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Host: Mirella

Florence, Italy

USD
$80-$200 per person

Tuscan family recipes with an expert cook in Florence

Host offerings
  • House
  • Home cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking class
  • Market visit
  • Food tour

Meet Mirella

Mirella lives with her husband Stefano (her partner in life and in the kitchen!) in a small town called Antella located in the South of Florence. The town is in the Chiantigiana area and is surrounded by the Chianti Hills. Mirella's love for food and cooking comes from her paternal grandmother (nonna) who she used to help in the kitchen as a young child. As an adult she began trying out her nonna's recipes for herself. Her grandmother was a highly skilled top chef and an expert in the history of Florentine cuisine from the Renaissance period. After Mirella completed her schooling, she decided to follow her passion and enrolled at the Istituto Alberghiero in Florence, a school which trains you to work in restaurants and hotels. Over the years she has worked in several restaurants, hotels and schools. Given her vast experience she often had to accommodate special dietary needs such as gluten or lactose intolerance and frequently prepared meals for people of different religions or for vegetarians and vegans.

Mirella is a multi-faceted woman who organizes cooking courses and summer camps for students, teaches simple cake baking and organizes visits to nearby farms where you can learn about milking cows and cheese making. Mirella not only cooks ethnic family recipes but also enjoys fusion food and experimenting with new ingredients. Recently, she has become more and more interested in organic food as a means of eating more naturally and also of safeguarding biodiversity. She loves going to markets and local producers to look for ingredients that can be used fresh in her recipes.

On days when her husband Stefano is available, he will also join you for your experience. Like Mirella's, Stefano’s love for cooking began in his childhood. He was born into a family of pastry chefs who owned several high-quality patisseries in Florence where Stefano learned the trade. As an adult he followed his other passions when he opened a winery and later a restaurant in Elba.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (2-15 guests) Mirella’s approach to cooking has been influenced by her Florentine, Tuscan and proudly peasant roots which have made her appreciate the richness of ‘poor’ people’s food. Peasants couldn’t afford to throw anything away and so they invented the most ingenious ways of recycling yesterday’s leftovers, like “la ribollita”, the famous Tuscan vegetable stew made with dried bread. Her cooking is also greatly influenced by Renaissance cooking, especially the dishes served at the Medici court. Cooking for the Tuscan nobility was an art and ingredients were rich and expensive.

Mirella has a different menu for every season, as she prefers using seasonal ingredients in her cooking. Some of the dishes you might eat during the winter are bruschetta with sausage and stracchino cheese, ribollita (stew) or Florentine pork with peas. In spring you may be served a vegetable tart, penne with ragù sauce (meat-based sauce), peasant’s meatballs with seasonal vegetables and cioccolatissimo (extra rich chocolate dessert). The summer may include dishes such as bruschetta with tomato and basil, fresh cheeses and honey, pappa al pomodoro (made with dry bread, tomatoes and olive oil), hunter’s chicken with roast potatoes and tiramisù. In autumn you may be treated to eggs with caper salsa, pecorino cheese and salamino grapes, pumpkin risotto, pork with prunes and pinenuts, and chocolate flan.

These are only examples of her seasonal menus - they can be changed to accommodate special requests. Wine is included in the cost of the meal.

Cooking experience: (1-12 guests) The aim of Mirella’s cooking class is to share her knowledge about food, its preparation and its Florentine and Tuscan history. Mirella prefers conducting a hands-on class, where travelers will learn how to make dishes themselves. She will teach you how to make 3-4 of the dishes you will eating later, such as various bruschette or antipasto, a pasta, a main, pasta sauces and other seasonal recipes. Weather permitting, Mirella will host the cooking and meal experience in her outdoor garden area!

Market visit: (2-6 guests) Only on Thursday mornings, you will visit the local market in Antella that is close to Mirella's home. On all other days you will visit Sant'Ambrogio, one of the more central markets in Florence, a 30 minute drive from Mirella's home. During the market visit you will visit local producers of wine, oil, fruit and vegetables. This will be a fun filled experience of buying food, talking about food, preparing food and finally eating together!

Notes: Please note Mirella speaks limited English, so either a family friend or her son will join you for the experience as a translator.

The meal price includes a glass of prosecco (Italian white wine) with the antipasto (hors d'oeuvre) and two glasses of wine with the meal. Mirella also offers limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) and/or vin santo (Italian dessert wine) with dessert.

