Italian food is some of the most popular in the world so during your trip to Italy, why not give yourself the ultimate souvenir. By participating in one of the many cooking schools throughout Italy (some located in beautiful countryside villas), you can learn the secrets of authentic Italian cuisine while having fun with people that share your passion for food. No matter what level of cooking skill there is a school for you, from informal country cooking classes to culinary academies. Many of these schools are involved in the increasingly popular Slow Foods movement, which supports locally raised and prepared foods using traditional methods as opposed to mass produced food products. Of course, the best part of this experience is that you get to eat everything you make. Here are just a few of the most popular Italian Culinary Schools found on the Internet.
These are more designed for tourists and short-term visitors to Italy. The classes last from one day to a few weeks and have a fun and casual atmosphere. These schools, some of them held in countryside villas are enjoyable for any level of cook, from amateur to professional.
Culture Discovery Vacations:
Culture Discovery Vacations: A unique tour company that specializes in Cooking and Culinary Vacations through Tuscany and Umbria, based in the northern Tiber Valley, near the border region of Alto Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria. They offer 4, 5 and 8 day cooking holidays that are all about fun, laughter and a sense of family, while doing everything to make each guest truly feel like they are a part of the Italian culture. Each all-inclusive vacation is limited to very small groups, and combines cooking classes that are held in an 18th century country villa with amazing sightseeing, private winery visits, olive mills, and more. Culture Discovery's Cooking Vacation Itineraries and dates can be seen here.
Cooking Vacations is a professional tour operator specializing in culinary vacations to Italy. They offer one-of-a-kind personalized vacations featuring hands-on cooking classes in authentic working kitchens taught by well-trained Chefs and local expert cooks, pizzaiolo~pizza makers, and pastry chefs. Cooking vacations claims "We bring you all that Italy has to offer along with the passion we share for food, wine, music & culture".http://www.cooking-vacations.com/
Organic Tuscany is the only Italian Cooking School that offers week-long "farm to table" organic cooking courses. The program includes visits to local organic farms, cooking classes using organic ingredients, olive oil and wine tastings as well as tours of Siena, Florence and San Gimignano. For more information, call +1 347 417 5907 or visit: http://www.organictuscany.org/
These are run more like an Academy and are more for professional or aspiring cooks and usually not for beginners. The courses at these institutes are much more intensive than those designed for tourists and can last up to a full semester. Italian culinary institutes are for those who would like to master every aspect of Italian cuisine from regional and national specialties to pastries and desserts. Some of these institutes now offer shorter classes for all levels of cooks.
Apicius - Culinary Institute of Florence
The Culinary Institute of Florence, located in the heart of the city, is targeted to culinary students just starting out, but does offer a Master in Italian Cuisine program for experienced chefs. Offering both yearlong and summer programs, Apicius offers programs in wine expertise, hospitality, Italian language and culture besides their culinary classes.
The Higher Institute of Gastronomy and School of Regional Cooking The Institute offers courses designed for both non-professionals and chefs. Located in the town of Jesi in Le Marche the Institute adheres to the Slow Food guidelines and offers a Master of Italian Cooking program for chefs working outside of Italy to become experts in Italian cooking or to specialize in a specific Italian region. Shorter certificate programs are also offered as well as visits to traditional cheese and balsamic vinegar making facilities.
Fontana del Papa
Set among green, rolling hills dotted with ancient olive trees Fontana del Papa is an excellent introduction to Italy. Lovingly restored by your hosts Claudio and Assuntina, its architectural details, history and atmosphere are intact. A spring that originally supplied water for the Pope is now also the site of the swimming pool. They offer cooking & Wine classes and special cookery for kids. Fontana del Papa Cooking & wine courses
By Justin Demetri