Food, Wine and Cooking Retreats in Tuscany
Join us in a beautiful and undiscovered corner of Tuscany for an immersive and intimate journey into the finest and most authentic Italian food and drink. Come behind the scenes of Italian gastronomy, and against a stunning Tuscan backdrop spend time with cooks, winemakers, fishermen, olive farmers, cheese producers, gelato masters and much more. See our courses and book with us HERE
Our focus is on personal cooking instruction from an experienced chef and pasta maker, and experiential, authentic tours that go behind the scenes at responsible small-scale producers. We believe in sustainable food and drink production that works in harmony with our environment; we introduce our guests to producers who not only make magnificent food, but who respect nature, innovate with green energy, and put quality and integrity above profit margins.
One half the of the Cook Eat Discover team, Oli, is an experienced chef and trained pasta maker who will walk you through a carefully selected repertoire of dishes and share the secrets and skills you need to create vibrant and authentic Italian cuisine. These cookery lessons will form part of a varied and exciting itinerary of Italian food experiences, including demos, tours and activities. We are passionate about connecting people with the source of their food, emphasising the importance of respecting ingredients and the environment that creates them. Our bespoke tour of the region's producers showcases those who treat food with love and patience, and do things in harmony with nature. See the itinerary section for more information.
We aim to inspire and empower food lovers who are passionate about Italian gastronomy, giving them unique access to the people, stories and time-honoured methods behind the dishes and ingredients.
You will be accommodated in beautiful poolside apartments, high above the southern Tuscan Maremma plain, in the medieval village of Roccatederighi. (Pool open from June to September).
Come and cook, eat and discover with friends and family, or on your own to meet like-minded food lovers. We are waiting for you here in beautiful Tuscany. Book here
The Maremma is the southern most coastal region of Tuscany. While the likes of Siena and Florence are easily accessible from the Maremma, it's a hidden gem that's relatively undiscovered compared to the well beaten tourist trails of central Tuscany. Its incredible natural beauty and medieval hill villages provide an untouched and authentic land perfect for food exploration. Things are done the old ways here, and you will find some of the finest food in the country.
We are based in the beautiful village of Roccatederighi, which is carved into the rocks over 500 metres above the plains. It teeters impossibly above the flatlands and from up here you can see the islands of Giglio, Elba, or even Corsica on a clear day.
On check in and check out days, we provide transport between the nearest major train station, Grosseto, and the apartments. We will pick you up from/drop you off at Grosseto on check in/check out days. At times we have to group guests together into collective pick up times - we generally do two separate pick ups on check in day.
Fast trains get you from Pisa Central to Grosseto in 75 mins, and around 100 minutes from Rome's main city station. If you want to drive to us, we can recommend car hire companies and provide detailed directions. We do not provide private transfers from airports, but we are happy to assist you arranging them. Go to http://www.trenitalia.com/ for train schedules.
The undisturbed wilds of Maremma produce extremely fine ingredients and dishes. Stuffed pasta, cured meats, honey, wild boar, hearty soups and chestnuts are some local specialities. The Maremmana cow is famed around the country for its steaks, the freshest fish and seafood comes out of the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea, while we're blessed with excellent wine, olive oil and cheese producers. Tuscany's other famous gastronomic centres are not far away either - the pecorino of Pienza, the Brunello wine of Montalcino, and the Panforte of Siena.
You will have the opportunity to taste and experience the production of many of these wonderful foods, as well as learning to cook the dishes that will stay with you forever.
Here is what you can expect from our full itinerary 7 day courses.
These are samples, and activities and timings will vary according to various factors like seasonal developments, availability and weather. There may be special events and festivals, for example that will feature at different times of the year, while other activities may become less enjoyable or relevant at others.
The 4 day special courses are compressed versions of the below with a focus on certain products or skills e.g pasta making or cheese and wine producers. Go to the individual 4 day holidays in the courses section for specific itinerary information.
We can also discuss providing bespoke itineraries and courses for certain interests, corporate trips or special occasions.
Please get in touch HERE about itineraries or if you have further questions.
7-DAY COURSE SAMPLE SCHEDULE
2:00pm - 5:00pm - Check-in
6:00pm - Aperitivo
Take in your new surroundings with a refreshing Spritz against the backdrop of the medieval village. Meet our team and get ready for the adventures ahead.
7:30pm - Dinner
Relax whilst your personal chef cooks you an introductory 4 course feast under our private outdoor pergola/in the private dining room (depending on weather).
9:30am - Buffalo mozzarella farm tour and cheese tasting
An insightful tour of a sustainable buffalo dairy farm and artisanal cheese producer. Make sure you wear mud-proof footwear! Taste a variety of freshly made buffalo products, there are even creamy buffalo milk cappuccinos and buffalo ice creams. Learn about how they use the buffalos' waste for renewable energy. Enjoy a brunch-style tasting of the farm’s cheeses and a little prosciutto to keep you going!
11:30am - Organic Tuscan rice farm tour
Walk along the rice fields and get a tour of a working seaside rice farm. All the rice is naturally grown and stone processed to ensure the highest quality. We’ll pick up some of their amazing risotto rice for our lesson later.
2.00pm - 5.00pm - Free Time
Lounge by the pool or go for wander around the beautiful old town of the village
5.00pm - Aperitivo and Risotto masterclass dinner
After some tasty aperitivo snacks and a glass of prosecco, Oli will take you through all the essential skills and secrets to perfect risotto making with the rice we picked up earlier. We’ll cook together in the spacious and well-equipped village professional kitchen, before eating our risottos (plus a few other treats prepared by your hosts) in the beautiful village square outside.