In-villa option available: Note that Mirella is also pleased to offer a private cooking or meal option at your Tuscany villa, if you prefer not to travel. For rates and availability please contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

Languages spoken: English, Italian

Traveler reviews

5.0 (9)
I can't express how awesome this cooking class experience was! Mirella and her husband were such a delight. We learned how to make several different types of pasta, tomato sauce and more! Every dish was delicious and they made the experience so fun! This was one of my highlights in my month long journey in Italy.Thank you for such a wonderful memory!Robbin Cecchini
- Robbin C October 16, 2019
Our family loved the cooking class with Mirella and Stefano. They welcomed us into their home, and gave us a fun and interactive lesson. The food - clearly thanks to Mirella and Stefano - turned out great. And just as importantly, both were incredible with our kids, aged 11, 10 and 8, who immediately took to them and opened right up. Mirella and Stefano are teachers who know how to connect. It was like a dinner with family friends where we all joined in to cook. If you will be in the Florence area, this is a must do.
- Mark S August 27, 2019
Mirella & Stefano were perfect, helpful and delightful chefs, guiding me through a midday exploration of true Tuscan culinary adventures and helping me to explore my desires to learn more about simple, basic cooking in this part of Italy. From the opening garden exploration to prepping for the lovely meal, all was a remarkable experience.Robert RossBainbridge Island, WArwrlink@gmail.com
- rrossgardens May 23, 2019
We had a wonderful lesson with Mirella and her husband. Our evening was off to a rough start when we accidentally put in the wrong address into our GPS and did not arrive at the correct place. Mirella was more than accessible and helpful by phone and her English is very good! She was able to help us get to the right place and was very welcoming and comforting as this was quite a stressful experience for us. Mirella is a wonderful cook and taught us very well how to make the recipes. We ended up making bruschetta, tagliatelle from scratch with a tomato sauce, pork in a wine sauce with Florentine peas, and terramisu for desert. It all tasted delicious! We had a blast learning about Italian cooking with her and later shared a meal with her and her husband. I would definitely recommend this experience for anyone visiting Florence or the surrounding areas. It was one of the highlights of our 2 week trip!
- MDD92 October 13, 2018
My 14 year old son and I opted for a market tour and home cooking lesson with Mirella and Stefano. We had a really wonderful time. I was especially pleased that they treated my son as a competent cook (which he is) and allowed him to fully participate. I’ve been to classes where he has been treated as a child and not been given opportunities to chop and make the pasta. Mirella and Stefano were charming and welcoming. We’ve cooked a lot of Italian food so the menu was familiar but delicious. The best part was cooking together and comparing life and experiences. Bravo, guys! Highly recommended.
- Monique G September 13, 2018
Traveling Spoon is an amazing company and Mirella and her husband were wonderful hosts. She was warm, welcoming and funny! My husband and I agreed it was the highlight of our trip. I'd recommend coming before dinner to cook as well. We loved it and made the recipe when we got home!
- Jess E December 21, 2017
Mirella invited us into her home where we had so much fun cooking, eating, and just enjoying!
- Brenda September 28, 2017
My wife and I are in our 30s (ok one of us almost in their 40s, but I won't say who), and we have made traveling around the world our raison d'etre. We had 5 days in Florence before heading out to Roma and Venice, and our dinner with Mirella and Stefano was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of our trip. We shared a five hour dinner at their home, cooking alongside them and sharing a table and conversation with them into the evening. High marks for the thoughtfulness that went into the menu selection which was seasonal and thoroughly local but also wonderfully different from anything you would encounter on the well worn tourist recommendations in Florence. But more important than the wonderful meal and cooking experience was to spend time with a food obsessed Florentine couple in their home, laughing together late until the scheduled taxi service had to drag us away, and for us to share wide smiles the entire ride back to the hotel. Mirella and Stefano's home brought us to a different time and place. Their passion for food and entertaining is self-evident. Herbs and spices come straight from their garden, which Mirella handpicks for the meal. We made pasta from scratch together, and they took the time to teach us how. Stefano is the kind of guy that makes you wish you spoke better Italian, because you know you'd love to share a limoncello or grappa (or two) with him after dinner, trading stories. In short,we felt we were able to just for a moment, feel like we were able to experience something sincere and unique, something authentic, something non-transactional. Simply amazing!
- Alan M August 25, 2017
A fantastic host!
- Alison Wilson June 24, 2017
Read More
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Mirella

