White Truffle and Wine Culinary Retreat 11-16 November 2020

The pandemic has disrupted everyone’s plans and when we initially mentioned this workshop in January 2020 on instagram, it almost sold out instantly. Now, unfortunately, most of those guests have had to cancel their bookings due to travel restrictions. However, we have decided to keep it open and offer the workshop to a small group who can still make it and who want to experience a warm and casual retreat revolving around truffles and wine in Tuscany’s heart, with all the covid-19 regulations in place of course.

So if you are able to get to Italy this year, please join me and my sommelier husband, Marco Lami, on a highly curated trip to experience our personal favourite food and wine experiences in Tuscany! We have had so many questions and requests about it and, after the success of our last one in November 2019, and are looking forward to sharing this trip with you!

Autumn in Tuscany is magical. It’s misty, it’s perhaps wet, but it is mild and also the best time of year to experience Tuscan cuisine. We will be based in a beautiful restored farmhouse in the Tuscan countryside near San Miniato – Marco’s hometown and white truffle country – where home cooked dinners of the season’s best soups, stews and roasts, with specialties like saffron, wild mushrooms, chestnuts, new olive oil and white truffles, and wine tastings, held at a long table or around the open fireplace.

Our days together will consist of our most favourite things: a combination of trips to beautiful medieval towns, hands-on cooking classes, farm visits, eating out at some favourite places, winery visits and tastings, tasting new season olive oil and even being part of a truffle hunt – a white truffle hunt, no less, one of the most rare and unique ingredients in the world and a specialty of San Miniato. We will cook together and have aperitivo every night together, but for those who prefer a bit of down time and lounging by the huge fireplace with a glass of wine, you can choose to do that too and just join in on the eating part! See below for all itinerary and more details.

Dates: 11-16 November 2020 (5 nights, 5 days)

Location: San Miniato, Tuscany

Cost: from 2,500 euro per person

Highlights:

  • 2 cooking classes with cookbook author Emiko Davies
  • 3 winery visits and 2 wine pairings with sommelier Marco Lami
  • Truffle hunt and visit to San Miniato to explore the wonderful food shops
  • Olive harvest experience and guided olive oil masterclass with an expert from
  • Saffron harvest experience and a meal at our favourite farm
  • Truffle dinner in our favourite trattorias
  • Salumi tasting in our favourite butcher shop
  • Be immersed in a beautiful, traditional Tuscan farmhouse
  • Organic, local, slow food and wine

The itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival at the farmhouse in late afternoon. Aperitivo followed by a welcoming dinner together in the farmhouse.

Day 2: After breakfast, a short trip to visit to one of our favourite organic farms in San Gimignano to pick crocus flowers and harvest fresh saffron. A delicious seasonal lunch in front of the fireplace with produce, wine and olive oil all from the farm to follow. After lunch, free time to wander the medieval town of San Gimignano and visit to a local biodynamic winery. Casual dinner back at the farmhouse with wine pairings by Marco.

Day 3: After a relaxed breakfast, we will have a cooking class at the house with Emiko followed by lunch and an olive oil masterclass with an expert – learn how to recognise the difference between a faulty and an excellent olive oil. Time to relax and enjoy and explore the grounds of the farmhouse. Dinner will be  homemade wood-fired pizza (made in the eighteenth century oven) with a wine lesson by Marco.

Day 4: Today will be all about white truffles! We start the day with a morning of truffle hunting. We will visit a biodynamic winery with a wine tasting and nibbles, have a light lunch in a butcher shop with the best view in town and then free time for a stroll through the town to explore all its offerings. Truffle dinner in a local trattoria.

Day 5: Breakfast and then a cooking lesson with white and black truffles, plus a wine lesson with Marco. We can spend the afternoon around the fireplace roasting chestnuts and chatting, answering questions and drinking wine. A casual dinner at the farmhouse for our last night.

Day 6: After a relaxed breakfast we say our goodbyes.

