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All reviews chef paola new friends the kitchen the entire staff hot tub bucket list cooking vacation at home cooking course olive oil great teacher dream come true pasta whole experience wonderful week cooking skills italian food
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Reviewed 18 September 2019

I know what you're thinking. There's no way this place could be as great as all the reviews say. Nothing can really be that great! Surely people are exaggerating, right?

Well, reader, I can assure you they are not. This was the oft-repeated consensus of the group I got to spend a truly magical week at Casa Ombuto with. We had all done our fair share of research, planning, comparison, and investigation. We had all felt just a bit skeptical about all these 5-star, glowing reviews. We had all wondered if it could really be this excellent. And we all quickly and repeatedly learned that it could and it was!

For context, I attended the weeklong Italian cuisine course at Casa Ombuto from 7-14 September, 2019. I came by myself, as did just about everyone else in the group. Getting to and from the villa was not difficult - Claudia was very helpful and arranged for me to be picked up and dropped off at the nearest train station in Poppi. The villa is accessible by car and only a 10 minute ride from the train/bus station (where you can get picked up and dropped off by a staff member).

The accommodations are a dream. The rooms are clean, comfortable, and cozy, and the shared spaces are lovely. There are great spots to go on long or short hikes near the villa. The pool is a delight. Sylvie, the massage therapist, was amazing, and I highly recommend booking an appointment with her if you go. The vegetable gardens made me seriously consider "forgetting" that I had to go back home at the end of the week.

The staff are absolutely wonderful, too. Everyone is so nice and accommodating and goes above and beyond to make your stay comfortable and pleasant. Claudia works especially hard to ensure that you are happy and have all that you need.

And then there's Chef Paola. Where to begin? Paola is a gem of a human being - one of the most unique, warm, and brilliant women I've met. She does a great job of breaking down fundamentals and explaining Italian cuisine while at the same time encouraging you to be creative in your cooking. A recipe, she'll tell you, is more of an idea than anything else. But Paola is also tough, and she makes you work hard.

I had anticipated that this would be a calm week where we're gently explained certain techniques and basics. How wrong I was! Paola would give us a list of dishes to be made in the 3-4 hours we had in the kitchen and assign 1-2 people per dish, all while being mindful of who had made what already and ensuring that everyone got to try making each kind of dish (e.g. appetizer, entrée, dessert). She had high expectations but also took the time to check in with everyone, answer questions, offer tips, fix mistakes, and crack the occasional joke. In short, it was an excellent learning environment.

Every dinner was so joyful. The food was delicious, the conversation diverse, and the mood vibrant and fun. It truly felt like we--my fellow students, Paola, and the staff--became one big family each day of the week.

The excursion day was also very fun and provided a wide range of experiences, from olive oil sampling to wine tasting. And the day off was very enjoyable, with some folks choosing to take trips to Arezzo or Florence and others (myself included) staying at the villa and enjoying a relaxing afternoon in the sun. Somehow I wasn't kitchen-ed out, and when I asked Paola if I could use a few ingredients to bake with on the day off, she was incredibly generous and set aside some things for me. I thought this was particularly kind of her.

I will think back to this vacation--and especially the people I met here--with great fondness for the rest of my life. Not a day passed that I felt bored or dissatisfied. In fact, by the last day, I was already planning when I would be coming back. If you're still reading this far, thank you, but what are you doing? You should have booked this trip, like, 4 paragraphs ago! Now, go! An experience of a lifetime is waiting for you! :~)

Date of stay: September 2019
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank lromm
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tus C, Owner at Casa Ombuto - Cooking Schools in Tuscany, responded to this reviewResponded 30 September 2019

Wow thank you so much for your elaborate review. It is so helpful for potential guests, but most importantly we are so pleased to see that you found this an experience of a lifetime. You make us very proud. Happy cooking and we look forward to welcoming you back to one of our other courses in the future!

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Reviewed 15 September 2019 via mobile

I researched cooking schools in Italy for almost a year. I read the reviews and they seemed too good to be true. Well, let me tell you, they are ALL TRUE. I just completed my week and miss my new friends already, along with the expert staff at Casa Umbuto. Be prepared to learn, laugh, and cook your butt off! Chef Paola knows her stuff and gets you out of your comfort zone, in a good way. I had some dietary restrictions that they accommodated with no problem. I’m looking forward to my next trip back for continued learning and fun.

