How Cooking Lessons Changed My View of Italian Food A cooking lesson in Tuscany

By Abi King | Europe

Jun 09

Traditional honey in Tuscany

Italian Food

Italian food. Until I went to Tuscany, I have to confess that I just didn’t get the excitement. Pizza….Pasta…Chopped tomatoes on toast. Not only were these dishes I knew I could make myself (unlike, say, steak tartare or the dazzling inventions at El Bulli in Spain) – but this was the type of food I made as a student.

Or even earlier.

Frozen pizza, thrown into the oven. Pasta from a packet with a pour-over sauce. When Brits think of cheap, cardboard convenience food – they tend to think Italian. And I was no exception…

While this may sound like heresy to Italians, I come here today to beg my forgiveness.

Now that I have visited your country.

Now that I have stepped away from the tourist trail and experienced the real tastes of rural Tuscany.

Most importantly, now that I have had some cooking lessons.

Basil & tomato home made in Italy

Cuoche in Vacanza

Cooking Lessons in Tuscany

Cooking staff from Cuoche Vacanza in Italy

Cooking Lessons: The Best Way to Learn

Let’s be honest. This must be the best kind of study. Cuoche in Vacanza come to your home (in my case, the tranquil Casa Gentili) to teach you how to cook authentic Tuscan food.

They bring ingredients. They bring knowledge. They bring equipment – and they bring wine. And if you take your eye off the ball at some point, they carry on without you.

I’m going to show you some of the recipes I learned at cooking school right here on this blog…in a little while.

In the meantime, I’m just going to let you enjoy the photographs – and think about the following words: olive oil, smoky, grassy, garlic, pepper, fresh, basil, family, tradition, eggs, flour, mint, laughter, food…



Cloves on a chef's palm in Tuscany

Fresh Cloves

Filling pasta by hand in a cooking lesson

Home-made pasta


Slicing artichokes in an Italian cooking lesson

Slicing artichokes in Italy…

Fresh flour-dusted pasta in Italy

Fresh mint in Casa Gentili

Fresh mint in Casa Gentili

Disclosure: I attended this cooking course as a guest of Casa Gentili. All views are, of course, entirely my own. Especially the comment comparing Italian food to cardboard…

Andrea 4 years ago

Fantastic! Italian food in Italy is so fresh and always about the ingredients…I’d love to take a cooking class there.

    Abi King 4 years ago

    Well, I’d highly recommend these guys. The food was wonderful but they were also really good fun – and that’s priceless!

Jenna 4 years ago

Wonderful pictures, as always, and I look forward to your upcoming posts about the food. I cook Italian food a lot at home (luckily we have lots of good fresh ingredients here in CA), but one thing I really want to do is take a cooking class in Italy. This one sounds great!

    Abi King 4 years ago

    Yep, it’s amazing what can happen when you step away from cling-film wrapped food! ;) As I said before, I’d highly recommend Cuoche in Vacanza. A great team.

Rachel 3 years ago

Looks and sounds wonderful. Any cooking classes would be welcome by my family!

Must be pretty similar to rural Spanish dishes? In which case I have no excuse.

Thanks again for inspiring me Abi.

MaremmaBlog a couple of years ago

Delicious! Cooking classes add an extra, authentic touch to any trip to Italy, especially in Tuscany!

    Abi King a couple of years ago

    I’m a big fan of cooking classes. Great food plus a chance to really talk to people from whatever area you’re in. Love them! (And yes, in Tuscany it’s particularly good ;-) )

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