On our last visit to Florence we decided to experience the Tuscan Farmhouse cooking class and local market tour. This was one of the best organized events, catering to a small group that I have ever experienced. You might think that taking a day to spend on this tour is a lot of time but let me tell you it goes by way too fast. At the end of the day you are wanting more. You first start out by meeting your tour guide and the other guests in what is generally a small group of persons (our group was 6). Elisa, our tour guide, could not have been more interested in making each and every person feel as if she was your personal tour guide. We first walked about Florence and Elisa pointed out some historic building, churches, streets, traditions and tragedies. This was happening all the while we were enroute to visiting a few local markets including a stop at the central market to pick up the ingredients we would be using in our cooking class. Before I forget, what is a morning in Italy without coffee "Italian Style"? So while traversing the city streets Elisa introduced us to a very nice local pastry and coffee shop. But what's most important about this stop is that in order to blend in Elisa taught us the secrets of drinking coffee "Italian Style" (take the tour to learn). After a nice walkabout the city we jumped into two taxis and headed out of the city walls and up the hill to the Farmhouse. We walked through the gates and came upon a wonderful view overlooking the city of Florence through a notch in the olive trees adorning the property. Now as you move further onto the property you start to smell the smoke of the wood burning pizza oven. We next met our two celebrated chef's (another secret) who embraced you like you were their long lost Italian brother or sister. Out of space but the kitchen is wonderful; we cooked, Bruschetta, homemade pasta, Ragu Meat Sauce, Pizza (so much fun), Roast Pork, Patata al rosamarino, Tiramisu and Florentine Gelato. Great
This tour was amazing from start to finish! Our guide Mara was great - super friendly and extremely knowledgeable as she led us on a mini-walking tour through Florence, which included a few stops to buy some of the ingredients we would need later. The farmhouse was only about a 15 minute drive from the train station, and was outfitted with a beautiful, modern kitchen. Chef Camilla was super sweet and only spoke Italian (which made for an even more fun experience, especially when she would break out in spontaneous song), so Mara helped translate her instructions and our questions throughout the day. One of the best things about this class is that it was completely hands-on. Camilla walked us through the steps of the recipe, and everyone in the class was able to participate somehow regardless of experience or skill. It was also nice to be able to make so many different courses, rather than just pizza or pasta, and having beer and wine as we cooked was a nice touch. At the end of the day the group sat down to enjoy the meal we all made together, and we were presented with a certificate of achievement before heading back to the city. Not only did we leave with recipes we could recreate at home, it also felt as if we made new friends that day. Thank you, thank you Mara, Camilla and Arla (who helped us perfect our pizza technique) for such a great experience that I would absolutely recommend to everyone who visits Florence.
From beginning to end this experience was the high point of our trip. Our tour guide met us right on time, we walked through the streets of Florence and she told us some interesting facts about Florence itself as well as even pointing out a building where Michaelangelo lived at one time. We stopped at a bakery to pick up the bread for the bruschetta and sat there for a bit to also enjoy an espresso. Next we stopped and bought some fresh tomatoes and basil for the bruschetta and the potatoes. Then on to the meat market for the beef for our bolognese sauce as well as the roast pork. We also bought the fresh mozzarella for our pizza. Upon arrival where our class was to take place the setting looked like something out of a picture book. Our chef along with the help of our tour guide/ translator got us going on our cooking. We were all having so much fun drinking chianti, making home made pasta, sauce, bruschetta, roast pork, potatoes, pizza, gelato and tiramisu. Once all the food was prepared we sat down and enjoyed the marvelous food and wonderful company. I should also mention that the kitchen had all the modern conveniences as well as a view looking over the rolling hills. The dining room where we ate was a beautiful glassed in room again looking out ate the gorgeous view. I seriously can say that everything was done perfectly and I would not have changed a thing!
The cooking class was so much fun! We works in small groups to create a fabulous meal. I would highly recommend doing this while in Florence!
Doing what: Tuscan Cooking Class and Dinner in Florence
Amazing and fun! My wife, I, and two adult daughters had the privilege of experiencing the cooking class and tour during our visit in November 2014. Lavinia is superb as the overall tour guide and interpreter, speaking in English for our group of native speaking English folks. The tour in Florence was unique and interesting as well as the market encounter where we purchased our cooking supplies for the day's adventure. Arriving at the Farmhouse we were greeted by the ever attentive staff and our Master Chef Carmela, who speaking only Italian, guided us through the most entertaining and informative cooking endeavor that we have ever encountered. Our group of 14 was engaged and we laughed all day .. Meeting several friends that we now stay in touch with.
This was the highight of our Florence trip. Chef Alessandro introduced us to butchers, bakers and market merchants selling olive oils, truffle oil and Italian food products.We learned a lot in his cooking class, it was good to eat and good fun at the same time. Mama Mia! It was great.Don't miss it!
