Cooking in Tuscany in a one day class at a traditional farmhouse was a long-held dream of mine. Sure, there are scads of cooking classes in Tuscany, in or near Florence, but I wanted to feel a part of a place. To live like a local for a day with my hands deep in flour and a silly smile on my face in the rosemary-scented Tuscan countryside. Italian food culture is the very best!
Cooking Classes in Tuscany
So when I learned of Juls Kitchen, which offered private one day cooking classes in Tuscany, about an hour’s drive from Florence near Colle Val d’Elsa, I knew immediately I’d found the experience I’d been fantasizing about: a cooking class on a traditional Tuscan farm! The best cooking class in Tuscany is the one that calls to you personally.
This one is a great choice if you’ve been considering cooking courses in San Gimignano, Italy as it’s not far away—just a 30-minute drive—but it feels more authentic without the crowds.
Giulia is a talented and passionate food blogger, photographer, and cookbook author specializing in traditional Tuscan cooking.
She’s warm, friendly, and her enthusiasm for seasonal, traditional Italian deliciousness is completely contagious!
But best of all, she brings the delight of cooking in Tuscany to life in the very farmhouse she grew up in. You can’t get more authentic than that.
Where to Stay
Near Juls Kitchen: Castello di Badia
Stay in a castle in the countryside, complete with a crenellated wall! This fairytale castle is just a few minutes’ drive to Juls Kitchen. It’s been divided into four apartments so you’ll even have your own private kitchen. You can check prices and availability on Airbnb here.
In Florence: Casa Boticelli
Juls Kitchen is a one hour drive from Florence so it’s an easy day trip! Located in the heart of historic Florence just 400 steps from the Pitti Palace, Casa Botticelli offers A/C and wifi. Travelers love the family feeling here. You can check prices on Casa Boticelli here.
The Best Tuscany Cooking Classes Start with a Market Visit
Giulia likes to say that a market visit is a shortcut to discovering Italy’s culture and food traditions. And that’s why we opted to begin our cooking class with a visit to the nearby open air market in Poggibonsi.
Of course, we started our market day “the Italian way,” with a quick dip into a nearby cafe for a cappuccino and pear tart. Once we were fortified, Giulia showed us how to carefully elbow our way in between the gaggle of elderly nonnas picking over the ripest strawberries, slim asparagus bundles, and vivid yellow squash blossoms.
The market was a true local education. Giulia steered us to the long line at the fishmonger instead of the one where no one waited—the freshest fish always wins—and then we watched him filet a stingray for a patron.
Next up was a visit to her favorite cheesemonger where we tasted so many delicious cheeses and meats. Food is, of course, everything in Italy so market sellers take great pride in ensuring you take home the very best.
How would we be preparing the asparagus? one vendor wanted to know as he reached towards the wild asparagus which are the better variety for cooking.
Since basil, sage, and rosemary are essentially the foundation of Italian cooking, market vendors also gift you with a paper bouquet of those herbs with your purchase. It’s a lovely tradition.
What did we feel like eating? Giulia wanted to know. We planned our menu for the day together around what was fresh and beautiful at the market. Plus, we were in the mood for fish as we readied for our visit to the Cinque Terre in the coming days.
When we eventually spilled our haul onto Giulia’s farmhouse table, we were enthralled with our finds and ready to get cooking.