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Feb 10, 2011 05:50 PM

Truffles and Cooking Classes--Where in this Itinerary?!? HELP CHs!!

So very excited for our upcoming trip to Italy in May.....
Itinerary looks like this:
San Gimignano
1 night FREE- suggestions?
Cinque Terre

I would really like to fit in some Truffle hunting/eating/cooking and a general cooking class.... I'm just not sure where I'd be best to do this?! I have one night free- to be spent where ever- if there is a good place to cook/explore the world of truffles please let me know!!!

Thank you so much for your help in making this exquisite trip a little bit more delicious.....

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  1. How long do you have to accomplish this itinerary? you are all over this place and Id seriously recommend cutting back on your number of stops unless you have a month or two. If you are heading to a romantic, laid back, extraordinary location, you want to relax a bit once you get there. and enjoy the local food and scene, not run off again the next morning. Mapping your trip to reduce your mileage will also help.

    Also, search your destinations on this Board to find food recommendations, there is a recent discussion of Bellagio, for example.
    There are threads on this board about cooking classes in Italy - especially in Rome, Florence and Tuscany - search and ye shall find. - you certainly do not need to add another stop on your itinerary. I believe the truffle hunting season is in the fall, but there may be some nice mushrooms and spring vegetables in May. May is still chilly in the tuscan hills, however,

    3 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Thanks for the reply. We have a month.... I know there is tons of info on the board- I'm just not sure where to look....
      I'll explore more. There should be summer truffles in May I thought.

      1. re: shariberri

        a month is really nice but even so it might make sense to concentrate on fewer destinations, saving some of the places for later trips. There are so many places just in tuscany for example or the Amalfi Coast to visit that a week in each would not be very much time.

        May sounds early for summer truffles, but surely some of our local folks (or a cooking school if you hook up with one) can give you more info about possible truffle hunting experiences. If you google truffle hunting excursion, a number of things come up including this

        Finally, I know there is a daunting amount of info on this board, but what I meant by searching is, if you go up to the search box for this Italy Board (extreme top right of the page) and put in, say, cooking school or the name of a destination, say Cinque Terre or Bellagio, you will pull up a number of threads with cooking school discussions or discussions of restaurants at that destination.

        If you switch from the Discussion to Restaurant tab up there, clear the first box and put the place name (CITY,IT) in the second box it should generate a list of restaurants in or near your destination. .

        1. re: jen kalb

          @ shariberri

          Forget about the truffles. Much too early.

          If you intend to walk the trails of The Cinque Terre, see if you can schedule it on a day other than Saturday or Sunday. On the weekend, even in May, you will have far too many people, many it seems coming in the opposite direction from the one you are going, so that the narrow trail will be a constant "moving aside" expedition.

          As Jen said, even with a month, that is some trip when traveling. Starting in Rome, then Firenze, THEN back down to Montefollonico, THEN to The Cinque Terre, THEN in a round about way to Venice and then back to Amalfi coast!? Doesn't seem to make sense, but what do I know?

    2. For the cooking school, I would suggest Mamma Agata on the AC - I am going to try it next year. I hope you like the trains because you are going to be spending ALOT of time on them! ;-)

      1. Like others, it sounds like you are trying to do a bit too much in one month. You'll end up in the car much of the time.
        For cooking classes I can recommend Pamela Sheldon Johns, in Tuscany, she has a lovely b&b there, and teaches in her home as well as leading classes in the Cinque Terre
        Another great stop would be at Coltibuono. Lovely location, amazing villa and cooking classes:
        I hope this helps

        1. Since, the only food related topic on your post is about summer truffles and a general cooking class, you're getting feedback only on these subjects.
          Also this site is food related, one can't get into too much in terms of logistics. The feedback so far is that your trip covers too much territory even for one month. If your listing is written in the order of your travel schedule, then it is a lot of going back and forth. What might be helpful is to group your itinerary into geographic areas starting north to south:
          Lake country and Venice that will include Como and Bellagio
          Cinque Terra
          Tuscany which includes Florence, San Gimagnano and Montefollonico.
          Amalfi Coast which includes Sorrento and Positano.
          Rather than driving from one town to another, pick one town/city as a base and either rent a car or train for day trips. For example, you might stay at Bellagio for a few days and tour Lake Como, then Venice and then train down to Florence and use it as a base for a day trips to San Gimignano (which can be done in an afternoon), etc. This will help cut down on too much driving and packing and backtracking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            @ Minchilli- thanks for the cooking school recommendations.....

            thanks to everyone else on the feedback on the disorganization/intensity of our trip- there is a method to our madness.....

            1. re: shariberri

              We've gone truffle hunting but always in October/November.

              Hope you have a fabulous time, even without truffles!

          2. In Varenna, a short ferry ride from Bellagio, there's this cooking class: