Cooking (at the) source - Festa and Fun in Italy
WHEN: July, 2016
WHERE: Palazzo Donati, Mecatello sul Metauro, Le Marche, Italy
COST: AUD $2650 Book Now
Ever dream of learning authentic Italian cooking secrets from the same nonnas who taught Jamie Oliver, all while staying in an Italian palazzo that would make Frances Mayes, ('Under the Tuscan Sun'), weak at the knees? Vivere il sogno - or as we say in English, it's time to 'live the dream!'Staying in Palazzo Donati, in the town square of Mercatello, a mountainous, relatively unvisited region of Italy, 2.5 hours from Florence, you will be daily engaged with the locals in a range of cultural as well as culinary adventures.
As Jamie Oliver discovered, the fabulous food of the region comes from the locals living off the land. Produce, game, herbs, virtually all the ingredients in their magic meals are derived freshly from the land. Le Marche classic cuisine includes: omelette with vitalbe, spelt salad with balsamic herbs, legume soup with croutons and oil of Cartoceto, maltagliati with chickpeas, tagliatellas with precious white truffles, meatless ravioli with fossa cheese, spelt tagliatellas with porcini mushrooms, gnocchi with duck, strozzapreti with wildboar sauce, tagliatellas with pigeon sauce, roebuck in salmi, stewed wild boar with polenta, stewed tripe, small quails with porcini and truffle sauce, donkey meatballs, wood stove beef. Arghh I hear you say, don't worry you don't have to eat all that!
See our preliminary programme below to get an idea of what we will be doing and who we will be meeting during the week. Also check out the photos from last year under our site galley.
A small group event. Actual DATES to be confirmed in early 2016.
Day 1, Monday, July
Pick up – Our private driver will pick us up at Perugia train station at 11am
and we will transfer by private van to Mercatello, approx 2 hours. On
arrival at Palazzo Donati we will settle in to the beautiful
surroundings and meet for a welcome drink. After a stroll around the
village, dinner will be served in a typical local restaurant.
Day 2, Tuesday, July
Mercatello sul Metauro - Urbino Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar after breakfast we will meet with our guide Nicoletta for an official visit of the historical center of Mercatello, a town that is .... “little but full of art, tradition and surprises."
Today, we will also enjoy shopping for our dinner with Luisa and Nicoletta. Needless to say the shopping will have to be done in Italian! Nicoletta or Luisa will teach you “Italian Express,” a shopping language course that will enable you to interact in Italian with locals. The lesson will start at the bar where you can learn how to ask for your favorite drink!!! Free time for lunch and rest.
At 4pm we will meet in the kitchen at Palazzo Donati with a local
chef ready to teach us how to prepare a traditional Italian family
Dinner at Palazzo after the cooking lesson.
Day 3, Wednesday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar we will have the honour to meet some of the following local artisans in Mercatello according to availability at the time.
- Gambafine the old carpenter
- The local Butcher
- The charcoal makers
- Il tombolo, a traditional technique of making lace
The confirmation of which artisans will be available when we are
there can be done only closer to the time and once we know the exact
In the late afternoon we will prepare the pizza oven to enjoy cooking a
Day 4, Thursday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar.
We will depart for the beautiful town of Urbino, about 40 minutes away,
where our local guide will escort us around the town and inside the
magnificent Palazzo Ducale. We will stop in the pretty town of Urbania
to see the famous Rennaissance ceramics, the unusual Church of the Dead,
the small museum featuring local traditions in the coutyard of the
local Palazzo Ducale and the weekly local market. Free time in Urbino -
lunch at leisure. After lunch we will pay a visit to Anna at Mulino
della Ricavata where we will learn how to cook in the traditional way
using local wild flowers. Dinner after the cooking lesson. Back to
Day 5, Friday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar.
Today we will visit a lab where artisans produce stencils and color to
make beautiful fabric prints in a very ancient manner. The business has
been run by the same family for generations. On this day we will join
Emanuele who will teach us how to create this beautiful art! After the workshop in Emanuele’s lab where we will print our own
personalized apron (it will be useful for the cooking lessons!) we will
visit his small shop in the village. Then it’s on to a local butcher
who will tell us about the famous Carpegna Ham. Lunch at leisure in
local bars or restaurants and those who like ancient palaces can also
have a look at the Prince Palace in Carpegna.
Back to Mercatello – free time and rest. Dinner with an easy pizza in the main square waiting for the first competition. La gara dei Biroccini ( the race of little wooden cars with pedals).
Day 6, Saturday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar
.Visit to a local vegetable garden. How to shop in a summer vegetable
garden and create a fresh summer menu for your lunch in the garden. Free time and rest.
6pm all in the square for the great PASTA COMPETITION!
Dinner at leisure.
Big party in the main square in Mercatello so put on your dancing shoes.
Day 7, Sunday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo or at the Bar. This morning we can attend the service in the main cathedral and watch the Blessing of the Donkeys. That is correct. DIY lunch in Palazzo.
In the afternoon a busy Piazza is getting ready for the donkey race!
The Donkey Race is on.. get ready to barrack for our team. Party in the square in the evening.
Day 8, Monday, July
Breakfast at Palazzo.
Our driver will take us back to Perugia.
NOTE that we may get slight changes to the programme closer to the time but if that happens we will replace with equally good activity!
Check out some photos and videos of the Palazzo, the village and Jamie interacting with some local cooks outside the Palazzo.
Luisa is opening the doors and inviting you to enter for a unique chance to experience living in a 15th century palace.
Mercatello is land of the prestigious white truffle, set on the foot of the ancient Tuscan-Umbrian Apennines, within easy reach of Pesaro (home to the composer Rossini), Arezzo and Sansepolcro, land of Piero della Francesca.
- 7 nights accommodation at Palazzo Donati, Mercatello sul Metauro
- 2 cooking workshops
- 7 days with our local host Luisa Donati with casual Italian lessons along the way
- 2 tours as outlined in the programme
- 7 breakfasts
- 2 lunch
- 4 dinners
- Transfers from Perugia train station.
- Transport for tours during the week as outlined in the programme
- NOTE that we may get slight changes to the programme closer to the time but if that happens we will replace with equally good activity!