Our cooking classes are held in English. We like to take you in places off the beaten path, where no tourists go, so sometimes the cook/chef does not speak English. In this case we (Marcello or Raffaella) translate for you.
Are your cooking classes demonstrations or hands-on?
Most of our cooking classes are hands-on, so you will participate actively in preparing the meal. If you prefer not to work, you can just watch.
If the cooking lesson is a demonstration it is specified in the program. In this case you will follow all the steps of the cooking just watching. Each participant will be given a recipe book in English, so you will be able to follow all the recipes.
How large are your tour groups?
All of our tours consist of small groups, no larger than 8-10 participants as we want to maintain intimate the group and give to each of our guest our best attention.
Are the cooking classes suitable for beginners?
Yes. The cooking classes are designed for all levels from beginners to advanced cooks.
While the classes are taught by experienced chefs and home cooks, the pace is relaxed and informal.
When is the best time to come?
In Emilia Romagna we offer two different tours: one in the Spring/Summer, one in the Fall/Winter as the cold season do not permit to stay too much in the countryside. In the meanwhile in the Fall/Winter there are some of the most important events of the year, such as white truffle (from October to January), olive oil harvest (in October/November), grapes harvest (September/October).
Generally speaking we can organize the Emilia Romagna/Bologna and Umbria tour all year round, Le Marche, Prosecco, Friuli, Puglia in the Spring and Fall as well as Piemonte -that can be great in the summer too.
Summer can be very hot, so we usually avoid the period from mid July to August.
What should I bring?
All of your necessary travel documents including your passport, any travel insurance documents, suitable clothing including comfortable shoes for walking and of course, your appetite!
What can I do if I don't find "my tour" or "my dates"?
Bluone specializes in custom tours. If you have different needs, different periods, different budget we are happy to custom design for you a tour, following your requests, for a minimum of four people.
We have scheduled dates for our tours, but can add as well other dates on your request, if available.
What kind of luggage do I need for this tour and how do I pack for Italy?
Pack at least one back-up pair of comfortable shoes to give your feet a break from the usual pair. This will help with fatigue and overall comfort.
Pack very comfortable shoes, as these tours require moving around, walking in old cities with cobbles, and some outdoor terrain walking like in the woods for truffle hunting.
Plan on packing minimally with layers in mind for different temperatures throughout the day
Plan on one suitcase of your size preference if you can, making it easier to move your luggage from place to place and easier to keep an eye on it.
*Bluone tours are typically 5-9 days and do not require a vast array of attire
Plan space in your luggage – or an extra piece of foldable luggage in your original bag - for anything you purchase while on this tour – this may include clothing, kitchenware, pottery, oil, wine, and more
If you would like a special dress evening, do plan one dressier ensemble for one evening out, maybe one without a cooking class included
To reduce luggage count and size, plan your layers for repeating pieces (wearing things more than once, like jeans or jackets) No one will care if you wear anything more than once…REALLY…Europe, especially Italy, is a free fashion culture without judgement on your ‘costume changes’
Am I able to have items shipped home if I cannot carry them in my luggage?
Most vendors do ship items, especially olive oil, wine, and pottery.
When shopping/purchasing, it is best to talk through options with the vendors
It is also helpful to discuss with Marcello and Raffaella of Bluone, as they are both familiar with and helpful in using Italian mailing services.
If you are taking this tour with friends from your home area, it can sometimes be beneficial to ship items together and sort them out when returning home. This can save time during the tour and shipping costs between parties
If your purchases are minimal, packing in your suitcase is ideal. Know that any large liquids will require checking your bag.
Some vendors may have travel-safe packaging upon request
Brining an additional piece of folding luggage like a duffel bag or backpack in your suitcase can allow you to pack soft items in it and free up space for your purchases in your suitcase
How do I book and pay?
After deciding your dates and program we email you the booking form where we specify the payment conditions and cancellation policy referred to that tour.
To reserve your space we need to receive a deposit.
We accept payments by credit card and bank wire.
What do I do about cash/currency?
