Our home for the week is La Chiusa, a converted, centuries old olive mill. Each of our quarters is configured differently; some even span two stories. We are greeted warmly by Manuela, who offers me a glimpse into several suites. I get to pick my own room! I choose a ground floor residence with a hedge of fragrant rosemary etching the stone path leading to my quarters. My room has a high, curvy brick ceiling and a big comfy bed. My bathroom features an oversized tub positioned next to a massive stone fireplace. I stare longingly at that tub but there’s no time for a soak. The guests have arrived and we straggle one at a time in to the dining room where we are enthusiastically welcomed by our Tuscan Women Cook hosts Rhonda and Coleen.
While Tuscan Women cook usually attracts an international clientele, the guests this week are all from the U.S. There are folks here from Chicago, California, Colorado and other places that don’t start with C. Rhonda and Coleen are so warm and welcoming and give us an introduction this beautiful town of Montefollonico. We each receive an itinerary that is full of surprises. In addition to cooking classes with the best local cooks, we’ll also be sightseeing in some of the most picturesque and historical villages in this part of Tuscany. We’ll have our own translator, driver and private guide. I am so excited to see, learn and EAT with Rhonda, Coleen and this terrific group.
My stomach is doing excited summersaults as I read Le Ricette, the official Tuscan Women cookbook that holds many of the recipes we’ll be making this week. As I flip through the pages I am so excited to finally be learning to make dishes I’ve enjoyed in restaurants but never had the knowledge or confidence to prepare. Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms- get ready to rumble!