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“Expected more given the high cost”
Review of Tasty Tuscany

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Tasty Tuscany
Ranked #2 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Palaia
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 31, 2012

My sister and I just completed the "Take a Bite" cooking excursion at Tasty Tuscany. As with most experiences, there were some positives, but given the cost (over $400 CAD per person, per day based on double occupancy!), we certainly expected more.

Let's start with the positives: 1) The location is outstanding - but there are many outstanding locations in Tuscany, so this wasn't unique. 2) Paulo has educated himself on the local history and is a great story-teller. We certainly appreciated all of the information he provided. 3) Pat is clearly a wonderful cook of "down home Italian food" and encourages the use of local, fresh produce. The home-grown herbs were wonderful. 4) The rooms were large and clean. 5) Wine was plentiful, albeit very low quality.

Unfortunately, these positives did not out-weigh the negatives as follows:

1) We did not feel welcome after the first day. We ended up feeling like we were an inconvenience and Pat and Paulo had to take unwanted turns entertaining us.

2) We believed our excursions were planned based on Pat's and Paulo's weekly appointments and errands, and not what was advertised. For example, being in Tuscany we were looking forward to visiting a winery as was advertised on their site. We were not taken to a winery. Instead we visited a small town, with little to see, so that Paulo could visit his friend who was one of the local artisans. Good for him; not so great for us. Another day, Paulo had an appointment at the bank so we hung around the town square during siesta when all the shops were closed waiting for him to finish. He told us we could wait in the van if we preferred. There were numerous other examples with both Pat and Paulo where we felt like we were inconvenient tag-alongs as they ran their daily errands.

3) Some of the basics one comes to expect from even the most basic hotel were not provided. For example, we did not have any toiletry products in our room other than a bottle of hand soap at the sink. There was an empty bottle of shower gel in our shower, but nothing else. Given the liquid restrictions on airlines these days, travelers expect shampoo, conditioner and shower gel or soap to be provided. Also, breakfast was less than inspiring. The same cereal, toast and jam provided every day. One jar of jam had mould on the cover. Not very appetizing. The worst part of breakfast is that the espresso machine was broken and there was not other coffee offered. Paulo indicated he tried to fix the machine before we arrived, so he was aware of the problem. How can you run a B&B without coffee? Despite this, when we went out on excursions, Paulo did not offer to pay for our cappucino.

4) Although the wine was plentiful, it was very low quality. Paulo admitted that they purchase their wine "in a bag". Before arriving, we had picked up some decent bottles of Chianti for $4.50 Euro, so it wouldn't have been a huge cost to provide decent wine with dinner. Given what we were paying, and given that we were in Tuscany, one would expect some pretty good wine with dinner. Paulo would join us for lunch with a nice cold bottle of beer for himself, but this was not offered to any of the rest of us.

All in all, we were disappointed with the value for our money. Canadians are typically undemanding travelers, so we don't believe our expectations were unreasonable. The American family who visited at the same time were equally disappointed. Pat and Paulo used to be a couple but separated a number of years ago. They continue to run Tasty Tuscany as business partners. Our final conclusion is that this is probably getting old for both of them and their lack of interest in the business is showing in their service offering. Perhaps its time to sell the business and move onto the next chapter of their lives.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank robertarene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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89 - 95 of 172 reviews

Reviewed October 25, 2012

‘Tasty Tuscany’ is a gem tucked away in the Tuscan hills. The villa draws you in and makes you feel immediately at home with its comfortable and serene atmosphere. Our day trips were well orchestrated and extremely entertaining – especially with Paulo regaling us with stories and the history of the area. And the evenings were devoted to laughter, wine and delicious cuisine. Pat’s hands on style of teaching focuses on healthy, straightforward meals that were suitable for all culinary skill levels. Pat and Paulo were extremely gracious and welcoming hosts making even an unruly group of Americans and Aussies feel connected to this lovely place.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank CathyAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

