Making Pasta

ICE offers an incomparable variety of classes in cuisines from around the world, but we also provide the opportunity to be totally immersed in the techniques, ingredients and culture of other countries through culinary programs abroad. ICE Chef Instructor Gerri Sarnataro recently returned from an incredible European adventure and trip to Italy with ICE instructors, students, alumni and guests.

For nine days, Chef Gerri hosted the travelers at Cucina Della Terra, the cooking school she owns in the beautiful Umbrian countryside. The trip was a truly authentic cooking experience that blended cuisine and culture. During their time there, the group journeyed throughout the region to learn authentic Italian cooking techniques. Meandering through picturesque towns such as Montefalco, Bevagna, Perugia, Castiglione del Lago and Orvieto, they had the opportunity to sample many of the fresh local ingredients. Beyond sampling, the group met with vintners, butchers, shopkeepers, and more, exposing them to the region’s culture and how locals source their ingredients, and prepare traditional dishes.

In the spirit of ICE’s hands-on approach, the group got their hands dirty and participated in the olive harvest and witnessed first hand how olives are pressed for oil. There was even a hunt with truffle expert Matteo and his hunting dog, Sole, for the prized Umbrian truffle.

Everyday, the group brought their bounty back to the school’s state-of-the-art kitchen to prepare and cook locally grown ingredients — including vegetables and herbs from the school’s garden. Chef Gerri carefully designed the menus and recipes to showcase the food of Umbria and offer the students an incredible breadth and depth of knowledge of Italian food, culture, and cooking techniques. It was an excursion of a lifetime.

The next ICE trip will be a chance for ICE alumni to experience the cuisine and culture of the Loire Valley when Chef Kathryn Gordon travels to France in May next year.

Check out the photos from the trip below.

Going to Cucina Della Terra

Chef Gerri and Chef Vicki Wells Planning

Wine Making Vats

Harvesting Olives

Freshly Picked Olives

Fresh Pressed Olive Oil

Sheep Farm Where the Students Made Cheese

Hunting for Truffles

Chestnut Dessert at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant


  1. Having parents born in Italy, I’ve been traveling throughout Italy all my life.  Whether for family events, pizza competitions, or touring Italy in general. Having been on numerous tours and courses throughout Italy I was hesitant in taking another. I thought I’d seen it all. Cucina Della Terra proved me wrong. There hasn’t been a more precise, intuitive, and more organized trip. Artisans in cheese making, fresh pasta making, wine making and so forth, were carefully picked by the hands of Chef Gerri & Chef Jack. It was clearly obvious that this course truly defines the heart and soul of Italy. This was by far the best course I have ever taken in my life. If I can I would take it again just to make sure I didn’t miss anything the first time. It was great to be with people who are passionate about food the way I am.
    Cucina della Terra = Truly Remarkable & Unforgettable

  2. Spiro Panagiotakis

    The Cucina Della Terra Umbria trip was one amazing experience. We did everything from picking olives to trying 5 to 6 courses for dinner, The cooking part of the trip was fun as well, we broke down rabbits, quail, rooster, lamb racks, picked various herbs from the garden in the back for the meal that was going to be served. The best part of the whole trip was sitting down at the dinner table at the end of the day chatting with friends, eating, and drinking wonderful umbrian wines. I learned how to do so many things on this trip and I have Chef Jack and Chef Gerri to thank for that. As a recent graduate from ICE I recommend the trip to anyone who has the love and passion for food.

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