Fun in the kitchen
We’re very, very informal, and the atmosphere’s extremely relaxed so don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone does. And there’s always someone on hand to get you back on track – all our courses are in English so there’s no language barrier to worry about. And just so you remember your time in the kitchens with us, we’ll take pictures throughout your stay, and put them in a digital photo album for you to take away.
- 5 day, 4 night cookery courses are €1,985 per person, excluding flights. All local taxes are included.
- When 2 people book and share a double or twin-bedded room the rate is €1,785 per person. A saving of €200 per person.
- For guests not participating on the cookery courses but including the itinerary excursions, €1,650 per person, double occupancy, excluding flights. All local taxes are included.
- A deposit of 25% is payable on booking. The balance to be paid 60 days prior to arrival date.
- Bookings made less than 60 days before your arrival date must be accompanied by the full amount of the holiday cost.
All Courses are taught in English.
- Our lessons are led by experienced, local Italian chefs specialising in the cuisine of the Monferrato region.
- The lessons are ‘hands-on’, not demonstrations and carried out in a specifically designed kitchen used only for our courses.
- The kitchen has work stations for12 persons, each including food preparation area, cooking utensils, pans, etc. Hobs, ovens and sinks are shared.
- The lessons are informal and intended to include a large element of fun as well as learning. These courses are for those in search of a fun and relaxing holiday with high standards of accommodation, food and wine.
- You will leave the course with a good working knowledge of food preparation of the Monferrato region, many good memories of associated excursions and experiences and you will also meet new friends.
- Photographs will be taken throughout the course and included in a complimentary digital photo album.
- We use the highest quality ingredients for all food and wine experiences, sourcing most of our ingredients from local producers who share our values in using only sustainable methods of production and animal care.
- Private transfers to and from Malpensa International airport (1 hour 20 minutes) are included in all of our tours at recommended pick-up and departure times.
- Guests will be met on arrival and taken by minibus for direct transfer to the Castello.
- Return transfers will take guests directly to the departure terminal, with assistance in locating baggage trolleys and check-in areas.
Come and stay with us
We’re Christopher and Kaarina Watkins and if you share our passion for Italian food, wine and culture, then we’d like to invite you to enjoy our Italian Food and Wine Experience in one of the country’s undiscovered regions – Monferrato. Monferrato’s part of Piemonte, which is now being called the new Tuscany for lovers of food and wine. So, while it’s not as well-known as other parts of north-west Italy, we think its culinary heritage is just as rich. We discovered and fell in love with Monferrato more than 25 years ago and, after countless visits here, it’s where we now live in a romantic medieval castle – Castello di Montalero. And we hope you’ll join us here as our guest on one of our Italian Food and Wine Experiences.
Accommodation and Facilities
- 5 days from Sunday to Thursday, including 4 nights accommodation, all meals and beverages, escorted excursions and airport transfers.
- 6 luxury double rooms with en suite bathrooms, totalling approx 45m2 (500 sq.ft.). Each room has either a double or two single beds, sofa with side tables, reading lamps in the room and at each bedside.
- Bathrooms, are fitted with large shower cubicles, twin wash basins, WC, bidet, heated towel rail and comfortable chairs.
- Chambermaid service each morning, refreshing bedrooms and bathrooms, excluding Sundays.
- 14m x 6.5m south-facing pool with ample sun loungers, steamer chairs and sun parasols on the adjoining terraces.
- Large south facing first floor terrace where most meals are taken in season. A traditional private dining room with a single large dining table is used for late autumn or early spring evenings, or if guests prefer, to eat inside at any time during the year.
- Traditional drawing room with drinks tray where guests may relax, chat or read at any time during their stay.
- Drinks fridge and Nespresso machine in each room.
- Air conditioning in all rooms
- WiFi in all rooms.
Our course itineraries and accommodation are well suited to singles travellers, who are particularly welcome at our courses.
