Renowned for its rich culinary history, Italy offers a raft of excellent cooking schools, classes and workshops to choose from. Essteele has assembled a list of experiential adventures worth travelling for.
Albergo Real Castello di Verduno
Foraging for edible wild herbs including mustardy brassicas, aromatic wild celery, and wild garlic, as well as nettle, and borage is all part of the experience at Alessandra Buglioni di Monale's cooking school in the winegrowing region of Verduno. Housed in her family’s hotel restaurant, Albergo Real Castello, the hilltop castle was built in the 16th century and bought by her great-great-grandfather from the King of Italy in 1909. Di Monale's courses consist of a two-night stay at the hotel, two three-hour lessons and a shopping tour of the Alba market.
Via Umberto I 9, Verduno, +39 0172 470 125
La Tavola Marche
Based out of a 300-year-old farmhouse in the Marche region, American owners Jason and Ashley Bartner run one of the most highly regarded cooking schools in Italy. Whilst Jason received classical training at the prestigious French Culinary Institute in New York, he prefers instructing on Cucina Povera or 'peasant cooking' typical of the area. His cooking is influenced by the Slow Food philosophy, only cooking what is in season and locally grown. The couple offers half- and full-day “hands-on, roll up your sleeves, dive right on in,” cooking classes, as well as educational classes on topics such as cooking with wild vegetables, and foraging, slaughtering and butchering.
Agriturismo Ca'Camone, Via Candigliano, 61046 Piobbico, +39 331 525 2753
Badia a Coltibuono
Founded by famous author and cookbook writer Lorenza de Medici over 20 years ago, the Badia a Coltibuono cooking school is a part of one of Italy's most exclusive wine estates. The classes are led by Benedetta Vitali, a Florentine chef, who instructs her students on cooking and preparing authentic Tuscan cuisine, and on matching food with local wines. The restored 11th-century Benedictine monastery also doubles as a B&B and restaurant. The three-day course on traditional Tuscan cookery includes all meals, wine, excursions and accommodation.
53013 Gaiole in Chianti, +39 0577 744 81
For those with a serious yearning to pursue the art of Italian cooking, head to Casa Artusi, regarded as the centre of gastronomic culture, and devoted entirely to Italian home cookery. Housing a library, restaurant, cookery school, wine cellar, bookshop, and more, Casa Artusi is a living museum dedicated to home gastronomy. Located in the historic Center of Forlimpopoli, near Cesena, amateurs, professionals and even children can partake in the hands-on practical lessons conducted in the school's training hall that houses 20 fully equipped workstations.
Via Andrea Costa, 27, 47034 Forlimpopoli FC, +39 0543 743138