Private Cooking Class or Private Chef Dinner in Tuscany?

Are you considering organising a private chef dinner in Tuscany? Or is the idea of a private Tuscan cooking class equally appealing? This post gives you a full insight on both, so you can see which is better for you.

Having a private chef dinner in a Tuscan villa, where the regional cuisine is world class, has always been a bit of a dream. So we organised a private Tuscan chef to come to our holiday villa and cook an amazing Tuscan meal, from scratch before our very eyes, served and cleared while we relaxed with the wine from the surrounding vineyards.

On a separate day we also indulged in a private cooking class. A professional Tuscan chef arrived at our villa with grocery bags overflowing with the freshest, tastiest local ingredients Tuscany has to offer.  Once we all settled into the kitchen, we were taken step-by-step through the creation of an entire Tuscan menu. We even got to get hands on making ‘pici’ pasta.

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Are you considering organising a private chef dinner in Tuscany? Or is the idea of a private Tuscan cooking class equally appealing? This post gives you a full insight on both, so you can see which is better for you. Having a private chef dinner in a Tuscan villa, where the regional cuisine is world class, has always been a bit of a dream. So we organised a private Tuscan chef to come to our private holiday villa and cook an amazing Tuscan meal, from scratch before our very eyes, served and cleared while we relaxed with the wine from the surrounding vineyards. On a separate day we also indulged in a private cooking class. A professional Tuscan chef arrived at our villa with grocery bags overflowing with the freshest, tastiest local ingredients Tuscany has to offer.  Once we all settled into the kitchen, we were taken step-by-step through the creation of an entire Tuscan menu.

Private Cooking Class

We were staying at the glorious Villa Montepulciano, Tuscany where Maurizio, the villa owner and a sommelier, started by teaching us about the exceptional wines that were to accompany the meal. Maurizio’s vineyards surround the villa, so it felt super appropriate and special.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Wine Class.
Learning about Maurizio’s wine.

Meanwhile our private chef arrived with bags and bags of delicious fresh foods from the local area. This menu is a traditional one, but there is flexibility for other menus.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Tuscan Meats.
Local Tuscan meats.

The wine was uncorked. The Vino Nobile de Montepulciano is readily available from the villa (for a charge) and had become a very popular companion come sun-down.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Local Wine.
The Vino Nobile of the Villa Montepulciano.

Maurizio, who was fantastic company and a font of local knowledge translated for us, while our charismatic Tuscan chef explained the dishes, gesturing fully with his hands in a very Italian way.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Private Cooking Class.
Maurizio translates.

Our Tuscan menu started with three types of crostini dishes. The first is a chicken liver pâté.

Every celebratory meal in Tuscany is opened with chicken liver pâté crostini, know also as crostini neri or black crostini.

We were surprised how little garlic was used…

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Learning A Traditional Dish.
Learning a local dish – chicken liver pâté crostini.

and how MUCH olive oil!

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Pouring Olive Oil.
Pouring ‘just a little’ olive oil.
Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Cooking Vegetables.
Cooking the carrots and celery.

Chicken livers are cooked with vegetables and enlivened with capers and anchovy paste.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Chopping Ingredients.

Delicious smells of Tuscan foods were filling the vast kitchen and it was beginning to feel very homely.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Chef At The Hob.

The pâté is then spread on slices of crunchy bread, which are soaked in hot broth or even a little cooking water.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Liver On Toast.

We sat down at the long kitchen table and munched away happily. Supping the first of the bottles of wine and enjoying a classic Tuscan starter.

For the next dish, our Chef opened a bottle of his own mushrooms gathered last mushroom season.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining In Tuscany. Jarred Mushrooms.
Jarred local mushrooms.

This next crostini dish had layers of Tuscan bread, sliced mushrooms and local cheese melted on top.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Sampling The Food.

We got to taste as we went along. The delicious local cheese was offered to us with a drizzle of honey.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Local Cheese.
Local cheese.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Preparing The Starter.

