Preserving Italy: September 4 - 9, 2019


Preserving Italy: September 4 - 9, 2019


The total cost of this workshop is $3,200. A deposit of $1,600 is required to secure your registration. The remaining balance ($1,600) is due August 1, 2019. By purchasing this workshop, you agree to pay the remaining balance when prompted to do so. No refunds are available after booking.

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Join me, Annette Joseph, cookbook author and food stylist, at La Fortezza Workshop in my little piece of Tuscan heaven in September. Not only is September my favorite time of year in Italy, but is it my birthday month, and the month we harvest the grapes in our vineyard. Needless to say, there is a lot to celebrate.

La Fortezza is located in the northwest corner of Italy known as the Lunigiana, a region lush with olive groves, and chestnut groves, dotted with undiscovered villages, and filled with delicious food experiences, food purveyors and organic farms that we eat from regularly.

During this food-forward workshop, we will visit our regional vineyards, including our own at La Fortezza. You will join in the grape harvest in the vineyard and pick grapes. We will tour a mother/daughter team of cheese makers at their remote micro factory, visit an Amaro liqueur laboratory, see how organic flour is milled, tour the dairy down the road and speak with a local baker that only bakes with chestnut flour, the preferred flour of the region.

Share our unique bounty with a gathering of like-minded foodies and be a part of this delectable experience. We will learn about the origin of our local foods as well as taste all the local products like chestnut honey, China Clementi Amaro and chestnut bread.

As we gather together each day, we will preserve from our kitchen garden and make homemade Limoncello. We will learn to make bread, cake, fritters and pasta with locally milled chestnut flour all taught by locals, whose traditions have been handed down for generations.

We will truffle hunt and enjoy the fruits of our hunting excursion with a 3 course truffle infused luncheon at a bucolic farm near the truffle forest. We will drink wine from our own vineyard, jar tomato sauce from our kitchen garden and make grape jam from our grapes. Make pizza in our outdoor forno, our pizza oven. See local slow-food certified Testaroli master craft this crepe like delicacy on the open fire in a special iron vessel made for the task.

Join me and my local friends and purveyors to learn about the traditions and slow food of the region all while cooking, eating and enjoying aperitivo every evening on our many terraces overlooking the vista of the Apennines mountain range. Eat Paniggaci (an Italian taco) by the fire while watching the Panigacci master make them on the open flames.

Hidden in the mountains, our amazing retreat location is not only filled with delicious food but irresistible secrets and stories about traditional fare. You’ll be amazed. If you’ve traveled Italy before, I promise you a very different Italian experience. Join us and see the real Italy in a part unknown. See my private Italy.

Grab this hands-on food experience and join us as we show you our unique and special undiscovered region of Italy.

This workshop is limited to 8 students, 2 shared rooms , 4 private rooms all rooms have their own bathrooms.

$3,200.00 (nonrefundable initial deposit: $1,600 + remaining deposit due one month prior)

This Workshop includes:

  • 5 nights*

  • 5 breakfasts

  • 3 lunches

  • 4 dinners

  • Snacks, water, soft drinks, espressos, cocktails and wine from our vineyard

  • Hands-on cooking classes with Annette, Workshop Chef Philip and local chefs

Note: Airfare is not included. Students fly into nearest airport which is Pisa, Italy. There are no airport pick-ups. You are responsible for transportation to and from the workshop to La Fortezza as well as to and from town for meals. We strongly recommend that you plan to hire a car service or rent a car. There are no taxis.

All attendees traveling from the United States are required to purchase short term international travel health insurance. Proof of travel insurance will be required to attend any workshop.

Please be aware: Due to the nature of our property, we are not ADA compliant, and we cannot accept guests requiring accessibility.

Here’s a good site to compare pricing and benefits:

Travel Information:

Book your flight to Pisa. It is 1 hour and 15 minutes from La Fortezza's front door in Lunigiana. 


