The cooking classes

Our cooking classes are very hands-on. The classes are taught in English, but if you like, we can teach you some simple “foodie Italian” to help you order in restaurants and be polite to the locals. 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Thursday

 10.00 am-12.30 pm

Cooking class

Panzanella (Tuscan bread and tomato salad), risotti (e.g.
artichoke, asparagus, porcini mushrooms), herby turkey cooked in milk, moist apple cake.

 12.30 pm-2.00 pm

Lunch

 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.

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
Prices & calendar
Where we are
Our team

What guests say about us

  • 5 star rating  Organic Tuscany is EVERYTHING we wanted and MORE! My husband and I went to cooking school at Organic Tuscany last October (2017). I was so pleased... so terribly over-the-top pleased... that I've put off writing a review, fearing I wouldn't be able to do the experience (and the people) justice. Having looked at several cooking schools in Italy, I was having trouble finding THE one, and then I came across Organic Tuscany's website. Oh my gosh! It just had it all! Authentic Tuscan villa, warm, engaging, and amazing... read more

    Carol Avatar Carol
    From TripAdvisor
    2/18/2018

    5 star rating  An authentic Italian experience! My husband and I were there September 23-30, 2017. Friends had recommended this cooking school to us. Cooking amazing italian food with the backdrop of the hills of Tuscany, with amazing chefs, what could be better! Met a great group of people from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the US. You get a copy of all the recipes and the apron you wore to cook to boot! My husband and I have recreated the recipes at home, delicious. Hosts Riccardo... read more

    janehowardh Avatar janehowardh
    From TripAdvisor
    2/04/2018

    5 star rating  Just the Best ! My week at Organic Tuscany was the highlight at the end of 6 weeks in Italy and Greece. Initially we were given specific and detailed instructions for travel to the house which was extremely helpful. The classes are very carefully planned and well organised to run smoothly with charming and very competent tutors. The house and setting is lovely and our rooms were spacious and very comfortable. A warm feeling of friendship developed from the outset between the guests and... read more

    757Alessandra Avatar 757Alessandra
    From TripAdvisor
    1/22/2018

    5 star rating  Nothing could have been better for these Canadian ladies! Myself and four other ladies had the pleasure of taking part in the cooking school and staying at Organic Tuscany. It was by far the highlight of our three week trip. Riccardo and Shilpa are the ultimate hosts and have put together a week that was fun, exciting and educational. The chefs, cooks and tour guides were unbelievable. I was a bit concerned about driving but it turned out to be no problem with Shilpa’s careful directions and my insistence... read more

    Eleanore Avatar Eleanore
    From TripAdvisor
    1/18/2018
  • 5 star rating  Love Love Love Organic Tuscany! My two kids, ages 26 and 23, and I had a wonderful week of cooking and eating the most delicious food and learning about the beautiful life and culture of Tuscany. Shilpa and Ricardo, along with their friendly, knowledgeable team, created such a delightful environment for my children and I to make magnificent memories together.

    TravelHappy1156 Avatar TravelHappy1156
    From TripAdvisor
    1/18/2018

    5 star rating  My experience with Organic Tuscany was absolutely fantastic! The accomodations and location were just beautiful, and a huge shout out to Shilpa and everyone for helping us deal with lost luggage. The overall itinerary for the week went well beyond the actual cooking classes; encompassing private tours and olive oil and wine tastings that we never would have had access to without Organic Tuscany's impressive network around the Chianti region. Lastly the cooking classes were wonderful - very collaborative and... read more

    Jeanne Avatar Jeanne
    From Google
    1/17/2018

    5 star rating  Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! What a great balance of cooking classes, local sightseeing, wine and olive oil tastings, and the most fabulous food! Every day was a new adventure! This is a week I can see myself repeating at a later date!

    Jo Avatar Jo
    From Facebook
    9/22/2017

    5 star rating  Best way to get a flavor of Tuscany! My husband and I went for our 25th wedding anniversary in September and it was fabulous. The villa was beautiful and comfortable. Host, Ricardo and Shilpa and the staff were amazing. It was a great balance for me, cooking, resting, sight seeing, and eating! We were able to get a real flavor of Tuscany. Highly recommend it!

    Sonal Avatar Sonal
    From TripAdvisor
    9/22/2017
  • 5 star rating  The most amazing experience! I can't say enough good things about our week-long stay at Organic Tuscany! Excellent cooking classes, beautiful and comfortable room, fabulous staff, stunning location in the hills of Tuscany, surrounded by vineyards and olive trees galore! And then there's the amazing organic food and wine!! Drop everything and get there now!