It was an earthy dish that went perfectly with the wines. Everything was grown and produced on the sweeping hills just outside the doors of our villa.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Local Starter.

Our last crostini dish was the classic tomato one. Made very simply but somehow this one was by far the best version we have ever tasted!

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Preparing The Tomatoes.
Squeezing the tomatoes.

The tomatoes themselves were stunning. But, they were worked with a bit of oil, salt and quite a lot of squeezing before placing on top of garlic rubbed bread.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Tomato Bread.
Tomato bread.

So, next came the opportunity for us to get our hands dirty and make our own pasta. I loved this challenge so much because we didn’t use a pasta maker, but made ‘pici’ pasta using our hands.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Making Pasta.
Making ‘pici’ with our own pasta dough.

First, the pastry chef arrived and she took us through the steps.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Adding An Egg To Pasta Mix.
Add one egg to a mound of fine flour.

Add 1/2 tsp of salt.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Adding Salt To Pasta Mix.
Adding 1/2 tsp salt.

Then a Tbsp of olive oil and a dash of water (tho’ you may need to add more).

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Making A Pasta Dough.
Adding olive oil and water.

Bring all the ingredients together bit by bit, first using a fork, and when the mix becomes a dough your hands.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Kneading The Pasta Dough.
Kneading the pasta dough.

Don’t use all the flour, you may need much less. Knead the dough for a while until it feel pliable.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Making Fresh Pasta Dough.
James and I making pasta dough.

My son James and I adore each other, are very protective of each other and yet we love being competitive with each other too!

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Making Fresh Pasta Dough For Pici.

It was great fun. Mainly I watched what James was doing and tried to keep up.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Being Taught How To Make Pasta.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out on a floured surface and cut it into thin strips.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Rolling Out The Pasta Dough.
Rolling out the pasta dough.
Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Slicing UpThe Pici.
Slice the dough into thin strips.

Each strip then needs to be rolled using both hands into fat spaghetti shapes.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Pasta Training.
Matthew and Charlotte’s turn.
Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. A Lesson In Pasta Making.
Andy and Char’.

Char’ may have finished last but her ‘pici’ was outstanding!

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Rolling Out The Pasta.
‘Pici’ making.

Our chef went on to cook an incredible Tuscan meat ragù full of meats such as boar, veal, Tuscan sausages, beef mince and heart.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Learning How To Make A Ragu.
Meats for a traditional ragù.

The smells were intense and deeply satisfying.

We were making our way through bottles of various years and our group was a jolly one! So, when our own ‘pici’ pasta was served with Chefs ragù sauce, we let out a cheer.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Handmade pici.
The ‘pici’ pasta we made ourselves.

It felt especially relaxed being in our own villa. We didn’t have to get dressed up. It didn’t matter that we were covered in flour. Best of all no one had to be responsible for getting this happy rabble back anywhere.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Dessert Wine.
Dessert wine.

Finally a sweet dessert wine was poured. It was from Maurizio’s vineyard, but you can only get it direct from him because he doesn’t make enough to sell generally. Let me tell you, it is incredible. If you holiday in Tuscany and rent out The Villa Montepulciano it’s just another perk!

Meanwhile, our pastry chef taught us how to make a traditional Tuscan yeasted lemon cake with raisons. It is soft, light and sweet. A lovely end to a fabulous event.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. A Lesson On Lemon Cake.
Pastry chef making a traditional Tuscan yeasted lemon cake.

We sat on our patio basking in the view and sipped our dessert wine slowly.

By the time the pastry chef served the lemon cake up for us, the entire kitchen was spotless.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Lemon And Raison Cake.
Yeasted lemon and raison cake.

The event took the entire afternoon and we felt quite tired afterwards. We had been eating and drinking for hours! We all took to the sun beds outside to watch the sun go down and talk about what a great experience we’d shared.

Private Chef Dining

We chose to do a private chef dining in Tuscany because we knew my daughter was going to get engaged to Matthew while we were here. Luckily, she said yes and we all got dressed up in the evening for a relaxed and happy celebratory meal.

