Host: Mirella

Florence, Italy

USD
$46-$120 per person

Tuscan family recipes with an expert cook in Florence

Host offerings
  • House
  • Professional cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking experience
  • Market visit

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.

What to expect

In-home meal: (2-6 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: (2-6 guests) The aim of Mirella’s cooking classes 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 a pasta, pappa al pomodoro (made with dry bread, tomatoes and olive oil) in the summer, ribollita (stew) in the winter, various bruschette, pasta sauces and other seasonal recipes.

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 very limited English, so either our local ambassador Carol, a family friend or her son will join you for the experience as a translator. On days when Stefano is available, he will also join you for your experience. Like Mirella, 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.

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

Traveler reviews

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

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Mirella

$46-$120 USD

per person
  • 100% Satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Exact pricing depends on experience and will be shown before booking

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.

What to expect

In-home meal: (2-6 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: (2-6 guests) The aim of Mirella’s cooking classes 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 a pasta, pappa al pomodoro (made with dry bread, tomatoes and olive oil) in the summer, ribollita (stew) in the winter, various bruschette, pasta sauces and other seasonal recipes.

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 very limited English, so either our local ambassador Carol, a family friend or her son will join you for the experience as a translator. On days when Stefano is available, he will also join you for your experience. Like Mirella, 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.

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

Traveler reviews

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

Pricing
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
Not offered $54 $46
Cooking Experience + Meal
Not offered $98 $90
Market Tour + Cooking + Meal
Not offered $120 $110
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 + Cooking + Meal
9:00am-1:00pm
Host Contact
  • You can message your host directly once you've made your booking
  • Address and phone number will be provided upon booking confirmation