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RECIPE - Tuscan Women Cook Brings the Culinary Flavors of Tuscany to Home Kitchens

Released: Sunday August 12, 2018 (Los Angeles, CA) - Trina Kaye Organization
RECIPE - Tuscan Women Cook Brings the Culinary Flavors of Tuscany to Home Kitchens
Ciambellone Toscano
Ciambellone Toscano

Take a delightful culinary trip to Tuscany without leaving your kitchen!

Have you ever wanted to learn to cook in Italy, to participate in Tuscan cooking classes and come home with authentic Italian recipes handed down over generations? If you can’t travel to Tuscany this year, try the next best thing: an easy and delicious Italian recipe straight from the medieval Italian village of Montefollonico in Tuscany.

There is nothing better than authentic Italian cuisine. Tuscan Women Cook takes home cooks on a glorious week-long total culinary immersion vacation in Tuscany. Nonnas, or grandmas, in the village teach participants how to cook time-honored family recipes in their kitchens. From hand-made pastas such as gnocchi, tagliatelle, and pici, to fresh vegetables and game, to desserts, participants gather around the table and dig in.

"Our local Tuscan women, or nonnas, teach recipes and techniques passed down from generation to generation, truly the great cooks of Tuscany!" says Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo, owners and hosts of Tuscan Women Cook. "The women of Montefollonico are all exceptional cooks. From a Michelin-starred restaurant chef to modest, but incredible home cooks, the women of Tuscan Women Cook delight all who cook with them."

The concept of seasonal cooking is not new to the women of Tuscany. Rather, these are methods and concepts that have been passed down and still practiced today. Most of the ingredients used in their recipes are grown in their home gardens with many picked just that morning.

For your next get-together, try this delicious little coffee cake that can be served with an afternoon cappuccino or after dinner with fresh fruit and gelato.

Recipe adapted by Tuscan Women Cook
Reprinted with permission of

Ciambellone Toscano
Serves 10 to 12

This flavorful little cake was served to us with afternoon coffee by one of our neighbors, Simonetta. Simonetta is the daughter of one of our first nonnas, Iolanda, who is a culinary legend in Montefollonico. Both are natives of the Tuscan village of Montefollonico and this coffee cake recipe has been a favorite of her family for generations.

Preheat oven to 350 F, rack in the center.
10-cup, tube or Bundt type pan, sprayed with non-stick spray.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
3-1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup whole milk
2 tsp freshly grated orange zest

1. In a mixing bowl, blend butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, blending in between each addition until fully incorporated.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter and mix well. Add in one-half cup milk and mix well. Continue adding in the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the remaining milk, blending until all is mixed well.
3. Fold in the orange zest.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing to the edges. Place in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
5. Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate. Dust with additional powdered sugar prior to serving.

OPTIONAL: This cake can be served with a scoop of your favorite gelato or ice cream and fresh seasonal fruit.

Coleen Kirnan and Rhonda Vilardo are two inventive business dynamos who decided to take a career risk that changed their lives. In 2014 they purchased Tuscan Women Cook, a unique culinary immersion vacation where participants learn to cook authentic Italian meals from legendary women in the Tuscan village of Montefollonico. This change in career has been extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally, for both women.

In spring and fall each year, Coleen and Rhonda welcome guests from around the world to live, breath, and cook as Italians do. Taking advantage of their years of business experience and knowledge, these master travel planners create an insider’s Tuscan itinerary filled with friendly, knowledgeable tour guides, translators, drivers and private cooking classes that only a local resident could access.

Coleen and Rhonda approach their partnership in running Tuscan Women Cook with enthusiasm, joy, and excitement, relishing the opportunity to jump openhearted into this new chapter of their lives, just as they did in their previous, high-profile careers. Theirs is a story of an extraordinary mid-life dream come true.

When Coleen and Rhonda are not in Tuscany, they live with their husbands and family in Los Angeles, California.

For more information on Coleen and Rhonda, go to


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