7:00am - Fishing boat trip
A fishing trip like no other! We will set sail on a fishing boat early in the morning and pull in the nets with a charismatic fisherman who's on a mission to protect the marine life of the Tuscan coast. He will tell you about his battles against the trawler fishermen, and the importance of sustainable fishing. All of this against the backdrop of the stunning Maremma national park, with stops at beautiful bathing spots and great food on board.
2:00pm - Free time back in the village
5:00pm - Evening cooking lesson, dinner
A hands on cooking lesson with your private instructor in a professional kitchen in the beautiful old town of the local village. Together we will learn to make fresh pasta, and put together a delicious menu using something we picked up from the seas that morning. We will indulge in the meal we have cooked together by candlelight under the sycamore tree at the heart of the medieval village (weather permitting).
10:00am - Filled pasta cooking class and lunch.
An extensive lesson with your private instructor going through some of the staples of Italian cooking - we’ll learn to make filled ravioli and cantucci biscuits. Enjoy an alfresco lunch (weather permitting) with a glass of wine for all of your hard work.
2.00pm - 5.00pm Free Time
5:00pm - Vineyard tour, tasting and aperitivo
We’ll take you to a nearby organic vineyard, and at 600m above sea level it has incredible views. Enjoy their wines, wander through the cellar, and have a snack to set you up for your free evening.
7:30pm - Free time/dinner
This is your night off, you will be spoilt for choice of delicious restaurants to eat in in the village.
11:00am - Honey and Brunello producer tour, tasting and lunch
Learn all about organic honeymaking, study the hives, and listen to the beekeepers. This producer also makes the famous Brunello wine - you will get an insight into what makes this wine so sought after. To the soundtrack of the bees busying away, we will lunch with traditional Tuscan dishes and honey tastings, along with some delicious Brunello. The truffle honey with pecorino is especially memorable!
3:00pm - Pienza - sightseeing and free time
Take in the sights at this UNESCO heritage protected small town, famous for its world famous Pecorino cheese and superb examples of Renaissance architecture. Enjoy beautiful distant views of the classic Tuscan countryside and a large selection of cheese shops.
5:30pm - Pizza cooking class and Pecorino farm tour
An insight into Pienza pecorino cheesemaking at a stunning hilltop farm, where you will also do a pizza cooking class using the cheese straight from the farm, cooked in a roaring wood fired oven. Enjoy your pizza on the beautiful terrace of the farm which overlooks the Val d'Orcia, Pienza and Monte Amiata.
11.00am - Al Fresco Gnocchi class and lunch
A hands on gnocchi class under the pergola with your private instructor, preparing fresh gnocchi for your lunch before you head off cycling!
3.00pm - 2 Hour Cycle Tour to Vineyard
A light ride over the hills and down through the local villages to burn off the excesses of the week, with our knowledgeable and friendly private cycling guide. The ride will take you to a beautiful vineyard on the Tuscan plains.
5.00pm Wine tasting
An unforgettable tasting with an award-winning winemaker, you will get a real understanding of the art form that is winemaking. Enjoy a private tasting of their Sangiovese, Viognier and Syrah, paired with traditional Tuscan antipasti.
8:30pm - Final Dinner
After a rest and a shower, we will take you to the our house in the woods for private gourmet feast cooked by yours truly, saying good bye in style!
9:00am - 12:00pm - Check out
Oli and Flo are the couple behind Cook Eat Discover. Oli is an experienced chef and pasta maker and Flo is an events organiser from London. They have combined their skills to try to create immersive, behind the scenes cooking and food adventures for those fascinated by Italian gastronomy.
Growing up, Oli spent his summers the Italian Maremma region, and after a range of chef work in the UK, he went on to move to Tuscany to further develop his skills and passion for the region's culinary traditions. He has also trained as a 'sfoglino' or artisan pasta maker, and is excited to share his love for and knowledge of Italian food with you. Oli leads intimate cooking demonstrations for our guests on the holidays. Flo's family hail from Provence in France so she also has Mediterranean food in her blood. She has a wealth of experience in immersive dining events and hospitality, and relishes transferring her skills to such a beautiful setting.
They both believe passionately in a sustainable, artisanal and organic approach to food production, and the itinerary reflects this. We want to showcase those who believe in doing things in harmony with our environment, those who produce the highest quality ingredients, and those who innovate with green energy.
Through Cook Eat Discover, Flo and Oli aim to leave a mark on visitors' lives - providing skills and insight from a country in which food, and how it should be created and eaten is an art and an obsession.
Residence Il Ciliegio are poolside apartments located at the doorstep of the beautiful medieval village of Roccatederighi, your base for this food adventure, in the heart of the Tuscan Maremma region.
Each apartment is furnished and presented in a traditional yet elegant Tuscan style, with terracotta floors and wooden beamed ceilings. They are equipped with kitchenette, bathroom with shower, bed linen and towels, independent heating, tv and wi-fi. The apartments have views over the hills, the Maremma valleys and the charming village of Roccatederighi.
If you choose the private accommodation option, you will have your own apartment, while those who choose to share have a double bed and an extra bed for use. Guests choosing shared apartments are asked to do so with friends, family or partners to ensure the comfort of our customers - if you are joining us on your own, we don't currently have a sharing option.
Your accommodation also has a swimming pool (open from June to September), with sunbeds and umbrellas, and an outdoor patio with chairs and tables to enjoy the view from. There is a washer and dryer, and if you choose to drive to us, there is private off-road parking.
From your apartment you will be just a few paces away from the magical old town of Roccatederighi, and a range of bars, restaurants and shops. Your kitchenette will be stocked with great local products for your breakfasts.
Terms and Conditions for Cook Eat Discover