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“Beautiful Experience with Food and Country in the Heart of Tuscany!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ecco La Cucina

Ecco La Cucina
Ranked #42 of 143 things to do in Siena
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Attraction details
Owner description: The cooking classes are held in a 900 year old stone mill, lunch is under the pergola in the garden.
Denver, Colorado
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Beautiful Experience with Food and Country in the Heart of Tuscany!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 10, 2012

If you get to Siena, Italy, you really must take time to visit celebrity chef Gina Stipo at Ecco La Cucina cooking school! Gina is an absolutely delightful person who has a passion for good, authentic Italian cuisine, and the 900 year-old mill where she holds her classes is lovely. I was there on business with QueensLander Tours Small Group Tours to Italy, but anyone can enjoy this experience!

Whether you’re with a group or just on your own, Gina will make your cooking lesson an experience to remember. First, you do the shopping with her at one of the local markets, then she’ll take you through all the steps to making authentic Italian pasta by hand, or whatever you personally want to learn to prepare. But be assured, the food and the methods used will be authentic to the cuisine of Tuscany! Once you’re done with the preparation, you set the table together and enjoy your handiwork by a centuries-old fireplace with a great selection of wines to accompany your meal.

Take a little time as well to walk around the grounds of the old mill and appreciate the surrounding countryside. Soak up the bucolic feel of this beautiful spot.

Also, Gina has a lot of connections in the area with local artisans who use authentic methods to make goat cheese, olive oil, and proscuitto. With any luck, you may be able to get her to take you to visit some of these other locals, especially if their artisan products factor heavily in the recipes you'll be making.

Of course, there is a fee for taking these classes, so you'll want to arrange your visit well in advance. See the Ecco La Cucina website for details: http://www.eccolacucina.com/

All I can tell you is you have to experience a visit with Gina yourself! It’s definitely something to experience with a best friend or a group of friends, and you won’t be disappointed, I assure.

Visited May 2011
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1 Thank ScoSte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

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English first
Fort Worth, TX
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Magic in the Tuscan countryside”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2011

{Please note, I went in Sept 2010, but am just getting around to writing a review.}

I first met Mary and Chef Gina at a Central Market cooking class in January 2010, and I was completely captivated by their energy, kindness, and knowledge and love of Italy and Italian cuisine. After getting to know the sisters, I booked a tour for September 2010, which kicked off a month of touring Italy on my own. The trip itself was life-changing, and I still think back to my days in a Tuscan villa with Gina, Mary, and my fellow hungry travelers.
First, we had an AMAZING kick-off to our trip with dinner in a Siena piazza alongside members of Gina's contrada as they celebrated their win during the summer's palio event. I'm sure few, if any, Americans can say they've been to such a festival, and I'm so thankful to have had such a unique experience!
The rest of the week was full of cooking, amazing food, wine (oh, the wine!), and - most importantly to a shutterbug - loads of photo opps. We met a pig farmer (cinta senese pigs-- super cute, and, coincidentally, delicious) who is also an olive oil taster, we toured vineyards, ate in fantastic restaurants, learned some important Italian phrases, and more. And, I really learned to relax in the kitchen (plus, my friends and family are loving the dishes from Gina's cookbook!). I love a good time, I'm a foodie, a food geek, and just a regular geek, and I just can't say enough good things about this adventure. I'd go back again, and again, and again if my piggy bank and waist-line could handle it!
Gina and Mary are passionate professionals, and after my week in Tuscany, they are my friends.
Do yourself a favor: go to Italy with Ecco la Cucina, pronto!

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank FWLola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“AMAZING DAY.....will do again next time in Siena!!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 4, 2011

WONDERFUL food and an amazing day with Gina Stipo. She shared her love of Italian cooking and gave us insight into the Tuscan way of cooking. She made us feel at home.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank JanetPozzuoli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“One of the best, fun, well thought-out trips I've ever taken”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 2, 2011

This week-long trip combined learning and exploration in to one beautiful package. Our "home" was at the Montestigliano extate approximately 15km from Siena. We prepared meals there and at the old mill kitchen nearby. We had numerous wine tastings at various castles and wineries in the area. The group of folks I met there became "instant family" and we already have plans to meet again. This experience far exceeded my expectations. Ecco La Cucina run by Gina Stipo and her sister Mary has been an experience I won't forget. I'm already for their next adventure.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank Bob E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Great food, great experience, great company!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 4, 2011

I had an amazing day with Gina and a group of 3 other people. We cooked some amazing food. Authentic Tuscan culinary: panzanella, home made pasta with peperonatta (bell pepper sauce) and brasciolla. Crostata for desert. All accompanied by a selection of 3 great wines from Montepulciano. The vegetables and ingredients were from local producers. Gina was very knowledgable about local Italian and Tuscan culinary and showed us a great time at this medieval mill house turned into kitchen. Had a lovely experience. Strongly recommend.

Helpful?
2 Thank Fernando046
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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