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.
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.
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 worlds best tiramisù. Watch Iolanda make tiramisù here.
BrunaOne 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 chefs 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.
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 picia specialty of our village. Oriettas outgoing personality and big smile make her a pleasure to learn from.
NavinaIn 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