Cooking With Mammas, Wine & Olive Oil In Puglia’s Salento Country
Immerse yourself in the slow, healthy life of Puglia’s Salento region in the heel of Italy’s boot, famous for its fine wines like Salice Salentino and Primitivo, its olive oil, seafood from its clear blue seas and vegetables like chick peas, chicory, eggplant. Cook genuine, peasant style dishes, eat, drink and laugh with welcoming local mammas in their home and restaurant kitchens.
Your exuberant, local guides take you to visit their favourite people: wine makers in their cellars, olive oil producer on their land where all you can see is olive trees, mozzarella and ricotta making family, papier mache artist couple in their outdoor studio. You feel like you’re visiting local friends!
The beautiful Salento area with its slow pace of life, turquoise seas, sandy beaches and sun is getting discovered. Actresses Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren bought homes in smaller towns. Actor Gerard Depardieu bought one in Lecce.
On this southern Italian cooking school tour, you’ll marvel at the exquisite historic centre of Lecce, bathed in golden light from the amber stone that sets off its magnificent Baroque buildings and Roman amphitheatres. Relax on the sunny shores of two seas in two picturesque towns: Otranto on the Adriatic and Gallipoli on the Ionian. Explore brilliant, white, Greek-like hill towns like Ostuni and the countryside dotted with gnome-like trulli houses. You even visit a local mamma in her trullo home.
- private transport from/to Brindisi airport or Lecce train station
- 7 nights accommodation in room with private bath & abundant continental breakfast
- 4 hands-on cooking classes with 4 dishes and lunch following
- 6 lunches & 7 dinners: all meals
- 2 winery visits with tour & tastings + casual wine tastings with some cooking classes
- olive oil producer visit with picnic lunch and olive oil tasting under olive trees
- cheese maker family visit and tastings
- guided walking tours of 6 towns including Itria Valley home to trulli houses
- private visit and demonstration with papier mache artists
7 Night Italian Cooking School Puglia Itinerary
Arrival at Brindisi airport or Lecce train station. Private transfer to Masseria Provenzani, a country property about 2 km from the sea and 10 km northeast of Lecce.
This peaceful, flat former farm estate has been beautifully renovated, keeping its warm, brick buildings, lush gardens, a big trulli and shady courtyards. They added a unique swimming pool with an olive tree growing in the centre. Bedrooms with private bathrooms combine historic touches like vaulted ceilings with high quality linens and modern bathrooms. The whole place exudes “relax”; lots of space to read in the lounge or outside, do yoga on the grass or talk to the chickens and geese.
On arrival, your hosts welcome you with a glass of a cool, white or warming red local wine.
Take a siesta, relax by the pool or wander around the property.
At home Mamma Giulia prepares a delicious welcome Salento dinner for you. Get to know your fellow food and wine lovers as you discuss your wonderful week ahead with your fun loving, local guides, both passionate about their native Salento.
After breakfast, at 10:30 cook local “peasant” dishes at home in the masseria kitchen with Mamma Giulia. Enjoy an informal wine discussion in the kitchen on Puglia wines and grape varieties and taste two wines. Celebrate your first cooking triumph over lunch of your creations.
Note: Two of your four cooking classes include appetizer, pasta, vegetable plate, dessert. Two of your four cooking classes include appetizer, meat/fish plate, vegetable, dessert.
Time for a relaxing siesta.
5:00/6:00 Leave for guided tour of Lecce: its magnificent Baroque historic centre, Roman amphitheatres, lively streets full of locals enjoying an evening walk.
Visit a famous artist couple carrying on an ancient tradition in their outdoor studio. See how they create Lecce’s unique papier mache figurines and make their own paper.
Free time to explore Lecce’s charming historic centre.
Dine on local fare in a traditional trattoria in Lecce, specially chosen by your hosts.
After breakfast, visit a colourful food market in Lecce. Your guide introduces you to everyone: fruit & vegetable sellers, baker, delicatessen owner. Visit a cheese shop where they make mozzarella right in the shop and taste fresh mozzarella.
Drive to an exuberant mamma’s home in Lecce to cook hands-on in her kitchen and eat your dishes together for lunch at her table.
Drive back home to relax.
In the late afternoon, tour a local winery to meet the producer, learn about and taste their wines with appetizers—the perfect light dinner.
After breakfast, drive to a nearby olive oil producer with 17,000 olive trees. Tour their olive oil mill to learn how they make this treasure. Take a short drive among the olive trees until you see tables set under a big olive tree. Enjoy their wonderfully warm hospitality over a delicious picnic buffet with them and learn how to taste olive oils in a guided tasting.
Drive home for a siesta.
In the late afternoon, explore a picturesque town, Otranto on the Adriatic Sea, with its castle, seafront promenade and fishermen’s port on a walk with your guides.
Savour dinner at a traditional trattoria in Otranto.
Drive to Lecce to a restaurant in Lecce where the two delightful sister owners teach you genuine, local dishes, especially pasta. With lunch there, taste two more Puglia wines and some home made liqueurs.
Drive home for a siesta.
In the late afternoon, explore white town of Gallipoli on the Ionian Sea on a walk with your guides. Perhaps you’ll stroll along the seafront or the sandy beach at sunset time.
On the way to Gallipoli, visit a local winery for a wine tasting and aperitivo.
Sit back and enjoy a light dinner in Gallipoli by the sea.
Drive into Lecce to meet another “simpatico” local mamma for a cooking class and lunch of your efforts around the table in her home.
Drive home for a siesta.
Near Lecce on their country property, visit a friendly cheese making family who show you how they make ricotta & primo sale cheeses.
Dine light in a typical wine bar, trattoria or good pizzeria.
After breakfast, leave for a full day excursion to discover the Itria Valley and its lush lands dotted with the famous trulli houses.
With your guide, explore stunning white towns of Cisternino, Ostuni and Locorotondo,
Light lunch in a traditional trattoria in one of the towns.
Free time in Alberobello to walk among the trulli houses and shop for souvenirs.
Visit with a local mamma in her trullo home for a cooking demo on a traditional cake, followed by cake and a drink.
Drive back to the masseria for farewell dinner of Mamma Giulia’s fine fare at home after a long day.
After breakfast at home, reluctantly depart with your guides in your private van to Brindisi Airport or Lecce train station.
You’ll cherish memories of your Puglia adventures: of new friendships with incredibly warm, hospitable, fun local people, of laughing and cooking together with mammas in their homes, of fresh local vegetable, pasta and seafood flavours, of ancient, exquisite white towns and clear blue seas.