$80-$200 USD

per person
100% VETTED
Learn more
  • No waiting! Booking confirmed instantly
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Private experience
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
Not offered $116 $106
Cooking Experience + Meal
$188 $176 $170
Market Tour
Not offered $90 $80
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
Not offered $200 $188
Alcohol
$0 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
Not offered $116 $106
Cooking Experience + Meal
$188 $176 $170
Market Tour
Not offered $90 $80
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
Not offered $200 $188
Alcohol
$0 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
1:00pm-3:00pm 8:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
10:00am-1:00pm 5:00pm-8:00pm
Market Tour
9:30am-11:30am
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:30am-1:30pm

Meet Mirella

Mirella lives with her husband Stefano (her partner in life and in the kitchen!) in a small town called Antella located in the South of Florence. The town is in the Chiantigiana area and is surrounded by the Chianti Hills. Mirella's love for food and cooking comes from her paternal grandmother (nonna) who she used to help in the kitchen as a young child. As an adult she began trying out her nonna's recipes for herself. Her grandmother was a highly skilled top chef and an expert in the history of Florentine cuisine from the Renaissance period. After Mirella completed her schooling, she decided to follow her passion and enrolled at the Istituto Alberghiero in Florence, a school which trains you to work in restaurants and hotels. Over the years she has worked in several restaurants, hotels and schools. Given her vast experience she often had to accommodate special dietary needs such as gluten or lactose intolerance and frequently prepared meals for people of different religions or for vegetarians and vegans.

Mirella is a multi-faceted woman who organizes cooking courses and summer camps for students, teaches simple cake baking and organizes visits to nearby farms where you can learn about milking cows and cheese making. Mirella not only cooks ethnic family recipes but also enjoys fusion food and experimenting with new ingredients. Recently, she has become more and more interested in organic food as a means of eating more naturally and also of safeguarding biodiversity. She loves going to markets and local producers to look for ingredients that can be used fresh in her recipes.

On days when her husband Stefano is available, he will also join you for your experience. Like Mirella's, Stefano’s love for cooking began in his childhood. He was born into a family of pastry chefs who owned several high-quality patisseries in Florence where Stefano learned the trade. As an adult he followed his other passions when he opened a winery and later a restaurant in Elba.

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (2-15 guests) Mirella’s approach to cooking has been influenced by her Florentine, Tuscan and proudly peasant roots which have made her appreciate the richness of ‘poor’ people’s food. Peasants couldn’t afford to throw anything away and so they invented the most ingenious ways of recycling yesterday’s leftovers, like “la ribollita”, the famous Tuscan vegetable stew made with dried bread. Her cooking is also greatly influenced by Renaissance cooking, especially the dishes served at the Medici court. Cooking for the Tuscan nobility was an art and ingredients were rich and expensive.

Mirella has a different menu for every season, as she prefers using seasonal ingredients in her cooking. Some of the dishes you might eat during the winter are bruschetta with sausage and stracchino cheese, ribollita (stew) or Florentine pork with peas. In spring you may be served a vegetable tart, penne with ragù sauce (meat-based sauce), peasant’s meatballs with seasonal vegetables and cioccolatissimo (extra rich chocolate dessert). The summer may include dishes such as bruschetta with tomato and basil, fresh cheeses and honey, pappa al pomodoro (made with dry bread, tomatoes and olive oil), hunter’s chicken with roast potatoes and tiramisù. In autumn you may be treated to eggs with caper salsa, pecorino cheese and salamino grapes, pumpkin risotto, pork with prunes and pinenuts, and chocolate flan.

These are only examples of her seasonal menus - they can be changed to accommodate special requests. Wine is included in the cost of the meal.

Cooking experience: (1-12 guests) The aim of Mirella’s cooking class is to share her knowledge about food, its preparation and its Florentine and Tuscan history. Mirella prefers conducting a hands-on class, where travelers will learn how to make dishes themselves. She will teach you how to make 3-4 of the dishes you will eating later, such as various bruschette or antipasto, a pasta, a main, pasta sauces and other seasonal recipes. Weather permitting, Mirella will host the cooking and meal experience in her outdoor garden area!

