Discovering Puglia - Cooking Holidays In Italy: Puglia Cooking Tour Vacations
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Discovering Puglia
Mola di Bari, Puglia

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About the location: Lecce and Bari are two of the region’s larger and more lively cities. Approximately an hour from Bari you will find the Masseria, a charming countryside mansion from the 17th century. The property is surrounded by acres of olive grove and vineyards and is situated in the heart of the Puglia region, on a hill overlooking the seaside town of Mola di Bari. Once the summer residence of the family, the Masseria is now a unique place to relax in a tranquil setting.

The core of the property is the great stone room, once used as a “frantoio,” or olive mill. It is now used as a living room, full of historic charm and atmosphere. All of the bedrooms feature spacious bathrooms, antique furniture, fabrics and linens of the finest quality, A/C and satellite TV.

About the lessons: Your hands-on lesson will be led by the owner of the property. Once a journalist specializing in environmental and agricultural studies, she now devotes her time to the studies of Puglia’s culinary history and southern identity, teaching the art of creating wonderful and authentic Puglian cuisine, with many recipes taken from the cookbooks written by the women of her family throughout the centuries.

Discovering Puglia Itinerary

Day 1: Sunday

  • Arrive on your own and check-in to the masseria after 4:00 p.m.
  • Take some time to relax or wander around.
  • After meeting Rita, enjoy an Italian-style aperitivo followed by a welcome dinner. Tonight’s dinner features dishes such as the one the owner’s great grandmother, Donna Ritella d’Erario Recchia, Baronessa di Tolve, prepared for her guests. Drinks will be served in antique family glasses.
  • Overnight.

Day 2: Monday

  • After breakfast you’ll walk along the narrow streets of Mola, knocking on the doors of the farmers, who display their daily products of vegetables and fruit on “seggioline,” or little chairs, outdoors in this bustling little town. You will always receive a complimentary smile when you knock on the door to ask for a kilo of figs, or cherries, or “cime di rape.” Here we’ll buy the products that you’ll use during your cooking lesson.
  • Today’s class will explore everyone’s favorite dish, “la pasta,” both dried and homemade. You will learn to prepare fresh pasta and cook many recipes with pasta and vegetables, pasta with legumes and much more.
  • Enjoy the dishes you’ve made for lunch.
  • In the afternoon, when the local fishermen return with their latest catch, visit the local fish market in Mola. It’s a Pugliese habit to go to the fish market almost every day for fresh fish to cook in all sorts of ways, from brodetto, raia alla pizzaiola, spaghetti with black squid ragu, and grano ai frutti di mare. Return to the kitchen for your next cooking class focusing on fresh, delicious fish dishes. Dinner to follow.
  • Overnight.

Day 3: Tuesday

  • Breakfast.
  • Depart for the fairytale countryside of Valle d’Itria, the valley of trulli, the dry-stone cone-shaped old buildings. During this trip, yu’ll visit some of the most famous caves in the area, home to some of the best white wines in the region.
  • Lunch in the beautiful village of Locorotondo.
  • In the afternoon, visit the historic town of Conversano, and you’ll have the chance to experience a relaxing massage in a spa (at an additional cost, please inquire).
  • Return to the masseria for a BBQ dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 4: Wednesday

  • Breakfast.
  • Take part in a cooking demonstration focused on how to prepare mozzarella. Lunch to follow in the masseria and may include focaccia, panzerotti, ricotta cheese cake, and some vegetables.
  • In the afternoon, continue on to Polignano, where you’ll have some free time to visit the old villages with their breathtaking terraces on the sea.
  • Dinner tonight will be at a lovely winery and osteria, where there will also be a wine tasting of some of Puglai’s best wines. Polignano by night is so romantic!
  • Overnight.

Day 5: Thursday

  • Breakfast.
  • Today will start in Trani, a medieval town with a wonderful Romanesque Cathedral by the sea. Walk through the town’s old center and then continue up to Barletta — a wonderful coastal town — with a stop at a Moscato cave.
  • Stop for a lunch in a nice osteria in Barletta.
  • Afterwards, visit an interesting exhibition displaying the art of a famous painter from the town, Giuseppe de Nittis, who lived in Naples, Paris, and London during the “Belle Epoque” Impressionist period.
  • Return to the masseria for dinner.
  • Overnight.

Day 6: Friday

  • Breakfast.
  • Orecchiette with ragu di carne is a popular local dish that’s often enjoyed on Sundays in Puglia. Since ragu takes a long time to cook, you’ll start your next cooking lesson by preparing the ragu that you’ll enjoy for dinner tonight.
  • The class continues with a lesson all about fresh bread, taralli (savory biscuits), and cakes.
  • Lunch on your own.
  • The rest of the day is on your own to relax and perhaps go shopping.
  • After a festive dinner, enjoy the desserts you made earlier in the day.
  • Overnight.

Day 7: Saturday

  • Breakfast and departure on your own.