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All reviews torre del tartufo chef franco the kitchen cooking vacation bucket list olive oil his assistant wonderful experience pizza great fun every meal four days experienced chef exceeded our expectations whole experience gelato amazing chef
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Reviewed July 11, 2015

Absolutely The trip of a lifetime! We spent the week of 6/21-29, 2015 at Torre del Tartufo and from the fragrance of the lavender upon arrival to the wonderful cooking we created in the huge ktichen it was perfect. Being able to cook with a true chef - Franco Palandra - and his amazing kitchen crew was really a treat,
From learning tricks to make the perfect homemade tomato soup, to de-boning duck, and filleting sea bass, making pizza dough, and pasta dough, we touched on 43 recipes during the week. (The pots and pans magically were cleaned and put back in place as we cooked and cooked and cooked)
You will make wonderful friends from all over the world thrown together with the spice that indeed makes Italy a gastronomic festival. The side trips were well-organized and fun-and at first thinking that I'd miss a day (or actually 2 days) of cooking, instead it was a welcome respite.
You'll use the freshest ingredients and indeed go down to Franco's garden to gather everything from cherries, and squash blossoms, to the herbs that are just within reach in huge pots.
The villa is stunningly luxurious but in an Italian countryside way, rooms are spacious, linens are lovely, bathrooms very European and every night eating under the stars with pretty table settings by Paola makes you remember that using what is all around you enhances the food.
It is indeed remote and navigating the winding, steep, gravel road up to the villa is an experience in itself-we had to turn off the AC in the rental car to get up to the top. Another note, they do advise that you fly into Florence and take the train to Arrezzo (another place not to be missed) then take a taxi to the villa. My husband is convinced that's what we would do for another visit - no, he didn't cook - no your spouse or significant other doesn't have to - the view and the pool, the masseuse (Laura) all make for a relaxing day if they don't want to cook and just enjoy the open bar and plentiful wine.
Another hint; be sure to wear sturdy shoes, or heavy soled shoes - or just tennis shoes for the cooking, no open-toed sandals-you're on your feet for at least 4 hours on the cooking days-also, Franco does run his kitchen in a basic professional way-best to wear capris or pants to avoid the hot liquids that can boil over. Your friends may say that they 'went to a class in Tuscany' - you will truly learn at Tartufo (or at Casa Ombuto or Bellocia for that matter) and claim bragging rights since this is a REAL cooking school.
Your entire experience will be choreographed perfectly by Alex and Lena-they are caring, professional, wonderful, highly trained and attentive. They are so friendly and Lena makes the BEST breakfast cakes (lemon especially). Alex oversees both Tartufo and Casa Ombuto and Lena is fun to talk to and easygoing and re-assuring. They both share the history of Tartufo as well as hints to enjoy the Italian countryside and directions.
Be sure to ask Lena and Alex (and then commit) about planting an olive tree!

Room tip: Our room - Rosmaria - overlooked the gorgeous pool and hills to the rear and the pretty courtyard to the bathroom side
Date of stay: June 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank O4ADAYONTHEBEACH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 2, 2015 via mobile

We had the most amazing time at Torre del Tartufo last month, with friends old and new, staff that felt like family and accommodation so comfortable we felt immediately at home. The apartment was comfortably and tastefully furnished; the pool and hot tub were incredible and the views spectacular! We won't even mention the surfeit of food (much of which we cooked ourselves) and free-flowing drinks! We absolutely loved the entire experience. Thank you so much, Lena and Alex, for making us feel so welcome; Franco and Paula, for an incredible cooking experience; Pippa and Lars for making it all happen (and of course the "fairies" who cleaned up after us and laid out sumptuous breakfasts!)

Date of stay: June 2015
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank Gwyn R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2015

Eat - fantastic food you never thought you'd be able to cook, using stunning fresh produce
Pray - that you make it up the hill (first gear, don't stop for anything!)
Love - Torre del Tartufo, Tuscany, and Tuscookany!
We did the week long Italian cooking course with two old friends and a lot of new ones. The villa is beautiful, very traditional in design but with all mod cons. Gardens are beautiful and the views spectacular. It would be a lovely place to stay even without the cookery course, but the cooking makes it special.
Our group was a real mix of abilities and experience, ranging from complete amateurs to professional chefs. But under the watchful eyes of Franco and Paola, and with a little help from your friends and teammates, you will be amazed at what you can produce. The emphasis is on traditional Italian cooking, using only what is in season, and presented beautifully. I learned so much in terms not only of technique (deboning and general butchery skills as well as pasta and pastry making) but also lots of really useful tips that I will use regularly at home, all passed on by Franco from his wealth of experience. He's a real character and ensures you work hard, but it is great fun. Alex and Lena manage the villa and are warm and friendly with an eye for the little details that make all the difference. We ate extremely well all week, drank some good wine, and when it all got too much, flopped by the pool and watched the world go by.
Our fellow students were a real variety of characters from all over the world, and thanks no doubt to the necessity of teamwork in the kitchen, we became good friends very quickly. We had such a good time - lots of laughter and a little serious debate, maybe even some singing ... it was a real wrench to say goodbye to everybody on Sunday and drive off back to reality.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anybody who enjoys good food and good company - experienced chef or amateur, on your own or with a crowd - Alex, Lena, Franco, Paola and the team will ensure you have an amazing holiday and go home fired with the enthusiasm to try out what you've learned and filled with a longing to return. I planted an olive tree before I left so I have to go back and see how it's doing - that's my excuse anyway!

Room tip: We shared a two bedroom suite with friends with its own sitting area - nice private space to relax but views are limited.
Date of stay: June 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank SJFLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2015

I attended the cooking school the week of the 5th June 2015. It was a wonderful time. I learned so much about cooking from chef Franco Palandra and so much fun making all the delicious dishes. The entire team were so welcome and accommodating. It really was like being at home, except in the beautiful setting of Tuscany. I only hope I can go back again next year. Well done guys!!

Date of stay: June 2015
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Cezro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2015 via mobile

This is one of the best holidays we have ever expierenced!
I'm not sure any review can exaggerate how beautiful Torre del Tarfulo is and the amazing staff/ Team that are behind the scenes ensuring your stay is perfect.
The tuition in the kitchen is informative and fun, you will cook beautiful fresh Italian dishes and have the pleasure of them being served to you and your fellow students every lunchtime and evening ,with a great selection of locally made wines. Watch out for Franco and his huge selection of after dinner liqueurs( which is difficult to decline) this lead to us having rather few late nights!!

I think this holiday would appeal to anyone who enjoys beautiful scenery, luxury accommodation and the love of cooking and eating!!!
Can't wait to return and enjoy it all again.

Date of stay: May 2015
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
1  Thank Jacjaclily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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