FOOD AND WINE WRITING WORKSHOP  With Dianne Jacob and Demet Güzey – Sold out with waiting list        

Last year’s sold-out workshop was such a success that we’ve decided to do it again! Join a small group of 6-7 food lovers for a writing retreat in a magnificent 500-year old villa in Northern Italy.

This villa was so over-the-top gorgeous — inside and out — that we’re doing our workshop here again. Inside you’ll find high ceilings, murals, painted wooden beams, marble floors, chandeliers and views of the Valipolicella countryside.

When: April 19-23, 2018 
Where: Verona (San Pietro in Cariano), Italy
Venue: Villa San Bonifacio                 This private 4-day retreat for a small group offers a chance to immerse yourself in food writing techniques and the power of storytelling in a serene, spectacular location.

Inspired by beautiful lodgings and views of the Valpolicella wine region, you will expand your knowledge and approach to food writing. A small group means lots of immersive time and personal attention from your instructors. You will write about three culinary excursions to local artisans and get feedback from two instructors. We will review food writing techniques, practice writing with our senses, learn about the language of wine, and discuss food writing trends. There will also be time for two private consultations. At the end of this immersion into Italian food and culture, you will leave the workshop with more clarity about your own projects and how to pursue them.

Because you will generate new writing, you simply begin where you are. You don’t need to submit work in advance. You will work in a nurturing environment that engages and challenges you, whether you’re a published writer or someone who has never written much at all but wants to do so. This is a fun, inspiring time designed to ignite your passion for the stories you want to tell.

In addition to two gourmet dinners at nearby restaurants, our workshop includes a:
– Tortelli making cooking class at a well-known restaurant, followed by lunch
– Tour of a prestigious world-class winery, with a wine tasting
– Tasting at a famous salumeria, followed by lunch.


“The workshop was delightful. The highlight, for me, was the people! Dianne and Demet were helpful, fun and extremely knowledgeable. The participants and guests were accomplished, fascinating folks whom it was a pleasure to get to know. Then, of course, there was the food and wine, and the dedicated people who took the time to give us an inside look at the intricacies of preparation involved.

I enjoyed the writing exercises, as I knew I would. The lecture-type sessions–always good to hear things you may know but need to be reminded.  And I learned so much about wine! The meals were terrific, of course. There was so much food!

The outings were wonderful. The pace was good, too. Just enough doing interspersed with relaxation. I would heartily recommend the workshop to anyone who loves Italy (that’s everyone who’s ever been there), writing and fabulous food and wine.”

— Helen Lippman, New Jersey

“I feel refreshed and more engaged in the writing community after my time spent with such a lovely group of talented women writers. What a treat it was! I truly appreciate the hard work and dedication you put into the program—it was very well done. And thank you for sharing your experience with someone so new to the professional writing world. I am honored to have learned from such accomplished women!

My mom and aunt were thrilled to be able to join our group. Their first experience overseas well exceeded their expectations thanks to you two! I don’t think they knew that such great food and wine existed. It was a trip they’ll never forget. I think we are all spoiled now!”

— Jessica Vaughn, Missouri

“What a joy it was to be a part of the food-wine-writing-villa extravaganza. I thought the whole workshop was wonderful in all ways–the villa, the people, the instruction and private consults, the eating and wine tasting and food preparation. All.I am thankful that I had this unique experience, that my husband could join in, and I’m excited to see what writing/art projects evolve from all I learned and experienced.”

— Lynn Archer, California

The Location

The garden of the villa where you can take stimulating walks. You’ll find beautiful, mature trees, statuary, and many places to sit and admire the landscape. There’s a vineyard on the property too.

The city of Verona is a 1.5-hour drive (150 kilometers) from Milan and Venice airports. You can also fly into Verona airport or arrive in the city center by train. Just a 15-minute drive outside Verona is Valpolicella, the wine region famous for Amarone, a strong red wine and Recioto, both made from dried local grapes.
Our retreat takes place at a 17th century Palladian villa in San Pietro in Cariano. The three-storey building was designed in the style of Palladio, whose genius has inspired generations of architects.We will gather to study in its high-ceilinged common rooms, eat at its generous dining room table, and walk in the huge Italian garden and vineyard.

