Hands on cooking classes in Italy
I am researching cooking classes in Italy for my vacation next year. With the breadth of chowhound knowledge, I'm hoping that there may be some personal recommendations I can glean about programs over there. Has anyone out there been through a hands-on cooking class ( about a week long) in Tuscany ( Siena/ Raddo, etc)?
My focus is the hands-on part. I don't want demonstration classes or anything like that. I want to go over there and cook A LOT! Any help would be great.
I think all of them are going to have a heavy demonstration aspect to them - they basically use a celebrity chef as the 'draw' - and that's how they teach technique. But I've heard good things about Tasting Places (based in London). Also take a look at "Shawguides" - they're on the 'net I'm sure. I believe there's an annual guide to cooking classes around the world as well.
No cooking class experience, but a suggestion:
I encourage you to go to Siena. We were in Florence in late September and I've never seen such crowds and lines. Siena was perfect.
Restaurant recommendation: small trattoria on Via Salicotta (number 5? 7?) just behind the cathedral and the main piazza. You practically eat in the kitchen, the patron is a museum piece and the food is wonderful and cheap. It's the kind of place I looked for all over Italy, and only found on recommendation from a local. (It's the only way...)
Here's another source of info - no clue whether they are demo- or hands-on oriented though: Italian COokery Weeks, Ltd Box 2482 London NW10 1HW phone 44 20 8208 0112...