The local currency in Italy is the Euro. It is the only currency you will need while visiting Italy
You can get Euros at your local bank upon request
Communicate to your bank about your travel plan and request in increase in your daily withdrawal limit in case you need access to more cash on a given day
Communicate to your credit card companies about your travel plan so they can flag your account to not be suspended under suspicion of fraud
Plan to bring between 100-300 Euro with you on your trip to Italy
You can access additional Euros from any ATM wherever you are in Italy using your bank card or credit card, minimizing how much cash you travel with
Select a secure method of carrying your cash while you travel that allows you to keep it with you at all times
Any leftover Euros can be exchanged at any cash exchange kiosk in Italy for a fee, exchanged at your local bank (likely for a fee), or you can save them for your next visit to Italy!
Plan to have some of your local currency with you on your trip for simple things like food or drink at the airport, transportation fares, etc.
How do I use my passport while I am on this trip?
You will need your passport at all airports when traveling internationally
You will need your passport at all border patrols when crossing any European borders
You must have your passport handy during your travel in the event any official asks to see it. Carry it close to you at all times and near any other travel tickets
You will need your passport for the hotel accommodations while in Italy, as it is law that the establishments record your visit via passport information at check-in. This is not negotiable.
You can decide if you want to carry your passport with you each day in a secure place or leave it in a room safe/lockbox, as you likely will not need to use it during the tour.
Make two copies of your passport, one to keep with your purse or other personal travel bag and one to tuck inside your suitcase
Make sure all of your luggage is tagged with your contact information
Do I need to tip service staff during the tour?
As a general rule, European service labor is not modelled on a tipping structure, which is something you may be accustomed to. As a result, you may have heard that you do not or should not tip service staff. This is not exactly true. As with any experience, you can use your discretion to determine if you think a service staff member has provided an experience that warrants something extra to show your gratitude. Because tipping is not a custom, any little bit is always appreciated and there is not a ‘percentage’ of the bill to consider here. Giving someone a tip of a few euros or simply rounding your payment to leave the change is a very nice gesture.
Bluone does handle all payments to planned vendors, but they also understand the commitment and amount of hospitality some of their partners offer during their tours and may, at times, suggest a group offer an additional tip as a gesture of gratitude. Do not take offense to this, but consider the extent of the service to ensure your tour was easy and enjoyable.
It is important to know that without the tipping model service work in Europe is still not lucrative and service staff, especially in Italy, pride themselves on hospitality and sharing their culture and customs with you. Any show of your appreciation only heightens the experience of bringing people together for a great experience.
There might be some occasions where you could be on your own for food, drink, or other. Please use your discretion for tipping for any services you partake in.
Like anywhere you travel, it can be a nice idea to leave gratuity for your hotel/accommodation room staff at the end of your stay. This can also help you use up any remaining currency you have, saving the exchange fee or carrying it home.
If giving of cash is not your style, small gifts are also a great way to show appreciation. You will be touring wonderful producers and sometimes a bottle of wine or a specialty item found during your tour can be a much-appreciated gesture for anyone you would like to thank.
If you are unsure of what to do in a given situation, please ask Bluone about tipping or gifting. They can provide great guidance on this, as they are familiar with the aspects of your interactions.
Is traveling in Italy safe?
Yes, Italy and traveling with Bluone tours is generally safe. However, as with anywhere you may travel, you should always exercise caution with your personal items. ALL tourist groups and areas are easy targets for the age-old crimes of pick-pocketing and theft and it is important to be aware of your surroundings.
There is nothing to fear when immersing in the Italian culture, as it is rich with hospitality and socialization and people are welcoming and respectful.
It is important to understand European culture, in general, is older and functions within real limitations in the way of small spaces, small walkways, small roads, and high populations. This makes ‘personal space’ a bit more subjective and people may conduct daily life a bit closer than you prefer. This is not something done on purpose or in any way meant to make you uncomfortable. People simply function amongst each other without judgement or sense of violation of personal space.
With this, people may make physical contact by way of reaching across you when shopping or brushing arms walking past, however, people should not be touching you directly. Use keen discernment to know when you are being targeted physically and keep aware of your personal belongings and where your group is.
If a situation occurs that you are uncomfortable with or confused by, report it to Bluone immediately so the situation can be reviewed and any needed actions may be taken. If you cannot reach Bluone immediately, report the issue to the Hotel, venue manager, etc. and then inform Bluone as soon as possible so they can help.