Vincenza travelled all the way from Australia to learn first hand the secrets of the Tuscan kitchen on a cookery holiday near Arezzo, Italy. She began the course on her own but began to realise that was something that could definitely work to her advantage!
She choose our fabulous Tuscan cooking and culture holiday with Chef Fabrizio which not only includes all the cooking lessons, but also guided cultural tours with prosecco and Chianti wine tastings.
Read on to see what Vincenza had to say about her holiday:
How many others were on the holiday? If you were alone, how was it as a solo traveller?
The first 4 days I was on my own and then we had another guest, Siobhan, join us for the last 2 nights.
I had not realised at first that it would be just myself for the first few days, however I loved it. I got to know Fabrizio really well, as well as the owner, Marina, at the agriturismo where we were based. I also really appreciated the fact that this course still ran even though I was by myself. I had already travelled a fair bit in Europe and was often disappointed because I could NOT BOOK a tour because I was only one person. This holiday, however, had no problem catering a fantastic experience for one.
The evenings varied depending on whether we were visiting one of the historic towns in the area and having dinner in a local osteria, or if we had been cooking and eating dinner at the agriturismo. Where I was based, the agriturismo was just outside of Arezzo. If I had a car I could have easily travelled around on my own. As I chose not to rent a car, I spent my evenings chatting away to Fabrizio or the owner of the agriturismo. I fully enjoyed it – it was relaxing and in the evenings the views from the accommodation were lovely.
Where I stayed had a gorgeous pool, so if it was summer I would have definitely spent my evenings swimming with a glass of wine!
What cultural excursions did you do?
We visited 3 different towns while I was on my holiday. Each visit also included a meal in one of the local osterias. I loved that! Dining in a local restaurant and trying the unique foods of Tuscany, made by great local cooks for their community. We visited the historic centre of Arezzo, Anghiari and Cortona, plus a visit to a local vineyard called Buccia Nera.
What was the most memorable part of your holiday?
The whole time was one that I reflect on constantly. I loved the mix of cooking and learning plus visiting the surrounding townships in our area. I felt like I made friends with Fabrizio and Marina which was amazing. I loved the flexibility around what we cooked as well, we learned basic things like making pasta, however we also were able to change up what we cooked based on what was available in the local market. Just like how an Italian would traditionally cook. For me that was my perfect holiday.
How was the food? Did you have any favourite dishes or something new that you have never prepared or eaten before?
Excellent, Fabrizio is an excellent Chef and very passionate about Tuscany’s food culture and history. We made pasta and took advantage of the local truffle flavours which were in season when I was there. I was open to try anything, so Fabrizio would also cook me traditional Tuscan foods, not just “Italian” foods. I also loved going to the osterias in the towns that we visited, as I mentioned above, to be able to eat “home cooked” meals where the locals eat – it was a culinary defining experience.
How was the accommodation?
The accommodation was comfortable and good. It was at an agriturismo outside of the town centre which made for a relaxing break. I loved that this agriturismo had their own olive trees, and when I was there it was the season to pick and press the olives into oil. Nothing like trying fresh olive oil!
Would you do this holiday again, or perhaps try another cooking holiday in another region?
Yes absolutely, I would definitely do this type of holiday in another region of Italy, or even Spain and France.
How did you find the value for money?
I thought it was great value considering I was travelling on my own and that all my meals (and wine) were included. I was learning new cooking skills and recipes and it was very flexible.
I loved this trip and would happily do it again.
If this cookery holiday sounds like just the thing you are looking for, you can read more on its holiday itinerary page.
Or, alternatively, you can browse our full range of cooking holidays.