As there are no local taxi services in the countryside, we recommend guests arrive by rental car as it gives the maximum amount of freedom. 

Note: Once you are registered for a workshop, you will be able to reach out to fellow attendees through a private Facebook group to arrange ride-sharing. Please contact Annette with any additional questions.

The Instructor:

Annette Joseph, acclaimed food and prop stylist, cookbook author and editor, along with her personal friends, chefs and purveyors of the region.

The Setting –  The Fortress

The Fortress, the Joseph's Tuscan summer home and workshop location, is nestled in the heart of Northern Tuscany a region known as the Lunigiana. The medieval stone compound sits on 27 acres, on the grounds are Roman ruins, a river and the vineyard. The Fortress has a breathtaking view of the Apennine mountains & the marble-topped Apuane Alps and the valley below. The property is surrounded by olive groves, chestnut trees, and fruit orchards. The Fortress was a medieval defensive tower in a region that had over 120 castles and kingdoms to protect in the 15th century. On the property there are 3 outbuildings, a massive terrace, and a private living quarters. You can wander the grounds with camera in hand and capture the Italian country life during your stay

Lodging: You will be staying onsite at The Fortress. 


Wednesday, September 4th: 
Arrivals Day. Please plan to arrive after noon.
1:30 pm - Arrivals at The Fortress - Light lunch or snacks available
2:30- 6:30 pm - Relax, shower, nap and unpack
6:30 pm - Meet and Greet Aperitivo on the terrace with cocktails and nibbles
7:30 pm - Welcome dinner on the terrace

Thursday, September 5th*:
In the Kitchen - Preserving Day – Jam and Tomato Sauce
8 am – Sunrise Yoga on the terrace for those who want to join.
9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Breakfast
10 a.m. – 12.:30 Local Foods Talk and Preserving Jam with Giovanna, local food ambassador for the region for Slow- Food Italia
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Lunch on the grounds.
1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Picking tomatoes from the kitchen garden and canning homemade tomato sauce with Chef Philip making focaccia
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Free time.
6:30 p.m. Aperitivo on the terrace.
7:30 p.m. Group dinner at a local restaurant, for Panigacci

*Note this most likely will be the day we harvest grapes in the vineyard, but that is an activity that will be announced during the workshop. Some things are subject to change depending on the grape harvest this season.

Friday, September 6th:
Food Purveyors Excursion Day
7 a.m. – 8 am Breakfast
8:30 a.m. -  Load the van and head out
9-10:30 a.m. -  Visit Bread maker, Mother/Daughter Cheese makers
11 a.m. - Amaro Factory
12:30 p.m. - Lunch at La Fortezza
1:30- 3:30 p.m.- Pasta Making class. Hand-rolling, stretching, shaping and storing.
3:30- 6 p.m.- Relaxation time and yoga on the terrace (optional).
6 p.m. - Italian cocktail class and how to design a charcuterie board
7 p.m.- Aperitivo, eat the fruits and cocktails of our labor
7:30 p.m. Our handmade pasta dinner and an optional outdoor movie after dinner on the terrace (weather permitting)

Saturday, September 7th:
Truffle Hunting
7 a.m. - Light breakfast
8 a.m. - Head to the truffle forest for truffle hunting
9 a.m. - Noon - Truffle Hunting
12:30 - 2pm - 3 course truffle lunch with wine pairings
3:30 pm - 6:30 p.m. - Free time*
6:30 p.m. Aperitivo on the terrace.
7:30 p.m. Make your own Pizza Party

*Note: For those of you wanting to do yoga or learning to stoke the pizza forno (oven), let us know and we will make arrangements.

Sunday, September 8th:
Free Day
Plan your own outings in the surrounding area. It’s a perfect day to head to the seaside or the market in Forte dei Marmi

Check for more activities here.

*Be sure to be back by 6:30 p.m. for our farewell festivities at the Fortezza.

Monday, Sept. 9th:
Hugs and Ciao Ciao!
Breakfast and Departures