Without a doubt, the biggest benefit to our guests enjoying a villa vacation in Italy is the cook—or the chef—in the kitchen. Whether you are a party of five or 35, it transforms your villa vacation. Why not turn over the meal planning, shopping, preparation, serving and cleaning up?

Meet your next cook…

Once a caterer, now a ‘Nonna,’ Anna rules the roost at Ca di Pesa. From pizza nights ‘al forno’ to candlelight celebrations in the cantina, dinners with Anna and her crew are an essential part of the Ca di Pesa experience. The spectator-friendly open plan kitchen of Ca di Pesa gives you a chance to appreciate a master in motion.

In one word, tiramisu. My family managed to eat tiramisu at Le Ripe two nights in one week many years ago and Antonietta’s tiramisu is still the one by which all others are measured. Antonietta is a wiz and dynamo in the kitchen. Her chafing dish piled high with glistening cinghiale, fresh pasta and truffles (don’t even try to find out who her supplier is) shaved on top will leave you aching for more.

In keeping with the more formal atmosphere of Lake Como, Sergio is a true chef. He can get sophisticated and international right along with you, or nourish you with a different risotto each night. An at-home cooking class is always a friendly affair with Sergio. One group of seven teenage boys found themselves grating a pile of raw potatoes into a dinner of gnocchi while their parents stood around enjoying the scene of their hard-working sons, wine glass in hand. Sergio accompanied their handiwork with three different sauces.

The signature experience of this stunning home must be the arrival. Crossing the threshold of your home for the week, smiling Mara greets you with hot focaccia just out of the oven. The fragrance of rosemary entices you to slow down and take in the new sights and smells. Her sons serve while her husband, himself a chef, keeps it all in the family with refined evenings now and then. A mother of five boys, Mara seems to have unbounded energy and affection that she enjoys sharing with her guests.

Nunzia has been producing deliciousness in the kitchen of Villa Arienzo since I first met her more than 20 years ago. A commitment to inherently fresh, light and bright flavors is essential to the taste of the Amalfi Coast and Nunzia captures this on her plate for you. Enjoying these dishes with Positano as the backdrop seems like a bit of magic.

Rosanna runs the whole staff of Villa Bianca and still establishes the kitchen as her domain. Hopefully you will be fortunate enough to enjoy her side of perfectly browned ‘flan’ made from fresh-dug potatoes, thinly sliced and delicately layered with sprigs of rosemary and the creamy richness of taleggio. Enjoying such a dish while overlooking the sunset behind Cala Grande just might define heaven on earth.

A villa vacation with Homebase Abroad is for those who want to break the boundaries between tourism and cultural immersion. Engaging with the villa cook is perhaps the most enjoyable way to do just that. Isn’t it time?

We would love it if you’d share your photos of your favorite Homebase Abroad chefs on Instagram with #HomebaseAbroad.

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