So, if you love Italy … if you love Italian food … if you want a ‘behind the scenes look’ at this wonderful country … and if you’re searching for a fun, relaxing, high-quality holiday in the sun … then our food and wine experiences are for you. Think of your stay with us ‘as an English country house vacation in Italy’ – everything’s done right, but in a gentle, leisurely way and with a personal touch that makes you feel you’re among friends. So, while there’s organised cooking time and scheduled trips, there’s no pressure to conform which means you will have plenty of opportunities to ‘do your own thing’ – and if you need any help or advice, just ask, we’ll be there throughout your stay.

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.

Vacation Rates

  • 5 day, 4 night cookery courses are €2,150 per person, excluding flights. All local taxes are included.
  • When 2 people book and share a double or twin-bedded room the rate is €1,950 per person. A saving of €200 per person.
  • For guests not participating on the cookery courses but including the itinerary excursions, €1,785 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.

Course Content

All Courses are taught in English.

  • Our classes are led by experienced, local Italian chefs specialising in the cuisine of the Monferrato region. 
  • The classes 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 classes 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.
  • ​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.​

Airport Transfers

  • 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.
  • WiFi in all rooms.​​​

Single Travellers

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.

What’s Included

  • 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.
  • Optional early morning Yoga session.
  • All excursions detailed in the itinerary. Subject to change and to weather conditions.
  • Lunch 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.
  • 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 classes. 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 the Sunday, 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  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

  • Flights.
  • 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 in Vignale Monferrato, followed by visit to the Mongetto wine cantina.
  • Visit to Bar C’a Nostra in Olivola village for coffee and digestivo.
  • 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 class – 9.00am until 12.30pm.
  • Lunch of the day’s course theme.
  • Wine tasting at Vicara Rossignano
  • Visit to local salami and lardo producer.
  • Return to Castello for aperitivi and dinner.


  • Leisurely breakfast
  • Cookery class – 9.00am until 12.30pm.
  • Lunch of the day’s course theme.
  • Afternoon break, sunbathe, swim, relax.
  • Wine tasting visit to Cantina Bava in Cocconato.
  • Visit to local goat cheese producer.
  • Return to Castello for aperitivi and dinner.


  • Leisurely breakfast.
  • Early morning Yoga session – Optional
  • Italian bread, focaccia and pizza making class – 09.00m until 12.30pm.
  • Pizza lunch of the day’s course theme.
  • Dependant on flight timings; sunbathe, swim, relax, prior to transfer to Malpensa. (recommended late afternoon or early evening departure)

Subject to changes according to season, weather and availability.

Participants single occupancy

2,150All inclusive (except flights)
  • Luxury accommodation
  • First class instruction & ingredients

Participants double occupancy

1,950All inclusive (except flights)
  • Luxury accommodation
  • First class instruction & ingredients
  • Save 10% – €400 per couple

Non-participants double occupancy

1,785All inclusive (except flights)
  • Luxury accommodation
  • Same excursions as participants


(​Thomas Keller – American chef, restaurateur, and cookbook writer)



The Montalero 8 Day
Italian Cookery Course

8 day, 7 night cooking courses are €3,950 per person, single occupancy, excluding flights. All local taxes are included.

7 nights luxury accommodation with chambermaid service each morning, except Sundays.



The Montalero 3 Day
Italian Cookery Course

3 day, 4 night cooking courses are €1,650 per person, single occupancy, excluding flights. All local taxes are included.

4 nights luxury accommodation with chambermaid service each morning, except Sundays.



When it comes to booking your stay, there’s no better place to do it than through our very own reservations team. Booking Directly with us ensures you receive a whole host of benefits you would not get elsewhere.



When it comes to booking your stay, there’s no better place to do it than through our very own reservations department. Booking Direct with us ensures you receive a whole host of benefits you would not get elsewhere.



These are examples of just some of the dishes of the Monferrato that you will learn to ​prepare and cook during your vacation with us.