A Workshop in Italy with Dianne Jacob and Demet Güzey, October 2022

Join a small group of food lovers for a writing retreat in a magnificent 500-year old villa in Northern Italy. Come write in a nurturing environment, 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.

When: October , 2022
Where: Verona (San Pietro in Cariano), Italy
Venue: Villa Ludwig House  

There will be writing sessions with feedback. Dianne and Demet will share our experiences of writing recipes, personal essays, and books. You will have lots of immersive time and personal attention from your instructors. Private consultations will offer a chance to answer questions and discuss your writing plans.

We have an entire Italian villa, grounds and pool to ourselves. You will enjoy beautiful lodgings and views of the Valpolicella wine region while you expand your knowledge, skills and approach to food writing.

Each day we will have inspiring activities and trips. Here are some highlights:
– Tortellini making cooking class at a well-known restaurant

– Tour of one of the oldest local wineries

– Visit to an award winning Panettone baker

– Guided tour of Verona city center

The Location

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, write and eat in its high-ceilinged common rooms, take walks in the huge Italian garden, and swim in the property’s above-ground 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.

Before class begins, participants will receive handouts on writing examples by the world’s foremost food writers. During the writing sessions, you will write and receive feedback from the instructors. Each participant will have a one-on-one consultation with each instructor about writing goals or career strategies.

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.


$2850 US per person for single occupancy

$2550 US per person for double occupancy

Partners and friends are welcome! Participants not joining the writing workshop (but all other trips): $2000 US

Sign up now to get an Early bird’s discount: Sign-up by Aug 4 to get $200 US off.

What’s included: 

Accommodations for 4 nights, all workshop sessions, 4 breakfasts, 3 dinners and 4 lunches with wine, all visits, tours and tastings, 1 cooking class.

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 until Aug 3, 2022. If you cancel after this but before September 19 you will receive a full refund minus a $250 US service charge.

All registrants will receive an email with payment instructions. For questions and to sign up, email Dianne 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; 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, food in art, and food writing. She is the author of Mustard and Food on Foot Her writing is published in printed journals and online, such as Eaten, Gastronomica and The Smart Set.

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 stomach and to share it with others at culinary events she organises (

Demet lectures on food writing at the Master of Gastronomy program of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and at Ozyegin University in Istanbul, teaches Food in Art for Le Cordon Bleu online, and teaches Food and Culture to American university students at The University Studies Abroad Consortium USAC Verona.


Wednesday, October 5/26, 2022

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

5:00 – 7:00 Welcome aperitivo of prosecco with snacks, in the villa’s garden. Students will introduce themselves. The instructors will review the workshop activities and its goals.

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 featuring typical Veronese dishes such as risotto with the most prestigious local dry red wine Amarone, bigoli pasta wih a duck ragu, and beef cheeks stewed in local sweet ripasso wine and served with polenta.

October 6/27, 2022:

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

8:30 – 9:30 Food Writing Technique with Dianne

10:00 – 2:00 Cooking class with chef Ada of Enoteca della Valpolicella, one of the best restaurants of the region, offering local dishes with slow food philosophy. Students will take notes and/or photograph as research for later writing. After the workshop will have lunch with Ada’s signature dishes such as ricotta with apple mostarda, duck breast served with honey and Recioto sauce and our hand-made tortelli.

2:30 – 4:00 Break to wander the garden, nap, swim 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 A light dinner at the villa, featuring selected wines paired with local Sopressa salumi, Monte Veronese mountain cheese, and chicory salad. For dessert, we’ll have gelato from one of the best ice cream shops nearby. Pistachio is Demet’s favorite, but there will also be melon, fig and tiramisu.

Friday, October 7/28, 2022:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

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

A view of the vineyards of “Valpolicella, the valley of many cellars.”

11:30 – 12:30 Visit to an award winning Panettone baker

1:00- 3:00 Lunch at a trattoria in Verona

3:30 – 4:30 Guided tour of Verona

Free time in Verona

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

Saturday, October 8/29, 2022:

7:30 – 8:30 Breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 Writing workshop

10:00 – 1:00 “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. We will then have a lunch outside with the view of the vineyards.

1:30 – 4:00: Break to wander the garden, nap, swim or check email.

4:00 – 5:00 Writing workshop

5:00 – 7:00 Private consultations.

7:30 – 09:30 Dinner at Castrum Relais e Ristorante, a genuine kitchen in an old castle with its spectacular views over Valpolicella to sample a mix of Italian cuisine, such as river trout marinated with citrus, lovage and Cantabrian Sea anchovies, dumplings from South Tirol, and Black Angus beef roasted in a wood oven. 

Sunday, October 9/30, 2022:

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 Dianne at


Book Cover

Mustard: A Global History

Winner of Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Published by Reaktion in December, 2019

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Book Cover

Food on Foot: A History of Eating on Trails and in the Wild

Published in April 2017 by Rowman & Littlefield

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