The original Montefollonico cooking school since 2000

In this special video, Bill Sutherland visits Dania Misotti at La Chiusa, the elegantly restored farm house and olive oil mill where Tuscan Women Cook guests stay. Dania prepares risotto with Brunello, the red Italian wine grown in the Montalcino region not far from Montefollonico . Follow Dania and you can duplicate this recipe at home. Better still, join us at Tuscan Women Cook and learn to cook like the chefs of Tuscany!

La Chiusa is ideally situated for glorious views of the Chiana Valley—rolling hills covered with olive trees and vineyards, and the ivory-colored hilltop town of Montepulciano in the distance. You can have breakfast on the terrace, enjoying bread that’s been freshly baked in La Chiusa’s wood-burning oven, slathered with jam made from the property’s fig trees. A breeze may blow through, carrying with it the scent of lavender from the herb garden. In the evenings, the sunsets over La Chiusa’s panorama will dazzle you. Here is a country retreat that calms, inspires, and lifts your spirits.

La Chiusa was created in the 1970s, way before the Tuscan tourist boom, by an enterprising couple, Umberto Lucherini and Dania Masotti. Their vision was to turn the old buildings into a luxury getaway, retaining the rustic simplicity of the place, always honoring the landscape, and keeping true to Tuscan traditions. They have beautifully succeeded. Today, you’ll find every part of La Chiusa tastefully decorated with Tuscan antiques, and every taste of it paying homage to the rich farmlands which surround it.

Each of the 15 rooms is unique, featuring architectural elements from the original structure—exposed brick walls, millstones from the olive press, wood-beamed ceilings, and fireplaces. That’s not to say that you won’t also feel very pampered here—rooms have deep soaking tubs, many with Jacuzzis.

The restaurant presents an airy, gracious setting, with white-table-clothed-draped tables adorned with wildflowers. Dania Masotti is the shining star here, a recipient of a Michelin star for her cooking. She’ll be one of your cooking teachers and is also a most memorable hostess. Don’t be surprised to find her dressed in Prada head-to-toe, exuding the beauty and air of an Italian movie starlet, as she sips Prosecco while stirring tomato sauce in her country kitchen.

Using produce from La Chiusa’s gardens and orchards, along with food from local producers, Dania cooks Montefollonico’s classic peasant dishes in elegant renditions that don’t lose any of their soulful quality in the process. Most outstanding is her homemade pappardelle with ragu—silky pasta with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce. Guests enjoy the restaurant’s old world style. Sorbets are served between courses. Small ottomans are placed next to women’s chairs so they have a place to perch their purses. The wine cellar offerings range from top local picks (Vino Nobile, Brunello di Montalcino), to world renowned vintages.

Everyone you meet at La Chiusa, beginning with Dania and Umberto, warmly welcomes you into the family, delivering superior custom service. Not surprisingly, this place has many return visitors. Simply put—it’s heaven on earth, Tuscan style.