Go to Cooking School in Italy
Two sisters based in Tuscany teach their students valuable lessons—beyond making gnocchi from scratch, stuffing tomatoes, and toasting like an Italian.
Most important, we learned how to toast like an Italian: Look directly into the eyes of each of your companions, one at a time, raise your glass, and say, "Cin cin" (pronounced "chin chin"). That was three years ago, and ever since, the five of us haven't stopped toasting each other with eyes wide open and a hearty "Cin cin!"—and then collapsing with laughter.
Fly nonstop from U.S. hubs to Rome and then take a 1.5-hour rail trip on Trenitalia to Santa Maria Novella in Florence (airfare from $669, train from $127).
When to Go
Toscana Mia offers classes year-round, except the week before Christmas.
Half-day courses start at $202 per person for a four-hour session. If you choose to stay at the villa and take classes for five days, the cost (for lodging, meals, five classes, transfers, two guided tours, and more) adds up to $447 per person per night. welcometuscany.com.
COOKING SCHOOLS ACROSS THE GLOBE*
At Seasons of My Heart, TV star and cookbook author Susana Trilling helps students cook five courses per class, including one of the region's seven varieties of mole. seasonsofmyheart.com, from $50.
Pat Tienthong shares traditional dishes like laab kai, a Thai salad made with minced chicken and mint leaves. Her school, Pat's Home, operates out of her Phuket apartment as well as her hilltop bungalow above the city. phuket.com/thai-cooking, from $45.
In a three-story riad outfitted with individual cooking stations, students at Savor Morocco master delicacies like harira, a hearty chickpea and meat soup, and chicken tagine over semolina pastry. meknescookingschool.com, from $35.
* All prices are per person for a half-day cooking class