A number of delicious and elegant recipes typical of these parts were found among the ancient papers of the Castle. Some of these had fallen into disuse, but when rediscovered they always enjoyed enormous success among our friends, and so we decided to make them better known. The cookery courses consist of lessons of theory and practice held in the Castle kitchen by the owner Gabriella Benci and her valued assistants. In addition to the Castle’s own recipes, the typical dishes of traditional Tuscan cuisine are also prepared, with certain small variations inspired by other regions of Italy. The ingredients consist of the organic produce grown on the farm, which – based on the season – we gather in the kitchen garden before starting the lesson: extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, onions, garlic, tomatoes, eggs, salad greens, cauliflowers, Tuscan black cabbage, Savoy cabbage and aromatic herbs …
Lessons are held in either Italian or English, in the mornings from 9.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. or afternoons from 3.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. The lesson ends with a tasting of the dishes that have been prepared, washed down with our very own wine, in the stunning art nouveau dining-room of the Castle with the table beautifully laid for the occasion.
Tasting and Lunches on the Estate
The visit to the Castle’s ancient olive press, complete with its huge millstone, ends with an oil tasting session. Here we provide interested visitors with a detailed explanation of pressing processes, both ancient and modern. During November, when the olives are picked and pressed, we are delighted to offer our guests the chance to observe first-hand the production of our award-winning Cafaggio organic extra virgin olive oil. Joining the pickers in the olive groves to observe the harvesting methods, we also provide an explanation of the characteristics of the olive, after which we go on to visit a modern olive press nearby.
The tasting sessions also include our own Chianti wine and chunky slices of toasted Tuscan bread served with a generous trickle of olive oil, a snack known as fettunta.
From the Benci and the Piccioni families we have inherited a great passion for all forms of artistic expression. For this reason we are delighted when we are asked to organise artistic and cultural initiatives at the Castle and are very happy to make available not only our accommodation but also our skills. We consider it of primary importance that physical and spiritual wellbeing go hand in hand. With the help of maestri and professionals we are extremely happy to arrange weeks devoted to the practice of meditation, yoga and healthy nutrition, during which guests can also benefit from the wellness itineraries in the woods.
Activities in the vicinity
SPORT IN THE HILLS
The Florence Golf Club of Ugolino is just 6 km away and is one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the world, set amidst hills dotted with cypress trees, pines and olives. There are several riding stables which organise lessons for beginners as well as trekking routes along the numerous unmade roads of Chianti, winding through vineyards and passing alongside ancient churches. It is also delightful to explore the local countryside by bike, and customised tours can be arranged alternating the cycling with cultural visits and food & wine highlights.
DELIGHTS FOR THE PALATE
We shall help you to discover the best little restaurants and trattorias in the local countryside where you will be able to savour sophisticated and flavoursome variations on the classic dishes of Tuscan cuisine and taste the finest wines produced in this area, with Chianti Classico enjoying pride of place. Guided tours of wine cellars and tastings.
We can advise you on how to buy the very best local food & wine produce and articles of local craftsmanship, and also tell you how to get to the outlets of the most famous high-fashion brands, including Prada, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
We organised our wedding at the Castle of Cafaggio, an absolutely splendid location for the most wonderful day of our lives.
It was a unique and unforgettable experience! The consummate professional expertise of the entire staff made our event truly special.
Maria & Antony
An inspiring and fun cookery course.
Thanks to a really super cook and teacher, Gabriella, I learnt a lot of the secrets of Tuscan cooking, and about the oil, wine and typical ingredients of this area.
I also met a lot of great people … but more than anything I ate, drank and learnt heaps!
My company organised a working weekend at the Castle of Cafaggio, and I have to say it was a real eye-opener. The atmosphere was perfect for both concentration and relaxation. Combined with the magnificent setting of the estate, a work engagement was transformed into a wonderful holiday too! It’s an experience I strongly recommend.