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The cooking week

Our cooking classes are very hands-on. The classes are taught in English and our wonderful local chefs will guide you through the preparation of a variety of simple but delicious Italian recipes (from Tuscany and from other Italian regions) and reveal some of their culinary secrets.

The cooking classes

Groups are small (maximum 10 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.

Getting around

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 with us

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.

Saturday

You arrive

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.

 7.30 pm

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.

Alfresco lunch

Sunday

 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

Lunch

 5.00 pm-7.30 pm

Cooking class 1

Handmade fresh pasta, 3 seasonal sauces (a meat sauce, an asparagus and ricotta sauce and an artichoke sauce), Sicilian fennel and orange salad, tiramisù.

 7.30 – pm-9.30 pm

Dinner

Monday

 Morning

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

Dinner

Tuesday

 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.

Wednesday

Visit Florence

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.

Ponte vecchio, Florence, Tuscany

Thursday

 10.00 am-12.30 pm

Cooking class

Braised artichokes, risotti (e.g. artichoke, asparagus, porcini mushrooms), herby turkey cooked in milk, moist apple cake.

 12.30 pm-2.00 pm

Lunch

 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.

Friday

 10.00 am-12.30 pm

Cooking class

Delectable antipasti (marinated sundried tomatoes, baby onions slow-cooked in balsamic vinegar), vegetable sformati, pollo alla cacciatora (chicken with herbs, wine and olives), almond biscotti.

 Afternoon

You are free to relax by the pool or do some shopping before you leave.

 7.30 pm

Farewell dinner

We have a relaxed dinner at the villa, cooked by the talented Serenella.

Saturday morning

Departure

The villa from the garden
The villa
Prices & calendar
Where we are
Our team

What our guests say

Reviews from TripAdvisor, Google, Yelp and Facebook

There are no words to describe how fantastic Shilpa and crew were for our week of cooking and touring Tuscany. She has perfected the balance of cooking, eating, touring and relaxing. Learned so much about italian food, wine and history of the region. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!

Kate Avatar
Kate
11/29/2019

5 star ratingAmazing local experiences and food! There are no words to describe how fantastic Shilpa and crew were for our week of cooking and touring Tuscany. She has perfected the balance of cooking, eating, touring and relaxing. Learned so much about italian food, wine and history of the region. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!

210katev Avatar
210katev
11/28/2019

5 star ratingbest holiday ever have always wanted to go to a cook school and have always wanted to visit Tuscany, so for a big (unmentionable) birthday my husband and I went to join 8 others at Riccardo and Shilpa's cook school.

From the minute we walked through the doors we could not have been better looked after. Nothing was too much bother for them. The itinerary was perfect, opportunities to visit key places in Tuscany, a guide to show us round and give us the...
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Caz_C_12_12 Avatar
Caz_C_12_12
11/27/2019

5 star ratingOne of our best vacations! Shilpa and Ricardo were excellent hosts and their entire crew was awesome!

The villa was beautiful and the views spectacular.

The cooking lessons were very well prepared and well organized. The chefs were amazing as well as the kitchen staff.

Christina is a wonderful teacher and she taught us a lot about olive oil and wine. Clara, Elizabetta, and Chiara were wonderful guides on our excursions.

Terry and Ricardo and friends gave us a memoral evening of music and singing. It was...
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Trek799509 Avatar
Trek799509
11/14/2019
More reviews by our guests

Contact us

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.

Tuscany

Call us

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