Taking a cooking class in Tuscany is a fun way to experience the region’s food and culture. Courses range from half-day classes to week long programs. Most classes combine instruction with hands-on experience so you learn about Tuscan food and get to experience making it yourself. Lunch or dinner, made with the dishes you’ve helped prepare, is served after the class, usually including wine.
5 Recommended Places to Cook in Tuscany:
Cookbook author Pamela Sheldon Johns, a former cooking school director, has lived in Italy for many years and is the author of 16 cookbooks. She teaches cooking classes in her gourmet kitchen on her agriturismo, Poggio Etrusco, near Montepulciano. Pamela is an excellent teacher and really gets the students involved in the class with a good combination of fun and learning. Poggio Etrusco is a beautiful setting and of course the food is delicious!
Pamela offers morning classes followed by lunch, week long culinary workshops, culinary vacations with cooking classes in other parts of Italy such as Piemonte (with truffle hunting) and Cinque Terre, and an opportunity to join the olive harvest.
Cookbooks by Pamela Sheldon Johns:
Tuscan Women Cook
The week long program with Tuscan Women Cook includes 4 different cooking experiences with local women ranging from a self-taught chef in a Michelin starred restaurant to cooking on a farm. Students have hands-on experiences that include making pici, the local pasta, as well as other types of pasta and traditional Tuscan dishes. Students stay at La Chiusa Hotel, a historic hotel just a short walk from the center of Montefollonico, a small Tuscan hill town that’s not on the usual tourist itinerary. Also included in the program are visits to local wine and food producers, excursions to other towns in Tuscany, and wonderful meals.
Join Judy Witts Francini for a market to table cooking class in the Tuscan hill town of Certaldo, for a market tour, in Florence, or for a Divine Day custom program. Judy also offers Kitchens of Chianti and Secrets of My Sicilian Kitchen, both week long programs for food and wine lovers with cooking classes and excursions. Judy has lived in Tuscany for 30 years, taught cooking during most of that time, and started the first one-day cooking program in Italy. She also wrote a cookbook, Secrets of my Tuscan Kitchen, and the Taste Chianti app.
- Website: Divina Cucina
Become a Tuscan Chef for a Day
If you’re in Florence, take a cooking class right in the historic center. This small-group class starts with a visit to Florence’s central market with the chef to buy fresh, seasonal ingredients and taste local foods. Then students head to the professional kitchen to prepare a meal based on these ingredients. The 3-hour hands-on class includes making bruschetta, homemade pasta, and a typical Tuscan main course. Lunch and wine tasting follow the class. Friends who took this class said it was fun and they loved learning to make pasta from scratch.
- Book Become a Tuscan Chef for a Day through Select Italy
Tuscan Cooking: Fruits and Flavors of Chianti Country
This high-end wine and culinary experience in Chianti takes place at the famed Badia a Coltibuono, the cooking school of Lorenza de Medici. The morning starts with a guided tour of the grounds and property, an 11th century abbey, including the wine cellars. Chef Andrea Gagnesi leads the 3-hour class in which students prepare a 4-course Tuscan meal. Lunch is served in the private dining room where you’ll also taste the wines and olive oils from the estate.
- Tuscan Cooking: Fruits and Flavors of Chianti Country (note: the price shown is for 4 people)