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Cooking trip to Northwest Italy (!!!)

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I am in the early stages of planning a trip to Italy (my first of many, I hope!) and am seeking suggestions. I have my heart set on Parma, and am thinking Verona, Padua and perhaps Bologna as well. I'll probably have 10 days or so. I want to take cooking classes and also have an opportunity to see this beautiful area and enjoy the great food. My plan is to go in the fall, harvest time. I welcome suggestions, and would love to hear personal recommenations on cooking classes. I've read about some fabulous places further south in Tuscany, and they're certainly appealing, but I am concerned that if I spend 5 days taking cooking classes that I will miss seeing and experienceing the area. Also, they're quite expensive and if I do decide to go that route I would need to shorten my stay due to their big ticket cost. Finally, after the reading I've done, I'm really drawn to Parma and the surrounding areas for this trip. There are so many great places to see, I am not in any rish to squeeze it all into one trip. Thoughts? Thanks!!

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  1. I don't know from cooking classes but Parma and Bologna are both places I would go, regardless.
    What do they teach you, anyhow, for all that money they charge in Italy for classes?
    Always was curious as to actual value. I know they CAN get it so they do, just wondering about the substance.
    Enjoy w/wo classes.

    1. 1. Leonardo Iacono. Culturalia.bo@libero.it. Four hour pasta classes for 30 Euro including a pasta dinner. Italian, but translators can be arranged.

      2. Bluone Cooking Tours. One day package with market visit, classes in English and dinner. 150 Euro.
      www.bluone.com.

      3. A Taste of Italy. Four-hour tortellini classes from 60 Euro are one of many options. Instruction in English, Italian and Spanish. Also offers farm tours and wine tours:

      www.taste-of-italy.com

      BTW: Emilia Romagna is not NWItaly but central Italy. No matter, though--the food there is not to be believed!

      4 Replies
      1. re: erica

        Thanks for the suggestions, forgive my rookie mistake! Have you taken any of these classes?

          1. re: roxie0102

            We are heading to Italy this September too for a food course. We are going back to take another Bluone tour because we enjoyed them so much the first time. I did a lot of research online the first time and I wanted someone who was Italian but also spoke enough English. When you are talking food you understand a lot more than you think you will. My goal was also to do some cooking and see some sights as well and they offered a great tour of the Emilia Romagna region. This time we are going back and doing the Le Marche tour just to get a different sense of another region in Italy and the food they offer. Other than the region I chose the tour based on the activities day to day. On our first tour one of our favourite things was going to someone's home and cooking with them and then eating the food. The company is also very accommodating too and if there is something special you would like to see they will try to fit it in ~ even not food related. I hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions. You may have already booked already...enjoy.

          2. re: erica

            A very good place is Casa Artusi in Forlimpopoli, in Romagna.