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Live, Learn, Cook...Rural Italy

Live, Learn, Cook...Rural Italy
Italian Hideaways
From spag bol in Bologna to risotto in Rome, Food Writer Bryoney Weaver finds herself in Italian cookery school heaven.

Italian Hideaways – Lombardy
 A 20-minute drive from Bergamo brings you to the secluded Villa Casa Gli Amici del Bosco, a modern, eco-friendly villa nestled in private woodland on a hillside overlooking picturesque countryside. It’s where you and your small group of four, or you and a partner, will be staying during your weekend or week-long discovery of the flavours of Lombardy. Or you could be waited on and have all the cooking done for you. Chef Manilia Degiovanni has learned her skills in Bergamo’s finest restaurants, and introduces cookery pupils to traditional local cuisine with a modern twist. Spend a morning discovering Bergamo or Milan, create a delicious Casonsei (meat-filled ravioli), grey polenta taragna or risotto with wild mushrooms in the afternoon. Then, after dinner, soak in a hot tub on the terrace with a glass of the local Pinot Nero, Barbera, Bonarda or Oltrepò Pavese Rosso.
 
Weekend course: Includes airport transfers (flights not included), all meals, a welcome dinner prepared by Manila, guided tour of Bergamo, vineyard tour and tasting, two cookery lessons.
 
Week course: Includes: the above, plus optional guided tour of/ excursions to Milan, Lake Garda, San Pellegrino, two extra evening meals prepared by Manila, and one extra cookery lesson (three in total). Costs: Weekend: £515 per person sharing twin/ double. Week: £1215 pp sharing twin/ double. Airport: Bergamo Orio Al Serio (20 mins away) or Milan Linate (45 mins)
 
Italian Hideaways Ltd, PO Box 50889, London SW3 4UN 0845 602 5836 Fax: 020 7730 1308 Email: info@italianhideaways.co.uk www.italianhideaways.co.uk
 
 
Sapori e Saperi – Tuscany, Lucca and Garfagnana
If you’ve ever wanted to beat olives off their trees at harvest time, accompany them to the frantoio and watch them being pressed into green oil, or want to meet the local producers of succulent pecorino, prosciutto crudo, salami or wood-fired oven breads, this holiday is for you. Food guru Heather Jarman guides you through the culinary world and wonderful ingredients of Lucca and Garfagnana, introduces you to local food producers and chefs, with whom you’ll get to cook traditional dishes. And you could get to help out at the olive harvest. From day adventures and week courses to personalised tours, including magical walks in the Garfagnana, shopping, arts and music, there’s something for all purses.
 
Courses: Decide when you want to go and for how long. Email Heather to receive a ‘menu’ of what’s going on then (includes culinary and cultural activities). Choose what you want to do/ see, an itinerary will be created for you, and you’ll be picked up from your hotel each day. Or there are full personalised packages available that include accommodation.
 
Packages from €720 per person (adults and children), includes airport transfers but not flights. Day rates: Up to 3 people: €180 for one person/€100 per person for two/ €80 per person for three, plus €50 transport. 4 people €75 per person/ 5-7 people €60 per person Airport: Pisa International (Galileo Galilei) Or train stations: Pisa Centrale, Lucca, Ponte a Moriano
 
Sapori e Saperi Adventures Limited, 35 Panton Street, Cambridge CB2 1HL 07768 474610 (In Italy) 0039 339 763 6321 Email: info@sapori-e-saperi.com www.sapori-e-saperi.com
 
 
Delicious Italy – various destinations 
From luxury accommodation and 3-night packages in Taormino, a Medieval cookery class in a Siennese restaurant, to learning how to make tortellini and a Bolognese ‘ragu’ sauce in Bologna, Italy’s cuisine is ready to be discovered. Over the last decade, Delicious Italy has become one of the best English-language resources for gourmet travellers, and now offers 25 cookery courses countrywide, itineraries, tours and opportunities.
 
Delicious Italy s.r.l, Via Angelo Poliziano 51, 00184 Rome Italy 0039 06 454 76123 Fax: 0039 06 454 76097 www.deliciousitaly.com/cookingholidays.htm Prices according to course and accommodation
 
 
Arte Culinaria – Veneto
Set in the rich, Prosecco-producing hills of the lower Dolomites in the Veneto, the village of Cison di Valmarino is home to La Casa Gialla, a beautifully converted farmhouse that boasts modern yet rustic double en-suite bedrooms, and a self-contained apartment for families. There’s a small indoor pool, and mountain bikes to use as you please. Everything in the kitchen is totally modern, and chef Antonella concentrates on teaching you local styles and dishes, from gnocchi to risotto, crespelles to sorbets, with the minimum of fuss and the maximum enjoyment and chance to savour life. There will be only six guests at a time, so everything is tailor-made as far as possible.
 
Three day course: Includes welcome drinks and dinner, three cookery lessons, opportunities to explore the village and nearby towns such as Asolo, visit local wine producers, airport transfers. Week course: Includes five cookery lessons, trips to Villa Barbaro, Asolo, day-trip to Venice or Padova and more.
 