    Leslie Avatar Leslie
    From TripAdvisor
    9/12/2017

    5 star rating  Great people, great setting, great food. A perfect week! This was a truly great week in a picture-perfect villa in the Tuscan hills. My husband was a "non-cooking guest" and had no problem amusing himself during the 10 or so hours when we were actually in classes in the kitchen. The instructors were great, there was plenty of hands-on time, and the food from the four classes (two lunches and two dinners) was as good as the food from the other catered meals (yes!). Other highlights: the tour of... read more

    992kathleen Avatar 992kathleen
    From TripAdvisor
    8/12/2017

    5 star rating  Organic Tuscany was a magical experience. Set in the beautiful countryside overlooking vineyards, olive groves and wheat fields, with a view of a nearby castle perched on the adjoining hillside which we viewed from our bedroom window. The food was of the highest quality and prepared with love and excellence. The small group of 8-10 people from around the world gives it an added bonus, and you will be sure to leave with new friends. The pace of cooking classes... read more

    Lauralyn Avatar Lauralyn
    From Google
    7/24/2017

    5 star rating  Beautiful location, wonderful people, and amazing food All around just an amazing experience. The entire team at Organic Tuscany was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and passionate, and the cooking classes were the perfect in terms of the amount of dishes covered and the hands-on practical aspect of cooking. Not only did we have a chance to cook and eat some of the most delicious food I've ever had, we had a wonderful tour of nearby Certaldo, where we learnt some of the local history of the area, we... read more

    Stefanie Avatar Stefanie
    From TripAdvisor
    7/04/2017
  • 5 star rating  A perfect week of cooking in Italy Organic Tuscany was perfect! I have learnt so much and I'm continuing to use the recipes at home. They are simple and adaptable and the tutors were great. Shilpa and Riccardo were very welcoming and the villa was just lush. I would highly recommend for anyone of any cooking ability!

    melissagracedavies Avatar melissagracedavies
    From TripAdvisor
    7/01/2017

    5 star rating  Tuscan Bliss I didn't want to leave. The heady combination of tranquil, green rolling hills,a huge garden filled with scented plants and the best Italian food I have ever eaten was irresistible. Shilpa, Riccardo and all their team of experts made this one of the best 7 days I have ever had. As an experienced cook I was surprised at the number of new tips I learnt about local ingredients, seasoning how to make vegetables tastier. The vegetable garden was a thing... read more

    SJDBcn Avatar SJDBcn
    From TripAdvisor
    6/17/2017

    5 star rating  My husband and I first experienced Organic Tuscany back in the fall of 2008, and we had such an incredible time, we decided to go back just this past spring (2017). The wonderful couple who run Organic Tuscany (Shilpa and Riccardo) are simply fabulous hosts, who have created an itinerary with the perfect balance of sightseeing, cooking and downtime. Our group was just nine people--small enough to easily travel, explore, dine out, and cook together without any problems. We had... read more

    morganlefey13 Avatar morganlefey13
    From Google
    6/16/2017

    5 star rating  Simply perfect! A beautiful villa, charming hosts (Riccardo and Shilpa, who are multilingual and an utter delight), fascinating cookery classes, and the most delicious food - this really was the holiday of a lifetime! The villa is surrounded by flower-filled gardens, and has perfect views of the Tuscan hills. You can cool off in the pool, or lounge under the willow trees and watch the fireflies at night. Pure bliss! Each room is tastefully and individually decorated, and you can help yourself... read more

    mag Avatar mag
    From TripAdvisor
    6/07/2017
  • 5 star rating  Stunning location, exquisite food and a charming crew The photos don't do it justice – the villa is not only picture-postcard perfect, but utterly peaceful, with no sound but the birdsong. The air is thick with the scent of jasmine and lemon blossom, and the grounds are rambling, with a thousand shady corners in which you can read undisturbed until it's time to go in for yet more superb food. The cooking classes are hugely fun and informal, and interesting for experts as well as beginners, and the... read more

    JezebelBates Avatar JezebelBates
    From TripAdvisor
    6/04/2017

    5 star rating  Wonderful Tuscan Experience While the success of experiences like this is totally dependent on the mix of fellow travellers, the Organic Tuscany group go out of their way to create a wonderful experience for all. We had a fabulous week with Shilpa, Ricardo and their team. The food was excellent and the dishes we made were authentic and achievable. The wine and olive oil tastings were really interesting and alot of fun. We loved every minute of our stay. The food and wine,... read more

    jennydaviesSydney Avatar jennydaviesSydney
    From TripAdvisor
    5/24/2017

    5 star rating  I would never take another cooking class because nothing could compare with the week I had at the "old place". Your new villa looks lovely! The food, the people and the countryside was perfection! If you have the chance GO!

