Florence, Italy Cooking Classes
Some of the best food in Italy comes from Tuscany. And as the region’s most visited city, Florence is the center of Tuscan cuisine. Unlike the food from Southern Italy, the cooking here doesn’t rely on tomatoes, cheese, and other ingredients that Americans link to Italian food.
Here, the emphasis is on seasonal local ingredients like wild boar, asparagus, truffles, and rabbit. And, of course, many dishes are prepared with the excellent wines from the region. Most of the dishes are easy to make, full of flavor, and designed to stick to the ribs.
If you’ll be in Florence for a few days, and you’d like to learn more about Tuscan cuisine and how to prepare it, half- or full-day cooking classes are a fun way to meet others, have a good meal, and acquire some new skills. Several classes are taught in English most days of the week.
One of the best-known cooking schools is the Culinary Institute of Florence, which falls under the Apicius International School of Hospitality. Students can take everything from a one-day course to a masters degree program here. If you have the time, the one-week program includes individual and group lessons, wine tastings, markets visits, and more.
Silvia Maccari is a well-known Italian cookbook author and food expert who teaches classes in her lovely apartment. The day starts with a tour of the San Lorenzo market, where student pick up what they’ll use to prepare their meal. Back at the apartment, the class makes four courses, and then enjoys them together with wines that Silvia has selected to go best with the dishes.
The Scuola de Arte Caulinaria Cordon Bleu has been in the center of Florence since opening in 1985. Travelers who want to learn something specific, like making chocolates, pastas, or appetizers will find a wide variety of courses at this cooking school, ranging in length from one day to three months.
Well-known chef Giuliano Bugialli has been teaching classes at his Cooking in Florence since 1973. The school is located in Bugialli’s 15th-century farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside. At the week-long course, students learn to make about 35 dishes, and enjoy dinners at local restaurants, wine tastings, and visits to area food producers.
Claudio Piantini teaches at the luxurious Relais Torres Guelfa in Figline Valdarno. One of the best parts of taking a class here is touring the beautiful cook’s gardens that Piantini keeps and using the fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruits for the meal. When the weather is nice, dinner is served on the pool-side terrace.
Californian Judy Francini started Divina Cucina after moving to Italy in the 1980s. She offers one-day and one-week classes to a mostly American clientele. On Mondays, classes include a tour of the market and lunch at a charming Florence trattoria. On Wednesdays, classes are held at a friend’s villa in the country.