Italy and food. The two go hand in hand…like Romeo and Juliet, Venice and gondolas, the Romans and…Rome. You catch my drift. The country’s passion for simple homemade dishes using fresh ingredients makes its cuisine mouth-wateringly good (my post on things to eat in Emilia-Romagna is evidence of that). I was recently treated to a taste (literally) of Italy in the Surrey countryside at a culinary masterclass. Hosted by the lovely Jo Mackay, who runs travel website Bookings For You, it was organised to showcase a new collaboration with Palazzo Tronconi, an 18th Century boutique hotel and vineyard (yes it has its own wine too)!

The owner, Marco Marrocco, and two of the hotel’s chefs had flown over to give us an exclusive cookery class. Travelling from Italy, they came laden with suitcases filled to the brim with local ingredients, including goose eggs which miraculously survived the journey. Fellow travel bloggers and I were given an authentic experience and a glimpse into what awaits at the culinary destination.

Bookings For You masterclass with Palazzo Tronconi
Travel bloggers and I with Marco and Leonardo

Our host, Jo, started Bookings For You in 2011 with just a handful of villas in Italy. She now has over 350 on her books and has recently branched out into Croatia and France. As a mum-of -two she knows what families want from a holiday and whether you are travelling as a large group or a couple, she can find the perfect property for you and take the stress out of holiday planning.

Jo Mackay, Bookings For You
Jo Mackay with Palazzo Tronconi owner Marco and chef Leonardo

During the culinary masterclass we were treated to some of the dishes Palazzo Tronconi offers. For the antipasto, it was creamed cod fishcakes. I even plated one up myself under the watchful eye of chef Leonardo Grimaldi.
Cooking class with Leonardo Grimaldi

Ta dah!

Cooking class with Leonardo Grimaldi

After scoffing down the delicious fishcakes, we enjoyed a classic carbonara rigatoni with black pig and goose eggs followed by a black pig stew. For dessert it was pears cooked in Mocevò wine. I’ll let the photographs do the talking.

Cooking masterclass from Palazzo Tronconi
Cooking the fishcakes
Bookings For You masterclass with Palazzo Tronconi
Creamed cod fishcakes with Avezzano potatoes with Pontecorvo peppers
Bookings For You masterclass with Palazzo Tronconi

We sampled the dishes alongside some of Marco’s impressive biodynamic wine, Fregallae, which is a chemical free. I could taste its natural flavours which made it a slightly different experience compared to other wines. Marco’s passion for the process and his vineyard shone through and I’d love to go on one of his wine tasting tours you can do as part of your stay at Palazzo Tronconi.

Jo Mackay Blog Day 1 44559

I left the masterclass with my belly satisfied and armed with plenty of cooking tips to try at home. It was great to enjoy some time with other travel bloggers and the Italian chefs and oenologist. It has  inspired to take a trip to Palazzo Tronconi and explore the Lazio region. Located just 50km from Rome (an hour’s drive), the hotel is perfect for a short break after the hustle and bustle of the capital city or to enjoy on its own.

Bookings For You masterclass with Palazzo Tronconi
From left: Gretta from Mums Do Travel, Lisa (Travel Loving Family), me, Katy (Untold Morsels) and Nell (Pigeon Pair & Me)

Situated in the small village of Arce, Palazzo Tronconi has ten double rooms and guests have the option to book a variety of food and wine packages. Perhaps you’d like hands-on cookery lessons with Leonardo followed by dinner and wine or maybe a wine tour with Marco. You have the option to learn the art of pizza making or perhaps indulge in a cultural day trip such as a visit to the world-famous Montecassino Abbey, built by St Benedict in 529. There’s also the option to visit a Mozarella di Buffalo farm or an olive mill and lots more. For me the holiday combines all the elements I love: culture, cooking, wine and relaxation.

Palazzo Tronconi, Arce, Italy
Palazzo Tronconi in Arce, Italy

Packages to Palazzo Tronconi include transfers from Rome airport and are incredibly reasonably priced from €700 for three nights. For full details visit the Bookings For You website

*I was invited as a guest of Bookings For You to experience a culinary masterclass from Palazzo Tronconi.  All opinions are my own. 

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Learn how to cook with Food and Wine Holidays in Italy at Palazzo Tronconi

6 Comments on Italian Food & Wine Holidays With Bookings For You 

    • Wander Mum
      March 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm (1 year ago)

      A great idea for a holiday! So many elements which appeal.

    • Wander Mum
      March 20, 2017 at 8:30 pm (12 months ago)

      Thanks! Really great to see you too.

    • Wander Mum
      March 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm (12 months ago)

      Hey, yes he does. I believe they are family-friendly! X


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