DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR WHEN IN FLORENCE! The most perfect day spent in Florence was cooking in a Tuscan Farmhouse perched on the rolling hills of Italy! Words cannot express the incredible hands-on experience and flavors you will eat on this full day tour.
My hubby and I are big time foodies and absolutely love to cook. We try to make our food as authentic as possible, and this tour was not only informative but tons of fun. Even if you don’t like to cook but just love to eat, it’s a great tour to get farm to table food with spectacular Tuscan views of the Italian countryside.
Come along with us today as we take you on a culinary adventure to taste the flavors of Florence. Start out with a tour or the Florence Mercato and take ride into the countryside to the Tuscan Farmhouse. From there you will make and feast on all of the following:
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Tour Inclusions, 8 hours
- Florence Mercato (Market) tour
- Tuscan Farmhouse Cooking Lessons
- Make Bruschetta,
- Pasta Bolognese ,
- Roast Pork,
- Roasted Potatoes,
- Escape the bustle of Florence for a serene Tuscan farmhouse
- Delve deeper into Tuscan cuisine during a market tour and cooking class
- Pick ingredients from a market and cook traditional Italian dishes
- Receive recipes by email in order to recreate Tuscan cuisine back home
- Master the techniques crucial to making authentic pizza and gelato
- Learn recipes and skills that will impress friends and family at home
- Get to know other travelers as you feast on a 5-course meal with drinks
Florence Mercato (Market) Tour
Begin your morning meeting in Central Florence to tour the Florence Mercato. Our tour guide was Lavinia and she was super spunky, loved her passion for the tour. She was knowledgeable about the ingredients and how they’re sourced. We enjoyed the history and tips on how to shop at the local market.
There were many stalls and counters stocked of meats, cheeses, balsamic & oil, produce, and bakeries. We watched Lavinia interact with the shopkeepers as she purchased items needed for the recipes.
Lavinia spoke to shopkeepers and purchased main ingredients at these shops.
The meaning of “Ring Around the Rosie”
There were many interesting stories and myths she shared and how apothecaries are still popular in Florence. One of the stories was about the song “Ring around the Rosie” and its symbolic meaning of The Great Plague. The locals till this day would carry flowers and herbs (pocket full of posies) from the apothecary to prevent deathly illnesses (ashes-ashes, we all fall down).
The best produce you will ever find is in the Tuscan region where Florence is wonderfully located. The Italians in this Region take organic farm to table seriously and sources of origin are a big deal for these farmers. It pays off because the fruits and vegetables are beautiful as they are delicious.
After the market tour we all hopped into a minibus, about a 45 minute ride to the Tuscan Farmhouse. We enjoyed the scenic ride along the countryside of Tuscany. When we arrived, we had a quick tour of the professional kitchen and was amazed at the gorgeous set up.
Surrounding the kitchen were many gardens and olive trees so perfectly picturesque. They use these fresh herbs and ingredients in the dishes we’re making today.
Our first lesson was making delicious bruschetta, a popular Italian appetizer dating back to the 15th century. We used the tomatoes, herbs, olive oil, balsamic, and olives grown onsite. The olive oil was pressed from the olives of their farm. We ate this right away as a snack of what’s to come. Incredible!
Our second lesson was making fresh pasta and bolognese sauce. We gathered around the marble kitchen and watched a professional chef demonstrate the techniques and then we went to the terrace to do it ourselves.
Bolognese Ragú Sauce
We used the market fresh meat Lavinia bought at the Florence Mercato this day. We learned to mince it, spice it, and how to cook it with handmade sauce to make a wonderful bolognese ragú. Since it takes hours to cook, we started the sauce early and was eaten during the main feast.
Did you know in an authentic bolognese, there’s no garlic? The few ingredients are so simple yet the flavors are bursting. Don’t forget the wine to cook with it. Hubby and I make this recipe all of the time.
Wood Oven Pizza
If you love pizza, this is for you! They had pizza experts come in at this part of the tour to show us how to make and toss dough. There was a toppings bar where we were able to customize our own pizza. Then we were coached on how to handle baking it. It was so much fun and super delicious!
Roasted Pork and Potatoes
After having the bruschetta as a snack and the pizza for lunch. We learned to prepare an entrée to continue our feast. The Authentic Tuscan Pork Roast with potatoes was so easy to make using simple ingredients. The combination of garlic, rosemary, and sage smelled fantastic basting the center cut pork loin.
Chef asked for volunteers to help him prepare the roast and I happily did it.
We made not 1 but 2 desserts! The gelato was very easy to make just eggs, cream, and sugar. It’s basically the base to any gelato where you can jazz it up with your flavors. Italy is full of Gelato Universities and on every corner you’ll find a gelato shop like Starbucks in the U.S.
We had so much gelato eating around Italy during our trip and this was a great basic recipe to take back home.
Who doesn’t love Tiramisu? It’s believed the origin of tiramisu came from Veneto, Italy back in the 1960’s. The flavors of coffee, mascarpone, chocolates and cream makes this a popular dessert you’ll find on many U.S. menus as well.
This was a lot fun to make and it was a delicious way to end our feast!
Update on this culinary tour
The tour service we used for this experience was Walkabout Florence Tours in Summer 2016. Since then, I noticed they have broken up this full experience to now 2 separate cooking class experiences.
One is just making pizza and pasta, a 5 hour tour. The other is the market tour with a 4 course meal and wine, a 7 hour tour.