Arrival in Cesenatico. You will have the evening free to dine at the hotel or at one of Cesenatico’s many restaurants or simply stretch your legs with a walk or bike ride downtown (bikes are available for your use at the hotel) for a little local gelato. A night of good sleep awaits you before the beginning of classes in the morning.
After breakfast we will head to Villa Delle Rose, the beautiful location housing our cooking classes – only a 5 minute drive from the hotel. In the morning we’ll have our First Cooking Class: Home Made Pasta and Its Many Secrets. Among other things we’ll learn about Tortellini, Lasagne, and also Strozzapreti. The class will be taught by the family’s Sfoglina (literally, the pasta dough maker). Lunch will be served during the class and consist of the pasta we prepare together. Aprons will be provided for the class, but comfortable shoes and clothes are recommended.
We will return to the hotel to relax and rest from the morning’s activities, and we’ll leave the hotel again later in the afternoon to explore the surrounding area. We will visit Sogliano al Rubicone, the homeland of formaggio di fossa, a local sheep cheese left to season in pits dug out of the soil. We will then tour Santarcangelo di Romagna, a beautiful medieval town, where we will also have dinner at the renowned La Sangiovesa restaurant, a true Romagna Osteria housed in the stables of an ancient noble palace. The restaurant is famous for its logo, which was designed by Federico Fellini and its owner, Tonino Guerra, a very well renowned Italian artist. Adding to its charm are many hidden rooms and wood-burning stoves, all magnificently decorated.
Our second cooking class will cover the Traditional Fares of Romagna Cuisine: Piadina, Passatelli, Polenta, and Ragu’ (AKA Bolognese sauce). We’ll feast on all the prepared goodies for lunch, and then we will return to the hotel, followed by another afternoon break. We will head to Casa delle Aie for dinner- the ultimate Romagna dining experience! A cultural organization runs this former farmhouse, dating back to the 1700s, as a restaurant serving only a few dishes at prices supported by the local government. Are you ready for the ultimate traditional Romagnolo meal?
A day off to relax, shop, and just enjoy the small town environment Cesenatico has to offer! There will be an opportunity to go shoe-shopping at the local outlets – about 15 minutes away from Cesenatico is San Mauro Pascoli, the Shoe Capital of the World! The most renowned Italian brands have their factories here: Pollini, Casadei, Sergio Rossi, Dolce e Gabbana, Vicini, Baldinini- all have factory outlets within a few miles of Cesenatico. It’s an opportunity that shoe lovers should not pass up! For those not interested in shopping, transportation can be arranged to view the magnificent mosaics of Ravenna, the historical town of Cesena, or the beauty of the Tempio Malatestiano and Ponte di Tiberio in Rimini. There will be an opportunity to also visit a traditional hand-made printing facility, with the possibility of shopping for the famous Romagna hand-prints, and a chance to look at how they’re created. Dinner will be served at the hotel at your convenience.
We will head to the town of Modena. Modena is the home of Balsamic Vinegar, and we will tour Acetaia Malpighi, a Traditional Balsamic Vinegar producer. During the visit, we will learn how these products have been traditionally produced for decades. There will be an explanation of the laws regulating the production of the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. Finally, there will be an opportunity to taste the products, as well as purchase as much as you can carry! The Acetaia Malpighi will host us for lunch. After lunch, we will head to Faenza, where beautiful handmade and painted traditional ceramics await us.
In Faenza you will have the option to visit one of the world’s most beautiful and complete art collections: the international Ceramic Museum, which houses pieces from all over the world. Every century is represented as well, from classical amphora to the works of Chagall and Picasso, and there is a rich section dedicated to Faenza majolica (pottery) in the golden age of the Renaissance. The historic production of Faenza majolica is recognized worldwide as one of the highest moments of artistic creativity expressed through pottery. Over the years Faenza craftsmen and artists developed and perfected the decoration of hand made pottery, and the 60 workshops that are currently active – most of them in the city center – offer the chance to see the production in action and purchase unique pottery unavailable any where else. Dinner will be in one of the town’s renowned restaurants.
We will head to the town of Brisighella. Brisighella is a medieval town famous in Italy for its high quality extra virgin olive oil production. This is the olive oil that Italians call the best in Italy! We will experience an olive oil tasting (and shopping), and then we’ll have lunch in the town center. After lunch, our friends at Il Vecchio Convento will be hosting us in Portico di Romagna for our third cooking class. We’ll leave Brisighella at 3:00 p.m. to reach Portico di Romagna (about ½ hour away), which is a medieval mountain town built in the 1200s. After class, a tour of this idyllic Romagna mountain town, Portico, will be followed by a splendid dinner at il Vecchio Convento.
For those who want to get a head start, we’ll be leaving at 8:00 a.m. to visit a squacquerone cheese making facility in Cesenatico. Squacquerone is a soft cheese, round and wobbly (this is where it gets it name from), it does not have a rind and the taste is particularly similar to pleasantly acidic milk. It is made from full fat milk and is produced all year round but is eaten fresh within three days at most from production, which is one of the main reasons this cheese is not well suited for export.
Our last cooking class will explore the fine art of Italian desserts. After lunch, we’ll have the option of taking a break, or visiting the fish market in Cesenatico: The wholesale fish market works on a reverse Dutch auction method, and is a quite interesting experience to learn about.
Afternoon activities include outlet shopping in San Marino, or a visit to Montebello Castle. Montebello is a beautifully preserved fortress built before year 1000, and its enchanting legends (including the staple ghost!) will charm you… The day will wrap up with aperitivi and an in-house cooking school shopping opportunity of traditional products used during our course followed by a beautiful celebratory dinner with wine pairings in the hotel restaurant.
Time to say goodbye! After breakfast, we’ll have to part ways- knowing your experience has been truly unforgettable!