An Italian Cooking and Cultural Vacation
Hilltop, Medieval Villages to Abruzzo’s Coastal Adriatic
As a result of geographic barriers, Abruzzo’s culture had few outside influences to corrupt its uniqueness. Both the agricultural and coastal aspects of this region have contributed to Abruzzo’s authentic cuisine. Renowned for its wines with their fullness of body, its food for its boldness of flavor, and its extra virgin olive oil for its sweetness, the Abruzzi Region ranks among Italy’s best. Step back in time and discover truly traditional, non-commercialized Italian cooking in the foothills of the Apennine Mountains. Surrounded by hills and valleys as rugged and peaceful as the people, you will learn to cook in the timeless tradition deeply embedded in the hearts of local artisans. While your home this week will be the hilltop, medieval village of Carunchio, you will also be exposed to coastal treasures of the Adriatic as you visit the enchanting village of Vasto. There you will discover Trabocco fishing houses, unique to the Abruzzi Region, and taste the sea’s bounty in a way that gives new meaning to freshness. Abruzzo truly is Italy’s best kept secret!
Palazzo Tour d'Eau - For One (Dbl Occ)
Completely restored in 2002, Palazzo Tour d’Eau is the ideal place to stay for anyone looking to experience the simplicity and beauty of this historic and luxurious residence. From its perch on the very highest point of the village’s rocky hill, the palace commands a spectacular panoramic view of the whole valley. You will spend your week exploring historic villages, witnessing the creation of organic products at the hands of local artisans, enjoying the art of cooking with local chefs, and tasting the hypnotic flavors of Abruzzese cuisine.
Round-Trip Rome to Abruzzo Transfers | Welcome Dinner
You will be greeted at the Rome International Airport, then traverse the Apennine Mountains as you journey through Lazio and Abruzzo on your way to the Palazzo. After you have settled in, you will all meet for cocktails and a briefing of the tour. A welcome dinner will follow, where you will enjoy a multi-course meal in the town of Carunchio.
Olive Mill Tour, Demonstrations & Tastings | Hands-On Cooking Class
Your morning will start as always with a delicious Italian breakfast, after which you will head out for a visit to an award-winning Olive Press, to learn sampling techniques on how to taste a variety of olive oils. You will walk through the olive grove, learn how the olives are picked, and then see how they are processed to obtain the extra virgin cold press olive oil. After a short break, you will join in your first hands-on cooking class, to explore the basic ingredients of Abruzzo cuisine. You will create one of the delicious appetizers that highlights the region, a main course based on vegetables, and a delightful dessert. The theme for this class is quick and healthy homemade meals, recipes, and techniques you will be able to implement at home. Everyone will dine on these tasty creations in traditional Italian style, slowly and in good company!
Homemade Pasta Extravaganza | Wine Pairing Class | Sommelier
This morning you will learn how much fun and utterly delicious making pasta at home can be, in a variety of colors and shapes. Experienced chefs will teach you all the tricks so that it turns out great every time. The type of pasta you make in this lesson will be dependent upon seasonality, ensuring that the freshest ingredients are used in the preparation of the chosen pasta dish. After lunching on your creations and taking a short break, it is time for a wine pairing class. You will be sampling more than a few great Abruzzo wines, then learn how to pair them all with food and wine – led by the Palazzo’s own sommelier.
Vasto Excursion | Trabocco Fishing House | Taste of the Adriatic Lunch
Enjoy a trip to the Adriatic Coast for a guided tour of Vasto and its historical center, shopping, and a sightseeing tour of the coast's unique "Trabocco" fishing houses. Depending on the weather and the season, you may be able to enjoy a fishing experience at the Trabocco, an old fishing house sitting in the middle of the sea – a very special treat. Shoe shopping seems to be a national sport in Italy, and you will find a huge selection in the local boutiques and outlets, along with lingerie, jewelry and more. You will then relax at the best restaurant in town, where you will be served a seafood sampling feast.
Peasant Food & Biscotti Class | Afternoon for Hiking or Watercolor Class
You will learn peasant food recipes of the old world – what was once considered lowly fare is now super-gourmet. You will create a superb vegetarian dish and follow up by preparing the best almond biscotti ever made, with an Abruzzo twist. In the afternoon you are free to walk around town savoring the peaceful environment in the small village of Carunchio, or you may enjoy a hike on a trail close by. You may instead choose to attend a watercolor class, with a local artist, who will be helping you make an artistic piece to take home and treasure as a souvenir.
