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“Great vacation destination!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tasty Tuscany Food Immersion Cooking Vacations

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Tasty Tuscany Food Immersion Cooking Vacations
Via Agliati 123 | Tuscany Italy, 56036 Palaia, Italy   |  
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Ranked #1 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Palaia
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Springfield, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great vacation destination!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

My family and I recently made a trip to Italy. We ventured to several cities across several regions, and the trip was quite memorable! However, we collectively agreed that the time we spent in Tuscany with Paulo and Pat was our most favorite!

Situated at the top of one of Tuscany’s seemingly endless hills, the small villa has beautiful views in every direction. The 360-degree view itself is enough to make you fall in love with Tuscany. The villa, which belongs to the couple, is occupied on one side by them, and opened up on the other side to visitors. It was very cozy, welcoming, and clean. Paulo and Pat really made us feel like we were at home…

Paulo was a magnificent tour guide and takes great pride in his Tuscan roots. He took us on adventures to different towns daily, where we simultaneously received history lessons and were able to observe modern-day Tuscan culture. Paulo is a deep well full of knowledge, and I especially enjoyed our time with him travelling from one town to the next. For anyone visiting the villa, I highly recommend taking advantage of Paulo’s vast knowledge of the local lands!

And Patrizia is a wonderful host, and of course, cook! We signed up a couple nights for the cooking classes, and although none of us probably belong in a kitchen, she did her best to include us in the fantastic Tuscan dishes we were to prepare! Each meal was beyond amazing! I thought all the food in Italy was great during our trip, but the meals we had at Tasty Tuscany were among the best. Everything is home-grown or bartered for locally, and you can taste that difference in the food! And of course, the wine was constantly flowing!

Every night we looked forward to dinner, not only for the food, but for the company. I enjoyed our conversations with Paulo and Pat, and the quiet time we spent with them in the comfort of their home. Just before and/or after dinner, we had free time to walk around the property on our own and watch the sun set or relax on the patio as we pleased. Nowhere else in our trip, did we have such a great opportunity to see how actual Italians live. Sure, the cities had beautiful sights and attractions and memories as well, but it was the privacy and peacefulness at that villa in Tuscany that really made us feel like we were in Italy.

If you are looking for a relaxing get-away in the countryside, with two wonderful hosts, and the whole local Tuscan experience, Tasty Tuscany is certainly the way to go…

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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124 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

My sister and I spent a week with Pat and Paolo and we had a super time... between the adventurous travels to small towns with Paolo on our siteseeing tours and olive picking detour, or the great cooking lessons with Pat (and lots of wine) .... our time was relaxing, our hosts were happy and relaxed and fun to be with... other TT visitor Drew from NY was fun and lively ... food was awesome.... cooking lessons exciting... walks around the TT plantation were enjoyable ... tours were spectacular... would definately go and enjoy it all over again. Glenda (and the weather was perfect!)

Room Tip: This is not a fancy hotel in the city... this is an older plantation way up in the hills... tranquil...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Springfield, Massachusetts
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2014

This fall my family had the amazing opportunity to spend 2 weeks in Italy all together....Rome,Sorrento , Tuscany,Florence and Venice. We enjoyed all of it but we all agreed our time at Tasty Tuscany was our favorite! Pat & Paolo are so welcoming and wether we were visiting other towns with Paolo , taking cooking classes! eating or just chilling and looking at the beautiful countryside from the villa, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. I have a very picky husband when it comes to food and Even though Pat asked ahead of time if someone in the group didn't like things, I didn't want the rest of us not to savor real Italian cooking , so I didn't say anything. Pat took it upon herself to make a special dinner every night for him! The villa in America is what we would consider a B & B and we had one whole side of the villa to ourselves where we were free to go where we pleased including the kitchen. Wine was available anytime and also the fridge. Eating meals WITH Pat & Paolo was very entertaining ...and informative......nothing was "off" limits,! It was a great way to see how Italians live. :). The food was amazing and our trips to Certaldo & Volterre were very interesting. We had to catch a train to go to Florence and Paolo brought us to the station and helped us buy our tickets and made sure we were on our way. Even though we were at the villa what is considered near the end of the season! everything was beautiful. In fact I am in the process of booking a few days this May to see what it looks like in the spring bc we had such a wonderful time this fall! This Italian-American highly recommends Tasty Tuscany for the food, company and sites!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2013

If obscurity and mediocrity is what you seek then Pat and Paolo can deliver plenty of that! The former couple, who are now frigid business partners, make the experience down right distasteful with neither showing much care for each other or for their guests. We had a poor overall experiece. Wish we had chosen a better cooking excurion in the region.

