Tuscany: Daygustation Wine and Cookery School
Daygustation run relaxed wine and cookery holidays in the heart of Tuscany for private groups (minimum 10 guests). Choose either the rustic charm of Pastina Alta situated in rolling hills amongst vines and olives near Arezzo or the magnificent 11th century Villa Maddalena situated in the centre of Montisi, a medieval hilltop village. Each day there are three cookery classes and one wine tasting which focus on the region of the day. We try to cover all of the Italian regions including Piedmont, Veneto, Tuscany, Sicily, Sardigna, Puglia and Campania. The daily wine tasting focuses on the key styles from each region and the grapes and terroir that shape their character. You will learn you how to cook a starter, main and dessert from scratch. Tuition is hands on – we don’t believe in demonstrations. Chef Selina Maldini will pass on all her secrets and teach you the classics, including pasta making, gnocchi, risotto and pizza. We don’t forget that you are on holiday there will be some time for you to relax by the pool or explore the town. We are not rigid about the timings of the wine and cookery and will tailor each week to the demands of our guests. If there are members of the group who don’t want to cook then no problem! If one day you don’t feel like it but the next you want to spend a whole day cooking we are happy to oblige. Our aim is to give you an authentic, but relaxing experience. A 7 night course costs from £1750 at Pastina Alta and from £2500 at Villa Maddalena. The price includes accommodation, half board, tuition and all wines. Transport and car hire is not included. We require a minimum of 10 guests to make the course viable and maximum group size is 16 at Pastina Alta and 18 at Maddalena.
We welcome you to the villa with a bottle or two of Prosecco. While you settle in Matt and Selina will cook you a fabulous dinner:
Lasagna al Forno (Fresh Lasagna)
Wine: Cantina della Volta Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC Rimosso 2010, Emilia Romagna
Farona con Uve (Guinea Fowl with Grapes and Marsala)
Wine: Montecappone Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOC Classico Federico II 2011, Marche
Gelati (Selection artisan ice cream)
Wine: Limoncello di Capri
On the first day we encourage people to lie in. In the afternoon we will give you a full introduction to wine tasting plus a tutored tasting of Piedmont classics including Gavi di Gavi, Barbera d’Alba and Barolo.
We will cook the following menu:
Bagna Cauda (Hot Garlic and Anchovy Dip)
Wine: Cieck Erbaluce di Caluso Misobolo DOCG 2010, Piedmont
Agnolotti (Ravioli) *PASTA MASTERCLASS*
Wine: Cascina Ballarin Dolcetto D’Alba Bussia DOC 2009, Piedmont
Zabaglione (Custard flavoured with moscato wine)
Wine: Cà dei Mandorli Moscato D’Asti DOCG Dei Giari, Piedmont
Today we focus on the wines and cuisine of Tuscany, Umbria and Emilia Romagna. The tutored tasting will include real Lambrusco (!), Chianti, Vino Nobile, Brunello and a Super Tuscan.
We will cook the following menu:
Insalata di Porcini e Pecorino (Cep and sheep cheese salad) *PORCINI MASTERCLASS*
Wine: Giacomo Marengo Cuvee Ste Anna 2010, Tuscany
Coniglio alla Cacciatora (Hunter’s Rabbit Stew)
Wine: La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2007, Tuscany
Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s custard tart)
Wine: Valdipiatta Vin Santo di Montepulciano DOC 2005, Tuscany
Today we will focus on the wines and cuisine of the Veneto. The wine tasting will include a Prosecco, Soave, Valpolicella and an amazing Amarone made from dried grapes.
We will cook the following menu:
Pesce in Saor (Sweet and sour fish)
Wine: Inama Soave DOC Classico 2010, Veneto
Risotto al Valpolicella
Wine: Tedeschi Capitel Nicalò Appassimento Valpolicella DOC Superiore 2009, Veneto
Wine: Tedeschi Vin de La Fabriseria Vino Passito 2006, Veneto
Today we will focus on the wines and cuisine of the Islands and Southern Italy. The extended (10 wines rather than 6) tasting will include many wines produced from lesser known grapes such as Greco, Fiano, Inzolia, Primitivo, Aglianico and many more!
We will cook the following menu:
Linguine al granchio (Linguine with fresh crab)
Wine: Mesa Vermentino di Sardegna DOC Giunco 2011, Sardinia
Branzino in crosta do sale (Seabass in a salt crust)
Wine: Manfredi Guccione Girgis extra Catarratto extra lucido 2011, Sicily
Semifreddo al crocante (Praline semifreddo)
Wine: Cantine Vinci Passito di Pantelleria Liquoroso DOP, Sicily
Today there is an option to visit a local producer of Vin Santo. We will give you some great restaurant recommendations for lunch and dinner.