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Travelled solo
2  Thank n2dzine2
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tus C, Owner at Casa Ombuto - Cooking Schools in Tuscany, responded to this reviewResponded 4 October 2019

Thank you for this great review and that we exceeded your expectations. At least you cooked your butt off instead adding kilos to your butt! Happy cooking!

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Reviewed 25 July 2019

What a fun week!!!!!!
We scheduled our week long cooking class over a year ago, and had to postpone due to family medical issues. Claudia, and Casa Ombuto, were so amazing at accommodating us and letting us re-book for this year. That was just the START of how amazing this vacation was. EVERYONE at Tuscookany and Casa Ombuto were so friendly and amazingly helpful. This is truly an all inclusive stay - you will not want for anything!
To start with, while remote, the villa is beautiful. It's nestled out in the hillside with gorgeous views on the way in. The accommodations are amazing. We had a private suite that was very cozy. The grounds are immaculate with a beautiful swimming pool, a hot tub and even exercise equipment.
OK, but that's NOT why we're here. The cooking. WOW. Paoula, the chef is amazing. She shows you how to cook so much, and it is all so amazing and delicious! We had a large class (11 people at first, then 9 as two were there for only 2 days). We all became fast friends and just had an amazing time!
Each day started with fresh breakfast, then lunch, then the cooking stated at 3. Paoula would go over what we were going to cook for the day (from an amazing cook book that you get to keep) and then we would start. We were broken into teams to do different dishes. We rotated different dishes (meat, sides, dessert) through out the week so we all got to practice different things. EVERYTHING was fresh, from the flour that was just milled that week, to fresh herbs and veggies from the garden.
It is a lot of hard work, but we learned so much! Once we were done cooking, we got a break, then enjoyed dinner from what we made. And the next day, some of what we made was lunch!
I really can't say enough about how wonderful everyone there was. Paoula has so much knowledge, and is so friendly and funny. Claudia is so beyond helpful it is hard to put into words.
We really are thankful for the wonderful time we had there!

Date of stay: July 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank bombrcar
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tus C, Owner at Casa Ombuto - Cooking Schools in Tuscany, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2019

Thank you so much for taking the time to write so a lengthly and wonderful review. I know this will be helpful for potential guests and it makes us proud. Happy cooking and We look forward to welcoming you back to Tuscany!

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Reviewed 25 July 2019

This was a last minute thing I decided to do and boy was it worth it. The property itself is completely dreamy, so pretty and they think of everything for you down to the last detail. Its just a very special place. Alice (Chef) and Claudia (Manager) can't do enough for you and make you feel so welcome. The cooking lessons are informal but have structure and you eat what you make in the day for supper with paired wines. One of the best vacations I have ever been on!!! I am going to go back and try the other villas!

Room tip: i had the two bedroom suite which was fab.
Date of stay: July 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank sjmacdonald34
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tus C, Owner at Casa Ombuto - Cooking Schools in Tuscany, responded to this reviewResponded 10 September 2019

I know my response if very late, but would like to thank you for taking the time to write this positive review. I hope you still have good memories and are still enjoying making those delicious meals. We look forward to welcoming you back to Tuscany!

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Reviewed 15 July 2019

There are no words to describe how amazing this week has been! I thought I knew what to expect...a simple relaxing and no brainer of a cooking holiday. Arriving at the Casa was breath-taking enough....I did not expect to thoroughly enjoy and be challenged (in a fun way!) by Chef Paola's gourmet cooking classes, that were filled with laughter. The entire staff was delightful and I already miss them and all of my cooking pals. I highly recommend this experience and will definitely be back for more.

Date of stay: July 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank Stella G
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Tus C, Owner at Casa Ombuto - Cooking Schools in Tuscany, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2019

Thank you for taking the time to write this very positive review. We are pleased you had such a wonderful time and exceeded your expectations! We look forward to welcoming you back for more.

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