The villa’s formal dining room, where we will do our lectures and relax over breakfast each day. Our breakfasts will include custom coffee drinks, fresh breads, local cheeses and jams, fruit and eggs.

On one of the evenings you will be free to discover Verona’s architecture, which blends styles from Roman, Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods. Demet, who lives in the historical center of Verona, will make recommendations to the best restaurants.
Before class begins, participants will receive handouts on writing examples by the world’s foremost food writers. When the workshop begins, you will have a chance to state your writing goals and discuss them with the instructors. During the writing sessions, you will write and receive feedback. We will discuss writing technique, pitching articles, and writing cookbooks and blogs. Each day we will meet in the dining room, common rooms, or garden. Students will write about the culinary excursions, and receive feedback and ideas on where to get them published.

Each participant will have a 30-minute one-on-one consultation with each instructor about writing goals or career strategies.


Accommodations depend on your needs, desires or budget. All bedrooms are extremely large and equipped with a television. Cost ranges from €1750 per person (approximately $2080 US) to €2075 (approximately $2465 US) per person. Choose from:

Each bedroom is beautifully appointed and spacious, with high ceilings. Bathrooms are en suite and include a bathtub and shower.

– A luxurious master suite with bath on the top floor (only one!): €2075 (apx. $2465US)
– A large double room with ensuite bathroom (there are three): €1935 (apx. $2300 US) per person
– Two connected double rooms with shared ensuite bathroom (there are three): €2025 (apx. $2400 US) per person for a single use. These adjoined rooms work just as well for one participant or two. If you choose to invite a second participant to stay in the second room, each of your fees are reduced to €1750 (apx. $2080 US) per person. 

– If you would like to bring a non-participating partner or friend, he or she can join us for all meals and outings. The cost is €1100 (apx. $1365 US). 

Book early to get the room you want!

What’s included: Accommodations for 4 nights, all workshop sessions, 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners including 2 at excellent Italian restaurants, all lunches, visits to an artisan food producer, 1 cooking class, and a winery visit with wine tasting.

What’s not included: One dinner. Airfare or transportation to or from the villa, or travel insurance.

How to pay: Payment is due in full at the time of your reservation. Cancellations will be fully refunded except for a service fee of €250 until February 1, 2018 (75 days before the workshop). If you need to cancel between February 2 and March 24, 2018, you will receive a 50% refund (up until 30 days before the workshop). There will be no refunds from March 25, 2018 until the start of the workshop.

All registrants will receive an email with payment instructions. For questions and to sign up, email Demet at

What’s Different About Our Workshop

Instruction: Many writing workshops offer little instruction, just a continental breakfast and lots of time to write on your own or in a group. Our workshop offers expert advice from two experienced instructors, every day, plus a private consultation.

The food: Food writers need to eat and drink well, so there are gourmet meals, with dishes selected by an instructor who lives in the region.

The wine: We will take advantage of what this wine valley offers: world-famous local wines including Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto. We will taste, describe and pair them with our dinners.

Cooking class. We’ll visit a high-end restaurant and learn how to make tender, flavorful filled pasta.

The Instructors

Dianne Jacob is the author of the multiple award winning book Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Memoir, Recipes, and More  (Da Capo/Lifelong Books). She is also the co-author of two cookbooks with Chef Craig Priebe: The United States of Pizza (Rizzoli, 2015) and Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas (DK Publishing, 2008; and the writer of The Good Pantry (Oxmoor House, 2015), with recipes from Cooking Light.
As a freelance writer, she has written for Lucky Peach, The Washington Post, and Gastronomica. Her 2016 essay in Lucky PeachThe Meaning of Mangoes, was the grand prize winner of the M.F.K. Fisher Awards for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames Escoffier International. It also won Best Essay from the Association of Food Journalists, and was included in Best Food Writing 2016.

A former journalist and publishing company editor-in-chief, Dianne is a full-time writing coach, author, and freelance editor. Her well-known blog Will Write for Food is aimed at writers and covers trends, issues, and techniques. Dianne has spoken and taught at events and workshops around the world for more than a decade, including in London, Dubai, Vancouver, Turkey, France and Australia.