Today we focus on the rich cuisine and wines of Northern Italy (Friuli Venezia Giuliana, Alto Adige, Trentino, Lombardy, Val d’Aosta). Wines will include a Franciacorta from Lombardy, Pinot Nero from Alto Adige and a Tokai from Friuli.
We will cook the following dishes:
Gnocchi di Patate con Gorgonzola (Gnocchi in Gorgonzola Sauce) *GNOCCHI MASTERCLASS*
Wine: Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle Rayon 2010, Aosta
Polenta con le Quaglie (Polenta with quail)
Wine: Meran Pinot Grigio Alto Adige DOC Linea Festival 2010, Alto Adige
Wine: Toblino Goldtraminer Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT, Alto Adige
Where will I stay?
Villa Maddalena is a magnificent, historical property with some parts dating from the 11th century. The villa is extremely comfortable and well-appointed with a stunning kitchen (complete with wood burning grill) designed by the architect owner. The property sleeps 18 with 9 double bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. It has a beautiful panoramic garden and small swimming pool. The villa is situated in the small town of Montisi which has a few good cafes, bars and restaurants.
The villas are beautiful, traditional and rustic. There are two six person villas (three twins/doubles) and two four person villas (two twins/doubles). There is a lovely swimming pool (May-September), tennis court, table tennis, boules pitch and extensive gardens. The villa is situated high in the hills near the hilltop town of Monte San Savino.
We provide a welcome pack with fruit, cereal, bread, jam, tea, milk and coffee/tea for your breakfasts. Lunch is not included and we encourage you to eat out and have a break from the kitchen. Both Montisi and Monte San Savino have a good selection of bars, cafés and restaurants with options for small or large appetites.
A three course dinner (cooked by you!) will be served every night (apart from your day off on Thursday). The menu is based around dairy, fish and meat, but we can also cater for vegetarians and people with gluten intolerance on request. Lunch is not included apart from Day 1.
We source all our wines from a company who specialise in Italian boutique wineries. Many of the wines are organic/biodynamic and have won the coveted 3 Bicciere award. We provide the wine for all tastings and dinners and a supply of good local wine for thirsty chefs. Mineral water will be provided for all meals.
What do I need to bring?
Glasses, knives, aprons and everything else you need for the course will be provided. We will receive detailed notes for the wines and recipes. We provide towels and bedding.
Flights and car hire are not included. A car is the best way to reach the villa and the only way to explore the region. If you don’t want to drive we can arrange a transfer from any airport.(Florence airport 1.5 hours/ Pisa airport 2 hours/Rome airport 3 hours). We will send you detailed instructions on the best way to reach us.
I really enjoyed my stay in Tuscany, it was one of the best holidays I have ever had! The location of the place is perfect – beautiful surroundings and views from the villa (I enjoyed my walks and early morning jogs along the olive trees), very convenient for exploring some of the most interesting places in Tuscany (San Gimignano, Siena, Arezzo) and of course not that far from Prada outlet (which is definitely worth a visit!). The place itself is very well looked after, very cosy, beautiful
Food was amazing – good quality fresh ingredients, great (and easy to follow under instruction) recipes, Selina is a brilliant cook and is great at explaining things and making sure everything is done correctly. Unbelievable how she managed to keep us all organised and under control!
Despite some initial concerns regarding our ability to perform the cooking after the wine tasting it all worked very well! It was nice to do some prep work before, have a break to enjoy the wines and then finish of the cooking. Matt of course is the wine guru and I definitely got a very good overview of the regional wines and learned a lot during these four days.
I guess the main compliment to all of you will be to admit that after coming back to London I was very inspired to try out the recipes on my own (and I did some!) and actually to cook something interesting, also I am now feeling a bit more sophisticated when choosing wines in restaurants or from the cellar in the local Waitrose (I even had a semi-intelligent conversation about Nebbiolo grape and Georgian wines with the Waitrose wine expert!)
Thank you again, Matt and Selina for this fantastic holiday! I want more!!!! xxx
Nadia Treanor, London
A wee note to thank you for putting together such a fun Tuscan experience for the four of us.
Each day was a treat, playing tennis in the morning amongst the olive groves, followed by an exquisite lingering culinary lunch experience, lazing by the pool (with sunshine to boot), informative & interesting wine tasting & authentic hands-on Tuscan cooking. Congratulations on a job well done! A big thank you to Salina, her passion for good Italian cuisine was inspirational. I know Shiona has already suitably impressed her family with a few of her newly acquired creations. My husband & I will be sampling Selina’s parents restaurant soon in London & singing her praise.
I can speak for all the girls in saying we all particularly enjoyed the lazy informal lunches (these seemed to linger effortlessly although I am sure behind the scenes there was a great deal of effort!). I wish you well in your enterprise, I will recommend it to others looking for a relaxing, typically Tuscan experience. Please keep in touch with any other wine tasting and associated events you may have coming up.