We just had a wonderful Epitourean stay in Ercolano, just South of Naples. We stayed at the Hotel Puntaquattroventi, which was a lovely small hotel and swim club right on the Mediterranean, the island of Capri, and Naples twinkling in the distance. The staff was outstanding, the food absolutely delicious, and the tours were wonderful. We were picked up at the airport with no problem despite having missed a connecting flight (a quick phone call was all it took) and whisked off. We had 4 cooking classes, various meals, etc. The wait staff were super friendly and remembered our preferences, each meal was different, and the location is lovely. Breakfast was a plentiful buffet, served at the bar. The cooking classes were small, just 2 other people; which meant there was plenty of time for questions, help, and lively discussions. Classes were taught by the three chefs: pastry, main chef, or pizza chef. The translator was Carmella, who was just wonderful, fun and full of interesting side information about Italian life, and with good English. We cooked Panna Cotta, a salted cod dish (my favorite), homemade gnocchi, squid, typical stuffed potato croquettes (the pounds added on!) and made pizza dough which rose for 2 days before making a real Neapolitan pizza. That was quite a feat, considering we were balancing molten cheese on a disk held on a 12 foot pole in 700 degree pizza oven! But it was by far the best I ever had. The excursions included Capri (a group tour with a bunch of other people, including both on the island and around the island on a boat to see the beautiful grotto). The rest of the excursions were only for us 4, which was very special, and all with very interesting guides. The Herculaneum, which is very close to the hotel, was especially interesting; we also went to Pompeii, the top of Mt. Vesuvius (a somewhat strenuous climb but worth it!) and Naples. All in all I would highly recommend this; it was very relaxing, informative, and we got some skills as well as new friends.
Gwendolyn - May 2018