1-Week Italian Cooking Holiday in Abruzzo
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1-Week Italian Cooking Holiday in Abruzzo
Starts at US $ 2,549.15
absorb  taste  discover  explore  meet  toast

Join Chef Ezio and his friends in Abruzzo Italy for a 1-week Italian cooking holiday to absorb, taste, discover, explore, meet and toast authentic regional and modern Italian cuisine and wine.

2 Hours From Rome

Along the way you can revel in the beauty of Italy’s best-kept secret, Abruzzo, whose lush Apennine Mountains and national parks are home to bears, wolves and lynx.  Its rolling hills boast some of Italy’s most beautiful hill towns as well as award-winning vineyards, its Adriatic coastline plenty of Blue Flag beaches, a UNESCO heritage site and a marine park.

DAY 1

From the airport, you’ll be swept away from the crowds to our boutique family-run B&B in stunning Prezza, known fondly locally as the ‘balcony of Abruzzo’.

This picturesque medieval mountain town sits 500 metres above sea-level and enjoys spectacular views of the Peligna Valley, where 3000 years ago the name Italia was first given to the Italian peninsula in 90 bc.

0 FOOD MILES RECEPTION

Sample our celebrated Prezza butcher’s delicious home-made lean salami, prosciutto alongside assorted aged local pecorino and soft cacciota cheeses from our artisan cheesemakers. Each will be paired with local wines from family run wineries.

You’ll have time to settle and relax in your light and airy room, where you can enjoy complete mindfulness as you take in the breathtaking view, your wonderful base for the next 7 nights.

4-COURSE WELCOME DINNER

Sit back and enjoy a tempting  4-course welcome dinner sampling local specialities that highlight the simplicity but richness of Abruzzese cuisine.  You’ll discover that there is a lot more to antipasti in Abruzzo than a plate of ham and cheese, and you’ll try your first distinctive Prezza artichoke, highly regarded by chefs throughout Central Italy.

Click on each day to see your week-long food adventure

DAY 2
MORNING

After a leisurely combined Continental and authentic Prezza-style breakfast, you will have your first Italian cooking class that touches on Abruzzo’s provinces, L’Aquila, Pescara, Teramo and Chieti. Dishes created will be paired with local red and white wines and served in the grotto – our beautiful cavernous dining room built into the mountainside, traditionally the coolest place to eat in the heat of the day.

AFTERNOON

After lunch, we will join Prezza’s passionate history buff Luigi, a fluent English speaker who will be our escort on a cultural tour around Prezza’s cobbled streets that will culminate in a wine tasting at the local family-run boutique winery, Praesidium. Here you’ll get to sample Enzo Pasquale’s award-winning wines which are fulsome and lingering.  For those enamoured with Italy’s liqueurs, you’ll get to sample their fabulous Ratafia (Amarena Cherry Liqueur).

EVENING

Nonna Marie will host our evening meal.  We will walk with her to the orto (vegetable garden) where we will pick the freshest vegetables and herbs that we will prepare together as part of our  traditional Prezza dinner.

DAY 3
MORNING

Pack your beach gear as after breakfast we will depart for the Adriatic and the Trabocchi Coast which is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

Heading out of Prezza we’ll stop at Masciarelli Pasta in Pratola Peligna.  This family-run business has been making superb pasta for over 140 years and is regarded by Italy’s gastro Gambero Rosso magazine as Abruzzo’s best pasta. We’ll discover just what makes bronze die pasta so special as well as being able to stock up on artisan pasta to take back home.

On our arrival at the coast, we will be given a unique short talk about the local fishing industry.  This will help our guests identify our unique Adriatic fish and shellfish and sustainable fishing. We’ll hear about some of the most popular recipes across the 3 provinces that touch Abruzzo’s Adriatic coast.

AFTERNOON

You will be quirkily wined and dined aboard a trabocco for 3.5 hours, delighting in a 10-course fish feast in what we guarantee will become your most memorable beach dining experience!   Expect a succession of fish and shellfish served sushi-style, drizzled with local olive oil, mixed into salads, served with fresh pastas, grilled, baked whole fish and crunchy breaded fillets.

Since 1887, these sustainable fishing machines positioned on stilts above a sparkling sea have been used by the local population to catch fish, and some now enjoy a double role as Abruzzo’s most novel restaurants.

We will spend the afternoon relaxing on the nearby Blue Flag beach before departing for a little cultural sightseeing at the nearby twelfth century Benedictine abbey of San Giovanni in Venere.  Set on a hillside with glorious views of the Adriatic Coast, this masterpiece of architecture boasts a lovely neighbouring cafe where we will enjoy a sundowner aperitivo.

EVENING

Prezza’s grandmothers will prepare for us a traditional country-style light supper ready for our arrival back in Prezza, which will be served in the dining room.

DAY 4
MORNING

Straight after breakfast, we’ll head the short distance down into the valley to Ovid’s birthplace, the historic small city of Sulmona overlooked by the Majella Mountain.

Sulmona’s street market is set in the historic Piazza Garibaldi and is regarded as the best in the valley.  It attracts both stall-holders and local farmers to display what is a fantastic array of produce that would be widely regarded as a farmers market in many other countries.  With plenty of tasting available, we’ll carefully select our seasonal ingredients, ready for our afternoon modern Italian cookery lesson.

Following an espresso in the piazza accompanied by some people-watching, we’ll join the Welcome to Sulmona girls for a unique guided ‘Photo Walk’.  This takes in Sulmona’s sacred sites, cultural quarters and tangle of interesting cobbled alleys.  This informative 1.5 hour walk helps provide you with easy tips and tools in how to take great photos using your smart phone’s camera.

