Great fun! And well worth the cost. We started our day going to market and exploring some of the streets of Florence. We stopped for a cafe and then headed to the outskirts of the city picked up by a small bus to a local estate where we met our chef. Her beautiful kitchen with views of the hillside also sported an organic garden and outdoor pizza oven.
We proceeded to make a meat sauce (ragu), tagliatelle and roast pork and potatoes. We then started working on dessert: tiramisu and gelato. While waiting for the meal to cook, we enjoyed bruschetta we made and pizza as we met our professional pizza chef. After toasting some local wine and trying italian beer, we sat down with our newly discovered friends and enjoyed the feast. It was a wonderful day!
This tour was so much more than we expected! Loved the walking tour on the way to the Central Market...very informative...gave us a different perspective of Florence. Loved, loved loved the kitchen in the Tuscan hills... None of us wanted to leave. The cooking class was so much fun and the food was fabulous...this is a must do tour!!!!!!!
mara was an excellent tour guide who guided us thru the alleys of Florence pointing out food-related sites, to purchase bread, vegetables and then to the central market to purchase the pork for the main course. she was very patient with all of the questions we had and she made sure she spoke to each guest at least once on the tour. The farmhouse setting for the cooking was lovely in the hils just outside of Florence. There are a lot of steps involved, so beware anyone who has difficulty with stairs.Carmela the chef was an excellent instructor with Mara translating for her. They worked well together. In spite of the students'svarying cooking abilities, the food was great. It was an excellent value for the money-- the learning, the food, the time(about 8 hours) and the Tusacn scenery. I highly recommend this tour.
This was a terrific experience! Our tour guide Lavi spoke very good english and was very informative while taking around Florence to various markets to purchase food and wine in the morning. The farmhouse was absolutely gorgeous. Everything was brand new in the kitchen which comfortably held all 16 of us. Carmella showed how to make bruschetta, pasta, pork roast, potatoes, tiramisu and gelato. I would highly recommend this tour if you like to cook and have a wonderful day in Florence.
I loved this. Mara and Carmela are wonderful, both of them made the tour so much fun. Every part was great - the market, the cooking, the eating. The farmhouse has gorgeous views and is very relaxing with a beautiful kitchen. I had a great time cooking the different courses, and when we actually ate it, the food was better than some restaurants I went to in Florence. Seriously. So was the wine. I don't think anyone on the trip had a bad time.
OUTSTANDING, Do it you wont regretted is lot of fun and you get to learn so much, Levine will take you to the 'MARKET', and will teach thing that are not in the history books but you must know, then we go to this beautiful farm where the ingredients,, are organic and you pick them for the meal you are making, Homemade:
pasta, dough for the pizza, gelato, tiramisu, bread, while you are having homemade wine
This was the highlight of my trip to Florence! I would highly recommend this tour, our guide was excellent (Lavinia) and our cooking teacher Carmela was fantastic! Both ladies were very pleasant, great fun and just made the tour! We cooked many dishes, got to try them all with beer and wine. The trip to the food shops and market was a perfect way to see Florence, it helped with a sense of direction for the stay in Florence and gave me local information on where to eat, buy fresh foods and the history of the area.
Our cooking class was just about the BEST experience a person could EVER have! I would highly recommend this tour..Our tour guide Lavi was so amazing and informative..What a wonderful girl..The little tour of the Florence market was so fun and it was great to see and learn about the town.When we got to the farmhouse we were all so excited to cook here..It was so beautiful and picturesque! Everything I had dreamed about! The cooking was over the top and Carmella our teacher was absolutely wonderful! She was such a great teacher and we had just loads of fun and lots of laughter with her…even dancing in the kitchen! For one day in Tuscany they were our family! Lavi and Carmella..thank you from the bottom of our hearts.You made myself and my two daughters from Chicago such a memorable experience! We wished we could take you both home! Please give them my Facebook name so we can be friends..Taylor DePaola and Brittney DePaola and Karen Hirst-depaola xoxo
Fantastic day! cooking was informative, fun and delicious! Mara and Carmela were enthusiastic and really made our day perfect, we highly recommend this tour.
It was not only about the cooking; we had a walking tour of market, bakery and some history relating to food. The Tuscan Farmhouse was breathtaking, perched on top of a hill just outside Florence. The kitchen was a chefs dream as was the outdoor stone oven where we made Pizza too! Bellisimo!
This tour was, by far, the best experience of our 2 week Italian vacation. Mara, our guide, truly loves her garden, the people, and her work. The tour allowed us to socialize with other travelers with similar interests - really forces you to jump in and have fun. Carmela was a great instructor - loved her charisma - singing and dancing, she really made it fun. The whole experience, from shopping at the market, the beautiful farmhouse, the lovely teaching kitchen, preparing our own food (when everything miraculously was cleaned after our breaks), and eating outside in the garden was wonderful. a must do tour. Told many others about it and they couldn't get in. Get your tickets in advance, this one is likely to sell out!
