Autumn Arts Festival-Tuscan Cuisine

DATES: 10/23/2023 - 10/31/2023
LOCATION: Tuscany
PRICE: $3,975.00
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:

Chef Michael Vignapiano has been a Culinary and Pastry instructor for over thirty years with various institutions such as The New York Restaurant School/Art Institute of NYC, CUNY, SUNY, and Monroe College where he was the Culinary Operations Coordinator and Chef de Cuisine of the highly rated student run restaurant open to the public.

From 2007-2012 Chef Vignapiano was the owner/executive chef for Fresh Flavors Catering – a seasonal, off premises caterer located in the Hamptons, NY.

Chef Vignapiano has participated in many competitions in the US and Italy both individually and as a member of the New York Culinary Team. He also has judged culinary and pastry competitions for the American Culinary Federation.

Michael has traveled throughout the U.S. as a representative for the Consortiums of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Presently he is semi-retired and working seasonally in the Hamptons NY.

Most importantly, Chef Vignapiano, was part of the Il Chiostro family from 2000-2011 teaching the Tuscan cuisine program during the Autumn Arts Festival and he is thrilled to be returning.


Andrea AnichiniThe Man From Chianti – has been working with Il Chiostro for over 25 years.  Born and raised in the small village of Vagliagli, just north of Siena in Tuscany, Andrea has been working in the food and wine business in Italy for most of his life.  We first met him when he was a budding sommelier at Dievole.  From there he opened his own Tuscan Food store in the center of Siena followed by his restaurant in Castelnuovo Berardenga.

Soon after that we enticed him to move over to become the chef at the newly opened San Fedele where he cooked for Il Chiostro programs for many years.

Andrea now teaches many of our cooking classes, has his own traveling pizza oven and knows just about everybody who produces food in the area.

During the winter, Andrea and his cousin, Sandro, the owner of the Oliviera winery, tour the United States cooking authentic Italian dinners accompanied by Sandro’s wines.

Chef Michael Vignapiano has been a Culinary and Pastry instructor for over thirty years with various institutions such as The New York Restaurant School/Art Institute of NYC, CUNY, SUNY, and Monroe College where he was the Culinary Operations Coordinator and Chef de Cuisine of the highly rated student run restaurant open to the public.

From 2007-2012 Chef Vignapiano was the owner/executive chef for Fresh Flavors Catering – a seasonal, off premises caterer located in the Hamptons, NY.

Chef Vignapiano has participated in many competitions in the US and Italy both individually and as a member of the New York Culinary Team. He also has judged culinary and pastry competitions for the American Culinary Federation.

Michael has traveled throughout the U.S. as a representative for the Consortiums of Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Presently he is semi-retired and working seasonally in the Hamptons NY.

Most importantly, Chef Vignapiano, was part of the Il Chiostro family from 2000-2011 teaching the Tuscan cuisine program during the Autumn Arts Festival and he is thrilled to be returning.


Andrea AnichiniThe Man From Chianti – has been working with Il Chiostro for over 25 years.  Born and raised in the small village of Vagliagli, just north of Siena in Tuscany, Andrea has been working in the food and wine business in Italy for most of his life.  We first met him when he was a budding sommelier at Dievole.  From there he opened his own Tuscan Food store in the center of Siena followed by his restaurant in Castelnuovo Berardenga.

Soon after that we enticed him to move over to become the chef at the newly opened San Fedele where he cooked for Il Chiostro programs for many years.

Andrea now teaches many of our cooking classes, has his own traveling pizza oven and knows just about everybody who produces food in the area.

During the winter, Andrea and his cousin, Sandro, the owner of the Oliviera winery, tour the United States cooking authentic Italian dinners accompanied by Sandro’s wines.

Il Chiostro celebrates the harvest time of the year in Tuscany with The Autumn Arts Festival. We offer 3 separate workshops that all overlap throughout this week-long celebration of the arts, the harvest, the wine and this wonderful region of Italy.  The workshops are:

In addition to your workshop we offer Italian Opera Appreciation lectures with Prof. Patricia Pease each evening before dinner.  This is open to all participants.


