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.

Similar to an agriturismo, masserias are country homes that operate in Puglia both as hotels and working educational farms. To use the name a property has to have existed for over 20 years, and must offer educational activities in addition to their farming work. 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 masseria is a family affair, run by a brother and sister team, and the latter, Chiara, will be your cooking instructor during your Puglia adventure.

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.

Similar to an agriturismo, masserias are country homes that operate in Puglia both as hotels and working educational farms. To use the name a property has to have existed for over 20 years, and must offer educational activities in addition to their farming work. 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 masseria is a family affair, run by a brother and sister team, and the latter, Chiara, will be your cooking instructor during your Puglia adventure.


Latest Review

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The Pinto home is absolutely gorgeous. Although plain in its decor, the simplicity is a large part or the charm and beauty. Our room was accessed from the vestibule of the house, straight ahead from the main entrance. It was actually 2 rooms; 1 with two twin beds on opposite walls, a desk and a rear door to the terrace. Wall decorations were actually beautifully done needlepoint farm scenes. To the right was the entrance to the other bedroom which had the queen-size bed, a bureau for clothes, bedside tables and a baby crib (which we used to hang clothes). The bath was enormous with a walk-in shower with jets in the wall, a handheld and the traditional overhead sprayer. The old "barn" next to the house was where the industrial kitchen and the 2 rooms for meals; one large to serve 40 -50, the other small with 2 tables for 4 -6 each. This room also served as our area for making bread, pastas and desserts. The Pinto family couldn't have been more gracious. Dominico, the Dad; Isa, Mom and Chef; Nicole & Chiara, the 2 Daughters; and Vito, the 8 year old son, were so much fun. Chiara was with us the most (of the 3 siblings) and was most helpful. Isa was not only a fantastic cook, but a talented instructor. She never used a recipe, but focused on technique. Portions were relative; 2:1 or 3:1 or pinches and palmfuls were the measures; except when it came to baking; then everything was carefully measured, actually weighed. The entire family made us feel like we were part of their family, more than visitors. What wonderful people! Augusto was the first person we saw when we landed in Bari. He was a waiting for us with a sign. We were so happy to see him. Augusto was with us at least 11 hours every day (except Thursday afternoon when during our "free time" we elected to sit by the pool at Tenuta Pinto). Augusto was our tour guide, translator, companion, and, by the end of the week, our friend. He was with us when we cooked and ate. He was our guide on all of our adventures; olive oil factory, open air markets, pasta factory, meat processing plant, touring quaint towns in the countryside, and restaurant visits. He spoiled us, always saying if that's what you want, or we can, always making sure we were doing what we preferred. Not only was he very accommodating, he was always punctual. When he took us to the airport on our last day, we felt sad leaving, and also vulnerable; we were going out on our own off to Venice. Augusto truly made our stay a once in a lifetime experience. Summary: The International Kitchen folks (Karen Herbst and Richard Davis) did an excellent job coordinating our visit. They made it easy for us to enjoy our time in Italy. Their choice of accommodations with Tenuta Pinto and selection of Augusto as our guide could not have been more perfect. Our thanks to everyone! Herbert and Beverly D.

Trip Details

Your 4 hands-on cooking classes take place in the kitchens of your masseria and will be led by either Chiara or one of the other family members, or by the chef of the property, Damiano. 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 Damiano has worked for a number renowned Puglia restaurants. Both specialize in Apulian cuisine, and look forward to sharing a rich culinary tradition with you!
Classes will feature:

  • fresh and filled pastas and focaccia
  • pizza and traditional Apulian savory pastries
  • fish and seafood
  • desserts


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