This was clearly the highlight of our week. The central market tour and selection of all our fresh tomatoes, cheeses and meat was so interesting. Lavinia was our English tour leader who was delightful and very helpful. Carmella was waiting for us at her converted farmhouse and was so beautiful and engaging with our entire group. The day was so fun and relaxing. The farm was absolutely breathtaking and was only a short mini-bus ride into the Tuscan mountains from Florence. Lavinia and Carmella was so warm and inviting we invited them and their families to visit our home in North Carolina. Love, Love, Loved our day with these wonderful ladies and our cooking friends.
Great time. Didn't realize that the trip to the market would include a mini city tour which was great. I'm not a huge city tour fan but the 20 min walk was great. The market is a neat place to go as well. Then you go for the cooking lesson. It's up on a hill so the views are outstanding. You're constantly cooking or eating which makes for a very enjoyable day. Additionally you eat so much that it really covers lunch and dinner.
All five of us agreed that this was the highlight of our vacation. We had not planned on any museum tours etc., because we had all been to Italy a number of times before. Lavi, our young tour guide was so knowledgeable, friendly and considerate that we could feel everyone on the tour (12 people altogether) bonding with her. The cooking class itself was preceded by a walk through the historical section of Florence, en route to the market where Lavi purchased our supplies for the cooking class. She took every opportunity to delight us with extra information along the way, whether it be historical or something interesting about Italian cuisine. We even stepped into a coffee bar along the way where Lavi kindly placed our orders for coffee and purchased some pastries we enjoyed as well.
A bus was waiting for us near the station to take us to the farm situated on a hillside not far from the center of Florence. The cooking class was fabulous, and before long everyone was mingling like long-lost friends with good cheer and tons of laughter to go round. Our teacher Carmela was amazing and we were all so proud of ourselves at the quality of the meal we had prepared, which included homemade Bruschetta on bread, (the bread was bought at the market), delicious pizzas, roast loin of pork and vegetables (Two of us non-pork eaters were served a delightful mozzarella and vegetable dish instead ), homemade pasta and beef bolognaise sauce, homemade gelati and tiramisu. A selection of wines were enjoyed continuously throughout the cooking class and the meal itself. By the time we headed back to the waiting bus, we were all bursting at the seams and thrilled by the wonderful day we had shared.
Having chosen the class we had a great day with Mara and Carmela last week. First thing in the morning we found the meeting point – a lovely office/vintage Fiat 500 garage. After introduction we had a brief tour around the town with Mara visiting a traditional bakery/coffee house, a 70-old wine shop and the Central Market. As someone had mentioned in the reviews already - we were offered a lovely cup of coffee each in the bakery. What a start for the lovely day! A little bit of history of Florence and middle-ages food, all ingredients for the cooking class have been bought and we are on a comfortable van moving away from the town to a Tuscan farm house. Few minutes and we are in the farm enjoying beautiful view of Florence and taking pictures (of course!). Now time to start the cooking class! Chopping, mixing, rolling, baking, whisking...hands on but not pushed to be busy cooking all day long. All food we cooked has been eaten by all of us with greatest pleasure: bruschetta with fresh tomatoes from Mara's garden and olive oil from Carmela's farm, stone-baked pizza - made by us with the topping of our own choice, drinking Italian beer and wine. Then it was pasta time - we've learned how to make pasta and made linguine for dinner. Then Ragu - what we normally would call Bolognaise but Tuscan name is ragu. The meat earlier purchased in the market was seasoned Tuscan style and stuck to the oven as well as potatoes to become a mouth-watering Italian roast dinner. And the best part - tiramisu and Tuscan-style ice-cream making. Finally the aprons taken off (we kept it for the best memories) and we are facing the best chapter - dinner time! Delicious food was served in the lovely conservatory-dining room with stunning view of Florence. And finally cookery class certificates awarded, books of Tuscan cuisine given as lovely gifts and warm memories left. Many thanks to the ladies from London - it was one of the highlights of our Italian holiday!
This should be 10 star! Absolutely fabulous experience. Lavinia was a terrific guide who made sure our walk to Mercato Centrale was filled with both historical and edible tidbits. Our minibus ride (only 16 participants) up into the hills above the Piazzale Michelangelo brought us to a magical setting where we were greeted by our gracious and talented chef, Carmela. Our group spent hours learning to make bruschetta, pizza, ragu, pasta, roast pork, potatoes, tiramisu and gelato. Preparing, cooking, eating, and drinking were perfectly woven into a leisurely day in the beautifulTuscan countryside. Carmela was an excellent instructor with a great sense of humor. Lavinia was great fun and an excellent translator who made sure nothing - including humor - was lost in translation. THIS IS THE COOKING CLASS YOU MUST TAKE! No one wanted to leave at the end of the day. You will immensely enjoy creating absolutely delicious food and you will never forget your fantasy day in Tuscany.
Loading more reviews