The original Montefollonico cooking school since 2000

The Bernadini women of Agriturismo Belagaggio are composed of three generations of women and all are excellent cooks. On Fridays during our Tuscan Women Cook week, we spend a delicious day with these delightful women at Belagaggio, making pizzas in their wood burning oven, the very best pasta al forno (lasagna) and enjoying the lovely surroundings amidst olive groves, vineyards, and vegetable gardens.

In 2000, we had our first Tuscan Women Cook class at Agriturismo Belagaggio with Annunziata, the 90-something year old Bisnonna (great grandmother who has since passed away), her daughter Ada, Ada's daughter Antonella, and Antonella's daughter Gloria. With the very first taste of Ada's delicious ragu (tomato-meat sauce), I realized that I was at an extraordinary place.

Great grandmother Annunziata taught all "her girls" to expertly cook this area's regional specialties. Now Grandma Ada is getting on in years, but still makes that amazing ragu we first tasted over a decade ago, and is typically wearing pearls when we see her. Mamma Antonella has taken the reigns to expertly steer the whole operation. And Gloria, who I remember perfectly, rolling pici when she was 12, has grown into a beautiful 23-year old woman.

Dania is the owner of the Hotel & Ristorante La Chiusa. Her skill in the kitchen has been reviewed in most every language in every travel magazine in the world. The New York Times says a meal from Dania is “a voyage of rediscovery.” Watch Dania make risotto here.
Iolanda worked at La Chiusa for 27+ years. She has long been a favorite with our guests, and many of the best recipes and techniques come from this wonderful woman. Think the world’s best tiramisù. Watch Iolanda make tiramisù here.
Bruna—One evening we walked in a new local restaurant and were served delicious gnocchi. “My mother made it for the restaurant,” the young chef told us. Now the chef’s mother teaches for Tuscan Women Cook.
Francesca is one of the best home cooks we have ever encountered. Her skills include all phases of Tuscan cuisine. Each year, she is one of the local women selected to cook for the Festa della Unita in our village.
Isa makes “the best” melanzane parmigiano ever! Her daughter, Paola, owns the Hotel La Costa where you will often find Isa in the kitchen.
Anna always has an infectious smile as she teaches “hands-on” pasta making to our guests. A native of Napoli, she married a good Tuscan boy, moved to Montefollonico and became an excellent Tuscan cook. Watch Anna make pasta with Jane Pauley here.
Orietta makes delicious hand-rolled pici—a specialty of our village. Orietta’s outgoing personality and big smile make her a pleasure to learn from.
Navina—In many of the great Tuscan restaurants, there is one room specifically dedicated to making pasta, along with one woman who hand-makes all pasta. Navina has been in charge of pasta at La Chiusa for 17 years.
The Bernadini Family are our closest neighbors. An invitation to their home for dinner is very special. They grow their own vegetables, livestock, grapes and olives for oil. They cook for their guests at her agriturismo and make exceptional dishes in their wood-fired oven. Watch the Bernadini's make pasta here.
Ima can sometimes be heard saying, “stretch” or “gently” to our guests while teaching classes. It is English she has learned by listening to our guests. She is an exceptional cook.
Simonetta owns 13 Gobbi restaurant in our village along with her husband Albo. As with most small restaurant kitchens in Tuscany, the best cooks are women like her.
Roll up your sleeves and learn the recipes and techniques passed down over the generations from the women of Tuscany! Reserve your place now!