In Italian a tavola! means “at the table” or a command “to the table!” – this concept is fundamental in Italian culture because the table is where everyone meets to break bread, share laughter and stories, and deepen connections. It is as much about feeding your body as about feeding your soul. The Discovering Food and Wine in Tuscany program combines a balanced itinerary of cooking classes and visits to local artisans, small organic farms, Siena and surrounding Tuscan villages, and dining at excellent intimate restaurants. There will be plenty of opportunity to relax on the grounds of your home site, Castello di Spannocchia, an organic agricultural estate nestled in the hills of Tuscany. You will indulge your senses with the tastes of Tuscany by sampling locally-produced cheeses, salumi, wines, olive oil, and honey. Prepare regional recipes with tips and techniques from our local cook, Loredana Betti. Learn about gardening methods that preserve the ancient landscape and provide the kitchen with a fresh, flavorful harvest. Find out about traditional cured pork products and the importance of raising organic, free-range breeds. By the time you depart Spannocchia, you will be well-versed in Tuscan flora and fauna, wine, food, and the delicacies that all play a part in the magic of Italy and the lure of Spannocchia. Mangia bene e bevi meglio!
INCLUDED IN THIS PROGRAM
Two Cooking Classes – The first cooking class begins at 9am with a tour through the vegetable garden at Spannocchia. Our staff will describe the cycle of the various crops through the year and our methods for providing the kitchen with fresh, flavorful products. Then a visit to the kitchen, where along with Loredana, we will prepare a three-course Tuscan meal utilizing food products from the estate.
For our second course, we will choose between our own farm-raised pork, or beef, or perhaps even wild game, and this will be accompanied by fresh vegetables from the garden. We finish with a traditional dessert such as cantucci cookies with Spannocchia’s vin santo, pinenut cake, tiramisu, or our renowned chocolate salame. A vegetarian menu is also available.
Cinta Senese Tour and Tasting – A close-up look at our heritage rare breed pigs, our organic artisan meat production, and the typical salumi (salt-cured meats) that we create. The tour includes a walk to see the pigs in their habitat, a glimpse into our seasoning/curing room, and finishes with a guided tasting of our salumi products such as salame, prosciutto, capocollo, and lardo.
Wine Tasting and Tour – Learn how wine is made, the different kinds of grapes, vines, and wines in Tuscany, and enjoy a guided experience to learn how to evaluate each wine’s characteristics.
Visit to Local Farm and Producers – We will visit some local friends at their farms to learn more about cheese, wine, and baking.
- Siena – with a guided tour and lunch.
- Visit to local hilltop town with lunch and farm tour.
- Visit to another local town with dinner.
Sample Day (Each day will be filled with different activities and visits, but here is an example)
- 8:00am - 10:00am
- Breakfast (anytime between 8-10am)
- Includes coffee, teas, granola, cereal, juices, boiled eggs, homemade jams, honey, yogurt, fresh fruit, and breakfast cake.
- 10:00am - 1:00pm
- Morning Activity
- A cooking class or field trip.
- 1:00pm - 2:00pm
- Family-style, prepared by our kitchen staff with food from the garden.
- 2:00pm - 5:00pm
- Afternoon Activity
- A guided tour at Spannocchia—such as the Cinta Senese tour or wine tasting—or a field trip.
- 7:00pm - 7:30pm
- Wine on the Garden Terrace
- The Spannocchia community and guests gather on the terrace for a glass of wine before dinner. It is a perfect way to enjoy the sunset and a chance to meet the other guests, interns, and residents.
- Spannocchia meals are family-style and the concept is very much “farm-to-table.” We all (staff, guests, interns) eat together in a communal dining area every evening. The meal includes wine, water, bread, primo, secondo, contorno, insalata, and dolce. While the food is very good, and the atmosphere is a lot of fun, please note that the experience is more convivial than fine dining.