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Eat Food, Much Too Much

If you like to think about food as much as you like to cook it, eat it, grow it, discuss it, find it, dig it up, hunt it, forage for it, bottle it, ferment it or even shoot it, read on: we have the trip for you.

La Petraia is a bio-dynamic field-to-fork agriturismo high up in the Chianti hills, and it’s where we run the Petraia Sessions—week-long trips with food luminaries, cooking classes, looooong meals and lots and lots of discussion about food in all its forms. This year we’re joined by Michael Pollan, and Toronto’s Jamie Kennedy. Pack your appetites.

Trufflepig’s not about off-the-shelf trips, any more than we’re into the hard sell, but for La Petraia we broke all our rules, because it really is the genuine article. The owners don’t border on the obssessive, they barged right in and set up camp in the middle of the vegetable patch. La Petraia is the result of their 12 year labour-of-love/experiment/hare-brained-madcap-scheme to turn a long-abandoned, overgrown estate into a working, self-sustaining, bio-dynamic farm, Michelin-star quality restaurant, and beautiful lodge. On that score, it’s mission accomplished.

For the eating alone, La Petraia ought to be a compulsory stop on any foodie’s Tuscany trip. To my tummy, it’s the best restaurant in the region, thanks to Susan McKenna Grant’s playful way with colours, access to extraordinary, fresh, rare ingredients, and flawless technique in the kitchen. Her cooking classes are genuinely informative—not about tricks, nor set recipes, but a mix of thoughtfulness and locavore thriftiness, combined with straight-up flair. The foraging class is the final word in real eating and cooking skills; you head out into the estate’s woods with Susan and Giuliano, and return with lunch, in the form of fungi, wild greens, berries, flowers. I was slightly surprised to see no insects on the menu.

La Petraia normally runs like a restaurant with rooms and cooking school, but during the 5-night Petraia Sessions, the guest chef or writer leads a more-than-usually intense series of lessons, seminars, meals and excursions that make up the most exciting food trip I’ve ever been on. Obviously, I’m hugely biased. Happily you don’t have to take my word for it.

Jack Dancy is a Trufflepig partner and trip planner with a knack for making the rest of the company jealous when he goes on a Tuscan food binge.

The foraging class is the final word in real eating and cooking skills.

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