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5-Day Italian Cooking Holiday in Abruzzo, 2019 : 3 – 7 July


absorb  taste  discover  explore  meet  toast

Join Chef Ezio and his friends in Abruzzo Italy for a 5-day Italian cooking break to experience authentic Central Italian and modern Italian cuisine and wine.

2 Hours From Rome

Each day 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  and a marine park.


From pick up at Rome’s port Civitavecchia after the culinary cruise, you’ll be swept away from the crowds to the family-run hotel spa, Hotel Ovidius in the stunning medieval town of Sulmona, the birthplace of Ovid and the world’s favourite sugared almonds known as confetti.

This lively mountain town sits in the heart of the Peligna Valley where 3000 years ago the name Italia was first given to the Italian peninsula in 90 bc.


Sample the local 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 or go down to the spa for a swim or massage.


We will meet up late afternoon for a short guided tour of the Sulmona that explores its Sulmona’s sacred sites, cultural quarters and tangle of interesting cobbled alleys and provides an opportunity to go shopping.


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.

Click on each day to see your 5-day food and wine adventure


Straight after lunch we will be in the kitchen recreating some of the very best in modern Italian cuisine. We’ll eat the delicious dishes we prepare paired with local red and white wines and served alfresco by the poolside of our open kitchen.


Pack your beach gear as after lunch we will depart for the Adriatic and the Trabocchi Coast.

We’ll depart Sulmona to spend time in Pescara, Abruzzo’s Adriatic hub.  For those that would like to know a little more about Abruzzo culture, there is the opportunity to visit the small but fascinating Museo delle Genti d’Abruzzo and explore the local customs, folklore, dress and food, or for those that prefer to shop, you have the rest of the morning to explore Pescara’s extensive shops.


We’ll spend an afternoon at Cantina De Luca, sampling the best of this Chieti based cellar with accompanying snacks.  Their pecorino ‘Armannia’ will be of particular interest to those with a penchant for sparkling wines as well providing the opportunity to taste the less well known grapes, Passerina and White Moscatello.


We’ll enjoy a little cultural sightseeing and sundowner aperitivo at the twelfth-century Benedictine abbey of San Giovanni in Venere, that is set on a hillside with glorious views of the Adriatic Coast.

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.


After breakfast, you will learn how to make great pasta by hand dressed with sauces that touch on the local province of L’Aquila. Dishes created will be paired with local red and white wines.


We’ll drive across into the province of Chieti and visit the medieval village and castle of Roccascalegna for a tour and of course some wine tasting in the piazza below after our gentle climb!

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!


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!


We will follow breakfast with our final savoury cookery lesson and learn to make a delicious skinny-crust pizza that is so easy you’ll wonder why you ever ordered takeout, that we will eat for lunch paired with local wines.


After lunch, we will travel up to the nearby small town of Prezza that is described as the balcony of Abruzzo.  Prezza’s passionate history buff Luigi, a fluent English speaker 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).

We will be given a demonstration by our butcher on how to make local, extremely moreish sausages which are typically roasted and we’ll have as part of our dinner in the evening.


We will spend our final night and dinner together atChef Ezio’s childhood home prepared by the colourful local Grandmothers.  Tonight will be your opportunity to taste ancient family recipes that are so good they have been handed down at least 5 generations!  Diplomas will be presented after our fun food quiz and blind tasting session.


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

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