Market visit: (2-6 guests) Only on Thursday mornings, you will visit the local market in Antella that is close to Mirella's home. On all other days you will visit Sant'Ambrogio, one of the more central markets in Florence, a 30 minute drive from Mirella's home. During the market visit you will visit local producers of wine, oil, fruit and vegetables. This will be a fun filled experience of buying food, talking about food, preparing food and finally eating together!

Notes: Please note Mirella speaks limited English, so either a family friend or her son will join you for the experience as a translator.

The meal price includes a glass of prosecco (Italian white wine) with the antipasto (hors d'oeuvre) and two glasses of wine with the meal. Mirella also offers limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur) and/or vin santo (Italian dessert wine) with dessert.

In-villa option available: Note that Mirella is also pleased to offer a private cooking or meal option at your Tuscany villa, if you prefer not to travel. For rates and availability please contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

Languages spoken: English, Italian

Traveler reviews

5.0 (9)
I can't express how awesome this cooking class experience was! Mirella and her husband were such a delight. We learned how to make several different types of pasta, tomato sauce and more! Every dish was delicious and they made the experience so fun! This was one of my highlights in my month long journey in Italy.Thank you for such a wonderful memory!Robbin Cecchini
- Robbin C October 16, 2019
Our family loved the cooking class with Mirella and Stefano. They welcomed us into their home, and gave us a fun and interactive lesson. The food - clearly thanks to Mirella and Stefano - turned out great. And just as importantly, both were incredible with our kids, aged 11, 10 and 8, who immediately took to them and opened right up. Mirella and Stefano are teachers who know how to connect. It was like a dinner with family friends where we all joined in to cook. If you will be in the Florence area, this is a must do.
- Mark S August 27, 2019
Mirella & Stefano were perfect, helpful and delightful chefs, guiding me through a midday exploration of true Tuscan culinary adventures and helping me to explore my desires to learn more about simple, basic cooking in this part of Italy. From the opening garden exploration to prepping for the lovely meal, all was a remarkable experience.Robert RossBainbridge Island, WArwrlink@gmail.com
- rrossgardens May 23, 2019
We had a wonderful lesson with Mirella and her husband. Our evening was off to a rough start when we accidentally put in the wrong address into our GPS and did not arrive at the correct place. Mirella was more than accessible and helpful by phone and her English is very good! She was able to help us get to the right place and was very welcoming and comforting as this was quite a stressful experience for us. Mirella is a wonderful cook and taught us very well how to make the recipes. We ended up making bruschetta, tagliatelle from scratch with a tomato sauce, pork in a wine sauce with Florentine peas, and terramisu for desert. It all tasted delicious! We had a blast learning about Italian cooking with her and later shared a meal with her and her husband. I would definitely recommend this experience for anyone visiting Florence or the surrounding areas. It was one of the highlights of our 2 week trip!
- MDD92 October 13, 2018
My 14 year old son and I opted for a market tour and home cooking lesson with Mirella and Stefano. We had a really wonderful time. I was especially pleased that they treated my son as a competent cook (which he is) and allowed him to fully participate. I’ve been to classes where he has been treated as a child and not been given opportunities to chop and make the pasta. Mirella and Stefano were charming and welcoming. We’ve cooked a lot of Italian food so the menu was familiar but delicious. The best part was cooking together and comparing life and experiences. Bravo, guys! Highly recommended.
- Monique G September 13, 2018
Traveling Spoon is an amazing company and Mirella and her husband were wonderful hosts. She was warm, welcoming and funny! My husband and I agreed it was the highlight of our trip. I'd recommend coming before dinner to cook as well. We loved it and made the recipe when we got home!
- Jess E December 21, 2017
Mirella invited us into her home where we had so much fun cooking, eating, and just enjoying!
- Brenda September 28, 2017
My wife and I are in our 30s (ok one of us almost in their 40s, but I won't say who), and we have made traveling around the world our raison d'etre. We had 5 days in Florence before heading out to Roma and Venice, and our dinner with Mirella and Stefano was, without a doubt, one of the highlights of our trip. We shared a five hour dinner at their home, cooking alongside them and sharing a table and conversation with them into the evening. High marks for the thoughtfulness that went into the menu selection which was seasonal and thoroughly local but also wonderfully different from anything you would encounter on the well worn tourist recommendations in Florence. But more important than the wonderful meal and cooking experience was to spend time with a food obsessed Florentine couple in their home, laughing together late until the scheduled taxi service had to drag us away, and for us to share wide smiles the entire ride back to the hotel. Mirella and Stefano's home brought us to a different time and place. Their passion for food and entertaining is self-evident. Herbs and spices come straight from their garden, which Mirella handpicks for the meal. We made pasta from scratch together, and they took the time to teach us how. Stefano is the kind of guy that makes you wish you spoke better Italian, because you know you'd love to share a limoncello or grappa (or two) with him after dinner, trading stories. In short,we felt we were able to just for a moment, feel like we were able to experience something sincere and unique, something authentic, something non-transactional. Simply amazing!
- Alan M August 25, 2017
A fantastic host!
- Alison Wilson June 24, 2017
Read More
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
Not offered $116 $106
Cooking Experience + Meal
$188 $176 $170
Market Tour
Not offered $90 $80
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
Not offered $200 $188
Alcohol
$0 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
Not offered $116 $106
Cooking Experience + Meal
$188 $176 $170
Market Tour
Not offered $90 $80
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
Not offered $200 $188
Alcohol
$0 per person
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
1:00pm-3:00pm 8:00pm-10:00pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
10:00am-1:00pm 5:00pm-8:00pm
Market Tour
9:30am-11:30am
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:30am-1:30pm
ABOUT TRAVELING SPOON

