Put simply, any self-respecting foodie simply can’t visit Florence without booking a cooking class. And though there’s a considerable number of pasta and gelato making classes in Florence, other Italian delicacies are available. Take a vegan cooking class, spend a week in the city’s top culinary academy or invite a couple of chefs round to your holiday pad to whip up a banquet. Florence is a city that loves its food. And, if it’s possible for Florence to adore anything more than that? It’s teaching every visitor to recreate its celebrated dishes at home.
Pasta making classes
Form an orderly queue for a place at one of the best cooking classes in Florence. Chef Factory have combined all the right ingredients to bring you a pasta class that covers all of Italy. From north to south, you’ll be walked through the pasta from scratch basics to make three typical Italian pasta dishes – they even find time to rustle up a dessert. Your setting? A lovely historic pile in the centre of Florence that’s been kitted out with very professional catering surfaces. Stainless steel keeps health and safety worries at bay – and adds a certain Master Chef touch that’s always appealing. At €55, this is one of the more budget friendly pasta making classes in Florence, but manages to never feel cheap. Veggie options are available, instructions come in a language of your choosing (within reason) and there’s a strong rumour that a glass of Tuscan wine makes an appearance.
Kitchen Chez Nous
If you’ve dabbled with pasta in the privacy of your own kitchen, you might want to take things to the next level. For that, you’ll want the help of Fiamma and Ginny at Kitchen Chez Nous. Best of all, if your accommodation has a kitchen, they’ll come to you. They’ll bring absolutely everything you’ll need to cook an entire menu from their mouthwatering selection of recipes. You’ll start with the basics – pasta from scratch – and build from there. Two top notch chefs at your disposal certainly goes toe to toe with any small group cooking classes Florence can muster. Expect to spend around 3 hours with the duo – and, fair warning, this isn’t a budget option. That said, the menu is entirely of your choosing and you’ll create enough food to feed around six people.
Orbzii tip: Ginny and Fiamma’s chef skills include creating menus that block out certain food groups. Having them drop by to rustle up a meal certainly makes eating gluten free in Florence easier, but the pair can whip up any dietary specifics – so long as they get the nod in advance.
Vegan cooking classes
Gioia di Vivere Cooking School
We’ll start by saying that this vegan cooking school isn’t quite in Florence. But the chef credentials at the Gioia di Vivere Cooking School make the 1hr 20 minute road trip more than worth it. In her 40 years in the business, Marina’s studied vegetarian and macrobiotic cuisine, along with two decades of vegan cooking. The mother and daughter team bring their restaurant know how to the cooking school – along with a strictly organic, wholesome, seasonal and non-profit ethos. So, what’s on the menu? It would almost be easier to list what isn’t available. Basic cooking classes, amateur chef skills and pastry courses are just the beginning. Varied vegan cooking classes walk you through how to cook a specific vegan dish and they do a nice sideline in holistic workshops. Very much a one stop shop for wellbeing. For a rough guide on course types and prices? We love the sound of the Gnocchi from Scratch course. €69 for two hours learning how to make gluten-free vegan gnocchi. Bliss.
Market to Table
Diadema Cooking School
Most chefs will agree, the secret to a great dish starts with snuffling out tip top ingredients. Which is why Diadema Cooking School’s ‘Ultimate Florence Cooking Class’ gets our vote. Before you even think of donning an apron, they whisk you off to Florence’s central market to mingle with bakers, butchers and veg vendors. While you’re buying, your chef will clue you in on Tuscan specialties – and add in some local heritage. Then you’re off to the kitchens to slice, dice and generally cook up something spectacular. Recipes vary, depending on seasonal produce, but think hearty, 3 course medley of traditional Italian classics and you won’t go far wrong. Yes, the end of class certificate is a touch most could happily forgo, but the two glasses of wine make up for it. For €99 it nicely combines two experiences in one. The whole experience lasts 5 hours – so you can certainly add value for money to the list of benefits.
Gelato making classes
Why stick to just learning the secrets of Italian ice cream when you can uncover how to make pizza and gelato in the same class? Mama Florence have this combo all sewn up with their snappily titled Pizza and Gelato class. You won’t find a finer Italian meal in Tuscany. Though, the Michelin star restaurants in Florence might have a thing or two to say about that. No matter, because after handing €110 over to your chef, you’ll be walking away with some serious cookery skills. Here, they don’t just trifle with the basics. You’ll learn to sling different styles of pizza, correct oven temperatures, regional specialties – the lot. And for dessert, the gelato process may be a little simpler, but you’ll be let in on the secret ingredients that make this treat so special.
Orbzii tip: If you’re lactose-intolerant, or vegan, have a chat with Mama Florence. Gelato skills can be adapted to sorbet secrets and there’s no need to add cheese to your pizza if you’d rather not.
Florence Culinary Arts School
How seriously do you take your gelato? If you’re ready to really take a deep dive into making this classic, how about a week at the Florence Culinary Arts School? Yes, it’s a curveball, but we do things a little differently here. We all long for those immersive experiences where you come away with a new found love of a city, language, culture … or food. And this really does deliver. You’ll live in shared accommodation and live and breathe frozen desserts. There’s an interpreter on hand to help you with the language barrier and you’ll have everything you need to make gelato for the week. The course comes in at €1,400 – plus you’ll need money for airfare and food. But after a week? There will be no stopping you in the frozen dessert category.
Orbzii tip: If the week-long commitment is a step too far, the school also runs an impressive roster of one day courses, including a gelato course for €300. Other day courses that caught our eye were the pasta and pizza courses. For something a little different? The Wine/Olive farm day gets you out into the Tuscan countryside into artisan olive oil territory.