Program Description Tuscan Cuisine:

When people come to Italy they always remark about the food and how flavorful and fresh everything tastes. This course will focus on defining the Italian food philosophy and how we can bring that to our own kitchens.

Italy has a strict natural and organic tradition for producing food. Tuscan cuisine is called cucina povera – “poor man’s kitchen”.  It is simple and flavorful with great attention to combining ingredients that will compliment and enhance each other making every dish a marriage of flavors.

As the executive chef of Il Chiostro, Linda remembers telling participants that it was impossible to get the same fresh seasonal ingredients at home as they experienced in Italy, but that is no longer true.  In the last few years the US has experienced a new food philosophy movement, we are learning what has been the heart and soul of Italian cuisine forever; fresh, local and seasonal ingredients are important not only to our taste buds, but also to the environment and to our health and well being.

Autumn brings the harvest – a time of so many treasures and delicacies.  As we believe, “food is love”; come share the love in Tuscany!

Andrea Anichini making the pasta dough

Here are some highlights of the class:

  • We will have 3 hands-on cooking classes, 1 with Andrea, the “Man from Chianti” and 2 with Chef Michael
  • Learn about what makes Chianti unique.  We’ll learn how to taste wine, including many “super Tuscan” wines!
  • Explore local food artisans: goat cheese, sausage and fresh pasta
  • Shop for fresh ingredients at local outdoor markets and supermarkets, and, weather permitting, forage for wild mushrooms right in our own backyard
  • Discuss the glory of olive oil and attend a live pressing and tasting (weather conditions permitting)
  • Excursions to nearby hill towns like San Gimignano and Pienza where we will learn about their specialties: prosciutto, salumi, pecorino as well as the local wines. We will learn how to tell the quality and freshness of these products and how best to use them in our cooking.
  • Visit Siena and taste the local delicacies like ricciarelli, panforte and, of course, the best gelato in town

Every day we will discuss how we can incorporate what we learn into our daily lives at home


 

Andrea Anichini, pizza man

Price: $3,975 p/p

  • Single supplement – $695 (limited number available)
  • Suite supplement  – $450 p/p (limited number available)

Includes:

  • Room (double or suite) with full bathroom
  • 2 meals per day (dinner with wine and full Tuscan breakfast)
  • Workshop tuition and fees (except where noted)
  • General activities (except where noted)
  • Transfers between Siena train or bus station and Dievole

General Activities Open to All Participants (in addition to workshop):
Most activities take place in and around the 900 year old Dievole estate & vineyard.

  • Winery tour and tasting, featuring Dievole’s Chianti Classico
  • Italian Opera Appreciation classes every evening before dinner
  • Excursion to Siena
  • Dinner in the old cantina
  • Various topical excursions with your class
  • Special evening concerts and surprise entertainment, TBA
  • Pig Roast celebrating the harvest and the arts

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Museum admissions
  • Gratuities

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made on line with a credit card or PyPal.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by September 1st.  Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information:  info@ilchiostro.com or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

Dievole Chianti Classico Winery, Tuscany

Participants in the Autumn Arts Festival will stay in Dievole’s 16th century inn and guest houses floating in the magnificent Tuscan hills. We take over the whole winery so it will begin to feel like home after a few days.  The entire facility recently underwent a major facelift transforming all rooms into spacious, luxury lodgings.  Rooms are doubles or suites with modern bathrooms and heating.

A limited number of single rooms and suites are available for a supplement.

