The cooking classes
Groups are small (maximum 9 people), so that everyone gets a chance to try their hand at the techniques, from making fresh egg pasta dough to lovingly stirring an artichoke risotto to perfection. Rather than cooking a “usual” Italian meal of first course, second course and dessert,we teach you several dishes on each day, so that you go home with quite an extensive repertoire!
You are free to pick and choose whether you’d like to join in the cooking school activities on a particular day or not. If you fancy a day horse-riding, hot-air ballooning or just going to the beach, let us know in advance and we’ll help you do just that.
You can get to Certaldo easily by train, but car rental during your week is essential. Ours is not a package tour, where we herd you around in a van. We give you a structured week’s activities but also the tools to explore on your own if you wish to. You drive to all excursions, either following us, or with our detailed directions. Distances driven are short and to keep carbon emissions down, we encourage car-sharing and car pooling whenever possible, putting you in touch with other participants who would like to share a vehicle.
Your week at the cooking school
Here is a typical week at Organic Tuscany. Please note that this is an example, albeit a pretty accurate reflection of what we do! The dishes cooked will vary following the seasons and any special requests you have, and the specific days for excursions may vary.
We help you get settled in. You can just rest after your journey, have a dip in the pool or explore beautiful Certaldo or the surrounding countryside.
Alfresco welcome dinner
We cook for you and your new classmates on this first evening, and keep things simple. Warm foccaccia straight out of the oven accompanies grilled organic vegetables, local biodynamic cheeses and crisp salads, all washed down with local biodynamic wine.
11.00 am-1.00 pm
An exploratory walk to get your bearings
We take you on a gentle walk to explore the surroundings and learn about the history of the area where we are staying. We also drive five minutes to see a charmingly frescoed Romanic church nearby. Lunch is back at the villa.
1.00 pm-2.30 pm
5.00 pm-7.30 pm
Cooking class 1
Visit to San Gimignano
We suggest a visit to this medieval city just 20 minutes away. This is also a good morning to use if you want to explore on your own (the Chianti area, Volterra, etc).
4.30 PM – 6.15 PM
Cooking class 2
Crostini with roast peppers and with “salsa verde“, “pappa al pomodoro” (Tuscan tomato and basil soup), potato and spinach gnocchi, slow cooked beef with vegetables and herbs, artichoke and parmesan salad, custard and fruit tart.
6.15 PM – 7.30 PM
Olive oil tasting session
Our oil expert guides you through the world of extravirgin olive oils.
7.30 – pm-9.30 pm
10.00 am-1.30 pm
Visit to an organic vineyard
with tasting and lunch. We visit a five hundred year old cellar and are shown around by the charismatic owner. Lunch is in the old oil pressing room.
Afternoon and evening
Visit to Siena
A minibus takes you to the stunning town of Siena and brings you home to the villa. The visit includes a tour with an official guide. For dinner, explore Siena’s many great restaurants.
You have a whole day to visit Florence. You meet an official guide for a three-hour walking tour in the morning, and have the afternoon free to do as you wish – see museums, churches, go shopping for shoes, people-watch on a sunny terrace, or just wander the magical streets.
10.00 am-12.30 pm
12.30 pm-2.00 pm
4.00 pm-5.30 pm
Visit to a local biodynamic farm
where we see how a small community can be self-sufficient while producing amazing cheeses and growing delicious vegetables.
5.30 pm-6.00 pm
Visit to a master potter’s ceramics studio
Our friend Terry Davies wll show you his beautiful studio.
7.00 pm-9.30 pm
Wine tasting of local organic wines
led by our wine expert, followed by a light dinner (much of which you will have prepared earlier!) accompanied by the wines you have tasted.
10.00 am-12.30 pm
You are free to relax by the pool or do some shopping before you leave.
We have a relaxed dinner at the villa, cooked by the talented Serenella.
If you’d like more information about our cooking courses or you’d like to book one, you can contact us by email, by telephone or send us a message using the form below.
If you’d like to speak to us, you can call our UK or US numbers (we answer them from here in Italy!)
from the UK: 0208 144 9164
from the US: 347 410 9690