Retreat cost per person: 2,500 euro in double occupancy (single supplement: 400 euro)

What is included in the price:

  • 5 nights accommodation in a beautiful, renovated, private farmhouse
  • Day trips and all transport in a private van included in the itinerary
  • Winery visits and tastings
  • Organic farm visit and saffron harvest experience
  • 5 healthy breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners, including two typically Tuscan meals out
  • All wine during meals (and in between!)
  • Two full cooking classes with a cookbook author
  • Two wine lessons with a certified sommelier
  • A white truffle hunt and plenty of white and black truffles for the cooking class
  • Olive oil masterclass and tasting

Not included in the cost:

  • Airfare and travel costs to and from the farmhouse
  • Travel insurance (a must to join the retreat)

The farmhouse:

The house that we will call home during this retreat is a beautiful, traditional Tuscan farmhouse that sits atop 100 hectares of land that include organic olive groves, vineyards, grains, forest and a small farm of chickens, goats and bees, frequently visited by wild deer and pheasants. It is powered by solar panels. There are two floors with 7 bedrooms (each with private ensuite), a wonderful, giant fireplace and communal salon for relaxing in, an eighteenth century woodfired oven, views over the San Miniato hills and a central, long table for sharing meals. It is situated right in between Florence and Pisa, 6 kilometres away from the historical town of San Miniato and on the ancient pilgrim route, the Via Francigena.

To book the workshop:

Email workshops@emikodavies.com with your interest. When booking, please specify if you would like double occupancy (if coming with a friend or partner, please let us know so we can match up the bookings otherwise let us know if you are happy to share with a roommate) or single with the supplement fee – and please do let us know of any dietary requirements. You must have your own travel insurance to participate and because of ongoing travel bans, you will be responsible for checking your country’s travel advisory and its Italian consulate for information on whether you can indeed arrive in Italy safely, with or without a 14 day quarantine (there is some updated information here).

Getting here: Closest international airports are Pisa, Florence, Bologna and Rome. Pisa is the very closest and it is very easy to reach San Miniato by regional train (Trenitalia) from Pisa (it is on the line from Pisa going towards Florence). You can also rent a car from the airport but you won’t need a car during the retreat as we will take care of all transport during the retreat. We can organise transfers from the station of San Miniato for arrival and departure, if needed.

Tuscany in November:

We chose November for this trip because it is our most favourite time of the year. It is calm and the finest Tuscan foods are at their best, including white truffles (we will catch the 50th anniversary of the white truffle festival in San Miniato, read more about it here), freshly pressed, impossibly green extra virgin olive oil (you will never get to taste olive oil like this except this time of year!), harvesting saffron and more. Autumn in Tuscany is beautiful. It can be crisp, clear and sunny or foggy and wet, but it is always spent well with warming foods, wine, roasting chestnuts and traditions like harvesting olives, saffron and truffle hunting.


Your hosts:

Emiko Davies  is an Australian-born cookbook author who has called Florence home for over a decade. She was a restaurant critic for The Good Food Guide in Australia for several years and has written about Tuscan traditions and Italian cuisine on this blog since 2010 as well as for publications such as Saveur, The Guardian, Conde Nast Traveler, Financial Times, Gourmet Traveller and Corriere della Sera, to name a few. She has written three cookbooks  on regional Tuscan cuisine.

Marco Lami, is a certified sommelier and has worked with Australia’s top chefs, including Neil Perry at Rosetta, George Calombaris at The Press Club and Andrew McConnell at The Builder’s Arms/Moon Under Water. He was the head sommelier at Michelin-starred Il Pellicano and is currently the sommelier at Il Palagio at Florence’s Four Seasons Hotel. He was born in San Miniato, home to Tuscany’s precious white truffles, so you will truly experience this part of the visit through the eyes (and tastebuds) of a local.

Things to note:

  • The retreat will take place with a minimum of 6 and maximum of 10 participants and social distancing (1 meter) will be observed.
  • Guests will sign a certificate before arriving confirming that they do not have any covid symptoms; guests should also bring their own masks or we will supply disposable ones.
  • The itinerary is a guide; we reserve the right to make changes in case of bad weather or unforeseen circumstances where we may need to change the order of activities or replace some of the activities with something equally wonderful.
  • Retreat cost per person: 2,500 euro in double occupancy (single supplement: 400 euro).

To book now please email workshops@emikodavies.com

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