Dievole will seem more like a family inn rather than an impersonal chain hotel.  Dievole is located in the town of Vagliagli, about 12km northeast of Siena and 40km south of Florence. If you wish to explore the area independently during your stay we recommend renting a car. The link below will give you a glimpse of the winery:

Click here to visit Dievole’s web site…

Visit them on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dievole

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Die vole vineyards, photo by Jim Palmer

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Dievole wine bottles, photo by Gilbert Rios

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Gianni pouring for a tasting, photo by Andy Holtzman

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Dinner in the old wine cellar, photo by J Michael Sullivan

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Dino ready to carve at the harvest pig roast

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Early morning at Dievole, photo by Gabriella Pascoe

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Orientation in the vintners’ room, photo by J Michael Sullivan

We will pick you up in Siena anytime between 1 and 5pm on the first day of the program. The recommended arrival airports are Florence or Rome from where you can take a bus or train to Siena. Florence is closer, but there are no direct flights from the US. You would have to change in another European city. Rome provides more flight options.

The bus/train from Rome to Siena is about 3 hours.

We can also arrange for a car to pick you up from Florence or Rome. You pay the driver directly. Just let us know a few days in advance so we can make the arrangemenst for you.

If you are departing from Rome on the last day, remember it is 3 hours by car or bus from Siena so try to book an afternoon flight.

If you have time, you might consider lingering in Italy for a few days extra on either end of the festival. Allow the Italian rhythms to seduce you. A few days in Rome or Florence upon arrival is a wonderful way to get over jet-lag. For other travel help check our Travel to Italy web page.

  • If you like dealing with a person, try our travel consultant, Nancy Schaffer with Travel Solutions, Inc. in Westborough, MA.  You can reach her at nrschaffer@charter.net or 508-836-0143.  Mention that you are traveling with Il Chiostro.
  • For this trip and whenever you travel, we strongly recommend personal travel insurance. It protects you against penalties should you need to cancel your trip at the last minute. If you don’t have a policy, contact Travelex (800) 5047883 or www.travelex-insurance.com [Note: Travelex requires that you take out a policy within 21 days of registering for a travel program.]

Specific Travel information to get to Dievole:

By Train: There are regularly scheduled trains from all major towns and cities in Italy. Head towards Siena. From Rome there are several trains daily from the main station (Termini). You don`t need a reservation. Although you purchase a through ticket, it is necessary to change trains at Chiusi. The ride takes about 3.5 hours (approximately 240 km.) and the cost is around $20.
NOTE: in Italy it is the law to stamp your train ticket in the little yellow meter near each train platform. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, even if you plead ignorance.
By Bus: There are also buses from almost anywhere in Italy to Siena. These are modern and comfortable coaches.

From Florence: buses leave the SITA terminal (next door to the train station) nearly every hour. If you take Siena Rapida, the ride is direct on the highway and should take 1 hour.

From Rome: the ride takes 3 hours (non-stop). If you plan to arrive at the Rome airport and plan to come directly to Siena, this is the quickest method. From the airport, take the train on the left-hand track to the Tiburtina station (NOT Termini). From there, go outside into the parking lot.
If you are already in Rome you can take the Metro to the Tiburtina station. Take the B (blue) line towards Rebibbia. Follow signs to Pzle. Stazione Tiburtina.
With the long side of the station at your back, cross under the overpass into the parking lot. Buy your ticket from the building marked Biglietteria C (17.50 Euros, approx. $20); the bus usually leaves from Gate 8. These buses leave every day at regular intervals. To get current fares and schedules for the SENA bus you can check their web site: www.sena.it.

Once in Siena, get off at the Siena train station (Ferrovia). Don’t get off in the center of Siena.

Tuscany in autumn is a sensual feast. Russet and golden hills. Crisp air. Trees weighted with olives. Woods rich with mushrooms and chestnuts. The scent of grapes hangs over the valleys like mist. The harvest is the soul of the Tuscans. In autumn the hilltowns revert to the locals. Their art is to prepare the bounty: prosciutto, nuts, olive oil and especially Chianti. Traditional festivals celebrate every phase from the vendemmia (harvesting of grapes for wine) to the wild boar. Music, folklore, dancing in the piazza.And there, in the heart of Tuscany, is Siena. The legendary medieval town packed with history and art. In autumn, her museums and churches relax, uncrowded. The streets echo her architecture, art and heroes.

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Surrounding Vineyards, photo by Linda Mironti