The International Kitchen - vacations and travel

Italy: A Week With The Tuscan Chef At The Villas Of Vorno

“This was my first trip to Europe and it exceed all my expectations. Valter was an excellent and patient teacher… ”
The Tuscan Chef - BEST SELLER
, Tuscany
, Wine
, Cooking Vacation
, Cooking Class
, Italy
, Excursions, Italy

from $3,750* per person 7 Days March, April, September, October
Boutique accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: The International Kitchen 12 people max
  • Pisa, italy
  • Culinary & Wine Travel trips
About the location: Discover a little piece of Tuscan heaven and savor the very best in Tuscan living gathered together in our kitchen and around our table. The Tuscan Chef is based in one of a number of wonderful private villas in the area near Vorno, a small town outside of Lucca. Your week-long Tuscany cooking tour will take place at one of the charming and luxurious private villas available for the course. The villas are all of the same caliber, surrounded by wild and stunning olive grove terraces or fruit orchards reaching out over Monte Pisano with views across lavender and lemon scented Italian gardens towards the enchanting walled town of Lucca. They each feature a small selection of wonderfully outfitted rooms (usually only 6 to 8 rooms) with private en suite bath or shower facilities. Your cooking classes are held in the charming Tuscan kitchen of your villa, with meals served in the elegant dining room. During your free time you can enjoy the lovely grounds or the gracious Italian living areas.

About the cooking lessons: Our hands-on cooking courses are under the guidance of professional Italian chef, Valter Roman, one of our top collaborators for many years! If you asked Valter what he wanted to do when he was a child, he would have always said “be a chef.” Like many, he began his “studies” at the side of his mamma and grandma learning the traditions and kitchen culture that are today the essence and basis of any successful Italian chef. Valter studied professionally at the Instituto Alberghiero di Casargo, which led to many successful positions in renowned restaurants throughout Italy and the world. His mentor, Ugo Amato, trained him in London in the art of pastry where he created some of the most sought after pastries and cakes and even supplied the British Royal family. He has also studied with the formidable Tuscan chef Alvaro Maccioni and after three years of study has achieved his sommelier status to accompany his vast kitchen knowledge. Craving the “bella vita” life of Italy, Valter returned to Tuscany with his English wife, Julia, where together they have teamed up for the last ten years to create the ideal cooking vacation.

The classes are fun, informative and full of tips and tricks of the trade. You will discover and explore the tastes and textures of some of the finest ingredients from fresh home-made pasta and plump potato gnocchi with their various complimenting sauces to truffles, fragrant garden Italian herbs, porcini mushrooms and wild asparagus, freshly pressed olive oil, creamy pecorino cheeses and classic Italian wines. Kitchen studies are enhanced and complimented by a special touring program to some of the most enchanting and personally selected towns, markets, vineyards and other hidden treasures of Tuscany.

Locations visited/nearby

The Tuscan Chef - BEST SELLER , Tuscany , Wine , Cooking Vacation , Cooking Class , Italy , Excursions, Italy

2 testimonials about this trip

  1. Reviewer: located in Virginia USA
    This was my first trip to Europe and it exceed all my expectations. Valter was an excellent and patient teacher with a great sense of humor, as well as being a charming host. His wife and children, along with the wonderful pair of Bartek and Myka, made me feel part of a big family. The accommodations and weather were glorious. The food was exceptional. I especially enjoyed dining al fresco with a lovely view of the countryside. I've already made several dishes and my husband thoroughly enjoyed them. Thank you for helping make this an experience I will never forget! Mille grazie!
  2. Reviewer: located in New Mexico USA
    Valter and Julia provide an outstanding program. They are exceedingly pleasant and flexible doing everything possible to make the experience unforgettable. The food was outstanding and Valter's culinary abilities are amazing. He has such a knack for sharing his skills with those of us who are certainly not as accomplished as he. I am not certain I could put in words how wonderful I thought the entire experience was. The accomadations far exceeded what I was envisioning, the food outstanding and the classes fun. The only drawback is the new wardrobe I have to buy to accomadate the inches I gained. I would not hesitate to refer people fact, already have! {The International Kitchen] staff was absolutely outstanding!

2 testimonials about the provider, The International Kitchen:

