If you’re considering a unique vacation centered around food, wine and days spent under the Tuscan sun, consider La Petraia, an agriturismo near the tiny village of Radda in Chianti. Susan McKenna Grant, resident Chef and owner, sent me information about some upcoming events for summer and fall of 2011.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of staying at La Petraia while attending Susan’s cooking school. It was an experience of a lifetime, and worth every penny.

In a nutshell, this is what you can expect: 5 nights (August 22nd to the 27th, or October 24 to October 29, 2011) at La Petraia where you will stay in the most amazing guest rooms, on beds and linens made by Tuscan artisans.

You will have an intimate and inspiring week in Tuscany’s most luxurious agritursimo where all the food you eat comes from the property. You will learn how to make traditional Tuscan fare using contemporary culinary techniques and state of the art equipment–techniques normally used exclusively by  professionals but which now are becoming available at reasonable prices to home cooks.

You will also learn age-old traditions like the importance of fermentation in the kitchen, foraging, cooking and baking with fire, smoking, and whole animal butchery.

You will learn how to make artisan breads using your own pre-ferments and natural starters as well as  herbal and floral stamped pasta, and ricotta cheese using raw milk from La Petraia’s sheep.

Each cooking class results in a six course meal based entirely on the production of the organic estate.

You will also delve into the wonderful world of extra virgin olive oil and learn about Petraia’s implementation of biodynamic agriculture and what role it plays in their approach to wine-making.

You forage for wild foods in the estates fields and forests and tour the Etruscan ruins on the highest point of the estate. Your spare time can be spent exploring the nearby villages where you’ll taste more food, wine and olive oil than you could ever imagine. Heavenly.

Classes at La Petraia are designed for serious home cooks, wine lovers and food enthusiasts. Susan and her crew promise to engage, inspire and send you home with a head full of new ideas.

Go to lapetraia.com for more information and contact Susan McKenna Grant at info@lapetraia.com . Maybe I’ll see you there!