Agnone | Bell Foundry & Cheese Making Tour | Porchetta | Pizza Making
Get ready for another excursion – a tour to Agnone in the region of Molise, where you can watch old-world production of mozzarella, ricotta cheeses and caciocavallo. Agnone is famous for its quality cheese, especially the caciocavallo, which is a gourmet version of provolone. Then you will visit an historic artisan bell foundry where you will learn about each phase of manufacturing these unique bells that are still created for Vatican City. Lunch will be gourmet street food, a porchetta sandwich paired with a fine Italian beer. After a leisurely lunch and short rest, you will learn how to make pizza with a variety of vegetables, meats and cheeses – in the Abruzzo way. Stretch the pizza dough, top with many fresh ingredients, and throw it into an artisan wood-fired oven; the result is a crunchy, thin-crusted, flavorful pizza. Taste and discover how these ingredients are a big part of the Abruzzese cuisine.
What Our Customers Say
The Palazzo far exceeded my expectations. We had such a great time. The accommodations were five stars and so were the cooking classes, meals, and trips. I can’t say enough about it. I hope to sign up again next year.
Lorraine P. June 2016
I really enjoyed my trip to Abruzzo. What a beautiful place!! We were literally on top of a mountain. The hosts were wonderful. The food and the cooking classes were great.
Dolly, October 2015
This is our last day in Carunchio...on our way to Rome. This week has been a phenomenal experience. The food was fantastic, Massimo and his staff were wonderfully accommodating, the views spectacular and the people in our group were very nice and friendly. I have been to Europe 9x and this culinary trip has been one of the highlights of our travels. Chef Dino and the rest of the staff put on a show for our final evening with lots of singing and laughter. It ended our trip on a very happy note.
Margie, July 2015
We spent the first week of November 2014 at the cooking school at the Palace in Carunchio, and from the onset of the week (our GPS battery died in Vasto, we had a blast finding Carunchio even though it was only about 30 km away…did we mention that our Italian wasn’t so good?), until we left a week later, I don’t think we’ve ever had so much fun with our clothes on!! The cooking classes were a blast, and we actually learned a lot about Italian cooking (and about Italians!), the meals were superb, whether we cooked them or not, and the various off campus excursions were just the right blend of fun, educational, and unique activities. All of the staff were attentive and enjoyable, and “the Palace” is an excellent venue for the entire week…both old and yet remodeled, quaint and small with plenty of privacy, and a delightful bit of history all to itself. While we don’t claim to be experts on "all things cooking school”, we can’t imagine anyone doing a better job of blending all these things into a most bella esperienza!
Bobby and Elaine, November 2014
Gary and I just returned from our stay at Palazzo Tour D’Eau in Abruzzo. It was our first trip to Europe. We spent a week in Rome, and then headed to Abruzzo to attend the culinary school at the Palazzo Tour D’Eau. We can’t say enough good things about our stay in Abruzzo. Massimo and his staff were terrific! Everyone was so friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. The food, cooking lessons, wine, tours, and room accommodations could not have been better. It was so beautiful and relaxing there. What a great ending to our trip to Italy. Thanks so much for always being readily available to answer the many questions we had before leaving on this trip. Your service was great!
Ellie and Gary, June 2014
Patty, this was the BEST vacation that I have ever had! Truly amazing! Christina is a perfect host and guide, and her staff is terrific! Fabulous week….thank you!
Linda, June 2014
My husband and I have just returned from Italy and our week at the Abruzzo Culinary tours. I can't begin to tell you how fabulous this experience was. Christina was our host and she was wonderful, the food was amazing. We learned a lot, and Chef Dino was more that he was billed to be. The team worked incredibly hard and paid attention to every detail. It was perfect in every way and just the kind of Italian vacation I had always dreamed of. I am certain that my friends will be contacting you in the future to join them. I will definitely look at other tours on your website for future vacations.
Max and Jodi, November, 2013
Dear Chris, I want to thank you for your help in making this trip to Italy a wonderful highlight of my life. Massimo and his staff were wonderful to be with but your help made it possible for us to get there without any problems. I look forward to working with you again since this will not be my last trip to Carunchio, Italy.
Faye and Sherril, November 2013
There are not enough superlatives to describe how fantastic our time at the Palazzo was. I can honestly say it is the best holiday my husband and I have ever had. We attended a week long cooking school in Abruzzo - and from the moment we arrived everything was perfect.
Massimo, along with his chef Dino and his RH man Antonio made every moment a treasured memory. We learned to cook wonderful Italian (Abruzzo style) meals, appetizers and desserts - we drank Montepulciano wine made from the Palazzo's vineyard, and visited local salami makers, cheese makers, a bell foundry and local fishing traboccos.
The rooms are wonderful and spacious with views to die for, everything was spotlessly clean - and when we were not eating our own creations - the meals cooked for us by chef Dino were beyond compare. We really did not want to leave and felt like we made lifelong friends with Massimo and his troupe.
Shelley, August 2012