AFTERNOON

We’ll stop for lunch in one of our favourite restaurants in Sulmona, and afterwards visit Pelino, the region’s most famous “confettieri” (sugared almond) and confectionary maker, who have been creating these divine candies that are traditionally served as wedding favours since 1783. In their small museum, you’ll be able to see how these and other candies are made and sample to your heart’s content!  Chocoholics will be able to taste tenerelli, similar to confetti but whose almonds are wrapped in double chocolate and flavoured with coffee, gianduja or fruit.

We return to Prezza and the cookery school to have our second Italian cookery lesson using the fresh ingredients we had bought in the market earlier.

EVENING

After an aperitif, we’ll sit down and indulge ourselves with our newly-learned dishes in the dining room, accompanied by some stunning Abruzzo wines.

DAY 5
MORNING

Today we will leave the cooking to our favourite local regional cooks.  We’ll begin the day hosted by Francesca at her family farm Cantinarte in the province of Chieti.

This stunning location which has hosted the BBC to name just one will be the base of a sensorial journey for the group.  We’ll tour the olive oil museum, taste Cantinarte’s single estate organic olive oil and Rossopuro wine.

Afterwards, we will enjoy a traditional cookery demonstration which will include the saffron which is grown on the family’s farm in Navelli.  This small agricultural town is  regarded by chefs and Italians as the best in Italy for the cultivation of this magical spice.   We’ll enjoy a late luxury brunch in the cantina.

AFTERNOON

We’ll visit Castello di Roccascalegna which in its present Aragonese incarnation dates back to the 16th century.  A wonderful local guide will accompany us as we gently climb this historic castle that protrudes above the valley, perched on limestone formations. Afterwards we will sit in its stunning piazza, toasting our walk by sampling some of the region’s best local sparkling wines.

Abruzzo is famous for its plentiful musky truffles and supplies almost 80% of Italy’s truffles that are consumed across the world. We’ll join Franco and Lara the dog in the olive grove, who will be waiting to take us on our guided summer black truffle hunt in the local woods.   You’ll be able to find out how dogs have replaced pigs in Italy to find truffles, the areas for white truffles in Abruzzo and discover the treats which are given to dogs in reward for finding truffles.  Those that we find will be used for our dinner!

EVENING

We’ll be hosted by local agriturismo L’Alveare (the Beehive) for a deliciously robust and traditional dinner.  Before we experience the varied and enticing array of dishes that shows how healthy and varied the food of the countryside of Abruzzo is, Chef Cosimo and his wife will demonstrate the preparation of several ancient Abruzzese recipes and how to work with the  black summer truffles we found earlier.  In between courses we’ll have the chance to listen to local folk music played by Cosimo’s son and if you are feeling brave you can try and dance the Salterella!

DAY 6
MORNING

We will follow breakfast with a cookery lesson exploring regional Italian cooking and cucina povera that will afterwards be served in the grotto and paired with local wines.

AFTERNOON

We’ll visit the pearl of Abruzzo, the nearby beautiful town of Scanno, photographer Henri Cartier Bresson’s favourite Italian town and birthplace of the composer Henri Mancini.  It’s famous for its maze of steps and light that bursts through its narrow alleys, stunning filigree jewellery, lacework and heavy local costume that dates back to the 17th century.

Afterwards, we’ll head south into the Valle Scannese to learn more about Abruzzo’s historic pastoral traditions that brought the Medici Family into Abruzzo.  We’ll have an organic raw milk cheese tasting at Gregorio Rotolo’s acclaimed agriturismo.  His passion for cheese and free-grazing sheep has crafted some of Abruzzo’s most sublime cheeses.

EVENING

We will have a wonderful ‘0 Food Miles’ organic dinner at Valle Scannese looking out at stunning mountain vistas.  We’ll get to sample the delights of the restaurant’s producem of which 80% is grown or produced on the bio-agriturismo, cooked on their legendary wood-fired oven and grill .

DAY 7
Saturday night on our cooking holiday
MORNING

Today we will be given a demonstration by our butcher on how to make local, extremely moreish sausages which are typically roasted and have our final ‘savoury’ lesson in how to make a delicious skinny-crust pizza that is so easy you’ll wonder why you ever ordered takeout.

AFTERNOON

We’ll enjoy our pizzas for lunch as well as partaking in the simple poetry of a porchetta sandwich made with Prezza’s famous potato bread and accompanied by an indulgent sampling of local wines. Diplomas will be presented after our fun food quiz and blind tasting session.

Our final lesson is devoted to Italy’s legendary and most glorious treat, gelato (ice-cream).  We’ll learn from Abruzzo’s best local artisan gelateria in nearby Raiano, who in 2016 were included in the distinguished list of the Top 100 gelaterie in Italy.  They have been finely crafting their ice-cream recipes since 1964, and  they specialise in superb organic and mostly lactose-free ice-creams which  show off the rich diversity of local ingredients.

EVENING

We will spend our final night and dinner together at a colourful local summer sagra.  These are Abruzzo’s scrummy food and wine festas devoted to local harvests and dop products and always arrosticini.  Tonight will be your opportunity to literally taste ancient local recipes brought up-to-date in the tastiest dishes accompanied by local music.  In the unlikely event of a sagra being cancelled or unavailable on your cooking holiday dates we will have dinner on the terrace.

DAY 8 - DEPARTURE

Following a leisurely breakfast, you will be driven back to Rome’s Fiumicino or Pescara Aiport.

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