We are pleased to announce that we have joined forces with Rob Gould, The Cotswold Forager and will soon be taking bookings for Foraging experiences in Tuscany. Rob has a vast experience and knowledge of the natural food which is grows all around us – and has an exceptional array of dishes to introduce and a variety of storing and preserving methods to share.
Please read fully before purchasing.
With over 20 years’ foraging experience under his belt, Rob Gould has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for the outdoors that goes far beyond what is simply edible, also covering things such as preserving your wild harvest, natural history and folklore relating to what you will see when out with him.
Back in the UK, as well as leading sell-out public events, he can be booked for exclusive private walks and is also regularly found running hugely successful Forage and Feast collaborations with some of the very best restaurants in the Cotswolds. He also writes a monthly magazine column on foraging, and is working with some of the most high end accommodation providers in Gloucestershire on bringing truly special experiences to their clients.
“Rob has a great attitude and he nurtures learning and understanding. His knowledge of nature and our countryside is amazing, and I learned so much in my time with him. He gave me an insight into an area that I thought I knew well already”
Will, co-owner of Toscana Holiday Village, had this to say “After originally inviting Rob out to help us look at developing our site to be more nature friendly, we realised that there was an incredible opportunity to work with him on something far more exciting. His enthusiasm is contagious, and his knowledge about the natural world – and his willingness to research deeply into anything unknown he discovers – is astonishing. We cannot wait to work alongside him again in the autumn”
You are invited to join Rob for a 3 day foraging experience based at Toscana Holiday Village, in the heart of Tuscany, midway between Pisa, Florence, Luca and Siena. Toscana itself sits just on the outskirts of Montopoli, a charming Tuscan village with beautiful panoramic views across to the east and west from its hilltop location.
During your time together, you will join Rob in exploring a selection of the wonderful local habitats, where you will get to see and experience just how much the different locations affect the selection of species that grow there. From herbs and vegetables to fruits and nuts, you will learn why certain species favour specific places, whilst others can be found across multiple locations, and how this influences both their growth habits, edibility across the seasons, and most importantly their flavour. You will also get plenty of opportunities to discuss other aspects relating to foraged foods, for example how they can be used in cooking, how the can be preserved, and how best to find them.
On your first day you will get a proper introductory session with Rob, where you will talk about foraging, seasonality and the whole ‘experience of food’. You will also discuss the huge significance of foraging, and true seasonality, on the evolution of Italian food, although this will be covered in much more detail on October’s Wild Culinary Experience.
Over the course of your three days with Rob, you will spend time:
Visiting picturesque villages, towns and cities, before foraging through the wonderful local habitats
Foraging your way around olive groves, and huge nature reserves, observing the wonderful variety of edible plants they support
Exploring the immediate vicinity around Toscana Holiday Village and meeting the wonderful local beekeepers
Scouring beautiful stretches of coastline for delicacies
Depending on the days, season and weather, we may also visit some of the best local and regional produce markets, festivals and suppliers, as Rob is keen for you to really start thinking about the interrelationship between foraging and the seasonality of fresh produce, and how they help create truly wonderful dishes. This experience promises a truly bespoke way of looking at the seasonality of food.
Extra information –
Paying for this ticket is not confirmation in itself that you are ensured attendance at the event. By purchasing this ticket, you are placing a non-refundable, 10% deposit on the £900pp Tuscan Foraging Experience. Your final price, less deposit received, will be confirmed and payable in full to Toscana Holiday Village once any accommodation upgrades, amendments or extensions to your stay are finalised. At that point, after full and final payment, your attendance is guaranteed.
Accommodation is provided for the duration of the experience, plus the half day preceding it and for half a day afterwards, with each paying attendee being given sole use of their own Comfort level mobile home on site. Attending couples, or groups sharing accommodation, will receive a complimentary mobile home upgrade.
Each paying attendee is more than welcome to bring along their family, for an additional fee, who will enjoy shared use of the accommodation, food and drinks. Please note, however, that paid excursions or other arranged activities are not included in this fee, although we reserve the right to offer these at an additional charge, dependant on space and availability. The following supplemental charges will apply for additional guests not attending the experience;
children aged 3-10, £10 per night
children aged 11-16, £20 per night
adults (and children over 16), £50 per night
If you do wish to extend your stay at Toscana, please discus this with them before proceeding with your booking.
After placing your deposit, Toscana Holiday Village or Rob will contact you to confirm any extra details and calculate your final payment, which must be made in full no later than 14 days before the Experience begins.
Flights are not included in this price.
Transfers to and from Pisa airport are included, as is use of the onsite pool, when open.
All meals and drinks – hot drinks, soft drinks and local wine – are included every day of your visit, from when you arrive until the day you depart, but meals outside of the experience itself will be served from the standard onsite restaurant menu.
Covid-19. Due to the ever changing nature of each country’s response to Coronavirus, we will be constantly updating our precautionary measures and procedures to be – as an absolute minimum – in line with the current requirements in Italy. At the time of writing, the wearing of face masks is compulsory in all public places, but elsewhere it is at your own discretion and choice, unless specified locally.
If you or anyone within your household has shown symptoms or tested positive for Covid-19 within 14 days prior to your scheduled arrival date, we ask you not to attend. However, we will happily transfer your booking to another person, or to a mutually agreed later date, at no extra charge.
Equally if you exhibit symptoms after arrival for your experience, you will be asked – in line with all existing guidance – to self isolate for the remainder of your stay before returning home.
If your country of departure prohibits travel to Italy due to Covid-19, we will endeavour to honour your booking at the earliest mutually suitable future event. However, if they only issue guidance to self isolate on return, we will run the event as planned. and no refunds or transfers will be granted.
In the event of any of the organisers becoming unable to attend due to Covid-19, and the event being unable to run, you will be informed asap and offered alternative future dates or a refund.
In any of the above circumstances, we accept no liability for any costs or losses incurred due to your travel arrangements.
Depending on the number of people attending this experience, the scheduling may vary slightly
Day 0 You will be collected from the airport and transported to Toscana Holiday Village, where you will have the remainder of the day to yourself, to either explore or to relax. In the evening there will be a meet and greet in the onsite restaurant with drinks and food, where you will be introduced to Rob and Leon, plus the other guests attending the experience.
Day 1 Your first day will start, over breakfast, with a discussion of the itinerary for the experience. You will also get proper introductions to both Rob and Leon, where they will talk about, amongst other things, the way they both separately look at the whole ‘experience of food’, and how they have evolved the way they work together as part of a creative process. They will also talk about the significance of foraging and true seasonality on Italian food, plus their relationship with the use of pasta, curing meat, pizza, bread and of course the whole of Cucina Povera.
There will then be a practical, kitchen-based workshop, focusing on pasta, gnocchi and pizza making, along with some delicious yet simple sauces, which will form the basis of a communal lunch.
In the afternoon you will travel to a picturesque hilltop village, with amazing views over the local countryside, followed by an afternoon spent exploring the local foraging habitats. This will be followed by a Tuscan inspired evening meal.
Day 2 Breakfast, followed by a trip to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. You will have time to explore Pisa further if you choose, although both Rob and Leon will be happy to guide you in checking out the local area for some amazing urban foraging treats.
Late morning you will travel to an expansive and hugely beautiful local nature park, where you will enjoy a delicious lunch. This will be followed by a long afternoon of exploring the park, including an amazing guided tour, where you will observe multiple wildlife habitats, plus get the opportunity to do a spot of coastal foraging.