Tuscany is a good starting point for exploring the best in Italian cuisine. It’s one of the most popular in the world, and has developed over centuries: its roots and influences (Etruscan, ancient Greek and Roman, Byzantie, Jewish, and Arab, just for starters) go as far back as the 4th century B.C.. The Tuscan art of good eating is based on the fine, natural taste of pure and fresh ingredients. Simplicity and natural flavors are central. You won’t find an overuse of seasonings or sauce as subterfuge in Tuscan recipes: condiments are meant to be accents, not camouflage.
Tuscan cuisine expresses modesty, instinctive good taste and a wise use of spices. No Tuscan kitchen is complete without thyme, sage, rosemary, nipitella (in the mint family), basil, juniper berries, oregano, marjoram and pepper. Many dishes center on vegetables (tomatoes, fennel, garlic, chard, cabbage, Tuscan kale, artichokes, asparagus, peas), legumes (white beans, chickpeas), wild mushrooms, truffles, chestnuts, pecorino and Parmesan cheeses, prosciutto crudo, sausages and, of course, handmade pasta and bread. Tuscans use olive oil generously for cooking, dressing salad, dipping bread and flavoring soups.
Tuscany is also known for its high-quality beef from the Chianina cattle (used for the traditional bistecca alla fiorentina - a thickly cut steak cooked over coals and flavored with olive oil, salt and pepper and served very, very rare), for its game dishes (wild boar, pheasant, wood pigeon, hare) and for its wonderful fish from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Cooking in Chianti - Ars Opulenta
Come cook with Chef Antonio Alfani in the Tuscan country kitchen of a converted tenth century church, overlooking the vineyards and olive groves of the Florentine Chianti hills. Chef Antonio Alfani will share with you the sensual wonders of Italian food and wine. After cooking together, everyone sits down at the convivial table to enjoy a great meal. You won’t just take home the recipes. You will take home the experience of a day spent learning, talking about technique, history, folklore and tradition. You will make new friends as you learn how to celebrate life the Italian way.
For more information and details: martinez@ars-opulenta
Scuola di Cucina di Lella
The main focus of Lella’s school is traditional Tuscan Cuisine: adapting old recipes to the demands of modern working life. Lella Cesari has always been a passionate researcher into old texts on cookery, and her lessons combine a mixture of both ancient and family recipes, coupled with only the healthiest and most authentic local ingredients.
Kitchen chez nous
Hands-on cooking lessons and personalized dinners, in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere: Fiamma and Ginny can either come to your vacation home or you can attend their cooking classes in the heart of Chianti. They will arrive at your home with everything you will need for your lesson, including the freshest ingredients, an excellent selection of wine and extensive knowledge of the Tuscan tradition.
Francesca Niccolini - Personal Chef & Cooking lessons in Florence
Learning to cook is a recipe with several ingredients: talent, technique, adequate tools, creativity, but most of all passion. Being your personal chef for a dinner or organising cooking classes gives Francesca the chance to share her experience with whoever wishes to learn the basics of traditional cooking or take up the challenge of more creative recipes. A three or four hours cooking course in a cheerful and friendly atmosphere.
Market expert, cooking teacher, food writer and italian life coach: Judy Witts Francini offers one-day and week long hands-on cooking classes in Colle Val d’Elsa.
Chianti Cooking School
Cooking classes in different forms, with content spanning from traditional and rustic to contemporary and sophisticated, fruit of their long experience in Tuscan and Italian cuisine.