    Cindy Avatar Cindy
    From Facebook
    5/19/2017

    5 star rating  Thank you Shilpa and everyone at Organic Tuscany for a wonderful week of cooking, eating, laughter and the ‘Tuscany Experience’. The cooking classes were so informative and such fun. The relaxed atmosphere, food and the people, made the week a holiday to remember. The new villa looks lovely and I would love to come back again. Anyone thinking of taking a trip to Tuscany to a cooking school, don’t miss this one. Best, Diana.

    Diana Avatar Diana
    From Google
    11/30/2016
  • 5 star rating  The Best of Tuscany For a week in Italy you can't beat, you have to experience Organic Tuscany Cooking classes. It starts with a stay at a small villa surrounded by vineyards in a setting that reminds you of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun. And then you get to learn how to cook amazing Italian dishes, sample and taste great Tuscan wines, and even learn what olive oil you should be using. Best of all you eat what you cook. You also meet... read more

    steve Avatar steve
    From TripAdvisor
    11/28/2016

    5 star rating  Authentic Italian Experience My husband and I spent an entire week in September of this year with Shilpa, Ricardo and their excellent team. This was our first experience in the Tuscan countryside and it sure lived up to all the expectations and exceeded them in many ways. The villa was well equipped and the views spectacular. We did the vegetarian cooking classes - which by itself is wonderful for non-meat eaters like us. There are not many cooking classes that offer a week... read more

    Nandini Avatar Nandini
    From TripAdvisor
    11/22/2016

    5 star rating  Unforgettable experience and immersion in Italian culture and cuisine! We had an absolutely marvelous stay at the Organic Tuscany Cooking school in September 2016. Everything was extremely well-planned by the organizers, all of the small details that count. They thought of everything possible to make our stay enjoyable and to introduce us to the Italian culture, not only the Italian culinary culture, but also the Italian historical culture, local Tuscany culture, etc. I'd do it again anytime. And the food was excellent, and it was Great to be able... read more

    CGraetz Avatar CGraetz
    From TripAdvisor
    11/22/2016

    5 star rating  "So special, a unique experience!" My best friend and I spent a simply amazing week in May with Shilpa, Ricardo and their fantastic team. Its hard to sum up what we experienced as it was a week full of experiences, learning from amazing local chefs, eating and drinking fantastic local wine everyday, guided tours of Florence and Sienna (loved the guides; charismatic and very knowledgeable and accommodating), and meeting and staying friends with wonderful people we met on the course. We both found Shilpa, Ricardo... read more

    drummy50 Avatar drummy50
    From TripAdvisor
    10/30/2016
  • 5 star rating  Peak Experience!!! Wow--what can I say! This week with Shilpa, Riccardo, and their talented and wonderful colleagues far exceeded my expectations. Organic Tuscany is an intimate experience where our hosts shared with us all the things they love about Tuscany--the food, the wine, the history, the landscape, the aromas, the flavors, the friendships.... This is not a mere cooking school, but an opportunity to experience the richness of Tuscany. If you like to eat, drink wine, laugh, learn, and establish new friendships,... read more

    Cindy Avatar Cindy
    From TripAdvisor
    10/28/2016

    5 star rating  Amazing experience under the Tuscany sun! My wife and I had the pleasure of an amazing week (June 2016) at Shilpa's and Ricardo's school. They both exceeded our expectations, from the pre trip planning to the rental cars, agenda for the week, food, classes, wine, day trips and even the final dinner and evenings entertainment. That really knocked the ball right out of the park! Location was perfect, the small classes were fun and educational and the various meals we cooked were just so delicious. We... read more

    Nanaimo Avatar Nanaimo
    From TripAdvisor
    10/27/2016

    5 star rating  Outstanding experience! This was one of the best vacations I have ever had (and I have traveled quite a bit overseas). It was perfectly planned out -- from the cooking classes and meals, the setting, the trips to Tuscan towns, and the behind-the-scenes look at a vineyard and olive estate. Most of all Shilpa, Riccardo, and the whole team were delightful to learn from and get to know. They not only shared their expert knowledge but also their joy in what they... read more

