Travel lust strikes already. Especially when it involves beautiful scenery, warm weather, and delicious food. Cookery schools are popping up all around the world, tapping into the desire to create and learn, as well as nourish and nurture ourselves, in a world where busy schedules often mean that we don’t take the time to feed and fend for ourselves. Coupled with a bombardment of celebrity chefs and cookery shows, the audience is growing, and everyone from young teenagers to older couples are embarking on cookery courses. We often return from abroad desperate to eat like we did whilst away, and cookery school holidays let us learn the skills to do so. Leisure time is decreasing and so people are seeking to get more value and learning from their holidays, investing in more experiential pursuits.
This June sees the launch of Stirred, an Italian culinary holiday experience truly unique – hosted in a spectacular 15th Century villa. Surely there can be no better place to learn the skills of pasta making, the secrets of perfect pomodoro, or a delectable risotto. Guests are immersed in the tastes, sights, smells, and culture of one of the most evocative parts of Northern Italy, nestled in the foothills of the Dolomites. In this picturesque spot guests will cook with local and fresh produce, which is one of the real advantages of cooking in an authentic location, being taken to magical Venice with trips to the Rialto fish and fresh foods markets to pick up some of the best seasonal produce to bring back for classes and more off the beaten track with seasonal truffle-hunting trips.
This doesn’t mean that the usual holiday habits are neglected at Stirred. For moments not cooking and eating, guests can get their history fix. Villa Casagrande is home of the Conti Brandolini d’Adda, historically a fiercely proud military family who defended the surrounding towns and valleys against invaders for hundreds of years and portraits and paintings reflecting the Brandolini D’Adda’s fortunes in love and war adorn the walls, whilst giant swords and the family’s red scorpio battle standard decorate the imposing entrance hall. There’s also an 18-metre pool which provides the perfect way to work up an appetite for an alfresco dinner by the monumental chestnut tree, and extensive grounds to explore post dinner, with a glass of locally produced wine in hand. It’s not all work – dinners out at local restaurants are part of the thrill of holidays, and so those on the course will be taken to restaurants that serve up local cuisine for which the area is famous.
‘The idea of Stirred is to provide a completely authentic Italian culinary experience. Guests will fall in love with Villa Casagrande and the gorgeous surrounding area of the Veneto. Our fantastic chefs run the classes but we also have local experts who will reveal all the hidden jewels of this unexplored part of Italy’, said Stirred co-founder Sarah Roberts.
An excellent, and delicious, idea.
15th to 21st June (50% discount for launch week)
7th to 13th September
14th to 20th September
21st to 27th September
12th to 18th October
All photos by Sean Knott.