  • Reviewer: located in NC USA
    I'd like to start by saying, this was the best vacation of our lives. The Relais Oasi Olimpia is a five star hotel with a four star rating. Every member of the staff was warm hearted and friendly, and totally dedicated to our needs and well being. The rooms were large and comfortable, especially compared to the so-called four star hotel we stayed at in Rome. Carmen Mazzola the general manager was extremely competent, resourceful, and accommodating. Whenever we made a request, or a scheduling change was necessary due to weather or some other reason, she handled all with speed and good nature, always exclaiming, "It's nothing!" when we thanked her. The cooking lessons with Marco the Chef were just what we had hoped them to be. Nothing too intense, (after all we were on vacation) but informative and easy to execute. I'm happy to say, Christine and I are quite competent now in producing a variety of delectable dishes we would be proud to serve anyone. Our boat tour to Positano was wonderful, our host Antonio piloted the boat to the picturesue little town, and later stopped at a cove where we swam in the Mediterranean and had an expertly prepared lunch. Our favorite tour was of the Mozzarella Factory, I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Suffice to say, don't miss it. Being Italian-American, this vacation awakened feelings in me long hidden. Personality traits that I have are prevalent in Southern Italy. I felt like I was among my own kind at last. I want to go back.
  • Reviewer: located in UK
    I just wanted to let you know that Chris and I had a wonderful time at Chateau de Berne last week. Mayung took very good care of us as ourhostess, and Jean-Louis is great! And of course the location is absolutely beautiful, as you know. We were made to feel very welcome the whole time we were there. I'm a few months pregnant, and Mayung did a great job of juggling our schedule so that I got some rest when I needed it but we also managed to fit in a lot of activities (including a visit to the market, a winery tour and wine tasting and a visit to a local abbey as well as some shopping on our own).And the cooking lessons were very well done. Chris and I were the only students (and in truth, Chris was the only one really cooking with Jean-Louis -- my job was to take notes and pictures!), so it felt like a one-on-one tutorial. Jean-Louis is a patient teacher and he did a good job of explaining everything he was doing. As the week progressed, Chris took a more and more active role in the food preparation, and the hands-on approach was very educational too. Everyone at Chateau de Berne was warm and friendly, and they really did make us feel very welcome there. This program was Chris's birthday present (his 40th) and I'm very pleased with how well it worked out! Thank you!

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


Day 1 - Sunday

Sample itinerary (itinerary may vary slightly according to season).

    Transfers from Pisa or Florence airports or train stations (or from Lucca train station) for arrival at your accommodation on the outskirts of Lucca around midday for a welcome buffet lunch prepared by your Italian chef for the week, Valter Roman.
    During lunch, meet your hosts and cooking colleagues with time to settle in and relax before your first hands-on cooking lesson.
    Hands-on cooking lesson with preparation of dinner:
    Fiori di zucca ripieni and fritti con cestini di parmigiano — Ricotta filled zucchini flowers with oven crisped parmesan baskets
    Risotto ai Carciofi o Funghi Porcini — Artichoke or Porcini Mushroom Risotto
    Cantucci di Prato — Almond biscuits from Prato
    Welcome aperitivi and orientation before dinner.

Day 2 - Monday

    After breakfast, a specially themed cooking lesson of pasta and its sauces.
        Tagliolini al pomodoro ciliegino and basilico — Long thin pasta with a cherry tomato and basil sauce
        Ravioli di asparagi selvatici con una salsa tartufata di stagione — Wild asparagus filled ravioli with a seasonal truffle butter
        Lasagna dello chef — chef’s special lasagna
        Mostarda — Jam making for cheese tasting
    Lunch al fresco followed by a short guided tour of Lucca where you will visit gourmet suppliers and producers for tastings.
    Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
        Zuppa di Farro — Spelt grain soup
        Melanzane alla Parmigiana — Oven baked layers of eggplant, tomato and parmesan
        Pesche amaretti e gelato di cannella — Amaretto peaches and cinnamon ice-cream
        Limoncello di Nonna Maria — Grandma Maria’s lemon liqueur

Day 3 - Tuesday

    Breakfast available.
    Depart for a Chianti adventure stopping off at an enchanting market town as well as renowned vineyard for wine-tasting and lunch.
    Leave Chianti and return home for an informal pizza supper in the lively village trattoria, just a short walk from the villa.

Day 4 - Wednesday

    After breakfast, enjoy a chef’s tour of the bustling market town of Pistoia to choose fresh produce for a kitchen challenge where students and chefs work together to prepare a buffet lunch with items found at the market.
    Lunch followed by free time to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the villa.
    Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
        Gnocchi con Pesto — Potato dumplings with a pesto sauce
        Tagliata Fiorentina con funghi porcini and rucola and fagioli zolfini — Florentine steak dressed with a porcini mushroom sauce or rucola topping and served with zolfini beans
        Sformatino di Gianduia con una salsa di cioccolata bianca and vaniglia — Warm chocolate and hazelnut pudding with a white chocolate and vanilla sauce

Day 5 - Thursday

    Breakfast available.
    Gourmet adventure in the Garfagnana visiting a cheese producer and a salami/cured meat specialist with a Tuscan tasting lunch at an old mill.
    Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
        Tagliolini di Pesce — Seafood pasta
        Pesce in cartoccio — Fish in a bag
        Sorbetto di limone and salvia — Lemon and sage sorbet
    Aperitivi and dinner.

Day 6 - Friday

    After breakfast, your hands-on cooking lesson specializing in pastry and dessert techniques.
        Tiramisu — A little ‘pick me up’
        Florentines and Petits Fours.
    Lunch followed by a short visit to see the Leaning Tower in Pisa.
    Hands-on cooking lesson and preparation of dinner.
        Crespelline Fiorentine — Fiorentine spinach and ricotta crepes with a walnut sauce
        Ossobuco alla Milanese con riso pilaff — Beef shanks in a citrus vegetable sauce and pilaff rice.
    Farewell drinks, graduation ceremony and celebration dinner.

Day 7 - Saturday

    Breakfast available and transfers to Florence or Pisa airport or Florence, Pisa or Lucca train station. Goodbye, until the next time!

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