Doing what: Florence Cooking Course and Local Market Visit
This was the highlight of our whole trip. We started our trip with Olivia, through the streets of Florence, and gained much knowledge. She was very well informed, and very professional, and easy to talk to. Then we went to our farmhouse to start cooking, and that was just great. Carmela, our instructor was just fantastic. She is the real deal. Our group laughed, cooked, and drank the wonderful Chianti, and we all finished as friends with memories that will last a lifetime. I can not wait to go back to Florence and take this class again. Thank you Olivia and Carmela for making this real fun.
What a great tour! We had Mara as our guide and Carmela was the cook. We took the tour on a rainy day but Mara was very entertaining and showed us many sites around Italy while making our way to the market and to the farm house. The cooking class was great, very informative, hands on and fun! I'm not a cook at all but enjoy cooking and eating of course and thought this class was a had a great mix of both! Carmela, even though she only speaks Italian, she was very welcoming, fun, and energetic. The farmhouse was beautiful, I wish it didn't rain so we could get a better view of the scenery but it was still fantastic. On our trip to Italy (Rome, Venice, Florence and Milan), this was definitely the best tour and the highlight of our trip.
The cooking class was wonderful! We learnt to make many dishes at our Host's villa and each of us had our own set of ingredients to work on. We had a class size of 11 people, which was a cozy number. Our tour guide, Lavi, was around to help with guiding us on how to work on some of the dishes. She also added a personal touch to the tour by sharing her knowledge and the culture of Florence as a Florentine.
At the end of the whole course, we all sat down for a meal at our Host's dining area. The dining area sits atop a hill and overlooks a beautiful scenery. It is a wonderful, wonderful place away from the heart of Florence. I can safely conclude that it was the highlight of my trip in Florence!
This was the best class ever!...Mara, our tour guide was incredible and very informative as she took us thru the streets of Florence sharing some of the history and her garden!...Carmela, our Chef-instructor ensured we knew how to navigate with the different kitchen gadgets that I now have in my kitchen as a result of this fun-filled class!...you do not have to be a skilled cook to sign up for this, Carmela and team will ensure you learn!.. Just have the empty stomach to eat all of the fabulous dishes you are going to prepare!...great meeting folks from around the world and sharing good food and wine in such a beautiful locale!...Ready for another opportunity!!!
This day long cooking class was well worth the money and the time. There were about 17 of us on this trip and we had a wonderful time. We learned a lot, ate well, laughed a lot and had a beautiful view of the countryside. Our guide, Olivia, was great (knowledgeable and a good interpreter), and Carmella, our teacher, was awesome - so full of energy - she didn't speak any English but made everything fun. After making bruschetta, pizza, homemade pasta, ragu sauce, pork roast, potatoes, tiramisu and gelato throughout the day we got to sit down and eat the fruits of our labor. My daughter and I would highly recommend this - it was a highlight of our trip to Florence and gave us the opportunity not only to learn how to cook some Florentine food, but also to interact with a bunch of fun people that we did not know before the trip.
If you're looking for a great Italian cooking class, look no further! I would have done this cooking class everyday while I was in Florence if I could have. It was that good! Starting off with our friendly and informative tour guide, Lavinia, you get a short tour through Florence on the way to the local markets. There's also a quick stop at a coffeehouse (the best coffee you'll ever taste!) and a local wine shop for a tasting (all included) before you head to the beautiful farmhouse with your fresh ingredients. You get to pick fresh vegetables and herbs from the garden and then meet Carmela, our host and teacher for the day. She doesn't speak any English (which isn't a problem) but she makes up for it with her great cooking skills and warm personality. Each dish you create is fun and easy, plus you get to drink wine all the while. Cooking the pizza in the woodfired oven was one of my favourite things. After you cook all your dishes you get to sit down altogether, drink some more wine and eat all your fresh and delicious food from the day. This is GREAT value for money, and you get a recipe book and apron to keep. A MUST DO!
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!!!!!!!
Florence Food Tour and Tuscan Farmhouse cooking class was amazing. It far exceeded my expectations. I loved the combination of a tour through Florence around the theme of 'food' and the hands on cooking experience. Our guide Elisa was fun, informative and focused on ensuring an amazing client experience. Our chefs demonstrated and guided us through the preparation of a great meal. The group of 15 was just the perfect size for engagement and yet personal focus. Highly recommended, great value, great location, great guides!!!
Our Cooking Class was truly wonderful, one of our best days in Florence. Martina, our guide was lovely, very hands on and informative, and our chef Carmel, was terrific!! We had a great shopping, cooking, eating experience out in the country, away from the crowds, with only 16 ppl in our group. Would highly recommend this outing!!
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