I am planning on taking a couple of 1 day cooking classes while I visit Italy in mid September early October...aiming to take in both Florence and Bologna...Has anyone ever done this, how was it, how much and what was the cooking school called? I am looking for an experience where I am COOKING AND LEARNING, rather than just watching.
Your feedback is appreciated!
While I have no personal experience , in Florence I would suggest Judy Witts Francini of Divina Cucina.
She's an expat living in Florence for the last 25 years. She has a new cookbook on Tuscan cooking out and is a regular contributor at slowtrav.com
She has always been very accessible and ready to help anyone who needed it on the forum there.
I'd even suggest getting her help on finding something in Bologna too.
In addition to Judy at Divina Cucina, there is also Christina and Gabriella at Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu in Florence. My wife and I both took a 1-day Tuscan cooking class from Scuola di Arte (www.cordonbleu-it.com). It was really great. The cost was 468 Euro for two if I recall correctly. There was a discount for the second person. I think it's around 270 Euro for one. We found it a bit less than Divina Cucina but that was 2 years ago. In Florence, there are also cooking classes by Accidental Tourist.
We had a great experience in Florence with Roberto from In Tavola. They offer everything from professional level classes to one day classes. We took the Market tour with Lunch. We met Roberto at the Mercado Centrale where we had a tour of the market and an introduction to the basics of Tuscan food culture. While we toured Roberto shopped for the ingredients for the four course lunch we made back at the cooking school. You chose your own level of cooking participation and he teaches you as you go. We prepared a four course lunch of bruschetta, roasted vegetable pasta, polpotone with balsamic glaze and panna cotta with a fresh strawberry sauce. Our lunch was served with a nice tuscan wine and of course NO clean up LOL. The class was 69 euro per person and lasted about 5 hours.
My wife did A Taste of Italy in Bologna a few years ago with a couple friends and they loved it. The woman teaches out of her home (speaks English), takes you to the market in the morning and shows you how to pick out all the food and stuff and then gives hands on lessons culminating in you cooking your own meal and eating it together. Wife keeps bugging me to do another one she enjoyed it so much. Just google Taste of Italy Bologna and you'll find her site. Click on the "Cooking lessons" link to see the different classes she teaches and prices.