Rustico Culinary Tours Early Access

Rustico Culinary Tours Early Access - A Glimpse of 2020 Tours!

Hello from Dino and Micol in New York!

You are receiving this note because you are on our exclusive Culinary Tour Early Access List – less than 200 of you in all, compared to over 18,000 of our newsletter subscribers.

As you already know, our two Tuscany tours scheduled for spring 2019 sold out very quickly. The response has been so positive that we are now putting together a couple of tours for May and June of 2020. As always, space will be limited so we will be updating you immediately on our plans.

We’ll be posting our new cooking tour offerings in a couple of months. There will be a tour to Tuscany and Central Italy. In addition, we’re also working with the owners of a gorgeous villa in Puglia near Alberobello (a quaint town known for its ancient homes with conical roofs) to create a week-long cooking vacation in Southern Italy.  Depending on the response, we may add an additional tour in September 2020.

We’re very excited about these future tours: we have sought out the best restaurants, breathtaking locales, and passionate food artisans to create unforgettable experiences for you.

So be on the lookout for our updated cooking tour schedule early in the new year...We’ll email you in advance of our subscriber list to give you “first dibs” on reserving your spots, since you expressed an interest in traveling with us in the next year or two and since many of you asked to be on the waiting list for our 2019 tours.

And if you have a spare moment this holiday season, try the recipe below for ricotta pandolce… not too sweet, just right with a cup of tea or coffee on a lazy winter day!

We hope you have a marvelous, food-filled, joyous holiday season, and most of all, a healthy and peaceful 2019!


Ricotta Pandolce


This is a simplified and Ricotta-enriched version of Pandolce; the classic Ligurian recipe calls for yeast instead of baking powder. The sugar and butter glaze keeps the pandolce moist for days, so wrap the pandolce in foil and store at room temperature---never refrigerate—for up to a week after baking. If you’ve never tried Fiori di Sicilia, it is an amazing extract that tastes like jasmine, vanilla, and orange blossom; you can order it from

Makes 1 (8-inch) pandolce

For the dough:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almonds, chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 4 dried apricots, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 cup diced candied orange, citron, and lemon (whatever mix you have handy)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk Ricotta
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2  teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Make the dough: Preheat the oven to 300°F (preferably set on convection). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add the cold butter, and mix with your fingers until the ingredients resemble coarse meal. Stir in the toasted almonds, pine nuts, dried apricots, raisins, and candied fruit.  

Stir in the Ricotta, egg yolk, and Fiori di Sicilia.  Beat well with a fork to break down the Ricotta.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead it gently two or three times, just long enough so it holds together. It will be a bit sticky, which is fine. DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH AND DO NOT ADD EXTRA FLOUR.

Pat into an 8-inch-long, 1-inch-thick oval. Fold the oval in half the long way, then seal the seam gently with the back of your hand. Place on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Transfer to a cooling rack. Brush with half of the melted butter. Dust with half of the confectioners' sugar. Repeat, first with the butter and then with the confectioner’s sugar, making a thick glaze. Cool and serve in thin slices.