Tuscany is rightly noted for its delicious food and wine. Unlike some Italian foods, Tuscan cuisine showcases local ingredients like asparagus, white truffles, herbs, wild boar, rabbit, and Italian’s best beef without a lot of fuss. Tuscan food is simple, satisfying, and easy to prepare.
You’ll likely eat well in the region without much effort. But you can enhance your appreciation of Tuscan food by taking a couple of cooking classes. There are several to choose from in and around Florence. And you can sign up for a half-day, full-day, or week-long program.
Taste Florence offers a walking tour that isn’t a cooking classes per se, but it is a pleasant way for someone interested in the region’s food to learn more about it. Participants visit local food producers where they taste cheese, vinegars, cured meats, olive oils, wine, and more.
The Culinary Institute of Florence, which is part of the Apicius International School of Hospitality, offers everything from a Masters Degree in Italian Cooking to one-day cooking classes. If you’re going to be in Tuscany for a while, consider a three-week course that meets once a week. Or sign up for a one-week program that includes a group and individual wine-tasting class, two group cooking class, two individual classes, and a walking tour.
Food expert and cookbook author Silvia Maccari takes small groups to the San Lorenzo market for a tour and tasting and then brings them back to her apartment to prepare a four-course meal. After the cooking is done, guests sit down to enjoy the meal with wines chosen by Silvia to complement the dishes.
World-renowned Italian cook Guiliano Bugialli founded Cooking in Florence in 1973. It was the first Italian cooking school to offer classes in English. Classes are taught in Bugialli’s 15th-century farmhouse outside Florence. The week-long course includes five cooking classes, dinners in area restaurants, accommodations in Florence, and regional side trips. Students learn to prepare about 35 different dishes.
Located in the heart of Florence, the Scuola di Arte Caulinaria Cordon Bleu was founded in 1985. They offer everything from 3-month professional programs to one-day classes on chocolate, fritters, and pasta.
Judy Francini moved from California to Italy in the 1980s and started Divina Cucina, which offer one-day and one-week cooking classes in Florence. The classes start selecting ingredients at the San Lorenzo market. Her Mondays at the Market includes a market tour, tastings, and lunch in a trattoria. She also offers a Wednesday class at her friend’s villa in the Tuscan countryside.
Chef Claudio Piantini teaches Tuscan cooking classes at Relais Torres Guelfa in the town of Figline Valdarno, outside Florence. Students will tour the chef’s extensive gardens and select fruits and vegetable for the day’s meal. Dinner is served in the dining room or on the terrace by the pool.