FOOD AND WINE WRITING WORKSHOP  With Dianne Jacob and Demet Güzey 

Join an intimate group of 6-8 food lovers for a writing retreat in a magnificent 500-year old villa in Northern Italy. Now in its third year, this writing workshop takes place in summer. You can enjoy the best of the Italian countryside, and even catch an opera during the famous Verona Opera Festival on one of our free evenings.

The villa where we hold our workshop is over-the-top gorgeous. Inside you’ll find high ceilings, murals, painted wooden beams, marble floors, chandeliers and views of the Valpolicella countryside. Outside there’s a rolling lawn with mature trees and statuary, lots of comfortable seating for lounging, a pool, a vineyard, and an area for badminton. We will hold some classes and meals al fresco.

When: June 30 – July 6, 2019 
Where: Verona (San Pietro in Cariano), Italy
Venue: Villa San Bonifacio in the Valpolicella countryside
For the first time, our workshop runs for 6 days instead of 4. There’s time to immerse yourself in food writing techniques in a serene, spectacular location. You will love our daily outings to artisan food producers, fine restaurants and world-class wineries. And there’s time to relax and enjoy the spectacular location. Accompanying guests are welcome, as they can join us on all outings and for all meals.

Registration Deadline is April 30!

Inspired by beautiful lodgings and views of the Valpolicella wine region, you will expand your knowledge and approach to food writing in all its forms, including recipe writing, personal essays, and cookbooks. A small group means lots of immersive time and personal attention from your instructors.

You will write about our culinary excursions to local artisans and receive feedback from the instructors. We will practice writing with our senses, learn about the language of wine, and discuss trends, writing cookbooks and recipes. A private consultation offers you a chance to discuss your writing and career goals. At the end, you will leave the workshop with improved writing skills, and 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.

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. We’ll teach you about techniques to improve your writing, introduce you to wine writing and how to taste, and cover recipe writing and cookbooks.

The food: Food writers need to eat and drink well, so there are gourmet meals, with dishes selected by a Cordon Bleu instructor who lives in the region. We will kick off our event with a welcome aperitivo of prosecco and snacks, in the villa’s garden. Our breakfast at the villa each day will feature local breads, cheeses, butter, eggs, and jams. Lunches following a visit to a food producer or a wine maker will be a chances to sample dishes such as porchetta (crispy pork roast), risotto all’onda (wavy risotto) and fresh pasta with truffles from nearby Lessinia mountains. Dinners can be rustic, featuring typical Veronese dishes such as risotto with dry red wine Amarone, and beef cheeks stewed in local sweet ripasso wine. We will also go to a dinner at a Michelin guide recommended restaurant and wine cellar which features local and seasonal produce in contemporary dishes. You might dine on fresh tuna with saffron cream and artichokes, and cod with black lentils and grilled polenta.

Eggplant parmigiana
Gnocchi with burrata
State-of-the-art desserts

The wine: “Now who would join me in a glass of Valpolicella?” wrote Hemingway in Across the River and into the Trees. We take advantage of what this wine valley offers: world-famous local wines including Prosecco, Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto. We will learn about wine writing and taste, describe and pair wines with our lunches and dinners.

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

Cooking class: We’ll visit a high-end restaurant, one of the best of the region, offering local dishes with style and a slow food philosophy, where we will learn how to make tender, flavorful filled pasta.

Learn how to make tender tortelli with a professional cook. Later we will eat them, as part of our lunch (Photo by Dianne Jacob).

In addition to two gourmet dinners at nearby restaurants, our workshop includes a:
– Tortelli making cooking class at a Slow Food-awarded restaurant, preceded by a talk from the owner and followed by an elaborate lunch
– Tour and tasting at two prestigious wineries
– Tasting of cold cuts at a unique salumeria, followed by a comforting lunch made by the owner
– Homemade pasta and porchetta lunch at the modern restaurant of a local butcher shop.
– Visit to a historical rice mill, followed by a lunch with three types of risotto and a trip to the rice fields.
– Goodbye dinner at a Michelin Guide recommended restaurant in Valpolicella.

