Castello di Potentino
The Old School Kitchen: From the Etruscan Table to the Roman Banquet (June 2020)
Starts on: Sunday, May 31, 2020
Ends on: Saturday, June 6, 2020
Price: Starting from - based on available rooms and number of guests, fill out the form for total price.
A 6-day Culinary Retreat Exploring Ancient Etruscan, Greek and Roman Food and Ancient Recipes In The Heart of Tuscany
Join food archaeologist, Farrell Monaco for a 5-day live-in edible archaeology master class at the palatial Castello di Potentino, a medieval castle hidden in a valley in the Tuscan countryside, as we explore the food history and archaeology of Etruria, Magna Graecia, and Rome from 800 BC to the Imperial Roman Era (AD 476).
The master class will be comprised of 10 sessions held at the iconic Castello di Potentino, a restored medieval castle, that is situated in the heart of an ancient Etruscan valley in Tuscany, Italy. Originally a medieval castle built over an Etruscan settlement, the towering castle boasts three kitchens, two dining rooms, 11 large guest rooms, a pool, an olive grove, a wine cellar, and a vineyard that produces award winning wines. In the surrounding area are Etruscan archaeological remains that take us back 2,500 years in time to a place that is pre-Roman but that is key to the development of Roman food culture and the Roman civilization itself.
Your hosts pride themselves in providing a culinary experience that is authentic and based on legitimate historical data. Daily workshops will begin with a lecture in the medieval chapel adjacent to the castle followed by hands-on cooking, the use of ancient food preparation technologies, ancient meal preparation and bread-making lessons, the use of ancient herbs and spices, food-styling workshops, food photography lessons, and a session on staging Roman food frescoes for the camera. Lessons and recipes will be compiled using authentic sources and peer-reviewed research from the Etruscan, Greek and Roman archaeological, written and pictorial records. Participants will also enjoy a foraging trip into the countryside with a local resident who will teach us how to identify and prepare edible wild herbs and fungi that are indigenous to the valley and have been used for culinary purposes for millennia.
Farrell Monaco is an archaeologist and food-writer whose research centres on food, food preparation, and food-related ceramics and technologies in the Roman Mediterranean. Farrell is well known for her experimental archaeology projects where she painstakingly recreates Roman recipes using instruction, ingredients, and technologies sourced from the archaeological, written and pictorial records. Her blog, Tavola Mediterranea, was nominated for a Saveur Blog Award (2018) and her work has been spotlighted on Atlas Obscura, The Ancient History Encyclopedia, The Guardian, Verve Magazine, Radio New Zealand, Made in Pompei and the BBC. Farrell’s current research is focussed on ancient Roman bakeries and bread production. She is a member of EXARC, the Archaeological Institute of America, and she sits on the media relations committee of the Society for American Archeology.
In 2018, Farrell launched ‘The Old-School Kitchen’, a public-education touring arm of her food-blog, Tavola Mediterranea. The Old-School Kitchen brings food archaeology and experimental culinary archaeology into live settings where the public can explore, engage, learn and discuss food archaeology, experimental archaeology, and sensory archaeology in lecture settings or through cooking workshops. Farrell is publishing her first book in 2020 that will shed new light on Greek, Etruscan and Roman food culture and food archaeology from a very unique, exciting and critical perspective.
Farrell resides in California with her husband and 2 dogs. In her free time, she bakes bread in her wood-fired outdoor ceramic oven and is learning to read Latin epigraphy. Her efforts to install a high-volume donkey-powered rotary grain-mill in her back yard remain fruitless but she will continue to try to find inroads.
If you have any questions before you book, please do not hesitate to get in touch via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Old-School Kitchen culinary retreat at Castello di Potentino was one of the most incredible and memorable retreats I have ever attended. It was both very educational and super fun. Farrell put together the most amazing set of recipes which we got to make daily for lunch — delizioso. The setting couldn’t be any more fitting. The castle, the lectures, the activities, and the recipes were in great harmony and complemented each other well. The retreat takes you back to the Etruscan era but with all the comfort and luxuries of the 21st century. We sat for hours eating, drinking, and having the most interesting conversations. On top of it all, Farrell with her beautiful and gentle manner was always available to answer my questions with her wealth of knowledge. Truly an admirable and inspirational woman. Thank you Farrell for a unique and unforgettable experience.”Nooshin S.- Monday, July 1, 2019
“The Old School Kitchen: Etruria was a 5-star experience of my dreams! I’ve been fascinated by the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean since I was little and studied Classics in college, and this week-long retreat was really an amazing way to not only learn more about the Etruscans and Romans, but to sample life as they might have known it. Farrell is a brilliant experimental archaeologist with a knack for presentation and instruction. Her lectures were always engaging and left me wanting to learn more. Each morning lecture featured the art, writings, and archaeological evidence of different foods and meals had by the Etruscans and Romans. After the lecture, we would hit the kitchen and make the food that we learned about during the lecture for lunch and that evening’s dinner.
The location at Castello di Potentino was dreamy. The owner, Charlotte, was a delightful hostess and shared her knowledge of the history of the castle and the area with such joy. The location really helped me imagine what it would have been like 2500 years ago while I was eating the grape must cakes and drinking defrutum that we had made earlier that day. On our “off” day during the retreat, we had a guide walk us around the property for some foraging and it was really cool to learn about all the different edible plants that were available. We also went to the [I can’t remember the hot springs!] hot springs and saw the ruins of an old bread mill and then soaked our stresses away in the mineral-rich waters of the hot spring. ”Montine R. -