It's Olive Harvest Time!
This is a very special week, during which we will do many of the things we do on our other weeks (cooking, visiting wineries, etc.), but we will also spend a morning harvesting olives, then head over to a traditional olive oil mill and make our own Extra Virgin Umbrian Olive Oil. This is a truly exclusive week, as the olive mill only does this with our guests. You will pick the olives. You will operate the olive mill, making oil from YOUR olives. You will bring home the olive you made!
As Autumn Fades Toward Winter...
The huge crowds of tourists that fill Italy every year have diminished, and there is a slight chill in the air. It isn't quite winter yet, but the bustling cities settle into a quieter calm, and the farms seem as though they are preparing for hibernation. There is one job left this year, and it is perhaps the best of all... The Olive Harvest.
There is a magnificent beauty to Italy this time of year. You wake up to misty mornings, while afternoon gelato gives way to hot sipping chocolate. The fresh vegetable salads of the summer give way to wonderful soups such as Ribollita, and the crowds normally found in museums and attractions have all but completely disappeared.
But there are two words that really matter during the first two weeks of November: OLIO NUOVO, or NEW OIL. There is nothing quite like it, and if you have never had freshly milled olive oil, you are in for quite a treat.
We're Picking Olives... We're Milling Olives... We're making Our Own Olive Oil... We're bringing our oil home
Other companies offer olive oil experiences, but we are unaware of anyone else that offers anything close to what we are doing today. This is truly a life experience none of our guests ever forget.
On one of the days this week, we will get up in the morning and head to an Umbrian olive orchard -- Where Italy's BEST olive oil is grown. We'll spend the morning harvesting olives together, then will make our way to a functioning antique traditional cold press olive mill with our baskets of olives.
As we arrive at the mill, we will weigh what we picked, then dump it into the mill. We watch our olives get sucked into the giant turning millstones, where they will begin a crushing process. While the olives are being turned into paste, we will take a tour of the winery here, do a wine tasting and try some of this harvest's oil.
After the tour and tasting, we will head back into the mill. Our olives have now been crushed into a paste, so we will operate the next step of the process, as we layer te paste onto fiber discs and stack them one by one. We'll then wheel our stack to the olive press and begin the oil extraction process.
While the oil is being extracted by the press, we will step into another room for a wonderful buffet lunch and taste more of the wines from this vineyard.
Finally, each one of us will walk up to the spout where our oil comes out of the centrifuge, and fill our own one liter can of olive oil that we just made from olives we just picked.
During each of our weeks throughout the season, we visit this olive mill, but this is the only week that we actually see it in operation... and have the opportunity to operate it ourselves. Furthermore, this is an exclusve experience that the olive mill ONLY does with us!
The Cooking Classes
During our week there will be three half-day completely hands-on Italian cooking classes. Our cooking classes are not demonstrations. They are 100% hands-on. We structure them so that you can be as involved as you wish in every stage of every course we prepare. So, if you are up for it, we will get wrist-deep as we make Spaghetti from scratch, Risotto, Tuscan Roasted Chicken, Saltimbocca alla Romana, homemade Limoncello, Biscotti, Gelato, and much more. You will learn to make exciting desserts such as the best Tiramisu you will ever taste, Frappe, plus Eggplant Parmesean, Ribollita, etc. While our other weeks focus strictly on cooking classes based on recipes from Tuscany and Umbria, this week we also have a class that is all about Roman Cuisine, and to say it will be fantastic is an understatement!
For those would rather eat than cook, our classes take place at our beautiful 18th century country villa. Take control of our 90-bottle wine rack, relax, take a stroll, or just enjoy the wonderful Italian countryside. Whether you are cooking or not, the time we spend at the villa is always a highlight.
When we are not having our cooking classes, harvesting olives, we'll be out on some truly incredible excursions. We'll visit some amazing wineries in Tuscany, including small family-run places where we will meet the owners and dine with them, and the most beautiful wine cellar in the world. We'll see a stunning Rennaissance Palace, and we'll visit a real Deruta ceramics factory where we will try our hand at the pottery wheel. We'll of course see many popular sights since the huge crowds of tourists are gone. We're going to spend a full day in Rome this week, during which we will see the Vatican (Including the museums, The Sistine Chapel, The Raphael Rooms & St. Perter's Basilica) without the crowds.. an amazing experience! While in Rome, we will go into the ancient city and see some of the key sites, such as The Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon & The Spanish Steps. While there, we will have lunch in a traditional Roman trattoria.
