From their years of professional and personal experience, Filippo and Vanessa have learned that nutrition and education are the cornerstone of any food culture (and culture's food) and that one of the best ways to spread knowledge and share our food cultures is through eductation: specifically cooking and wine classes. They wanted to create a cooking and wine school that brought together learning, fun and convivality in a meaningful and relaxed environment.
MaMa is a mother, the central figure that from the dawn of time has passed down generation to generation the culinary culture of her country or region. A mother feeds and nourishes her children, teaching them the intrinsic value in the act of nourishment. MaMa is an enogastronomic center in which one can cook, taste and socialize. The meaning of nourishment goes beyond simply food as fuel for our bodies, and becomes a nourishment of relationships, affections, culture and the physical body. This nourishment is grounded in the feminine, simple but full of significance, turning toward the future and what is important not only in the kitchen but in life. A nourishment that stays with us. We eat to live, to grow, to enjoy, to soclialize and to share emotions. MaMa is a school where the idea of the star chef and media exposure give way to the fundamentals of passing down culture and teaching and above all of nuturing the emotional connections we create through food.
MaMa's cooking classes and guided wine tastings are an occasion of convivality, a time and place dedicated to a reflection upon respecting the environment and better ways of creating and consuming, and to a more sustainable future. Food plays the central role in our existence, not only for its important nutrients but also for its symbolic and emotional value. After years of impersonal and detached eating, treating the act of eating as a fuel supply and nothing more and paying little attention to the way our food was grown and raised, the true values of nutrition are resurfacing. Changes in the food and agricultural business are slowly beginning to take shape and MaMa wants to be an important voice and venue in pushing for and advocating for that essential change.
At MaMa one can learn during a class with home cooks and chefs of incredible skill and even international acclaim, but who all have one thing in common: they interweave their professional skill, knowledge and culture with the art of daily practice and desire to nourish with love. The warm, welcoming atmosphere of the school recreates the feeling of an informal and inviting home and hearth. It is a place to discover (or rediscover) the meaning and pleasure of two of the most simple yet important daily activities: cooking and eating. And, just like a private home, MaMa welcomes friends into a living room where it is possible to read a book from the library, navigate the internet, draw, play, sip some tea, watch a film or make a new friend. Uniting people in this communal environment, MaMa is like the home of a large extended family that is open to anyone who loves food and its infinite shades and meanings.
Owners Vanessa Held and Filippo Bartolotta knew they wanted to open an authentic cooking school in Florence, and with years of experience in the wine and food business they also knew they wanted it to stand apart from the crowd. They wanted a cooking school that would reflect their connection to the land with sustainably sourced local products, fresh seasonal menus, and amazing wines to showcase the very best Italy has to offer, all in a beautiful and exclusive setting.
Our exceptional support team is always available over email and phone and ready to process your order, note your food preferences, create a special event for you, or to help you discover authentic Tuscan food. Comprised of Booking Manager Tania Boido Hirst, Hospitality Manager Elena Pontil, Operations and Booking Specialist Nina Bernheim, and Market Walk Guide and Chef’s Assistant Annika Mårtensson there is always someone available to ensure participants enjoy their time at MaMa Florence cooking school to the fullest.
From the freshest local meats, to the catch-of-the-day, to juicy and ripe produce at its prime, Michele and Danny work with the best local butchers, fishmongers, cheese makers, farms, wineries, and local producers to ensure only the most sustainable and amazing ingredients make their way to the cutting board at MaMa Florence Cooking School. Follow this link to read more about our much loved food artisans. (hyperlink to producers).
For amazing local meats of all kinds, we rely on Paolo di Casa Ceccatelli, Greve in Chianti. A professional butcher with an incredible knowledge of different cuts of meat, he supplies us with delicious local meats raised in a responsible manner.
Our apple vinegar comes to us from producer Andrea Reggianini (of family run Acetaia Reggianini), who is an expert in his field. He is a true professional, with high ethical standards and delicious vinegars.
When the balsamic vinegar arrives from Mariangela of La Cà dal Nòn, a traditional balsamic vinegar producer from Modena, we know that it will be of the very highest quality and standards and at an honest price. Their balsamic vinegar is aged to perfection and the star of any recipe.
We love to think of the tranquil goats at Le Fornaci in Greve in Chianti happily producing the lovely milk that goes into creating their goat cheese of exceptional quality. Marco, Michele and Niccolò work side-by-side to create the creamy and flavorful goat cheeses we use in our dishes.
Our extra virgin olive oil comes to us from the rolling hills outside of Florence, from producer Andrea Nencioni at Oro ai Monti. This fragrant, intense, organic olive oil is an incredible addition to any dish we create at MaMa.
Our green grocer comes right to our door! Simone brings fresh, local farm-to-table produce to MaMa Florence every day, ensuring we only work with the freshest vegetables and fruits from Italy – Thanks Simone!
If you want to work with fish in the kitchen, you need an amazing supplier. Fishmonger Simone who has one of the best stores in Florence near Porta Romana, and is ready with the freshest fish and seafood for our cooking classes.
Davide from the cheese producer Agricolairis in the province of Parma makes Parmigiano Reggiano as well as other products like his melt-in-your-mouth butter. His respect for his cows and for nature means that his products are spectacular as well as good for the planet.
Giovanni and Matteo of Il Pagliaccio cheeses in Mugello produce fresh milk, aged cheeses, ricotta, and yogurt. Their incredibly tasty products add genuine flavor and lightness to our recipes