Artisan Bread School Opens in Rural Tuscany with Classes in Italian, European and English Bread-making

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Artisan Bread School has been founded to help revive the art of bread making. Located in rural Tuscany, the School's hands-on courses are taught by some of Europe’s master bakers. It will specialize in Italian, European and English loaves, teaching students how to bake delicious, nutritious and healthy artisan breads in their own kitchens.

Artisan Bread School is inaugurating its series of bread making courses on the La Macchia Estate in Mercatale di Cortona in rural Tuscany. Five-day and weekend courses will be taught by master European bakers from May 7-May 27, 2007.

“Artisan Bread School was founded to revive the art of bread making,” said director Carl Shavitz. “We have brought together some of Europe’s top bakers to provide bread-baking enthusiasts with skills and techniques to make delicious, nutritious breads in their own kitchen. The classes will be unique,” he continued, “taught using a wood-fired bread oven in the one of the Estate’s old houses.”

Five-day courses include:

  • Introduction to Artisan Bread-making (May 7-May 11), taught by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou, the multi-award winning artisan baker of Judge's Bakery (a one-stop organic shop and bakery in Hastings, Sussex).
  • Mysteries & Myths of Italian Bread-making (May 14-May 18), taught by Hilary Cacchio (international private chef, baker and teacher).
  • English breads and Sourdough (May 21-May 25), taught by Clive Mellum (inspiring, enthusiastic English bread expert).

The weekend crash courses will be held May 12- 13, May 19-20 and May 26-27. Taught by Shavitz, an artisan baker, the students learn to make ciabatta, focaccia, rustic sourdough, as well as other breads.

Set in the rural Tuscan village of Mercatale di Cortona, in the Val de Pierle, students live in surroundings that will take them back to another time and place. The La Macchia Estate lies on the edge of Mercatale di Cortona. The family has farmed the land for hundreds of years and continues to do so today.

The Estate sits on a hill overlooking the valley, surrounded by trees. Its ancient and simply restored buildings incorporate Etruscan and later rural architecture, providing agriturismo-style accommodations.

La Macchia was selected as the site of Artisan Bread School because it evokes a time when artisan bread-making was the norm rather than the exception. Free of modern distractions, it provides the feel of a simpler time.

Olive oil used for Artisan Bread School classes will come from the estate's 3,000 olive trees. An olive oil tasting will be included in the course. Students will use flour milled by Shipton Mill, including Italian specialty flours. Other ingredients, in season, will be purchased from local markets.

Each evening, an authentic home-cooked meal of Tuscan dishes will be prepared in the Villa and delivered to the group. Meals will be accompanied by Estate-produced wine.

A complete description of Artisan Bread School courses and fees is available on its Website,

Advanced registration is required for all courses. The application is available on the Artisan Bread School Web site,

Artisan Bread School was established by Carl Shavitz to help revive the art of bread making. He has brought together some of Europe's top bakers to teach students how to bake delicious, nutritious and healthy artisan breads in their own kitchens. The School's hands-on courses will specialize in Italian, European and English breads — sourdoughs, Italian specialties including focaccia, ciabatta and pane di patate della garfagnana.


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