Three day course: €800 per person (inc. accommodation, meals, wine, all trips, transfers, an ‘arte culinaria’ apron and hand-outs of recipes learned. €600 for non-cooking friend/ partner. Week: €1500 per person/ Friend/ guest €1100. Flights not included, and no single bookings accepted. Airport: Treviso
 
Arte Culinaria, Via dall’Oglio 10, Cison di Valmarino, Treviso, 31030 TV, Italy 0039 0438 975 510 Email: arteculinaria@tiscali.it www.arteculinaria.it/
 
 
Villa Valentina – Sardinia
Perhaps more of a modern resort holiday than the other schools on our list, attractions of La Lantana in Sardinia include a nearby white, sandy beach and a comfortable family-run hotel as your base. Learn to cook local dishes such as bottarga piccante and culurgionis in the hotel kitchen, then explore the Feudi della Medusa for wine, the island of Carloforte or the market at Cagliari. There’s even a golf club at Is Molas.
 
Week course: Welcome drinks and dinner, all meals, 4 cookery lessons, vineyard/ winery tour and tasting, trip to Carloforte Island. Airport transfers only for specific flights. Costs: £1510 participant/ £630 non-participant (sharing)/ £227 single supplement (excl bar drinks and wine) Airport: Cagliari
 
Villa Valentina Cookery Holidays Limitied, 86b High Street, Beckenham, Kent BR3 1ED 020 8651 2997 Email: cook@villavalentina.com www.villavalentina.com/
 
Diane Seed's Cookery School – Rome, Puglia, Amalfi Coast
Diane Seed is author of numerous, much-translated books (The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces, Diane Seed’s Roman Kitchen...). She has lived in Rome for 30 years, and so has had plenty of time to perfect her recipes. Her home cookery school is in the Doria Pamphili palace that graces the Piazza Venezie, so the setting couldn’t be more appropriate for trying flavoursome dishes from all over Italy. If you’d rather relax and watch as hands-on attendees help prepare a range of seasonal recipes for lunches, dinner parties or more informal eating, be Diane’s guest, or enjoy a day class with a market visit. Or use a course in Puglia as a chance to visit ancient historic sites such as ruined Saracen towers in the area that was known as Magna Grecia because of its Greek connections. Alternatively, start in Diane’s Roman kitchen, then transfer down to the town of Sant’Agata sui due Golfi on the Amalfi Coast for a week spent learning to cook in local trattorias.
 
Rome: 1-day classes include: Discussing a theme (eg, which rice is best for different risottos? How to store olive oil), then preparing lunch of local specialities and wine. 2-3 days: Learning a variety of dishes from all over Italy. Dishes depend on seasonal ingredients. Classes from 10am-2pm or 6.30-9.30pm on Weds. Week: As above.
 
One day €200 (special days at €180)/ 2-3 days €200 per day/ Week €1000 (accommodation not included) For Puglia and Amalfi costs and details, see website. Airport: Leonardo Da Vinci International at Fiumicino for Rome/ For Puglia: Palese Macchie Airport, Bari (via Rome or Milan)
 
Diane Seed’s Italian Gourmet, Via del Plebiscito 112 Roma 00186, Italy www.italiangourmet.com/press.php
 
 
Love Sicily – Sicily
Sicily is an island of many influences. The ancient Greeks, Arabs and Spanish have all added their culinary influences, and Mediterranean flavours are at their most eclectic and rich here, where two continents meet. Its nickname is God’s Kitchen because of this. At the loveSicily cooking school you and your partner will learn about Sicilian cuisine from the south-east of the island, the local culture, and the traditions associated with recipe preparation. Help prepare dishes such as olive cunsati, polpette nella foglia di limone or pesce al forno con marsala e amaretti in an atmospheric masseria (fortified farmhouse, typical of Puglia or Sicily). You’ll stay in the beautiful cookery school itself, a town house in the centre of Baroque Modica, and, when not cooking, will be able to enjoy views of all of Modica from the sunny terrazza while sipping a glass of wine provided by your hosts.
 
Week course: Includes airport transfers, all meals and drink (except two), transportation costs, entrance fees, 3 cookery lessons, food and wine tours and tastings, a loveSicily welcome pack. Courses can be tailor-made. Costs: €1770 per person (two sharing)/ €1950 single occupant. Prices quoted for non-cooking partners/ guests. Airport: Catania
 
loveSicily, via Sicilia 72, 97014 Ispica (RG), Italy 020 8133 6251/ 0039 0932 950 222 www.lovesicily.com/cookery-school-in-sicily
 
 
Caldesi Cookery School – London
If you prefer an introduction to Italian cooking that’s a little closer to home, Kate and Giancarlo Caldesi’s famous school in the heart of London’s Marylebone village is definitely the place to start. La Cucina Caldesi introduces beginners and competent amateur chefs to the diversity of Italian cuisine – a taster menu, if you will – and uses the very best local suppliers to help pupils choose the best ingredients. Let celebrity chefs such as Gino D’Acampo, cooks, food writers and wine experts share the simplicity of Italian cookery with you. Children’s classes are catered for, alongside adult half-day courses, day courses, weekly courses, tailor-made classes, private and corporate groups.
 
La Cucina Caldesi, 118 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QF 020 7487 0750/ 0756/0758 Email: lacucina@caldesi.com www.caldesi.com/ For course details and prices, visit the website. Airport: London Heathrow Nearest Tube: Bond Street/ Baker Street
 
 
 
 
 
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15 April 2009
By: Bryony Weaver
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