Demet Güzey, Ph.D., is a writer and lecturer of food and culture. She is the author of Food on Foot: A History of Eating on Trails and in the Wild (Rowman & Litttlefield). Her writing is published in printed journals and online, such as Gastronomica and The Smart Set.

Demet lectures on food writing at the Master of Gastronomy program of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and teaches Food and Culture to American university students at The University Studies Abroad Consortium USAC Verona.
A native of Istanbul, Demet lives in Verona with her Italian husband and speaks Italian (and wine language) fluently. She has lived in the US, Netherlands, France, loves to discover a culture through its food and to share it with others in her articles, lectures and at culinary workshops she organises (

Food and Wine Writing Program

Thursday, April 19, 2018

3:00 Check into the villa. Demet and Dianne will be there to greet you and show you to your room.

5:00 – 6:00 Welcome aperitivo of prosecco with snacks, in the villa’s garden. All attendees will introduce themselves. The instructors will review the workshop activities and its goals.

6:00 – 7:00 Students gather to discuss their specific goals with the instructors.

7:30 – 9:00 Dinner at Locanda Dal Nane. Bordering a gently-terraced vineyard and situated in a rustic building overlooking a small garden, the restaurant features typical Veronese dishes such as risotto with dry red wine Amarone, and beef cheeks stewed in local sweet ripasso wine, served with polenta. Leave room for the fancy desserts!

Friday, April 20, 2018:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast at the villa. Our breakfast each day will feature local breads, cheeses, butter, eggs, and jams.

8:30 – 9:30 Food writing technique with Dianne.

10:00 – 2:00 Tortellini cooking class and lunch at Enoteca della Valpolicella, one of the best restaurants of the region, offering local dishes with style and a slow food philosophy. Students will take notes and/or photograph as research for later writing.

Learn how to make tender tortelli with a professional cook. Later we will eat them, as part of our lunch.

2:30 – 4:00 Break to wander the garden, nap or check email.

4:00 – 5:30 Class: Write about our experience, with readings. Dianne will host and offer feedback.

6:00 – 7:00 The Language of Wine, a session with Demet about how to taste and describe wine.

7:30 – 9:30 Dinner at the villa, featuring wines paired with local cheese, salad, savory pies, and gelato.

Saturday, April 21, 2018:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 10:30 Food writing trends with Dianne

11:00 – 2: 30 “Now who would join me in a glass of Valpolicella?” wrote Hemingway in Across the River and into the Trees. We’ll take a literary visit to the historical family vineyard of Quintarelli, whose wine has been the favorite of the great writer. Students will take notes and/or photograph as research for later writing. Lunch follows at a local restaurant that specializes in porchetta, crispy pork roast.

Wine tasting in the historical cellar of Quintarelli gives the best impression of local Valpolicella wines.

3:00 – 4:30: Break to wander the garden, nap or check email.

4:30 – 5:30 Writing session based on winery visit, with readings. Demet will host and offer feedback.

5:30 – 7:00 Private consultations with part of the attendees.

Free evening out to explore the romantic city of Verona at your own pace. Demet will provide restaurant recommendations.

Sunday, April 22, 2018:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 –10:00 Writing with prompts, led by Demet

10:00 –11:00 Work on writing projects, expanding what you have started. Dianne will be on hand to answer questions.

11:00 – 12:00 Private consultations, continued.

12:30 – 3:00 Visit to a salumeria to learn about its culatello aged in Amarone wines, including lunch.

Enjoy samples of tender cured meats, followed by a lunch cooked by the butcher himself.

3:30 – 4:30 Break to wander the garden, nap or check email.

4:30 – 5:30 Trends in blogs, cookbooks and feature writing, with Dianne

5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Private consultations, continued.

7:30 – 11:00 Dinner at Michelin guide recommended restaurant and wine cellar Locanda ‘800, which interprets local and seasonal produce in contemporary dishes, such as grilled octopus with potato puree and crustacean mayonnaise, fresh tuna with saffron cream and artichokes, and cod with black lentils and grilled polenta.

Monday, April 23, 2018:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 Workshop feedback and final networking. Group photo!

10:00 Checkout.

For questions and to sign up, email Demet at