Cooking class in Florence

Written by Eva Stelzer. Posted in Blog, Food and drink, Italy, Tuscany, Wine

Cooking class in Florence

Each year I spend some time at Costanza’s renaissance villa in Florence. Sometimes I bring group of people to gather together for a cooking class, and walk in the olive orchards or enjoy an outdoor feast of pizza freshly baked in the stone pizza oven. In one of her cooking classes in Florence, Costanza had a group of chefs from Norway who were being taught to make an authentic Tuscan meal. I personally loved the Faraona del Paradisino – roasted Guinea fowl. Back in my native Canada I replaced the Guinea fowl with grain fed, antibiotic free chicken. My guests were so delighted with this dish that I was embarrassed to tell them it’s a one pot meal. Try this out on your family or friends and let me know what they think.

Cook this amazing dish. Faraona del Paradisino – Roasted Guinea Fowl

Preparation and cooking time: 1.5 hours

Serves Six


  • 1 large Guinea Fowl, about 1.5kg (can substitute a whole chicken)·
  • sage, rosemary, mirto
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 6 strips of lemon rind, about 3”-long strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic gloves smashed with the peel + 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 30 grams butter at room temperature
  • Salt, pepper
  • Juniper berries, a handful (optional) or a teaspoon of gin for every two berries required
  • 1/2 glass of red wine and 1/3 glass of Marsala
  • An extra glass of good Chianti red wine to drink while cooking!


Rub sea salt on the inside and skin of the bird. Finely chop the sage and rosemary. Mix with the garlic and butter to make a paste. Spread the paste on the inside the bird’s cavity, adding 1 piece of lemon rind.

Pour the olive oil into a large pan and sear the bird breast-side up. Reduce the stove to a medium heat and brown the bird on all sides. Add the smashed garlic cloves, herbs and remaining pieces of lemon rind. Cook for one minute.

Add the salt, pepper (and juniper or gin, if desired). I usually add blueberries. Cook for two more minutes. Add the Marsala and cover the pot. After 5 minutes of cooking add the red wine. Cover the pot again but not tightly. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is very tender.

Checking every 10 to 15 minutes and add a little water if the bird seems dry. Take the bird out of the pot, place on a carving board, tent with foil, and wait 10 minutes. This is known as letting the meat rest and it sears in the juices.

For the sauce, add enough Marsala to the pan to create a thin sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan to bring up the fond.

Carve the bird or cut it into 8 pieces and serve with the pan sauce.

Note: If you buy a bird already cut in pieces, rub the pieces of meat with the butter/herb mixture before browning.

If you would like to cook in Florence then join us for one of our amazing group trips our contact our concierge service to plan a private cooking class in Florence for you and your group.

Bon Appetito!

Our next group trips are scheduled for October 4, 2015 and April 29, 2016. Check out our Cooking in Florence trip here: http://www.eviactive.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Florence-Culture-and-Cooking.pdf


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