Tuscany cooking - Frequently asked questions
Do you have to be an experienced cook to participate in the courses?
Most participants are amateur cook lovers who enjoy Tuscany cooking together and enjoy what they have made in good company with great wine. The level of expertise is not that important we have had different levels from no experience to chefs, its more about the total experience of cooking together and having fun doing on our Italian cookery courses in Italy.
How do you choose between the villas?
All three our villas have a special charm: Casa Ombuto is smaller, quainter and has a serene and mystical atmosphere. Torre del Tartufo is a lot grander on top of a hill with wide open spaces and the views are majestic and Bellorcia is a superbly decorated villa in the Tuscan countryside with spectacular views. They are all wonderful and all we can suggest is that you look at the CV’s of the chefs and their sample menus and decide what appeals more. All communal kitchens are spectacular.
Is there an age restriction for guests visiting the villa?
Unfortunately the cookery courses are not suitable for small children. While we love children and they could have a good time, this is too disruptive for the rest of the group and from experience we have decided to respect this fact and have a minimum age of 12 years. Our youngest participant to date was 12 years of age and the rest of the group found it charming. Conversation does become rather adult after dinner so we would recommend younger guests retire after dinner and parents use their own discretion.
What language is used to teach the classes?
The Tuscany cooking lessons are taught in English and all participants are usually English speaking. While our chefs are native Italians they do speak English well and when they don’t know the word they use their hands in true Italian fashion!
Where is the closest airport?
Casa Ombuto and Torre del Tartufo
In terms of travel, your best bet is to fly into Florence as this is the closest airport (1 hour and 15 minutes) If you can get good deals to either Pisa (2 hours and 15 minutes) or for that matter Rome (3 hours) this could also work.
In terms of travel, your best bet is to fly into Florence as this is the closest airport (1 hour and 30 minutes) If you can get good deals to either Pisa or Rome as they are both (2 hours ) away.
Should you rent a car?
We recommend car hire. You are more flexible if you have a car as you have plenty of free time to explore the area and the villas are both quite remote. We recommend either Avis or Europcar as they both have offices in Arezzo so if you have problems its not that far. If you rent a car, its best to do it from the airport and from there we will give you directions to find the villa.
Where do I find train schedules?
For train schedules have a look at the following website – very handy. www.trenitalia.com
When is the best time to visit?
If you would like to enjoy the pool and eating al fresco, we would recommend any time from the end of May till mid September. It also depends on your personal preferences regarding the weather. If time and availability permits, we do arrange a truffle hunt on the premises for the guests, we have two types of truffles so if you are lucky we find a couple during your visit. The wine harvest is generally end September, early October. They usually start pressing the olives and making olive oil around the last 10 days of October and finish after 2 months; but it always depends on weather.
Is there a dress code?
In terms of clothing the Tuscany cooking courses are very informal and casual and wear what makes you feel comfortable. Most guests do change for dinner, but then again it’s not formal at all. Most male guests tend to wear trousers instead of shorts for dinner.
Do we cater for guests with special dietary requests or needs?
We frequently have persons with allergies or special dietary requests on the Italian cookery courses in Italy and the chefs can adapt the menu accordingly. Coeliac disease and wheat intolerance can be catered for – we have made wheat free pizza’s and pasta’s in the past. We welcome vegetarians and the Italian cuisine offers a wide range of dishes to satisfy the vegetarian pallet.
Do you need current converters or adapters for electrical appliances?
Every bathroom is equipped with a hairdryer, so there is no need to pack one. It seems as though most curling irons etc do not work well on a current adapter, so we usually advise guests to leave them at home. Any electrical appliance that you bring that does not support 220-240 volt current can only be plugged in through a current converter. Most cameras, IPods and cell phones will support 110-240 volt, so you should be able to charge them at the villa. (You can usually find this information on the electrical cord of the appliance). We have standard European plugs at the villa, so keep this in mind. You might need an adapter.
Do we have laundry facilities?
We have two washing machines available at the villa. The washing machines are available to you every day after 17:00 or whenever the staff is not using them for the villa. We do supply washing detergent and we also have an iron available. If you would like the staff to do any washing or ironing for you, they can do this at an hourly rate.
Are pets allowed?
Unfortunately we are not able accommodate pets during your stay at one of our villas, with the exception of guide dogs. The reason being the possible discomfort or allergies of other guests.
What methods of payment are accepted?
Payment is possible either by wire transfer or a bank guaranteed check, however if you prefer to pay by credit card this is possible with a 3.5% surcharge.
Do I need to take travel insurance?
We strongly recommend that you have travel insurance, should you be unable to attend your Tuscany cooking course and thus lose your deposit, course and accommodation payments, and other travel costs. Tuscookany is not liable nor responsible for these losses or costs.
We hold your spots open for you and are unable to compensate you in the event of a last minute cancellation – see our cancellation policy. You can get travel insurance via your insurance broker, bank or travel agent to cover for the cost of your Italian cookery courses in Italy.
What are the GPS co-ordinates to find the villas?
Bellorcia GPS coordinates turn off at the provincial road.
Casa Ombuto - GPS coordinates driveway Ombuto:
Torre del Tartufo GPS coordinates white house at turn off to Torre del Tartufo:
N43˚34’02.7 / E11˚55’29.9