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Villa Castelletti Cooking Course Vacation
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Villa Castelletti Cooking Course Vacation

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Key Information:
Class Size: 3 - 10 people
Destination: Italy  
Category: Cooking schools
Specialty: Italian  
Season: March - November
Courses Per Year: 20
Course Level: All levels
Min Price: 3390 US Dollar (USD) per course
Max Price: 3390 US Dollar (USD) per course

Your Itinerary:

Day 1: Pick-up in Florence and arrival to Villa Castelletti. Fly to Italy. We will pick you up in Florence and then you will be accompanied by car or van to Villa Castelletti and then welcomed at the Borgo (Hamlet) - your vacation home next to the main Villa. After settling in, Linda will show you around the entire estate which will be your home for one week! You will have time to relax in your lovely apartment before enjoying a welcome drink with the staff at the Borgo. We will dine at the restaurant on the Villa Castelletti estate where Roberto, your cooking teacher for the week, will prepare your first Tuscan meal at the restaurant (located on the estate) where you will be taking your hands on cooking classes throughout the week.

Day 2: A perfect morning in Lucca. In the morning, after Breakfast either in your apartments or out in the breakfast room, you will take off to beautiful Lucca, a town west of Villa Castelletti. We will take a pleasant tour around the heart of Lucca, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque of all the fortified (medieval wall) towns in Tuscany. After our informative tour, you will have free time to shop, take a walk around it’s 16th century intact walls, visit museums and churches or simply sit in one of the many cafe’s that line this Roman city. You will enjoy a light lunch in one of the many Trattoria’s in Lucca. Cooking course followed by dinner.

Day 3: Carmignano Wines to Pisan Cuisine. This morning you will have breakfast at your own leisure, have time to take a stroll around the estate or simply relax in your comfortable apartments before your cooking class followed by lunch. In the afternoon, we will take a picturesque drive through the Carmignano wine region to the winery known as Tenuta di Capezzana. Here you will enjoy a wine tour of the estate and later try selected wines from Capezzana including the well known Tuscan desert wine called ‘Vino Santo”. Later in the afternoon, we will visit the most famous “leaning tower” town (Pisa) in Italy and there we will try a little Pisan cuisine.

Day 4: Medieval Towers in the heart of Chianti. In the morning, you will take a drive through the Chianti region situated between Florence and Siena where an ancient Roman road will take us to the medieval town known as San Gimignano; you will discover why San Gimignano is the only remaining medieval town which has been called the “Manhattan of Tuscany” because of its ten (originally there were sixty five) towers! You will have a chance to shop while strolling along the magical windy streets packed with local artisans stores specializing in things such as ceramics, leather goods and wooden crafts. We will stop at a local winery in San Gimignano we will taste the only white wine in the Chianti region known as Vernaccia, taste local delicacies and if the weekly market is open you will be in for a gastronomic surprise! Cooking course followed by dinner at Villa Castelletti.

Day 5: A Florentine Treat with our friends Sharon and Mim’s. On this special day, we will meet up with Sharon, who is a restaurant owner and Chef of the famous Trattoria Garga, and her delightful partner Mims at the main central market in Florence. Sharon and Mims will take us on a gastronomic tour teaching us about the main raw ingredients of Tuscan Cuisine in preparation for the evening cooking course. After this eye-opening outdoor market tour, you will have free time to shop and discover the historical treasures of Florence. For example, you could go visit the Uffizi and the main cathedral (Il Duomo). Later in the afternoon, we will meet back with Mims and Sharon at the 16th century palazzo (located in the heart of Florence not far from the Ponte Vecchio) opposite Trattoria Garga where you will enjoy a hands on cooking extravaganza (cooking course followed by meal)!

Day 6: Leonardo Da Vinci in the morning, Gala dinner in the evening! This morning we will head out (West of Villa Castelletti) to discover the quaint town of Vinci - home of the great genius Leornardo Da Vinci! We will make our way through the area of Montalbano where we will stop at an olive oil farm and have a very informative olive oil tasting. The rest of the day will be spent on “our” noble estate at Villa Castelletti, where we will all be very busy preparing for our fabulous farewell gala dinner! When available, we will be having this gala dinner in the Main Villa.

Day 7: Farewell Villa Castelletti and friends. After Breakfast and good-byes, you will be taken to the airport or the train station in Florence in time for your departure or Florentine hotel check-in, if you will be spending additional time in Florence.

Faculty Information:
The course will be taught by the head chef at the restaurant on the Villa Castelletti Estate, where you will enjoy cooking, wining and dining in a traditional Tuscan ambiance. One day during the week, we will spend the day preparing original recipes from the famous ‘Trattoria Garga’ restaurant. With over 20 years of experience, owner and chef Sharon, will take us through the simplicity of recreating traditional Tuscan culinary dishes. Sharon and Mim’s will also take us on a food and cooking tour of the main Central Markets in Florence where you will learn about the fresh raw ingredients that comprise Tuscan Cuisine. For lunch, we will head back to the magnificent 16th century palazzo, right in the heart of Florence, where we will prepare our meal.

You will sample an array of fine wines from the area where you
will be based. This area is known as one of the oldest wine zones Carmignano and this DOCG (the highest quality denomination assigned by the Italian government for authentic wine producing regions, literally “di origine controllata e garantita” translated as: of controlled and guaranteed origin) blends Cabernet with the Sangiovese grape which produces some of Tuscany’s finest wines. You will also experience the smooth DOC red known as the Rosso delle Colline Lucchesi in Lucca and Tuscany’s only white wine found in the Chianti region, a favorite of the Grand Medici family, known as the Vernaccia of San Gimignano.

Other Activities:
Not only will you be experiencing a fine Tuscan Estate, I will take you to discover the famous towns that you will come to experience from a more native perspective. You will be learning all there is to know about Tuscan cuisine from cooking on the beautiful Castelletti estate (your home for one week) to cooking in a 16th century palazzo in the center of Florence! Along with cooking fantastic meals I have incorporated a number of excursions for the week, incorporating the regions cuisine, culture, art and not forgetting to give you time to shop in some of the most exciting towns and cities. We will visit Leonardo da Vinci’s home town, stroll around the best preserved Roman City known as Lucca, become immersed in a cultural experience.

Facility Information:
Accommodations for guests are in a borgo (hamlet) made up of a group of renovated farmhouses, which maintain the original style of an old Tuscan country-house. The renovated apartments are fully independent and equipped with all modern conveniences, as well as a sophisticated electronic system which controls the functioning and safety of air temperature, humidity, locks etc. to guarantee guests a comfortable and secure stay. Specifically, the mini-apartments are made up of a lounge/dining room, split-level bedroom, bathroom, and corner kitchen, and can occupy families of more than 2 persons. There is central heating and air-conditioning, satellite TV and pay TV all of which operate utilizing a “chip card” computerized system.

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