Traveling Spoon connects you with meaningful culinary experiences, from private cooking lessons to homecooked meals in people's homes. Enjoy an immersive cultural experience that gives you a glimpse into the local way of life.

FAQ

    You can cancel your reservation for free up until 48 hours before your experience. Experiences within 48 hours are not refundable.

    If you have a question for your host, you can include a note in the field "Write a note to your host" during the booking process. Once your booking is confirmed, you will be emailed your host's direct contact information and you will also be able to message the host through your profile. You can always cancel your booking and receive a full refund 48 hours or more before your experience. If you have other questions you can also email us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Most of our hosts are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For vegetarian travelers, we have an icon on each host profile to indicate whether that host can also offer a fully vegetarian menu. There is a section in the booking form to note any allergies or dietary restrictions which will be sent directly to your host.

    Some hosts offer alcohol as an optional add-on for travelers who are of legal drinking age. Pricing for alcohol is visible on the host profile page and includes one to two glasses of wine, beer or local alcohol.

    Have a flight or other tour planned and can’t make the timing provided? If the timing listed on the host’s profile doesn’t work for you, our hosts can often accommodate timing changes. Because all of our experiences are private our hosts are happy to tailor experiences to meet your travel needs. Simply note your request in the booking process.

    Your card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking. Typically hosts respond to bookings within 72 hours. In the event your host is unavailable on your selected date and your host rejects your booking your credit card will not be charged.

    Your host's detailed contact information, including their phone number, address, and direction notes, will all be provided immediately upon successful confirmation of your experience (after your hosts accepts your booking and your credit card is successfully processed). This information will be emailed to you to the email address you used to sign up, and will also be visible on your Traveling Spoon profile.

    All prices are noted per person prices unless otherwise specified. Transportation is typically charged on a per car basis. Children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free. Hosts set their own prices and Traveling Spoon marks up the experiences; on average hosts receive over 70% of the price paid by the traveler.

    100% of Traveling Spoon experiences are private! Just you and your host and host’s family.

    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Your safety and security are our top priority. To ensure this, Traveling Spoon personally vets 100% of all hosts, including an in-person host visit, to ensure each host and experience meets our strict quality requirements.

    Some hosts offer transportation as an optional add-on for travelers. Typically this is round trip transportation with pick up and drop off at your hotel. Pricing is quoted per car. Specific instructions for transportation will be provided in your confirmation details when your booking is confirmed.

    Many of our hosts accommodate solo travelers. You can see if a host accepts solo travelers by looking at the traveler range found next to the experience descriptions on the host profile (indicated by the numbers in parentheses next to "In-home meal", "Cooking experience" and "Market visit").

    Most of our Traveling Spoon experiences are incredibly family friendly and can accommodate infants and children. If a host is unable to accommodate children that will be noted in the “Notes” section of their profile. Our child pricing policy is children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free.