A Culinary Adventure in Puglia Reviews
We had an excellent experience all round. Just the right combination of sight-seeing and cooking. The Masseria Salamina was superb: both the accommodation and the staff suited us perfectly. We were met at Bari airport and driven straight to the Masseria where we were warmly welcomed by Chiara and we met Augusto who introduced us to the other guests and discussed our schedule with us.
Chiara and her staff were charming, friendly and helpful and the cooking classes both fun and instructive. The meals were delicious.
Augusto was a superb guide, friendly, helpful and interesting in his explanations of the local geography, history and customs. The choice of places to visit was excellent: interesting farms, winery, dairy, butchery and smoked meat business. He paced us just right in walking around towns and places of interest.
Cooking school was beyond expectations
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"Ã‚Â 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 signÃ‚Â. 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 spoiledÃ‚Â 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.
I was thoroughly impressed with your European partners! They were like family. We toured by day and cooked at night it was a fun filled adventure. The accommodations were amazing and it was wonderful to have all our meals taken care of. Our experience was unbelievable the sights and tours were amazing.
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] It was good.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Everything went smoothly.
[Additional comments:] Augusto our tour guide was so knowledgable and so connected with the local region...we enjoyed ever moment with him!
Courtney B. & Brittany G., UT
When I first decided to book a cooking vacation, you might remember that I called you as I had narrowed down the selection to either Tuscany or Puglia.Ã‚Â Your input helped me make the decision to go to Puglia.Ã‚Â What a perfect choice that was.Ã‚Â We absolutely loved Puglia.Ã‚Â What a beautiful place.
The masseria was beautiful as well.Ã‚Â The people were incredibly accommodating and friendly.Ã‚Â Our room was great and the terrace outside the room had a wonderful view.Ã‚Â We could see the Adriatic from it.Ã‚Â
Our guide for the week, Augusto, was outstanding.Ã‚Â His knowledge of the area made every excursion so much more than we had anticipated.Ã‚Â The tours he took us on were so very interesting.Ã‚Â As the week progressed and we got to know each other better, we so enjoyed laughing and chatting about Italy and Canada and many other topics.Ã‚Â I think one of the things we will remember most was how much fun we had.
Chiara, the chef at the Masseria, was a terrific teacher.Ã‚Â She took us patiently through many recipes.Ã‚Â The hands-on experience made each item come alive.Ã‚Â I know I am going to be making several things from the many we learned.Ã‚Â And having the recipes given to us to bring home will make sure whatever we make here will turn out perfectly (or at least I hope so!).
I cannot say enough about how the week exceeded our expectations.Ã‚Â I would, without hesitation, recommend Puglia, the masseria, and The International Kitchen to anyone looking for a cooking vacation.
The experience was amazing! We spent a week in the Pulia region of Italy. At the end of six days and four cooking classes, we had a special appreciation and understanding of the culture and people. We visited family owned producers of olive oil, cheese, and meat. The family owned Masseria made us feel at home as soon as we arrived and were very attentive. Chiara made the cooking classes fun and informative. Augusto was our guide throughout the entire time of our visit. We visited several towns as he narrated the history, suggested good restaurants as well as shopping and helped us translate to communicate better. He was very flexible and helpful throughout our stay.
The International Kitchen staff was very courteous and knowledgeable. We truly enjoyed ourselves and had a great vacation. This program is comprehensive and well organized. We learned so much in the classes and were introduced to new foods and cooking techniques. We were always made to feel welcomed and comfortable. We did have a full schedule everyday as there was so much to see and do. Perhaps there would be a way to create some down time. We had a wonderful post trip and were able to meet and visit with family. Many beautiful memories were created on this trip!
Took great care of us. I became ill the first few days of trip and they treated us like family. Augusto is in love with Puglia and it showed in all of his tours and question/answers. Chiara is lovely. If i ever go back to Italy I dont want to go anywhere else. Maresa in the kitchen was a patient and caring assistant. Fillipo welcoming and the staff very patient with language attempts. Best trip ever.