Experience the perfect culinary escape in the Chianti region of Tuscany.
This six night dream vacation includes:
- Round-Trip Airfare from Phoenix
- Chauffeured, Private Transfers
- 6 Nights Deluxe Accommodations
- Excursion to Montefioralle
- Pasta, Sauces, and Focaccia Class
- Rustic Farmhouse Cooking Class
- Full Day Chianti Winery Tours
- Tour of Markets and Cellars of Greve
- Guided Truffle Hunting Adventure
- Verrazzano Wine Tour and Culinary Experience
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The winner of the Dream Vacation to Italy will learn both modern methods of preparation of popular dishes, as well as the delicious home-style type of cooking passed down from generation to generation. Stroll through the local farmer’s market. Touch, feel and taste the fresh-from-the-garden produce, and see the pride on the farmer’s face as your interpreter explains how they lovingly grow their organic garden bounty. Truffle hunting? Absolutely! Visit century’s old villages where explorers Verrazzano and Amerigo Vespusci once lived and worked. Learn how to truly appreciate the intricacies of regional wines from the owner of a leading restaurant in Florence. Your tour will combine hands-on cooking with multiple wine tours and in-depth educational tastings. Top it off with private transfers by Mercedes car service and a local English speaking driver, and you have the perfect Tuscan culinary holiday.
Villa Bordoni – Set in the hills of the Greve in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany is this Wisteria covered sophisticated country house built in the 16th century, complete with an extraordinary wine cellar, housed in the remains of a former 11th century dungeon. Now, it is decorated and lovingly restored in warm, rich colors in an elegant style, you'll find modern conveniences with a creative mix of antiques throughout the 10 bedrooms and suites. You'll also find flat-screen TVs mounted in massive gilded mirror frames and other electronics, mini-bars, etc. are tucked away in unusual pieces of furniture. The beds are Kings, wherever possible and unbelievably comfortable, dressed in rich Italian linens. The bathrooms feature hand-painted ceramics, all made by hand by fine artisans, especially for this villa. There are piles of fluffy towels, dressing gowns and bath products infused with citrus and green tea...heavenly!
Airport Transfers and Welcome Dinner
You will be greeted by your driver/guide at Florence airport upon your arrival on Monday, and then chauffeured by private Mercedes town car through the scenic Tuscan hills to your gorgeous Italian villa. Take some time to absorb your exquisite surroundings and just relax before beginning this culinary serenade with a delicious four course a la carte dinner with plenty of Chianti Classico, in the acclaimed dining room. You can be assured of local, seasonal and organic produce and meats. Your meal will start with appetizers, the pasta will be handcrafted, with a main course of local Tuscan meat, salad, and dessert accompanied by wine.
Excursion to Montefioralle
Only minutes away from your villa, lies what is described as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy: Montefioralle, birthplace of Amerigo Vespusci. It is one of the most ancient in Tuscany, still enclosed within its original walls, cradling its inhabitants, virtually free of cars. There’s much to explore on this self-guide walk. After you choose a place for lunch, head back to the villa for your afternoon hands-on cooking class dedicated to pastas, sauces and focaccia making. Following your class, you’ll enjoy a wonderful meal with wine, which will taste all the better since you were the Sous-Chef de Cuisine!
Rustic Farmhouse Style Cooking Class
Dedicate your afternoon to learning from a truly dedicated epicurean: the well-known Florence restaurateur and owner of your villa who has made a huge mark on the Tuscan food scene. You’ll discover the secrets of making seasonal family favorites. Throughout, you’ll be guided through yet another wine tasting at the hands of a master, discovering the mysteries of a variety of Tuscan reds and whites. Following your hands-on lessons, comes the best part: enjoying your efforts at the table!
Full Day Tour of Chianti with Local Wine Tastings
You’ll be escorted to an amazing local winery for an in depth wine exploration into the products of the estate. Taste the olive oils and see that there are great differences in this complex ingredient. Receive instruction in the subtleties of what to look for when tasting wine and just how to distinguish the intricate flavors hidden within. Ask your tour host for a recommendation for a place to have lunch in keeping with the theme of the day. The countryside you’ll travel through is straight out of a travel guide! This area of Tuscany, between Florence and Sienna, is home to many ancient castles now housing award winning wineries. At the end of what promises to be a very memorable day, you’ll return to your delightful villa for another remarkable four course meal.
Markets and Cellars of Greve Plus Hands-On Cooking Class
A short stroll to the village will yield gold for you today. No stay in Tuscany would be complete without a visit to the local market and the one in the lovely triangular piazza in Greve fits the bill quite nicely. The stalls sell not only fresh produce, meat, cheeses, olive oils and more, but the surrounding shops offer choice ceramics, clothing and leather goods. Have lunch if you wish, in one of the wonderful restaurants featuring the wild game and truffles found in the neighboring hills. Later, upon your return to the villa, you’ll have your final cooking class, this time culminating with the preparation of an entire four course feast. Your farewell dinner will consist of these wonderful dishes accompanied by fantastic Chianti wines, as you exchange your fondest memories and plan your return visit to the magic that is Italy. Some leisurely walking required.
Truffle Hunting Adventure
Tuscany’s rolling hills dotted with vineyards, olive groves and forests are home to many culinary delights, perhaps the most treasured of all being the truffle, some even worth their weight in gold! Truffle hunting is cloaked in secrecy and many tales throughout history have been told about this serious business. Although a mainly autumn or very early spring activity, there are many different types of truffles which grow during different seasons. Your hunt will be both informative and hopefully, productive! *This event is weather dependent as you will be walking into the woods with a truffle hunter and his dog, heavy rain is a non-starter, so we will keep it flexible and other activities may be substituted.
Verrazzano Wine and Food Experience
Giovanni da Verrazzano, celebrated navigator and explorer was born in the castle in this village just a short distance from your villa. The famous New York Verrazzano Bridge bears his name in honor of his legendary discovery of its harbor. The castle and vineyards employ state of the art techniques to produce exceptional wines, grappa, honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. During your 3 hour guided tour, you will visit the historic aging cellars, stroll through the late-Renaissance gardens and perhaps even glimpse the wild boar, bred in the surrounding woods. The tour ends with a guided tasting of the best wines, and a lunch of organic products from the farm and other local producers. Perhaps ham, wild boar salami, and cheese crostini and bread, served with Verrazzano Russo. A Super Tuscan married with a pecorino cheese with Balsamic Verrazzano Vinegar. Then, Grappa, of course, with traditional cakes and cookies for dessert...yum!