A Culinary Adventure in Puglia
With more than 300 days of sun a year and 500 miles of coastline, the heel of Italy — known as Puglia — is a beautiful region known for its warm climate, full-bodied wines, and fresh seafood. The rural landscape is populated with fortified castles, olive groves, and whitewashed Trulli, distinctive conical shaped dwellings that distinguish Puglia from other parts of the country. The region may be a lesser known area of the country, but its offerings are immense.
The gastronomy in Puglia is influenced by Italy's neighboring countries and past invaders — Greeks, French, Germans, and Arabs — as well as both the agriculture and the sea. You'll find olives here, as well as grapes, figs, and almonds. Local cuisine specialties include seafood risotto, fava beans, orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), as well as burrata, a creamy cheese somewhat like mozzarella.
About the accommodations: Similar to an agriturismo, masserias are country homes that operate in Puglia both as hotels and working farms. During this cooking adventure, your accommodations are located near Brindisi in a masseria surrounded by olive trees that were planted more than 400 years ago. The unique estate has been renovated and altered over the past few centuries; rooms that were once noble quarters are now charming rooms for guests. The 11 rooms, and 8 apartments, are decorated with antique furniture while still offering modern touches. The beautiful property also features a swimming pool and restaurant. The owners also produce, and sell, olive oil using the 11,000 trees on their property.
About the cooking classes: Your hands-on cooking classes take place in the kitchens of your masseria, which is registered as an educational farm in Puglia. This means that the property has existed for over 20 years, and offers educational activities in addition to their farming work. The courses are led by either Chiara, one of the family members, or the chef of the property, Damiano Vinci. Chiara has managed the masseria's restaurant since 2007, and has led cooking shows for the Puglia Region Authority, as well as an educational laboratory for a group of foreign journalists. In the past, Chef Vinci has worked for a number renowned Puglia restaurants. Both specialize in Apulian cuisine, and look forward to sharing a rich culinary tradition with you!
Custom Biking and Cooking or Walking and Cooking itineraries also available!