditional way of cooking
- Rita studied the ancient secrets and techniques of the traditional Tuscan cooking and keeps alive certain recipes that have lost popularity in the fast food era
- Rita has been running her B&B for 30 years and recently began giving cooking lessons
- Alex, who is also a professional singer, has been working with the local wineries for years, and together with Rita, provides the perfect combination of cooking lessons with wine tasting and live entertainment - which is what Italy is all about

What will I learn?
- How to select the best, freshest ingredients the market can offer
- Old school Tuscan recipes and styles of cooking
- Cooking fish
- Food tours
- Pasta making
- Pizza making courses
- Cultural and historic tours
- The wine making process

Sample menus
Dishes vary according to the season and what food is available but may include:
- Ragu
- Salsa di pomodoro (tomato sauce)
- Salsa salsiccia e porcini
- Zuppa di farro (grain similar to spelt)
- Home-made pasta
- Cheese and spinach filled ravioli
- Gnocchi sformati (vegetable or potato pie)
- Fish based dinners
- Homemade pizza
- Focaccia
- Cakes and desserts

Where will I be staying?
- You will stay in either the hotel rooms or small apartments each with a private bathroom
- The rooms are spacious and some have a magnificent view overlooking the Apuan Mountains
- All rooms have a traditional Italian sized double bed
- There is 1 double room with an ensuite bathroom & 4 single rooms with ensuite bathrooms
- Accommodation is included for 4 nights / 5 days
- Check in anytime after 12pm on day 1 and check out by 11am on day 8

Restricted mobility access
Please find below some information regarding the accommodation and location of the holiday which may be useful when deciding if this is the right holiday for you; should you have an further questions, please contact us and we will be happy to help
- Accommodation is available on the ground floor with a walk-in shower - There is a ramp to get into the restaurant  
- There are many cobbled streets in Barga, so the Cathedral can be challenging; however there are plenty of other charming areas in Barga to explore

Are meals included?
- All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included
- All soft drinks and wine are included with every meal
- You will enjoy a welcome buffet on day 1
- If you have dietary requests these must be communicated to us at the time of booking