Here is a brief recap of our stay:

Initial Impression: Paolo picked us up at the train station over an hour late. Not an issue in this little village, as long as you speak italian and don't mind hanging out at sundown with taxi drivers, I was left wondering if we needed to find a room. Paolo finally arrived and shrugged off not being there on time, they didn't call us and we couldn't get through to them. Frustrating.

Accomodations: Not terrible but certainly not good either, below average for a B&B. Could have used better amenities or at least provided toiletries. Wouldn't call it a Villa, it is more of a large old house, sparsley furnished in the middle of no where. Upon arrival, we did get some really good tips from Paolo on how NOT to use too much electricity, or too much internet, or too much hot water since all that comes out of their pocket. That sure made me feel at home!

Breakfast: It was country continental, cereal and stale bread with homemade jam. Suggest you eat well the night before. Oh, and the coffee maker didn't work therefore if you were looking forward to a nice espresso, well you are just out of luck. Hosts knew coffee maker was broken.

Dinner: You eat what you make (see note below on cooking school for quality). However if you expected fresh Artisian breads or good Tuscan wine to come along with your meal, well you went to the wrong place. Your local supermarket carries better.

Cooking School: I learned absolutely nothing. It was like going over to a neighbors house and helping them cook. There was no meaningful instructions, but not that you need it in order to cut celery and carrots. Pat's down home cooking was not appealing to us, I was hoping for fresh pasta, herbs, vegetables, and special meats fused into an italian epicurian ectasy. Instead we got very uneventful everyday italian food. Nothing you would ever order in a restaurant or probably want to remake at home. Personally, I would rather of opened up a jar of Ragu and Noodles and put all the money toward really good wine.

Excursions: Paolo would take us on daily trips to nearby towns, none of which would make your highlight reel for Tuscany. The trips generally revolved around his schedule and needs. Need to go to the bank. Need to go to see my girlfriend. Need to go pick up something I ordered. But none of them included, need to buy a new coffee maker - hmmmm that says it all. Paolo did try and share his thoughts on the places we went. For the most part, the stories had little point or historical significance. I expected a lot more given the proximity to some really great places.

Special Requests: Before we left for Italy, I wrote to Pat and requested we celebrate a milestone birthday with a cake. I was very disappointed this request was ignored. I guess it is too much to ask to bake a cake at a cooking school!

In summary, I can see how the place might have promise but unfortunately the cooking school, the accomodations and the excursions all seemed mediocre and our hosts, Pat and Paulo, only extended minimal effort to make our stay enjoyable. Recommend you try a different place, I certainly wish we had.

Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Denver, Colorado
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2013

My parents had the opportunity to visit me during my study abroad experience in Italy and set up a wonderful experience to enjoy a cooking class in tuscany to celebrate my birthday and visit me on my european excursion. Little did I know this would NOT be a tasty experience but one filled with dramatic encounters from the hosts and all over unpleasant experiences.
Italy should be a time filled with good wine, cooking, and experiencing the numerous sites to see. According to the website this is what we expected of our trip. Arriving at the train station, Paulo was supposed to pick us up. He had our train schedule and knew when we were arriving and from where. Not knowing much about Italy we arrived at the train station finding Paulo no where near. We had to wait over an hour after contacting Paulo numerous times about picking us up. Upon arriving at the countryside, the sites were gorgeous but the hosts lacked hospitality or enthusiasm about our trip to their tuscan villa.

Cooking classes and day visits were the main attractions drawing us to the tasty tuscany villa. However, when taking the classes little demonstrations or instructions were given. It was more like helping your grandma in the kitchen rather than learning classic italian dishes. Do I need to learn how to cut onions or chop carrots? I didnt come all the way over here to learn this I wanted real italian cooking! The food quality was below average almost to the point that I didnt eat it. Mold covered the jelly lids of the breakfast jars and the same cereal (stale) was served daily. I expected at least to have a good cup of coffee in the morning or a cappuccino but unfortunately the machine was "broken" aka they didnt ever fix it.

Needless to say we were already not impressed with our trip and were hoping for better results in our day trip. However this was NOT the case. The day trips were only centered around the errands that had to be run by Pat and Paulo. The restaurants, attractions, and meals were all selected around their day to day routines and what friends they wanted to meet up with, NOT what their guests wanted or what would have been a true italian experience. Paulo only took us to shops where we could spend money on his friends stores or people he knew who would get a profit. I specifically remember the numerous times he had to pull over the van and stop to go to the bathroom off the side of the road leaving his guests in the van wondering what the hell they were doing here. Dont worry my family took this as a wonderful opportunity to get a family photo to remember the event.

