Why Colle Val d'Elsa?
For years, I have taken my students to Colle Val d'Elsa to visit the crystal museum and the factories where artisans still blow the crystal Venice style. The medieval hill town is full of shops and fabulous restaurants, such as Michelin-starred Arnolfo and Officina della Cucina Populare. I adore taking the elevator hidden in the mountain to the upper village and sharing the incredible vistas of Tuscany.
Colle Val d'Elsa is close to the highway and easy to get in and out, and located near two of my favorite places to visit, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano.
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Meet The Diva
Market Maven, Cooking Teacher, Food Writer and Italian Life Coach
Judy Witts Francini, is a member of the Italian Personal Chef Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, a member of Slow Food International, and a student of cooking for over 30 years. She's married to a native Florentine, Andrea Francini, whose knowledge of Florence provides Judy with valuable insights. Her blog, Over the Tuscan Stove, features weekly articles for those who want to keep current on Tuscany.
I've made my home in Florence since 1984. I started Divina Cucina (originally Mangia Firenze) in 1988 with a simple aim — to share my knowledge of Italian cuisine and culinary history with fellow food lovers in and around Florence. I've lived in Florence among food experts and foodies, exchanging ideas and recipes, and developed my own style, one that is easy-going and entertaining. That's the Divina Cucina style!♦ For more about my earliest experiences in Tuscany, click here for "Time Flies When You're Having Fun".
The Tuscans know how to prepare simple food from quality local ingredients. They make the most of regional and seasonal produce. That's why my classes begin in the Mercato Centrale or other markets where purveyors provide the best from the Tuscan countryside.
Let me show you the secrets of Italian cooking and a way of life that I've come to love. Come and enjoy Tuscany like the Tuscans.
Judy has written her own cookbook, Secrets from My Tuscan Kitchen.
When it comes to a culinary knowledge of Tuscany, and Florence in particular, no one knows more than Judy Witts. From her market tours and classes to her restaurant recommendations, her depth of knowledge, mastery of the Italian language and connections to local people will open doors and help you to understand the real culture of Tuscany. I simply can't visit the region without calling her and highly recommend her to all my guests and friends that spend time in Florence!
—Mara Jernigan, President, Slow Food Canada