Man Up: Cooking School In Italy

Above: Learning to cook in Italy will give you a better appreciation for the food and improve your knife skills (Photo courtesy of: The International Kitchen)
Above: Learning to cook in Italy will give you a better appreciation for the food and improve your knife skills (Photo courtesy of: The International Kitchen)

We’re transporting you to Italy; the land of wine, olive oil and the Corleone family – cue The Godfather soundtrack. Here, your culinary skills will be put to the test as you chop, mix and blend ingredients to create dishes that will make all of your four senses wil’ out like Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned cook, or a professional chef enrolling in a cooking school in Italy will not only give you a better appreciation for the food, but of the culture and the land. Your mouth will water, your knife skills will improve and your stomach will thank you – how can you resist? 

Getting there: frequent flights and reasonably priced air fares are easy to find when going to Italy and landing at the country’s international airports such as Rome, Milan and Venice; however, keep in mind, fares increase during high season which is from June to September. Once you land you have the choice of reaching your destination by train, car or bus; check with the cooking school you’ve enrolled in and find out the best mode of transportation to get there or if they offer pick up service.  

Staying there: many cooking schools will recommend accommodations for your stay, which means you’ll have to pay an additional cost on top of your enrollment fee; accommodations can range from a quaint B&B to a four-star hotel.

What to pack: besides your appetite not much. All utensils, cooking equipment and supplies are provided by the cooking schools. However, since you’ll be doing a lot of eating and drinking we recommend a pack some Alka-Seltzer, TUMS and Imodium just in case.

Be prepared for: if you have any special dietary needs or food allergies, make sure to inform the organizers beforehand so that the school’s chefs can plan out class menus accordingly.

Cooking schools to consider: it’s time to eat, drink, cook and be merry! Here are four cooking schools that make our stomach growl.

  • Foodie-Trips.com (Northern Italy) – Toronto-based Foodie-Trips.com provides gastronomic adventures for those seeking a hands-on and behind-the-scenes culinary experience. In September 2014 and May 2015 they’re to hosting the Northern Italy Explorer trip, which will take you off the beaten paths of Venice and Trieste where you’ll learn to create traditional dishes passed down through Italian families. You’ll also spend a day in Prosecco country – yes, the iconic wine – and complete the adventure in Venice. Cost $4,227 includes hotel, excursions, meals and transportation – flight not included.
  • Cooking Vacations (various locations) – featured in National Geographic, Cooking Vacations has been called “a moveable feast.” This American-based company offers more food tours of Italy than Jay Leno has cars. You can opt for a six day cooking course in Tuscany in the north to an olive farm tour and tasting in Sicily in the south. Most programs will include transportation to and from the airport, hotel, breakfast, cooking classes, tastings and excursions which all range from $1,000-$4,500 USD. See programs for further details.
  • Tuscany Cooking Class (Tuscany, Italy) – founded in 2002, this culinary school prides itself on giving its students an authentic and traditional Tuscan culinary experience. You can choose from the school’s multiple day or weekly cooking programs where you’ll study under the tutelage of native Italian chefs who will show you how to master the art of making dishes such as gnocchi. Two packages are currently being offered which will pique your interest; the Villa Pandolfini Gastronomical Adventure for € 2,300 or the Budget Friendly Culinary Tour €1,500. Prices are based on double occupancy.
  • The International Kitchen (various locations) – The International Kitchen has been operating culinary adventures in more than 10 countries since 1994. Here, you’ll meet the chefs, cook and sample mouth-watering Italian fare. They run cooking classes from Lombardia to the Amalfi coast for anywhere between two to seven days. Most of the cooking classes are all-inclusive; accommodations, lessons and excursions (with the odd exception of lunch or dinner) are included. Cost: $210 USD for a one day course to $3,500 USD for a six-day course. Prices are based on double occupancy.

For more information visit: www.italia.it

Kimberly Lyn

Kimberly Lyn

Kimberly Lyn is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her worked has appeared on StyleList Canada, 29 Secrets and GlobalNews.ca. She is also founder of the highly successful fashion blog The Souls of My Shoes, where she provides insights and thoughts on this world with a concentration on footwear. Find her at www.thesoulsofmyshoes.com and on Twitter @kimberly_lyn.

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