Speaking Tuscan in the Kitchen/La Cucina Parla Toscano

We’ve had a slight change of plans, or rather a change of date, for our up-coming in-depth exploration of the Tuscan kitchen and its ingredients, methods, and techniques. Because of schedule conflicts, instead of late March we’ve had to postpone it to May 20 to 26, but that’s actually good news because the weather will, if the gods are smiling, be warm and wonderful, the olives at Villa Campestri will be in flower, the fields will be freshly turned, and the blossoms in the woods and meadows will be wafting their fragrances.

Spring is a great time of the year to visit Tuscany! And Tuscany is a great place to celebrate the miracle of spring!

We call this program “Speaking Tuscan in the Kitchen/La Cucina Parla Toscano” in homage to the great traditions of Tuscan cuisine, based as they are on the super-high quality of la materia prima, primary ingredients. Think extra-virgin olive oil, think spring vegetables (fava beans, wild asparagus, early peas, wild nettle greens), think plump free-range chickens and rabbits, farm eggs and fresh cheeses, and all the other delights of this delicious season. We’ll be working with them all in the expansive kitchen at Villa Campestri.

Which, if you haven’t heard yet, is a miracle of rebirth in its own right–a Renaissance villa on a 13th century foundation, beautifully restored by the Pasquali family who run it as a luxury inn with an award-winning restaurant, l’Olivaia. We’ll be working in the kitchen with Campestri’s engaging chef Roberto (“Jerry”) Zanieri and also visiting a number of local restaurants, cheese- and salumi-makers, wineries, even one of the great producers of  fine hand-crafted knives in neighboring Scarperia. We’ll also taste a range of olive oils and learn what constitutes olive oil excellence (the Oleoteca Villa Campestri won an award at Madrid Fusion in January for most innovative contribution to the world of fine cuisine in 2011). And we’ll have a master class in tasting Tuscany’s most prestigious and interesting wines.
So join us for an exceptional week–five classes in five days and six nights at Villa Campestri for an all-inclusive price of € 2500 plus $500.

More details are available at and at

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  • Reply Chiara Coletti February 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Is there any information available on travel from NYC to Villa Campestri? Which airport for arrival and how to get from the airport to NE Tuscany without a car?

  • Reply nancyharmonjenkins February 5, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for this reminder, Chiara! The best place to arrive, for access to Villa Campestri, is Florence airport and there are some flights from the U.S. that fly directly there. Otherwise you go through Rome or Milan. Pisa airport is also a possibility with frequent regular trains to Florence’s central Santa Maria Novella station. From Florence, there is a regular train service that goes up through the Mugello valley. These are trains for Borgo San Lorenzo, but you would get off at Vicchio (roughly halfway from Florence to Borgo) for Villa Campestri and from Vicchio could arrange a pick-up from the Villa or take a taxi. Alternatively the Villa can arrange a car service to pick up either at Florence airport or at Santa Maria Novella but that will be expensive.

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