    CD Avatar CD
    From TripAdvisor
    10/27/2016

    5 star rating  This review is long overdue, but the Organic Tuscany Cooking experience was so wonderful and memorable, it remains as the special highlight of the year. To begin, the staff were warm, generous and helpful and provided a well rounded genuine and unique Tuscan experience in cooking and culture, with unforgettable side tours to local vineyards, cheese farms, olive oil and wine tasting. The food we made was seasonal and delicious and we came away with wonderful recipes and techniques we... read more

    joanne Avatar joanne
    From Google
    10/23/2016
  • 5 star rating  Fantastic food, people, views, organization... wow! My husband and I were able to attend one of Shilpa's Organic Tuscany cooking classes in June of 2016. We could not have been more pleased with the entire experience! First, the entire week is organized beautifully. The first night you are treated to an amazing multi-course meal out on the patio. Then, the group spends a few days cooking meals and a few days touring the area. We were so relaxed the entire time and of course the food... read more

    MTulsaP Avatar MTulsaP
    From TripAdvisor
    10/22/2016

    5 star rating  Wonderful Cooking Experience in Beautiful Tuscany Beautiful Tuscany. This week was spectacular. The food was amazing and the people were down to earth and enjoyable. I would highly recommend this cooking school if you are thinking of a trip to Tuscany. The day trips to Sienna, Florence and San Giaminano were amazing and the guides were so knowledgeable. The food we made and prepared exceeded my expectations. So many wonderful delicious flavors! Made some new friends for life as well. Thank you Shilpa and Ricardo.

    lesliecarter1 Avatar lesliecarter1
    From TripAdvisor
    10/21/2016

    5 star rating  Amazing week! Went on the vegetarian week with my best friend in May and was the most wonderful week! The highs: great food, great wine, great sightseeing and great hosts and tour guides. The lows: not applicable! The takeaways: cooking skills, amazing memories and photos and most importantly friends for life! Could not recommend this experience highly enough! Everything was lovely and it was a good mix of cooking, eating drinking fab local wine and seeing some of gorgeous Tuscany. Seems a... read more

    jaymi Avatar jaymi
    From TripAdvisor
    10/21/2016

    5 star rating  I had the pleasure of recently enjoying a week at the Organic Tuscany Cooking School with my 2 adult children. Our week was nothing short of amazing! The dishes we learned to make will be ones we make time and time again. The side trips were spectacular. Organic Tuscany should be a must when going to Italy! By far the best trip we have ever been on!!!! We felt like the staff was family.

    Jennifer Avatar Jennifer
    From Facebook
    10/12/2016
  • 5 star rating  One of our favorite vacations ever (and we have traveled quite a lot)! The staff is excellent, the food and accommodations excellent and the cooking time is a blast. Every detail is covered, the itinerary is well thought out, interesting and giving you enough to do while allowing time to actually rest. Well done. We definitely want to do it again.

    Deborah Avatar Deborah
    From Facebook
    6/27/2016

    5 star rating  I spent a week with Organic Tuscany's wonderful staff, cooking, eating, hiking, sight-seeing, sleeping well, and laughing a lot. Add plenty of wine, olive oil, and smiling faces, with a sprinkling of good music, and what more could I have asked for? Well, for starters: to be able to speak more than tourist Italian, but then again... I didn't find the genie in the bottle to grant my wishes for me. If you have some hard-earned money aimed toward a... read more

    Tuerca Avatar Tuerca
    From Facebook
    12/12/2015

    5 star rating  I attended the course in 2010 with a friend and a nonparticipant (didn't cook, but did eat) and it was a wonderful first leg of our Italian adventure. Tuscany is absolutely gorgeous. The local agriturismo with the bee farm was lovely. Best honey ( castagna, acacia, girasole) in Tuscany. The sidetrips to Siena and Florence with great tour guides ( loved Elisabetta!) and the free time to explore San Gimignano and Volterra were great. Saving the best for last--the beautiful... read more

    Francesca Avatar Francesca
    From Yelp
    7/30/2015

    5 star rating  An absolutely fabulous experience. We spent a week at the organic tuscany course last October as part of our honeymoon and enjoyed every moment of it. The villa is quaint and rustic, set in a stunning area surrounded by olive groves and vineyards. The week was planned out perfectly with cooking classes almost every day, either in the morning or afternoon. The classes were wonderful and very hands on, getting to eat our creations outside on the patio in October... read more

    Brenan Avatar Brenan
    From Google
    2/21/2015
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