Name of the school: Toscana Saporita
Year of foundation: The school was founded in 1994 by Sandra R. Lotti and her cousin.
Brief history of the school: The concept of Toscana Saporita was born when cousins Ann and Sandra thought it would be a good idea to host a cooking school for traveling American tourists in Italy . Ann, who was ten years senior to Sandra, was in charge of tours and group organization while Sandra was in charge of all the cooking and menu planning. Unfortunately, Ann was diagnosed with cancer in 1998, leaving Sandra to handle the school on her own. After Ann’s passing in 2001,Sandra considered terminating the school but was given a helping hand by many including celebrity chef Mario Batali and numerous willing interns from the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY) as well as the French Culinary Institute (New York City, NY).This set her on the path for success and let her know she was doing what her cousin really wanted her to do. After 18 amazing memory and fun filled years at the original property the school was founded at (comproromano), the school was packed up and relocated to a beautiful Agriturismo tucked away in a hillside in the Lucca region.
Location: Toscana Saporita is located at la casa rossa, via Pietra a Padule, 5102 – 55050 Massaciuccoli , Tuscany. It lies 15 minutes north of Pisa, 20 minutes south of the beach resort town viareggio and only 20 minutes west of the beautiful walled town of Lucca. The school itself is separated from this working farm, however the students stay in the beautiful quarters of the sixteen hundred century farm house where the likes of the great composer Puccini used to stay while hunting. The property is always buzzing, the farmers always attending to the several horses, cows, chickens, goats and even donkeys which reside here.
Brief description of the pastry program: Toscana Saporita offers a very well rounded program, incorporating both savory and sweet dishes into the daily curriculum. It is very important that the students learn the science of baking and are taught the various ingredients, techniques, cooking times, temperatures, heat reactions, etc. The following items are made at the school : puff pastry, basic pie dough (italian name pasta frolla), brioche, daily bread making made with the mother of the yeast (country bread, whole wheat bread, multi grain/seed bread), focaccia, creme puffs, ganache, various types of mousse, meringues, custards, sponge cake, chantilly cream, various types of gelato, sugar decor, fruit coolis, panna cotta, tiramisu, sweet and savoury tarts. Etc.
Other facilities: The school is located on a 16th century farm house which once provided housing for the properties many farmers. The students now stay in these Tuscan style refurbished rooms and apartments, offering ensuite bathrooms and some with kitchenettes.
Each season the school offers an internship program for persons who have graduated a culinary program and are seeking to further their knowledge in italian cuisine. These interns are usually there to help with daily tasks needed for the schools daily production as well as aiding head chef Sandra Lotti. Interns have flocked from various countries in order to gain experience at Toscana Saporita totaling over 100 interns in the past 20 years
When the school is off season, Sandra Lotti frequently flies to the United States to host a variety of cooking events. These include Ocean Reef and Sarasota wine fest in Florida, la cucina Italiana, James beard foundation house, French culinary institute and Eataly all in New York City.
Sandra Lotti has published a few books, Italian and English listed below:
– Sapore Di maremma
– A taste of Tuscany
– L’anno Toscano
– Zuppe Della Toscano
– Il fornello racconta