Cities We'll Visit...
What we'll be cooking...
Sunday: Eggplant Parmesan, Spaghetti alla Carbonara (from scratch), Saltimbocca alla Romana, Frascati-Sauteed Porcini Mushrooms, Frappe
Wednesday: Limoncello, Limoncello Cream, Tuscan Biscotti, Spaghetti all'Amatriciana, Panna Cotta
Friday: Ribollita; Risotto with Cream, Raddichio & Speck; Tuscan Roasted Chicken; Tuscan Roasted Potatoes; Tiramisu
Factories, Wineries & Mills we will visit...
Our guests in Soriano stay in their own private village homes, rather than a hotel. All of our homes are beautiful places that date back to medieval times or the renaissance. Each one of them is unique, and has been completely restored with modern conveniences, while maintaining their original beauty.
Immersed in Local Tradition
Most of our village homes are not clustered together. They are peppered here and there in the village, such that your neighbors are not other travelers. Instead, they are locals. You will find yourself getting to know them with that daily 'good morning' wave, smile and Buon Giorno. You will see them here and there in town, and really get a sense of belonging as you weave yourself into the fabric of Italian village life.
While our homes are not clustered together, they are all close. Soriano is a small town that is built around a central square, "The Piazza". It is in the piazza that we meet each morning for breakfast before our day starts, and end each evening after dinner. All of the homes are within several hundred feet of the Piazza, so getting to and from is very quick, and incredibly pleasant each day.
All of our village homes are actual homes that were private residences at one time. As such, they all have private bathrooms, kitchens, refrigerators, etc. All of our homes are also air conditioned and heated. We also have television in each home with satellite service, allowing you English Language programming. Nearly all of our homes also offer free wireless Internet.
How Homes Are Assigned to Guests
Since each home is unique, so is the floor plan and the decor. Some are larger than others, some have valley views, some have castle views, and some have village views. Some offer balconies, while others do not. Some have two bedrooms, and some are one bedroom homes.
We don't charge different prices for different homes, so we do our best to assign homes based on what we know about guests that are booking. For example, if we know that you would rather not walk up a few flight of stairs or uphill, we will give you one of the lower-lying homes if available. If you are a married couple booking, we will give you a one bedroom home if available. In addition, we take requests. If you have seen photo of our village homes, and there is one in particular that you would like, we will try to make sure you get that one when we confirm your booking. In such cases, it is part first come, first served. But we also take other factors into consideration. For example, if a married couple requests a large 2 bedroom home that sleeps 4 people, we will happily give you a temporary assignment of that home, but if a group of three books later, and all we have left are one bedroom homes, we may need to move you.
See All Of Our Village Homes
Photographs of all of our village homes can be viewed by clicking here. Besides the photographs, you will also find a clickable map of Soriano that indicates the locations of all of our home.
Extend Your Trip
Many of our guests make their week with us part of a larger trip to Italy or Europe in general. Often, they will simply spend a few days before or after in places such as Rome, Florence, Venice, or the Amalfi Coast, and need some help planning.
We are always happy to help, and will gladly do as little or as much as you like. If you simply need to find a good place to stay for a night, or if you would like for us to completely plan everything from airline tickets, to extended stays, hotels, rail tickets, tours in other cities, etc. just let us know and we will be happy to oblige.
Our experience in this area is unmatched, and we would love to put everything together to help make your trip as smooth and carefree as can be.
Info About Our Soriano Vacations
- Imagine a Day as Our Guest
- About Soriano Nel Cimino
- Accommodations in Soriano
- The Cooking Class Location
- Is This Vacation Right For You?
- Frequent Questions and Answers
- What to Expect
- Info About the Destinations
- Info About the Cultural Experiences
- Compare us to Other Italy Cooking Vacations
- Guest Testimonials & Reviews
- Photo Gallery for Soriano Vacations
- Soriano Cooking Class Menus
Tuscany and Umbria Cooking Vacations
- Wine & Cooking Under the Tuscan & Umbrian Sun
- Wine, Cooking, Truffles & Chocolate: A Foodie's Paradise
- Wine, Cooking, & The Olive Oil Harvest
- Medieval Chestnut Festival & Wine Harvest Season
- The Best of Both Worlds : Soriano and Norcia
- Cities Lost in Time