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“Authentic Tuscan food in a great setting”
Review of The Spice Lab

The Spice Lab
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Authentic Tuscan food in a great setting”
Reviewed October 25, 2011

My husband and I really enjoyed cooking with Paulo. It felt like we were cooking and eating with a good friend. The olive grove was a great setting.

If staying outside Florence, make sure you ask to meet them close to the olive grove. We requested to meet them outside Florence but somehow the wires got crossed and we ended up meeting Paulo in Florence after a long wait in traffic, only to retrace the same streets to get to the grove. It was a frustrating start to our day but the food made up for it!

Visited October 2011
Thank Noosh21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
1 review
“Don't miss this wonderful activity!"”
Reviewed October 23, 2011

We had the benefit of both Melanie, and her husband, Paolo, teach us how to cook Tuscan style and were fortunate to have lovely weather, so we had the lesson in the outdoor kitchen of their family-owned olive grove over-looking Tuscany. This was a great activity to do while visiting Florence. We learned a lot and came home and used all of our new-found cooking skills making a non-traditional Canadian-Italian thanksgiving dinner for our family! Melanie and Paolo are great chefs, and wonderful teachers. It was a richly satisfying, warm and companionable evening. We would go back again and recommend it highly!

Visited September 2011
Thank Marci M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
140 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“Excellent cooking class”
Reviewed October 16, 2011

What a wonderful way to spend the day. We visited the food market in Florence and learnt about local produce and then cooked some delicious dishes in a very relaxing environment at the olive grove. Melanie's tips and tricks of the trade and her local perspective and insight was really interesting. Highly recommend it!

Visited September 2011
Thank OzChards
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Melanie and Paolo: FANTASTIC!”
Reviewed October 9, 2011

My wife and I were on our honeymoon back in May and we arranged to spend the day with Melanie. We got an extra surprise / bonus, too, in that her husband, Paolo, joined us as well. They are both exceptionally talented chefs in their own right, but with different backgrounds and experiences. So getting to hang out with the both of them was a treat. We learned a TON. We intended to write a review right when we got back, but newlywed life got busy...but I'm very glad we didn't because I can now add in this perspective. Melanie and Paolo changed the way that my wife and I cook, eat, and think about food! We have made every recipe that we made with them in Florence multiple times, and we have expanded beyond that into the cookbook she gave us as well as a few others. We make our own pasta sauces and even pasta now! Who would have thought. Also, if you have dietary restrictions, don't worry about it whatsoever. My wife has some pretty severe allergies and dietary restrictions, and I have none -- Melanie went way out of her way while preparing the menu to make sure that we both had a fantastic time and both could cook, eat and experience a wide variety of foods. If you are interested in spending a day immersing yourself in the real culture of Tuscany, you couldn't do any better than spending it with Melanie and/or Paolo. We took a ton of photos, so if you have any questions or whatever feel free to drop us a line.

Visited May 2011
1 Thank the_arm_mpls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victor, New York
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Outstanding Experience”
Reviewed October 2, 2011

To learn Italian Cuisine in an olive grove in Tuscany was a dream come true for my husband of 40 years, our dear friends, and myself. Paolo and Melanie were the perfect hosts and teachers. We are, at this moment, in search of the perfect pasta machine to continue our learning experience here at home. If you go, and I truly hope you do, make sure to bring comfortable shoes for walking the grove and gardens; a camera to take pictures of everyone sharing each stage of your cooking experience (and to remind yourself what the dishes are supposed to look like when you cook them at home!!!) and to capture the lovely views of the Tuscan countryside; and last but not least, an appetite!!!!!

If they are in season when you go, ask Paolo and Melanie show you how to make the most incredible stuffed squash blossom appetizers!! What an easy and elegant presentation for any cocktail party!!!

Melanie and Paolo, again many, many thanks for your wonderful hospitality, introducing us to your family and sharing your recipes with us.


Visited September 2011
Thank AuntME
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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