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“Italian cooking experience”
Review of Toscana Mia

Toscana Mia
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: TOSCANA MIA is Simonetta & Paola’s idea for cooking, tasting and language programs in Tuscany Chianti wine region and Florence. An authentic organic food Tuscan experience : Cooking, Markets, Gourmet Shops and Wine tasting. We are happy to welcome in a family ancient home. Food lovers, lovers of Tuscany, lovers of Italian food, lovers of Italy ,Travelling solo, with the family, with friends, for an anniversary ,birthday or for pure pleasure of travelling.
Useful Information: Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Italian cooking experience”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

We loved our Tuscan cooking class. The small group meant it was more like a relaxed lunch with friends. Paola and Simonetta were both lovely people as we're the others we shared our experience with. Would highly recommend this to others.

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Place392
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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142 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“A perfect way to spend a day in the Toscana”
Reviewed June 1, 2013

My sister and I participated in a lunch session of Simonetta's and Paola's cooking classes and loved it! Their warm hospitality, authenticity, knowledge and humor made the hours go by sooo quickly. We were 7 participants and everyone was able to learn the tricks, get their hands dirty and the sisters adapted their approach, so that everyone was included and was able to get lots out of the day. We received an apron and all the recipes of the dishes we made (a full Italian 4 course meal); but most of all we took lots of fun memories and lasting impressions home with us. Thank you! Alla prossima volta!

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank EpicureanTraveller76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Incredible Experience - And I Didn't Cook”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

I really don't know where to start in describing what a wonderful experience we had staying at Paola and Simonetta's home and "yes" one of us did take the cooking classes - my better half. The little hamlet with the beautiful homes, flowers, vineyards on all sides, olive groves, and the list goes on and on was just a backdrop to what one experiences with the personal approach taken by the two sisters in making us part of their family and opening up their beautiful home and kitchen to us over a 4 day stay.

While Kathy learned lots and lots of interesting things to do in the cooking class, I went out and enjoyed walking, and more walking, and more walking through the country side - camera in hand.

Kathy and I stayed at the top of the house, in a room where we had a spectacular view from a window that never was closed all the time we were there - the room itself was quite unique and filled with all sorts of memorabilia from the family and from places the sisters had visited in their travels outside of Italy. On either side of the window there were swallow holes that were incorporated into the brick work and the swallows would swoop down and make sure that we didn't get close to their homes in the house - beautiful to watch and enjoy.

And the sister's hospitality began at the point where we arrived at the railway station and were picked up by a wonderful gentlemen who handed us an a little script that told us about the gentleman, where he was taking us and gave some initial information on the area - wonderful touch. And then it just got better, and better and better.

We were taken to some great places when the cooking school wasn't happening - the local markets especially. The one trip took us to a once a year market that sold an incredible number of flowers - absolutely breathtaking.

Of course, all meals were held with the family - the daughters were particularly fun to be with because they had lots of questions and we talked about things that they were interested in. Breakfasts were especially a great time when the kids were getting ready for school and things were happening to get ready for the day's cooking classes. It was fun watching CIS in Italian with the family. Also, enjoying Grappe, sitting near a huge, open hearth fire place - a great experience - and you certainly sleep well each evening.

The food, meals and great conversation around the breakfast, lunch and dinner tables were often highlights of the day - and I got to enjoy all the fabulous cooking the occurred in the morning or sometimes in the afternoon. It was also wonderful to meet many other people who attended the cooking school each day - many were from Canada interestingly enough.

Thank you Paola and Simonetta for allowing us to stay in your home, and for making us feel very much a part of the family - we will be back - for sure.

There are many memories of our stay at Toscana Mia

Visited May 2013
Helpful?
Thank Herb S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Walpole, New Hampshire
1 review
“Paola and Simonetta Home Cooking School”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We were in Tuscany last year at this time and had the great pleasure of taking a class at Paola and Simonetta's home. We made pasta ( I am gluten free ) and they even had recipes for me to make homemade pasta. We made a sauce and a wonderful salad and they invited us to share this food with their family. It was definitely the highlight of our trip and these two women are knowledgeable, warm, gracious and very loving chefs. Thank you both so much !

Jane and Felicia

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank Jane V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
Level Contributor
175 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
“When in Tuscany, take a cooking class”
Reviewed March 12, 2013

One of the pleasures of traveling is exploring regional foods. And what better way to explore food than by taking a cooking class! Each of our last three trips to Tuscany have included a cooking class. While the others were in restaurant kitchens, this one was in the kitchen of a personal house outside the town of Gaola in Chianti.

Toscana Mia, a school that is run by two sisters, Paola and Simonetta, has been offering classes since 1990. Our one-day class took place in a lovely 13th century farmhouse in Gaola, in southwestern corner of Chianti (the school has another location in Florence).

Right after we signed up for the class, we received a short questionnaire about food allergies and items we wanted to make. I requested two items: pici which is a thick round pasta that I learned was made by rolling stripes of pasta between our palms to make it round, and boar ragu. I practically lived on these on our last trip to Tuscany and wanted to know how to make them. Our very fluent instructor, Paola, did a great job of keeping the class moving and getting everyone involved–even one man who was a little reluctant to get into kneading dough.

This was not the type of sleek kitchen with modern appliances that one might find in an upscale restaurant or cooking school. It was instead a homey, traditional farmhouse kitchen, where one would expect to find Mamma slaving away cooking for her family. Our menu for the day was also very traditional. In addition to my pici and boar ragu, we made fagioli al fiasco or cannellini beans. I’ve never seen beans cooked on top of a stove in a glass bleaker similar to what you might find in a chemistry lab (which, as Paola explains, retains the taste and aroma better than does a pot). The end result was very tasty indeed (note to self…google “glass lab beaker, San Francisco” to find a source).

We also made a tomato bruschetta appetizer and, to go with the pici, salsa al l’aglione (garlic tomato sauce). And, since the grape harvest was in full swing, we finished the meal with schiacciata all’ uva, a type of sweet focaccia topped with grapes.

Our only disappointment had nothing to do with the class, location or instructor. It had to do with the class size of 9 people. While we each got to play a role in cooking something, our group was too large to let each person have a hand in every dish as we did in our previous two Tuscan cooking classes, in which there were 3 and 6 participants respectively.

One of the best parts of any Tuscan cooking class is the wine, which flowed freely, from the time we crushed our first clove of garlic, to our last bite of desert. And, since we were in southern Chianti, what better wine than a Chianti Classico (2008 Casanova de AMA) that was grown and bottled literally, down the street.

Every time I go to am Italian cooking class like this, I vow to buy a pasta maker to make my own pasta. Now that I know that pici is made without a machine, maybe I’ll change my Christmas wish list.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank activeboomertravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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