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“The highlight of my month in Italy!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ecco La Cucina

Ecco La Cucina
Loc. Palazzo a Merse, 53010 Siena, Italy
039 338 7745487
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Ranked #5 of 54 Attractions in Siena
Type: Educational Sites, Cultural
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Owner description: The cooking classes are held in a 900 year old stone mill, lunch is under the pergola in the garden.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“The highlight of my month in Italy!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2012

While visiting Siena for a weekend, I took one of Gina's one-day cooking classes, which turned out to be the highlight of my whole month in Italy. The class consisted only of me and one other couple. Under Gina's guidance, we made a four-course meal that we then ate over a leisurely lunch with 3 different wines to accompany it. Gina is extremely knowledgeable about both cooking and Italian history/tradition, which gives the recipes and their ingredients cultural context. She also knows a lot about wine, but I'll admit that this part was a little over my head! She is very sweet and easy-going, and at the end of the class we all felt as though we had made a great new friend. As an aside, I found the rest of Siena to be very touristy, but Gina's class made my trip totally worth it! I'd recommend it to anyone, from novices to well-seasoned chefs.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this review, October 18, 2012
Thanks! It was great cooking with you!
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58 reviews from our community

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English first
Rochester, New York
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Our best day in Tuscany”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012

All our days in Tuscany were special but the day we spent in cooking school with Gina and a few other classmates will remain in our memories forever. First, cooking in a 900 + year old renovated mill/farmhouse/B&B in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside felt like a dream. Gina had the kitchen laid out with beautiful fresh ingredients all local, charming dishware and lots of room to spread out and cook for 7 adults. She is relaxed, open and does not make a non-chef feel awkward while at the same time challenging the foodies in the group to stretch and learn new skills. The menu was amazing - fried zucchini blossoms, hand made pasta and sauce, roasted chicken in lemons and olives, several fresh salads and grape bread for dessert. After spending the morning cooking and chatting and laughing and learning about food, you then go outside into a lush Tuscan garden to eat your four course lunch and drink wine for hours under the Tuscan sun. Could anything be better than this?
The price is worth the experience when you consider it includes the food, wine and all the fun of the day and beauty of the surroundings.
Make this a part of your trip to Tuscany!!

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Thanks so much, that was a great day!
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Excellent cooking experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We learned and ate a lot at this cooking school! Gina is extremely friendly and taught us so much about Tuscan cuisine. We also received her cookbook as part of the course - the cookbook is easy to read and looks like the recipes will be simple to follow. Gina was also helpful in explaining comparable ingredients that can be found in the US since some of the ingredients we used were local. Our lunch included a nice salad, pasta with ricotta cheese and zucchini, roasted chicken cooked with grapes and red wine, and a grape tart for dessert - all dishes were made from scratch, including the pasta! Oh, almost forgot about the fried zucchini flower which was delish! The kitchen was in an old mill in the countryside which provided a wonderful setting.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Thanks so much! Gina
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deiva Marina, Italy
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Fantastic class with a knowledgable cookbook author - highlight of our trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

Gina is warm, engaging and knows her stuff when it comes to Tuscan food! Even if you are an experienced cook you can learn a lot from this class - whenever I was after a more in depth explanation or had questions about preparing other Tuscan food (not on the menu that day) Gina was more than happy to provide the extra information. Gina also knows the local producers - we mentioned we were very interested in organic goat cheese and after the class was finished she volunteered to take us to a local farm and even came with us and translated - It was a chance to engage with a local farm which we never would have had without Gina's generous help. Recommend this class for all levels of experience ( and ask lots of questions 'cause Gina has lots to share).

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Thanks, it was great meeting you both! Gina
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“You'll take this with you even after you leave Tuscany”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2012

Despite all the great food in Tuscany, what we made in class was some of the most memorable, and I've had the panzella salad and the chitara pasta once already since we've returned a few days ago.

Gina is going to tell you about everything from salting the water, choosing DOCG wine, to which contrada to cheer for at Il Palio.

Simply a delight.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this review, October 2, 2012
Thank you, I'm so glad that you enjoyed the class! Gina
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