My friend and I had the pleasure to stay at Tasty Tuscany 2 weeks ago. The farmhouse is in a beautiful setting. It's in the tiny hamlet of Aglioti, up a twisty, multiple hair pin turn road set high atop a mountain. The views are spctacular. The surrounding grounds include a 300 tree olive orchard, fruit trees, flowers, fresh herbs, a pool and a wonderful road to walk along for more scenic beauty. The farmhouse has been lovingly converted to a B&B with private bathrooms in each room. The rooms are simply furnished, have birght colors and are comfortable. The ktichen is fabulous with an enormous marble slab table as our work space. We had 8 people in our cooking group, which was a nice size. At first it seemed an unlikely pairing of people from around the world and of different stages in life, but within a day, we all became fast friends, comrades and supporters of one another. Cooking together has a way of bringing people together. Pat is a wonderful host and great cooking teacher. She has learned to cook from many people around the world and incorportates those ideas into her healthy, organic cooking. She freely offers variations to the recipes on the menu for the night. She has a very easy way about her teaching and style in general. She really gave us insights into her philosphy of cooking, foods, nurishment and the relationship all of these have on our lives. It was enlightening. At the end of the week, Pat took us to an open air market in Pontedera which sold everything from clothes/shoes/purses to kitchen gadgets such as the grill Pat uses for toasting bread to fresh produce/seafood/meats and cheeses. We went in the pouring rain, but still had a great experience. We also visited a local grocery store that had some fun items to bring home. Paolo was our "tour guide" shuttling us to and from interesting sites and villages. He has a wonderful sense of humor and has much pride and love for his country (and all things Tango). Overall, this was a wonderful experience. I would suggest bringing a supply of your own favorite toiletries and some bug spray. The mosquitos had a field day with us!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank shgo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 23, 2012

You must put Tasty Tuscany on your Bucket List!! We had such a wonderful time at this warm and welcoming villa. Pat and Paulo charmed us and made us feel like family. The cooking classes were fabulous and the sight seeing trips were breathtaking and informative (who knew pasta grew on trees? LOL). We made some great new friends from around the world, and are looking forward to attending a wedding in Australia! I miss Tuscany and the friends we made there, but we'll have memories (and recipies) to cherish forever! Salute, Michelle

Room Tip: every room is beautiful and homey
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Michelle D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2012

We can't say enough good things about our Tasty Tuscany experience. It was everything we expected and soooooooo much more. The food, acomodation, scenery, site-seeing adventures, and hosts exceeded all of our expectations. It was an amazing way to celebrate our 30th anniversary and if you are thinking of making a life long memory then we would recommend Tasty Tuscany as your next vacation!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Dwayne-Debbie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Our group of 5 Canadian ladies had the experience of a lifetime during the week spent at Tasty Tuscany! From Paolo's wonderful tours, complete with "story time" to Pat's kitchen, where we mixed and stirred and baked and rolled, this was an experience like no other! Fantastic food, a relaxing atmosphere, and an experience to remember forever! I highly recommend Tasty Tuscany!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank CathieOshawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012 via mobile

How to describe this Italian adventure; "an experience,for me unlike any other".
It is simply what you make of it - the advantage of being a single person, (30yrs),travelling alone is that I could totally immerse myself in the life style, afforded to by Patrizia and Paolo.
The balance, of the excursions along with the pleasure of the cooking classes,were informative but not too intense.
The cooking classes allows one a common ground to interact with the rest of the group.
Everyone is involved in the creation of a delicious Italian meal to eat and enjoy.
Patrizia and Paolo made it a positive triumph as our hosts'. I would recommend this taste of Tuscany to anyone single or otherwise.
I feel extremely lucky to have had this experience.
Amore Timoteo (the garbage bin).Ciao.

  • Stayed: September 2012
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1  Thank guedoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tasty Tuscany

Address: Localita di Agliati 123, 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 #2 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Palaia
Price Range: $70 - $110 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Palaia, Italy

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