Pat was the same way. We only visited a nice belt and shoe store because she had to run an errand. And what made the trip even more awkward and miserable was the constant fighting and bickering between the two once married couple that now had split apart. Hearing them trash each other was not something I wanted to deal with on my vacation.

Little to say I was not only displeased with my experience but mortified that this would be even considered a tasty tuscan experience in Italy. I would not recommend this experience to anyone and hope that no one wastes their money on such a distasteful and disheartening experience. I have blocked out most memories of this trip because they were too upsetting to even talk about on this review. You are better off staying where you are and enjoying a night out at Olive Garden than traveling to Italy.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

What you won't get: Ritzy accommodation with bathrobes and slippers.
What you will get: A warm and friendly welcome; impeccably clean and comfortable accommodation in a renovated 18th century farmhouse; a small group of fellow cooks; visits to a variety of hill towns -- all one hour away from Palaia; side trips if Paolo thinks a group might be especially interested in something; food cooked with super fresh, local, organic, ingredients; lessons and tips from an excellent cook, tuned to the skills of the group. Not only is Pat a great cook, she is an excellent teacher.
This was a holiday I would strongly recommend to a couple, a group of friends, or someone traveling alone.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stone
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

A memorable trip both Pat and Paolo were very welcoming,they made us feel at home. Paolo took us sightseeing in the mornings and we cooked delicious vegetarian food in the evenings, the rewarding part was eating the food we had prepared. I had taken my husband and both boys who are at Univeristy on this trip and it was a great family holiday. I have returned home and made lasagne already and we've enjoyef the biscottis we made and Pat kindly packed for us. Overall excellent.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tasty Tuscany Food Immersion Cooking Vacations

Address: Via Agliati 123 | Tuscany Italy, 56036 Palaia, Italy
Phone Number:
Location: Italy > Tuscany > Province of Pisa > Palaia
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Palaia
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Food Immersion: a great opportunity to live for a week in a real Tuscan home, learning about authentic Italian food, touring beautiful art sites, relaxing in the luxuriant garden or at the pool, meeting your hosts Pat and Paolo, their family and friends. At Tasty Tuscany the hands-on experience in the kitchen is enriched by guided art tours, visits to wine and food producers, open markets and art workshops. Small groups of people experience a unique Culinary Adventure that starts from our Traditional Family Recipes. It's our everyday cooking and we'll t each you the tips to make you feel confident in the kitchen. We welome not cooking guests with a tour and relaxation program. On a hilltop flanked by Tuscan cypresses is an Italian farm with a farmhouse, now a Tuscany villa for a great Tuscany holiday destination. This is where the silence speaks to one's very soul and the sweet scent of Tuscan rosemary & oregano lifts the spirit. The scent is present in the morning Tuscan air and the dry breeze of every evening. The sweet smell permeates the Tuscan kitchen used for cookery classes, giving the authentic Italian family food a wonderful Tuscan flavor to make for a memorable holiday in Italy. This beautifully restored farmhouse provides a bed & breakfast accommodations and an Italian cooking school. The villa has five bedrooms, each with its own character and furnished with antique pieces handed down throughout Italian generations, are perfect for Italy holiday slumbers. Everything combines to create perfect atmosphere for your holiday. Whether just passing through or planning to stay, all are welcome at our cooking school, bed and breakfast, and rental villa. Press Articles Tuscany Cooking Classes For some the stay is a short holiday and the farmhouse bed and breakfast provides a brief respite between local art cities. There's always time to have a chat, to try our traditional Tuscan organic food, drink a glass of good Italian Chianti. All of these can be done under the branches of the Italian wisteria on the grounds of the Tuscany holiday villa rental, near the welcoming Tuscany villa rental fireplace in the living room, or upon wakening in the morning to the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread. For others, a visit here becomes an Italian holiday voyage of discovery, an opportunity to learn about the true flavors of Tuscany, to taste Italian olive oil made from the fruit of our Tuscany villa and its ancient olive trees, or authentic Italian wine made by dear friends from San Gimignano. During your vacation, maybe we'll visit in on a nearby shepherd to try some pecorino cheese that is still made the old way, really organic, and you'll learn to cook some traditional and typical Italian dishes. And we always remember to share everything with good humor and a ready Italian smile. We look forward to welcoming you and making your holiday Tuscany holiday a most memorable one! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tasty Tuscany Food Immersion Cooking Vacations Palaia, Italy

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