Cook with best ingredients
This may be a 300-year-old castle, but our specially designed kitchens are modern and fully equipped, with utensils and food prep space at every work station. Hobs, ovens and sinks are shared. We use the highest quality seasonal ingredients, many of which you probably won’t have tasted before you and all part of the experience. Most come from local producers who share our values when it comes to sustainable methods of production and animal care.
- 4 nights luxury accommodation with chambermaid service each morning, except Sundays.
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner, light refreshments, wines, bottled water, soft drinks, aperitivi, digestivi for the 5 day course.
- 3 x 3.5 hour hands-on cookery lessons.
- All excursions detailed in the itinerary. Subject to change and to weather conditions.
- Lunch and wines at a local restaurant.
- Dinner and wines at a local restaurant.
- Diploma of completion of the Montalero 5 day Italian Cookery Course.
- Personalised apron.
- Printed booklet of recipes learnt during the course.
- Complimentary copy of ‘Cucina Piemontese’ cookery book, in English.
- Private transfers from Malpensa International Airport and return.
- All local taxes.
- Breakfast each morning will typically include: brioche, fresh bread, home made and locally produced organic honey, jams and marmalades, local salamis and hams, local cheeses, cereals and muesli, fresh fruit, juices, herbal and regular teas, Italian, American or decaffeinated coffees.
- Lunches are included and will be largely dependant on the selected itinerary. For example, on cookery courses, we prepare lunches during the morning courses. A typical lunch might include fresh pasta or risotto, salads, vegetables etc. For walking tours, the itinerary can be planned to include lunch at a local osteria or, a packed lunch and wine can be provided and taken with the accompanying minibus.
- Dinners are included and will be served at the house most evenings. Dinners include several courses of locally sourced ingredients. Typically, dinner will include antipasti, pasta or risotto, meat or fish course, followed by desserts typical of the region and local cheeses. Drinks and apperitivi are offered prior to dinner.
- On one evening, guests will be taken to a local trattoria or osteria serving Monferrato specialities. Some examples of our favourite and more traditional local restaurants can be seen at: http://www.ristorantedubini.it, http://www.trattoriaibologna.it , www.osterialeramo.com and http://www.ristoranteitalia.it/eng/
- All wine, bottled water, soft drinks, aperitivi, digestivi and light refreshments throughout the vacation are included.
- Where available, organic produce is used in all dishes prepared at the house.
- Food allergies, vegetarian and other dietary needs can be catered for. Please advise details with your booking
What’s not included
- Travel insurance. It is recommended that you take out adequate travel insurance.
- Travel outside of the course itinerary.
Discover all this for yourself
We may not turn you into a Michelin star chef, but we promise you’ll leave us not just knowing how to cook the ‘Monferrato way’ but with many of fantastic memories and plenty of new friends.
- Transfer from Malpensa International Airport
- Welcome drinks at Castello di Montalero
- Free-time to relax, sunbathe, swim, walk.
- Aperitivi followed by dinner.
- Leisurely breakfast.
- Excursion to leading wine producer, Mauro Gaudio, in Vignale Monferrato.
- Lunch at Mongetto Dre Caste restaurant, Vignale Monferrato.
- Return to castello to capture the last rays of the Italian sun by the pool, followed by a light, candle lit dinner on the terrace.
- Leisurely breakfast.
- Cookery lesson – 9.00am until 12.30pm.
- Lunch of the day’s course theme.
- Truffle hunting (For vacations after 15th September).
- Wine tasting at the world famous ‘Braida’ cantina of the Bologna family. (Prior to 15th September).
- Wine tasting at Marchesi Incisa della Rochetta. (Prior to 15th September).
- Dinner at local restaurant.
- Leisurely breakfast.
- Visit to Casale Monferrato food market and some nearby architectural treasures.
- Return to castello for lunch.
- Cookery lesson – 2.30pm until 6.00pm.
- Late afternoon break, sunbathe, swim, relax.
- Aperitivi followed by dinner of the day’s course theme at the castello.
- Leisurely breakfast.
- Dependant on flight timings; sunbathe, swim, relax, prior to transfer to Malpensa.
Subject to changes according to season, weather and availability.