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“Making an Italian Feast with Gina.”
Review of Ecco La Cucina

Ecco La Cucina
Ranked #13 of 26 Food & Drink in Siena
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Owner description: We are a culinary tour company offering small group immersions into the Italian way of life, via the discovery of its amazing food, wine, culture and history. Please see our website for dates and pricing Gina no longer offers single day cooking classes in Tuscany.
Reviewed 20 April 2012

This past October, my husband and I visited Italy for 16 glorious days. One of the highlights of our trip, was the cooking class I scheduled at Ecco La Cucina. We rented a car so we could be mobile the three days we were in Tuscany. I called Gina for directions and even though we got a little lost, we eventually found her kitchen. Gina was so friendly and helpful and her class was one of the best days spent in Tuscany. With her authentic passion of Italian food and culture, she cooked with ease and genuine compassion. The menu was mouth-watering and the venue was captivating. Sitting by the fireplace and dinning with her and the other classmates was a memory I will always cherish; It was like being a character in an Italian movie. My only regret was that I only had time to take a one-day class. However, you can bet that we are already talking about planning our next trip, and I am definitely going to sign up for a longer session. Oh, I also purchased her cookbook and I have used it numerous times in my kitchen. I have recreated the same dishes we made in class and have tried many new recipes as well. Thanks, Gina, you are an excellent culinary teacher and have ignited the Italian cook in me!

1  Thank agranier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2012

Thanks so much! It was great cooking with you! Gina

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40 - 44 of 67 reviews

Reviewed 20 April 2012

This is one of the coolest things I've done in Europe. I traveled with 2 of my girlfriends to take Gina's class back in May 2007 and I'll remember it always. The whole week was packed with fun things to do outside of our cooking time - trip to a winery with lunch and tastings, trip to pig and goat farms where we sampled different prosciutto and cheese, private tour of Siena, amazing dinner at one of Gina's favorite restaurants, wine tasting in a Fortress, and bbq festival at a quaint town on a remote hilltop. The food we prepared in each of our classes was absolutely delicious and we had a lot of fun together in the kitchen preparing it - loved the homemade pasta! I hope to do it again!!!

Thank Nicole R
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ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2012

Thank you! Gina

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Reviewed 20 April 2012

Our week with Gina in Sienna during last year's olive harvest was beyond our expectations - perfect in every way. Gina and her sister/helper Mary made us all feel such a warm Italian welcome, and had our every need taken care of. The week was well organized and the activities varied and well paced, not to mention delicious food, both at home and away. Special side trips to vineyards, farms, and scenic villages and markets, added to the experience.

The manor house where we stayed was beautiful and comfortable, and the old mill where we cooked, with it's open fire and helpful Sera, made the classes so enjoyable.

I highly recommend this experience to anyone visiting Italy. - Carol V.

Thank Carol V
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ginastipo, Owner at Ecco La Cucina, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2012

Thank you! Gina

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Reviewed 10 January 2012

If you get to Siena, Italy, you really must take time to visit celebrity chef Gina Stipo at Ecco La Cucina cooking school! Gina is an absolutely delightful person who has a passion for good, authentic Italian cuisine, and the 900 year-old mill where she holds her classes is lovely. I was there on business with QueensLander Tours Small Group Tours to Italy, but anyone can enjoy this experience!

Whether you’re with a group or just on your own, Gina will make your cooking lesson an experience to remember. First, you do the shopping with her at one of the local markets, then she’ll take you through all the steps to making authentic Italian pasta by hand, or whatever you personally want to learn to prepare. But be assured, the food and the methods used will be authentic to the cuisine of Tuscany! Once you’re done with the preparation, you set the table together and enjoy your handiwork by a centuries-old fireplace with a great selection of wines to accompany your meal.

Take a little time as well to walk around the grounds of the old mill and appreciate the surrounding countryside. Soak up the bucolic feel of this beautiful spot.

Also, Gina has a lot of connections in the area with local artisans who use authentic methods to make goat cheese, olive oil, and proscuitto. With any luck, you may be able to get her to take you to visit some of these other locals, especially if their artisan products factor heavily in the recipes you'll be making.

Of course, there is a fee for taking these classes, so you'll want to arrange your visit well in advance. See the Ecco La Cucina website for details: http://www.eccolacucina.com/

All I can tell you is you have to experience a visit with Gina yourself! It’s definitely something to experience with a best friend or a group of friends, and you won’t be disappointed, I assure.

1  Thank ScoSte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2011

{Please note, I went in Sept 2010, but am just getting around to writing a review.}

I first met Mary and Chef Gina at a Central Market cooking class in January 2010, and I was completely captivated by their energy, kindness, and knowledge and love of Italy and Italian cuisine. After getting to know the sisters, I booked a tour for September 2010, which kicked off a month of touring Italy on my own. The trip itself was life-changing, and I still think back to my days in a Tuscan villa with Gina, Mary, and my fellow hungry travelers.
First, we had an AMAZING kick-off to our trip with dinner in a Siena piazza alongside members of Gina's contrada as they celebrated their win during the summer's palio event. I'm sure few, if any, Americans can say they've been to such a festival, and I'm so thankful to have had such a unique experience!
The rest of the week was full of cooking, amazing food, wine (oh, the wine!), and - most importantly to a shutterbug - loads of photo opps. We met a pig farmer (cinta senese pigs-- super cute, and, coincidentally, delicious) who is also an olive oil taster, we toured vineyards, ate in fantastic restaurants, learned some important Italian phrases, and more. And, I really learned to relax in the kitchen (plus, my friends and family are loving the dishes from Gina's cookbook!). I love a good time, I'm a foodie, a food geek, and just a regular geek, and I just can't say enough good things about this adventure. I'd go back again, and again, and again if my piggy bank and waist-line could handle it!
Gina and Mary are passionate professionals, and after my week in Tuscany, they are my friends.
Do yourself a favor: go to Italy with Ecco la Cucina, pronto!

1  Thank FWLola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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