Enjoy samples of tender cured meats, followed by a lunch cooked by the butcher himself (Photo by Owen Rubin).

You Can Bring a Friend: At most writing workshops, instructors expect you to come alone. But here you can focus on your writing and bring your partner, a friend or a family member. Past students have brought spouses, mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends who are travel partners. Guests attend all meals and outings, which take place every day. While you are writing or in a class, they can enjoy the grounds, walk around the town or nearby vineyards, swim or just relax with a good book.

Free Evenings Out: Demet will help you book a ride to Verona and/or purchase opera tickets. She will also recommend restaurants in Verona and help you make a reservation.

What Students Say About Our Workshop

“I would definitely recommend the workshop to anyone the slightest bit interested in food and/or wine writing. Even if you are simply looking to find inspiration or learn how to “tweet” or “microblog” better, I think it would be beneficial.” 

– Jillian Fae, personal chef, California

“It was a fantastic group and I learned a lot from Dianne and Demet. The villa, restaurants and tours were wonderful. The entire experience gave me the creative boost I needed.”

– Lisa Marie Todd, lifestyle and food blogger, Los Angeles, CA

“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, writer,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, writer, 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, blogger, 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, and a pool.

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-story 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 write and relax over breakfast each day (Photo by Owen Rubin).

On two of the evenings you will be free to discover Verona’s architecture, which blends styles from Roman, Middle Ages and the Renaissance periods. You can even see an opera at the Roman amphitheater Arena. Co-instructor Demet, who lives in the historical center of Verona, will make recommendations for the best restaurants and help with opera tickets.

Registration Fee

Each bedroom is beautifully appointed and spacious, with high ceilings. All bathrooms are en suite and include a bathtub and shower. Some rooms are connected to another equally beautiful bedroom, perfect for bringing a friend.

Accommodations depend on your needs, desires or budget. All bedrooms and bathrooms are spacious and equipped with a television and air conditioning.
The cost ranges from €2790 per person (approximately $3165 US) to €3250 (approximately $3700 US) per person. Choose from:
– A luxurious master suite with bath on the top floor (there is only one!): €3250 (apx. $3700 US)
– A large double room with ensuite bathroom (there are three): €2950 (apx. $3350 US) per person
– Two connected double rooms with shared ensuite bathroom (there are three): €3100 (apx. $3500 US) per person for a single use. These adjoined rooms work just as well for one participant or two. If you invite a second workshop participant to stay in the other room, each of your fees will be reduced by 10%, to €2790 (apx. $3165 US) per person. 

– If you bring a non-participating partner, a family member or a friend, he or she can join us for all meals and outings. The cost is €1700 (apx. $1950 US). 

Book early to get the room you want!

What’s included: Accommodations for 6 nights, all workshop sessions, 6 breakfasts, 4 dinners including 2 at excellent Italian restaurants, 6 lunches, visits to an artisan food producer, a guided tour of a historical rice mill, 1 cooking class at an excellent local restaurant, and 2 winery visits with wine tasting. And of course, we include food and wine writing instruction each day by two instructors.

This huge en suite bathroom features parquet floors, a chandelier and a hand-painted ceiling.
Enjoy a large, comfortable bedroom with an en suite bath.


What’s not included: Two dinners. Airfare or transportation to or from the villa, and travel or medical 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 April 30, 2019 (60 days before the workshop). If you need to cancel between May 1 and May 16, 2019, you will receive a 50% refund (up until 45 days before the workshop). There will be no refunds from May 17, 2019 until the start of the workshop.

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

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).
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, Eaten 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 their son, and speaks Italian (and wine language) fluently. She has lived in the US, the Netherlands, and France, loves to discover a culture through its food and to share it with others in her writing, lectures and events.

For questions and to sign up, email Demet at