An Italian cooking tour is actually a cultural immersion adventure for your mind, senses and soul.
You get to know a wide variety of local people and experience a range of places off the tourist track.
You cook with restaurant chefs or good home cooks right in their kitchens. In private visits, you learn about and taste wines, cheese, olive oil or balsamic vinegar with the producers in their cellars, small factories or gardens.
You look for truffles with hunters and their dogs in the forest. You dine with families on their farms.
You can also shop for treasures in medieval hill towns, walk magnificent country paths by the sea or vineyards, admire Byzantine architecture in Ravenna, relax on a boat ride on the Riviera or watch an active volcano in Sicily spew its fire into the night sky.
A Sample Of Experiences On Italian Cooking Tours
Imagine yourself on a warm evening out on a deck in Piedmont in north west Italy, surrounded by vineyards spilling down slopes at all angles, covering green hills fading into the distance, drinking young, fruity Dolcetto and laughing with friends. An imposing 11th century castle dominates the little town of Barolo in front of you.
You’re sitting back, thinking only of enjoying life in the moment in the Barolo wine country. Barolo and Barbaresco rank as some of Italy’s top reds.
A tantalizing aroma wafts out on to the deck from the Brezza family’s restaurant kitchen ten steps away—Brasato al Barolo, a veal roll simmering slowly in robust, Barolo wine, onions, celery, yellow pepper, carrots, garlic, nutmeg, cloves, fresh rosemary and laurel.
Your dinner experience starts with a delicate spinach flan topped with fonduta cheese sauce. Signor Brezza pours you his Barolo that goes perfectly with your Brasato al Barolo, bathed in rich gravy. A glass of sweet Moscato accompanies your decadent dessert, a semi-freddo with torrone, the local hazelnut nougat.
Next morning from a hill town above Barolo, you walk down through vineyards, farm hamlets and a forest to the Ratti family’s private wine museum in an abbey where monks began making wine in 1162.
Full of fascinating facts and humorous anecdotes, one of the owners, Massimo, takes you around, starting with an overview of the area’s five main wines and three kinds of soil.
Strolling through the barrique cellar, up to the monks’ original kitchen and through rooms of tool, glasses and label displays, you discuss the history of the wines and their labels, the short supply of corks and your tastes in wines.
Massimo shares glasses of three wines including their best Barolo with you. Someone asks very seriously, “How long should you age your wines?”
He exclaims, “When in doubt, just drink it!” You’d never guess this down to earth wine producer is an author and a celebrity in the Barolo wine world.
Cooking With A Family On Their Farm In Tuscany
In Tuscany among the rolling golden hills of fields, patches of olive groves and vineyards, for a short time you become part of a lively, enterprising farm family headed by Sandra and Ulisses.
On their farm on a scenic ridge with a 180 degree panorama, they make pecorino cheese, grow herbs, raise pigs and sheep, run vacation bungalows, manage farm volunteers, make wine and preserves and have six children.
Sandra sparkles with energy as you make delicious grilled eggplant and her special chestnut linguine with ricotta. More laid back Ulisses teaches you how to make Florentine arista, a savory pork roll with rosemary, garlic, sage leaves, a fennel flower and extra virgin olive oil, and a delicious tiramisu.
After your lesson, you tour the farm, chatting with Sandra about her life. Why did they choose the farming life? How does she find time to do all she does? Do they take holidays?
Later you sit down at a long wooden table in their dining room and congratulate yourselves on your tasty creations. You experience a different way of life and learn a lot about Tuscan family life from two people passionate about what they do.
How to Celebrate Life’s Milestones in “Dolce Vita” Style
Your 40th, 50th or 60th birthday or your 20th, 30th or 40th wedding anniversary happen once in a lifetime. Sharing a cooking, wine and culture tour in Italy gives you a truly special way to celebrate life, love and friendship with those you love.
Jan in Colorado and Janis in New York, friends since college, had their 50th birthdays coming soon. Janis was ending chemotherapy and needed a holiday of fun and pampering.
With their sisters from California and Florida and two Colorado women friends, they indulged in a cooking, wine and spa tour at a lovely, 15th century villa in Tuscany. A dream came true on a carefree week with their guide looking after everything, of cooking, eating, drinking, shopping and laughing all week long.
On a cooking tour in Italy, you escape from your busy world and immerse yourself in a fun, sensual, stimulating cooking, wine and cultural adventure with a cast of warm, local people.
You experience life’s simple joys in the present moment and go back to being the person you forgot you were.
Cooking tours are a good way to celebrate friendship and love with friends or family or to mark your life milestones in a truly special way.
Margaret Cowan of Vancouver, BC owns a tour company, Mama Margaret Italian Cooking Holidays at http://www.italycookingschools.com.
They ran their first Italian cooking and wine tour in 1995 and now offer tours all over Italy.