Our chefs (an elderly Tuscan couple) turned up with little fuss and happy smiles (the Tuscan way) and began laying the table outside, chopping, frying and slicing.

We opened more bottles of Vino Nobile de Montepulciano sat back and enjoyed this special occasion.

In no time out from the kitchen came this great rosemary bread, something I definitely want to copy at home.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Rosemary Toast.
Olive oil and rosemary, garlic toast.

The meal was full of traditional Tuscan dishes again. For us it was exactly what we wanted. The dishes went so well with the Montepulciano wines.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. The Dining Table.
Our alfresco dining table.

Our start was simple as most Tuscan dishes are, but utterly delicious. The salad had fantastic local cured meat and cheese, salt and olive oil. The quality of everything was so good and that was key.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. The Table Scene.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Cured Meat And Cheese Starter.
Local cured meat and cheese salad.

We were so happy, making lots of ‘toasts’…

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Enjoying The Evening.

and welcoming Matthew into the family.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. A Relaxed And Happy Evening.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. A Happy Occassion.

It’s fair to say were all enjoying it!

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Eating The Starter.

Next came this chickpea soup with bread. It was absolutely fantastic. Not something I would have ever picked off a menu but a real surprise. It was packed with flavour.

Isn’t that part of the fun, when you allow dishes to be put in front of you, then they turn out to be a revelation.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Soup Starter.
Traditional chickpea soup.

Whenever we wanted another bottle of wine we could just reach into the villa’s wine room (yes, there is a room just for the pleasure of wine) and take one.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Wine On The Table.
The villa wine.

The next dish was one of my favourites and again, something I would never have chosen. It was like a cheesy lasagne, but made with polenta. I’m on the hunt for a recipe like this one. It was deeply comforting.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Polenta Dish.
Polenta ‘lasagne’ dish.

We really enjoyed the ease of the evening. Everything was done for us. All we had to do was enjoy a Tuscan culinary journey.

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. A Polenta Mains.

To our surprise another dish came along. We shouldn’t have been surprised!

The Italian potatoes with rosemary has long been a favourite of mine and the seared beef was delicious. A surprise for me tho’ was the green asparagus mousse. I loved it, despite it’s appearance!

Private Cooking Class Or Private Chef Dining, Tuscany? Main Dish.
Beef, potatoes and asparagus.

The whole meal was a delight. The chefs worked quietly, happily and produced some wonderful home-cooked Tuscan dishes we loved. The kitchen was left spotless.

Private Cooking Class and Private Chef Dining, Tuscany. Clapping The Chef.
Clapping the chef.

We were so impressed we clapped and cheered as they left!

Highs and lows of both experiences

  • Both experiences meant you had no washing up or tiding to do!
  • The private chef dining gave you an opportunity to dress up but still be relaxed in your ‘own’ place. Kicking off your shoes whenever you like, whilst still having a special occasion.
  • Choosing the private cooking class meant you don’t have to dress up at all. Casual is better.
  • The cooking classes can be tiring, especially as ours was paired with wine. You could avoid the wine of course…
  • The cooking class takes the bulk of the day. A high or low depending on your point of view.
  • The private chef dining experience is especially good if you have a villa with a view. You’d pay a fortune for a restaurant table with a view after all.
  • Participating in the cooking classes can be great fun. For us, making the ‘pici’ pasta was a highlight.
  • You get to learn local Tuscan food from scratch from a professional chef – big plus.
  • You get to fully relax at the private chef dining experience.

Let’s stay connected!!

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Other Tuscany travel guides

Most Romantic Town In Tuscany- Pienza

Dinner At La Grotta, Montepulciano

Medieval Hill Town Of Montepulciano, Tuscany

Villa Montepulciano Tuscany | Stunning Views

Avignonesi Wine Tour And Lunch, Tuscany


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9 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. Outstanding edible post! Love it. It really brings the experience to life and you can almost smell the food. Loved reading it 👍😍 well done xx

    1. Thank you! I loved discovering new food I have never heard of let alone tried before. I might give polenta another go..! xx

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